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The Importance of Proper Identification in Pest Control

Pests damage plants, crops and buildings. They can also transmit diseases such as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, leptospirosis and plague.

Pest control strategies include prevention – keeping pests from developing; suppression – reducing the number of pests to an acceptable level; and eradication – killing off an entire pest population. Contact Treasure Valley Pest Control now!

Whether an insect, disease, weed or vertebrate animal, correct pest identification is critical to the success of any pest control effort. Proper identification allows you to determine the need for control and select an appropriate integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. Identification also helps you determine the best methods to control the pest, including cultural practices, mechanical controls, physical barriers, and chemical applications.

Many pests leave characteristic damage to the host plant or have other distinguishing features that help you to identify them. You can also find information in printed or online pest identification guides that help you to identify the specific species. In addition, most pests have certain weak points or windows of opportunity when they are more vulnerable to being controlled. For example, insects may be easiest to control during the immature life stages or when they are newly emerged from eggs (annuals), or weeds may be easier to control when they are young and seedlings or in early vegetative growth phases (perennials).

If you have trouble identifying the pest that is infesting your garden, contact your county Extension office or a professional pest management company for assistance. They can provide information about the pest and its habitat requirements, time of occurrence, and other important characteristics.

A flashlight – Pests often live or seek shelter in dark, secluded areas where they are difficult to see. A flashlight with a telescoping handle can be especially helpful for inspection behind equipment and furniture where pests are often found. Magnifier – A magnifier is very useful for examining insect parts, frass (excrement) and other evidence of pest activity. It is also helpful in locating points of entry, sanitation deficiencies and maintenance problems.

A good, quality pest identification guide that includes photographs can be a valuable reference tool in your fight against pests. These guides can be found at most bookstores and garden centers and some come with a pocket-sized magnifying lens for quick, easy identification of pests. They also offer tips for control of common pests such as cockroaches, houseflies, cluster flies and ants.

Pest Prevention

Pests can bring health, safety and sanitation concerns into homes and businesses. They can also cause structural damage, destroy food and spoilage, trigger allergic reactions and sensitivities, and carry and spread disease organisms. The best course of action is to prevent pests from entering the premises in the first place.

A preventive approach to pest control defines what clients are responsible for and what the pest management professional is responsible for with regard to sanitation, maintenance, cleaning, cultural practices and other areas that contribute to pest problems. It is usually less expensive than dealing with a full infestation.

Many factors influence the growth of a pest population, such as natural enemies, weather and food availability. Some natural barriers, such as mountains or large bodies of water, limit the movement of pests. The availability of shelter and roosting sites influences the number of pests, as do the presence of overwintering grounds. The life cycles of many pests restrict their populations and make them vulnerable to control measures that interrupt those cycles.

In many cases, natural predators or parasitoids can reduce a pest population without the need for chemical controls. Examples of these are lacewings, lady beetles and robber flies. Insecticides may be used in a limited way to enhance these natural controls.

A good pest prevention program starts with a thorough inspection of the property, including the structure, surrounding grounds and buildings. A flashlight and a magnifying glass are useful tools for inspecting dark, secluded spots where pests hide and breed. A telescoping mirror allows the inspector to check under and behind equipment and furniture.

The inspector should also take note of what makes the area attractive to pests. Woodpiles, weedy areas, compost piles and piles of debris can provide food, water and hiding places for pests. Regular weeding and trash removal can help keep pests away from the house. Gutters should be cleared of leaves and debris, and the roof should be checked for leaks or openings.

Indoors, the house should be vacuumed and washed regularly with hot water to remove dust and mites. Beds, rugs and pillows should be washed to rid them of fleas and bedbugs. Kitchens should be kept clean and food stored in sealed containers to avoid pest attraction.

Pest Control Methods

Once pests gain a foothold in your home, garden or yard, it’s only a matter of time before they start doing damage and creating health risks. That’s why preventing their spread is so important: pest infestations that are allowed to get out of control can quickly snowball into serious problems, such as structural damage or even serious illness for people and pets.

There are several ways to determine if pest control is needed:

Preventive methods include denying the pests the food, water or shelter that they need to survive and reproduce. For example, removing all possible sources of food for insects, such as keeping garbage in tightly covered containers and fixing leaky faucets, helps keep their numbers down. Mulching around plants deprives weeds of the sunlight they need for germination, and eliminating moisture sources can prevent fungal diseases in leaves.

Physical or mechanical control methods use traps, screens, fences, barriers and other devices to physically block the pests or alter their environment. For instance, tin foil can be used as an effective barrier for many ant species. Physical traps, netting and decoys are also common pest control tools.

Chemical pest control uses solutions, such as repellents and insecticides, to kill or deter the pests. These solutions are typically faster-acting than preventive measures, but they may pose health and environmental concerns when used incorrectly or in excess.

Biological pest control uses organisms that are natural enemies of the targeted pest, such as predators and parasites. Biological controls are less invasive than chemical pesticides and can be more cost-effective, but they still take some time to work. Examples of biological pest control include nematodes, such as the cockroach-eating bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, which can be sprayed to kill caterpillars, and biostimulants, such as organic compost. Fumigation is another chemical pest control method that involves sealing and filling a building with special gases to completely eradicate pests. Eradication is rarely attempted in outdoor settings, but it’s an option for indoor spaces such as food processing and storage facilities. Eradication is also sometimes an option for imported pests such as Mediterranean fruit flies and gypsy moths.


A pesticide is any substance that kills or prevents the growth of a damaging organism. It can be manufactured from natural products or from synthetic chemicals. It can be used on plants, animals or rodents. It can also be used to protect structures or products from damage. Pesticides come in many forms, including spray cans and crop dusters, liquids or powders. They can be found in your house and garden as well as on crops, in the workplace or at schools and businesses.

Over 800 different types of pesticides are registered in the United States. They are grouped into categories by the type of organism they control and by how they work. Insecticides kill insects; herbicides destroy weeds and other unwanted vegetation; fungicides kill mold and mildew; and rodenticides kill mice and other rodents. Other pesticides may modify a plant’s growth (regulators), drop the plant’s leaves prematurely (defoliants) or act as a drying agent (desiccants).

Chemical pesticides are often toxic when absorbed through the skin, inhaled or swallowed. They are often contaminated with impurities or “contaminants” that are not purposely added but are a result of the manufacturing process, such as dioxins and DDT. In addition, they may break down into metabolites that are just as or even more hazardous than the parent pesticide.

Natural and organic pesticides are based on things found in nature, such as microbes, certain minerals or plant extracts. They are usually allowed for use on organic crops. Synthetic pesticides are chemical compounds or mixtures that are designed to mimic the action of a naturally occurring substance and are generally required for conventional agriculture.

All pesticides cause harm to the environment when they are applied improperly or in excess. In addition, they can lead to diseases in humans and other animals when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Insecticides can also be a significant contributor to the decline of pollinators, which are critical to food production, and they can create conditions that foster the growth of pathogens that threaten human and animal health. They can also contribute to ambient pollution and harm water quality.

Rising Rodent Threat: Exploring Effective Pest Control Solutions

A pest is an unwanted organism that has the potential to damage property (like termites or rodents) or pose a health threat, like flies or cockroaches. Bakersfield Pest Control is the action taken to eliminate them.

The best pest control is prevention. This includes storing food in tightly sealed containers, removing garbage regularly, and keeping compost piles away from the house.


pest control

Rodents are the largest group of mammals and occupy nearly every habitat on Earth, except Antarctica. They include a wide range of species, from pocket gophers to raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, hamsters and guinea pigs. Some are pests, such as rats and mice, which cost farmers billions of dollars each year in crop damage and disease transmission; others are beneficial, like nutria and capybara, which provide food and fur. Rodents also play essential ecological roles in a number of ecosystems.

Their morphological characteristics are adapted to the environments in which they live. They have small, robust bodies and short limbs and long tails for moving about, and they are primarily herbivorous, although some are omnivorous or carnivorous. They are active most of the year, but some enter periods of dormancy or deep hibernation. They are able to survive in a variety of habitats by means of their adaptable features, such as sharp, continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws.

Depending on the species, rodents find shelter in tree holes, rock crevices, simple burrows, mounds of cut vegetation in aquatic environments, or in complex networks of tunnels and galleries. They may also use sticks and twigs, leaf litter, or grass to construct nests. Several species are known to build dams, such as beavers; others are considered ecosystem engineers, such as prairie dogs. Some, like kangaroo rats and ground squirrels, are social animals. Many species have litters of altricial young.

The relative abundance of different species in an environment is determined by the availability of a particular food source and the ability of predators to prey on them. Rodent populations are often affected by weather conditions, such as droughts or floods, which affect the vegetation available for food.

Rodents are opportunistic feeders and can consume a variety of food items, including seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables. They can also damage buildings and their contents through chewing, gnawing, and digging. Preventive measures, such as keeping food stored in sealed containers and cleaning up crumbs and spills, can help mitigate rodent infestations. However, when preventive methods are insufficient, professional assistance is available.


In agricultural settings, natural habitats surrounding crops offer a variety of benefits that can help control pest populations without using chemical pesticides. For example, encouraging farmers in California to plant or retain woody vegetation along field edges increased sunflower seed yields while simultaneously increasing the diversity and abundance of birds. In homes and urban environments, native plants attract predatory and beneficial insects that can help with garden pest management. Removing food and water sources, properly storing garbage, regularly removing trash and sealing all cracks or gaps can also reduce pest problems.

Monitoring is a critical part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This involves checking to see which pests are present, how many there are and what damage they’ve caused. It’s then possible to decide whether the pest can be tolerated or if it requires control. Monitoring also helps identify the most effective pest control methods and when to use them.

Physical and mechanical controls kill or block a pest, such as traps for rodents or screens for bugs. Biological controls, which use living organisms to eliminate or suppress pests, include nematodes, bacteria and viruses. This type of control can be safe and effective for both people and pets when used appropriately.

Biological controls are not only safe and environmentally friendly, but they can be cost-effective when used properly. In addition, they can provide long-term solutions for pest control, especially when combined with other methods such as soil amendments, crop rotation, plant selection and tillage.

In general, a well-balanced ecosystem is the best way to keep pests away from humans, crops and trees. The goal of a pest management program is to reduce or eliminate the need for chemicals, while maintaining good crop production and minimizing the negative impact on the environment. It’s also important to use only those pesticides that are needed, according to established guidelines, and to apply them in a manner that minimizes risk to people, beneficial insects and other organisms. Biological control techniques are often preferred because they’re safer for the environment and human beings. In addition to being less invasive, they’re more likely to be effective than chemical pesticides.


As a food business owner it’s important to remember that pests are not only a health and safety issue, but they can also be a serious problem for your reputation. Ideally, you will never have to deal with pests in the first place, particularly if you follow health and hygiene guidelines at all times and work closely with a professional pest control technician when necessary.

The majority of the time, however, pests find their way into premises not because of any particular hygienic failings but simply because they are looking for an easy source of food. Rodents in particular are attracted to carbohydrates, which are easily found in the many baked goods they enjoy as well as the crumbs that can be found on kitchen tables and counters.

Similarly, fruit and vegetables are a delicacy for rodents and overripe or rotting produce can be particularly attractive to these creatures. It is therefore important to keep up to date with your fresh produce purchase habits and only purchase foods that will be used immediately or that can be stored in the fridge and freezer for later use.

In addition, using hard-sided containers instead of plastic bags and rolling up paper tabs to close packages will help to prevent the infiltration of food by rodents. It is also a good idea to store foods off the floor, as rats can crawl up shelves and into cabinets in search of an easy meal.

Finally, removing trash on a daily basis and avoiding stacks of boxes that provide shelter to pests will all contribute significantly to preventing infestation. A final point is that pests are able to get into premises through small cracks and crevices, so sealing any leaky pipes or drains will be helpful too.

While a pest is technically anything that humans dislike, the term ‘pest’ is most often applied to animals or plants that cause actual harm to people or property. However, pests can also be undesirable for more subjective reasons, for example crabgrass is a ‘pest’ to gardeners because it can damage or discolour lawns and detract from the appearance of their homes.


Pests are unwanted organisms (bacteria, flies, fungi, grasses, moths, rodents, viruses and vertebrates) that negatively affect people’s lifestyles, health, crops, food stores, property, plants, wildlife and the environment. Pests also degrade and displace native plant species and alter environmental factors such as soil nutrient content, water availability and fire frequency.

In outdoor environments, eradication of pests is rarely achieved. However, in closed environments such as homes; retail and food preparation environments; and office buildings, health care, hospitality and other working environments, a pest control strategy can help protect these areas.

A wide variety of behavioural controls are used to prevent pests infesting these indoor spaces. These include preventing access to food and water by sealing cracks and crevices; installing mesh wire covers in drains and inlets; removing rubbish on a regular basis; and fixing leaky pipes. In addition to these methods, chemicals may be applied to the area. However, these need to be carefully selected to minimise risk of toxicity to people and pets.

Clutter provides breeding places and hiding spots for pests. It is therefore a good idea to regularly dispose of stacks of newspapers and magazines, clear rubbish bins and keep garbage cans tightly lidded. Sealing cracks and crevices with quality sealant and filling spaces in baseboards with knitted copper wire wool can be useful to keep pests out of the house.

Natural enemies (predators, parasites and pathogens) can be introduced to fight pest invasions. This is a low-cost and often environmentally friendly control measure, but it typically takes some time to be effective.

If you have a pest problem, a Terminix technician can help. They offer plans to manage ants, cockroaches, termites, bed bugs, mosquitoes, flies and other household pests. A free inspection is available, after which the company can provide advice and a plan tailored to your needs. It can also carry out quarterly or annual maintenance visits, which is important to ensure pests don’t return. These visits can include a visual inspection and treatment around the perimeter of your home, as well as carrying out pest monitoring.