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Pest Control Methods

Pests can be more than just an annoyance in your home. They can also cause damage and spread disease.

Correct identification is the first step to successful pest control. Control objectives include prevention, suppression, and eradication. Contact Pest Control Columbia MO now!

When choosing a pest control company, look for one with experience. A long history means the company has likely perfected its methods.


Pests cause damage, and can spread disease. They also create discomfort and annoyance for people and pets. Pest control methods range from natural to chemical. Preventative measures are most effective. They include removing food, water and shelter sources, sealing entry points and proper waste management. Natural pest control methods use predators, parasites and other organisms to help eliminate pests. They are usually more environmentally conscious than chemical methods.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based approach that takes into account current and comprehensive information about the pest, its life-cycle, where it lives and thrives. IPM programs focus on preventing pests from entering buildings, and then reducing their numbers to a level that is acceptable without resorting to chemical treatment.

Routine inspections can identify pest pathways into buildings and allow early intervention. Proper maintenance of building exteriors and landscaping helps prevent pests from accessing buildings. Sealing cracks, gaps and openings in walls and foundations prevents pests from getting inside. Installing door sweeps and weather stripping stops pests from crawling under doors. Regularly cleaning garbage cans and properly securing them prevents pests from accessing food sources. Trimming trees and bushes that touch the structure of a home eliminates potential nesting sites for pests.

Food sources attract many different types of pests. Counters, sinks and tables should be kept clean of crumbs and spills. Garbage should be disposed of regularly and with a tightly sealed lid, and storage areas should be cleaned out to reduce the accumulation of materials that may attract pests. Food should be stored in airtight containers to prevent pests from accessing it.

Water is another attractant for pests, and leaky pipes, faucets, appliances and other water sources should be fixed promptly. Moist soil, mulch and leaf litter create favorable conditions for many pests. Humidity can also attract pests, and it should be addressed by using dehumidifiers, improving ventilation, and removing moisture sources. Leaky faucets, appliances and sinks can lead to water seepage in the basement of a home, which leads to mold and mildew problems, and attracts pests such as rats and roaches.


The purpose of suppression is to reduce pest numbers to a level that can be tolerated. This may require treatment with chemicals or other methods, but the emphasis is on prevention. Suppression is often a joint goal with eradication. It can take time for treatments to become effective. Keeping up with regular treatments is important.

Preventing pests from entering and settling in a building is key to eliminating the problem. In many cases, this can be achieved by making simple repairs such as sealing cracks or caulking windows. Keeping indoor areas clean can also help prevent pests such as cockroaches and mice from entering. These pests can cause respiratory problems such as asthma attacks, and they can also trigger allergic reactions. Rodents can chew through wires and ruin household furniture. They also carry germs that can cause diseases such as plague, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Lassa fever, leptospirosis, and salmonella.

Managing the number of pests through natural means can be very effective. Birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish feed on certain pests or their eggs, reducing their populations. Insects and other predators also control pests by killing them or their eggs, or by competing with them for food or shelter. Nematodes, microscopic roundworms that live in soil and water, are another natural way to manage pests. They feed on the roots of a plant, causing the plants to wilt and turn yellow or brown, and they can also kill other pests in their path.

In some situations, a specific pest’s population is so large that it cannot be controlled by predators or parasites and needs to be reduced through chemical controls. This may be the case with some weeds, such as field bindweed, or forest weeds, such as poison ivy and goutweed. Eradication is seldom attempted in outdoor situations, except where a particular pest is considered a nuisance or threat to public health, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly and gypsy moth.

In the context of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), eradication is rarely a goal, as it can be difficult to achieve without affecting other organisms and habitats. However, eradication may be possible in enclosed environments such as schools and office buildings.


In outdoor pest situations, eradication is rarely the goal (except in cases such as Mediterranean fruit fly or gypsy moth control programs where the pest has been accidentally introduced but not yet established). Instead, prevention and suppression are more common goals. But in indoor environments, eradication is the main aim of pest control. This is because the consequences of a pest infestation are more severe in indoor spaces than in outdoors, where plants and animals provide protection.

The first step in eradicating a pest problem is to remove the food and shelter sources that attract them. This can include throwing away uncovered trash, cleaning up piles of wood or compost and reducing clutter inside and around the house. It can also mean sealing cracks in the walls and around doors and windows, which ants and other pests use to get into the home.

Eliminating these sources of food and shelter also reduces the amount of debris and other materials that pests can use to build nests or hide, which helps prevent them from accessing food and water sources inside the house. It also makes it easier to spot and eliminate any signs of pests, such as droppings or nests, which can be difficult when the pests are sheltered under debris or in hard-to-reach places.

Chemical pesticides are a widely used type of pest control. They come in the form of sprays, dusts and baits that target specific pests by disrupting their nervous systems or killing them. These chemicals can be highly effective against a wide range of pests, and some are relatively low risk for human exposure when applied according to the label directions and warnings.

Physical pest control methods include traps, netting and physical barriers that keep pests out of an area. Traps and netting can be inexpensive, non-toxic and very effective at controlling small-scale problems. However, they can be ineffective against many pests, such as cockroaches and ants, which are able to scurry through tightly closed traps.

Other physical methods include:

  • Placing sticky traps in key areas, such as under sinks and behind cupboards.
  • Lining entry points with a powder or gel that repels pests, such as cinnamon powder for ants and diatomaceous earth for roaches.
  • Installing rodent-proof barriers, such as metal or concrete slabs, in yards or around buildings.

Biological pest control includes predators, parasites and pathogens that kill or sicken the pests, such as introducing a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that produces a toxin that is deadly to caterpillars when they ingest it.


Pests are organisms that interfere in places where people live and work. They damage property, contaminate food and other substances and pose serious health risks to people. Pests can be bacteria, fungus, birds, weeds, rodents, insects, mites or even nematodes. IPM includes prevention, suppression and eradication of pests and monitoring of their numbers to determine when action is needed.

Monitoring is done by scouting and trapping. It is the key component to IPM and prevents unnecessary pesticide treatments. It allows the pest manager to identify the pest accurately and decide on the appropriate control tactic. It also helps avoid developing resistance to pesticides. IPM emphasizes treating only when the pest number reaches an action threshold and to avoid overusing pesticides.

In order to monitor, the pest manager looks for signs of pests at all stages of development and identifies areas that need treatment. This includes inspecting indoor and outdoor spaces for signs of infestation such as droppings, nests, egg sacks or larvae, as well as looking for the pests themselves. They also check the environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture and light, which can affect pest populations.

Many pests are easy to see, like cockroaches, mice or ants, but some are less obvious. Some have a fearful or grotesque appearance, like spiders, silverfish or earwigs. Others bite or sting, like bed bugs, cluster flies, bees or wasps. Some are known to spread diseases, like roaches or fleas. And some are known to cause allergic reactions or sensitivities, like bees, wasps, mud dauber wasps and hornets.

Once a pest problem is detected, it is important to take rapid and effective control actions. This can include reducing the pest pressure at the facility’s exterior, eliminating conducive interior conditions or relocating items to reduce hiding places for pests. It may also include implementing a sanitation program, or other non-chemical methods, like sticky traps, fly lights or baits. IPM programs should always be carefully planned to meet local regulations and guidelines, to ensure they are safe for people, animals, plants and the environment.