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Pest Control – Preventive, Suppression and Eradication

Pests come into homes in search of food, water or shelter. Things like rips in window screens or untidy yards provide hiding places for them.

Methods that kill or block pests or make the environment unsuitable for them are called mechanical and physical controls. Examples include traps, barriers and mulches for weed management. Contact Columbia MO Pest Control now!

Preventive pest control is the best way to reduce the risk of a pest infestation. Pests are more than just a nuisance; they can cause health problems and damage property. Rodents can chew wires and damage walls, woodwork, and furniture in the home; mosquitoes spread disease through bites; and termites destroy buildings and create a fire hazard.

The most effective method of pest control is prevention, which involves keeping the environment as unattractive and inhospitable as possible to pests by eliminating food, water, shelter and other resources they need. This approach also minimizes the use of chemical controls and reduces environmental impact.

Practicing preventive pest management (PPM) involves learning about the specific pests and options available for controlling them. It includes regularly searching and assessing the pest population, identifying and blocking entry points, and repairing leaky pipes and other infrastructure. PPM also includes educating customers to make their homes and landscapes less attractive to pests by reducing clutter and providing a natural barrier between the house and yard.

Physical controls include traps, screens, fences, barriers and barriers made of soil, rock or other materials. They can be used for both residential and commercial properties. Changes to the environment can also be effective, including illumination, temperature, moisture and air flow.

Chemical controls include the use of a variety of products, such as insecticides and herbicides. Using the correct product for the target pest and applying it properly is key to success. It is also important to rotate chemicals to avoid resistance and minimize environmental contamination.

In addition, organic and/or natural methods are available for managing pests that may still be present after implementing preventive measures. These can be applied either as stand-alone treatments or in conjunction with other pest control tactics.


Pests cause problems when they disrupt our normal activities by eating or damaging plants, contaminating food or causing health issues such as hantavirus, leptospirosis and salmonella. They can also irritate people by squirting, biting or stinging. There are several ways to control pests: prevention, suppression and eradication. Preventing a problem is more cost effective than trying to destroy a large number of pests after they have already caused damage. Control methods include physical, biological and chemical approaches.

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, involves preventative steps to keep pests from coming into buildings and improving conditions that make them more difficult to live in. This approach is more environmentally friendly and less costly than spraying insecticides around a structure. It requires participation from building residents and managers as well as owners, who are responsible for reporting maintenance problems.

IPM begins with an assessment of the pests and their damage, which identifies specific actions to take to reduce or eliminate them. This plan includes inspection of the premises to identify and repair problems that create conducive conditions for pests, such as holes in walls, leaking pipes or improper trash storage. IPM also incorporates cultural practices to make it more difficult for pests to thrive. This can involve changing irrigation patterns to prevent overwatering that promotes root disease or adding mulch to discourage weed growth and improve soil drainage.

Other methods of pest control involve introducing natural enemies to suppress pest populations. These may be predators, parasitoids or competitors. For example, releasing ladybugs to eat aphids or nematodes to reduce grub numbers in vegetable crops can significantly reduce pest damage. These methods are often more effective than chemical pesticides.

There are some physical and mechanical controls that kill or block pests, such as traps for rodents, screens for birds and windows, and barriers to prevent vertebrate entrants. Mulches and steam sterilization of the soil are useful in managing weeds, and netting and grid wire fences can be used to control termites, house fly and vertebrate pests.

Environmental and economic concerns about pesticides have led many consumers to seek out organic or natural methods of pest control. However, these can be ineffective or dangerous. Organic pesticides, such as plant oils or horticultural vinegar, are usually not concentrated enough to be effective against most insects and can be absorbed through the skin. They are also often toxic to people, pets and plants.


Eradication is the elimination of an organism or pest by destroying the population or its habitat. This may be accomplished by trapping, poisoning, fumigation or other means. It can be used to eliminate disease vectors such as mosquitoes or rodents that threaten people’s health by transmitting diseases such as malaria or AIDS, or plant pests that destroy crops or harm international trade, such as the fruit flies and screwworms.

The aim of eradication is not just to reduce the numbers of an organism, but to make sure that the organism will never return to the level at which it is now. This requires an effective management system, monitoring and verification that the population will remain low enough to meet a specified criteria.

Biological methods are the most effective way to manage populations of insects that damage crops. These include mass-production and release of the insect’s natural enemies, such as predatory or parasitic insects that prey on or kill the pest. Alternatively, a plant pathogen, such as bacterium or virus, can be used to infect the pest’s cells, causing them to mutate or die.

However, chemical pesticides have devastated the populations of many natural enemies of insects and have often made formerly benign secondary pests into damaging primary pests. Attempts to limit the impact of pesticides on natural enemies include the use of spot applications in areas of high pest density, treatment of alternate strips within a field, and the use of less persistent pesticides.

A combination of eradication and prevention is the best approach to managing pests in agriculture, forestry, and garden care. This is especially true for pests of woody landscape plants, where the probability of success for eradication is higher when the targeted species was introduced intentionally as an ornamental or escaped cultivation prior to invasion.

Eradication is difficult, and it will not be possible to declare the end of a disease outbreak until all samples of the pathogen have been destroyed and the organism cannot reintroduce itself into human or animal populations. Examples of eradication efforts include the successful campaigns to eradicate smallpox, polio and rinderpest from humans, and the ongoing campaign to eradicate Guinea worm, a nematode that causes parasitic worm infections.


Monitoring is checking or scouting for pests to determine what pests are present, how many of each kind are in the area and how much damage they are causing. This information is used to develop and implement a pest control strategy. Monitoring is often done using a variety of methods, including traps, pheromones, and inspections. Monitoring is a critical part of integrated pest management, which uses non-chemical tactics to reduce pests and their damage to an acceptable level.

In food processing plants and warehouses, pest monitoring helps prevent contamination risk by allowing the use of proactive measures to keep pests from reaching an infestation level. Thorough inspections can be conducted by employees or by a professional pest service company. Monitoring devices are often deployed in hidden or hard to reach areas where pests tend to hide such as on the ceiling, in corners, behind walls and in cabinets. Glue boards are a good option for these locations as they are green, non-toxic and effective at capturing pests.

Several types of pest monitors are available, from simple trays to more sophisticated electronic monitoring devices that can detect a wide range of insect and rodent activity. In addition to detecting pests, some monitors can provide a detailed picture of the types of habitat or environmental conditions that are supporting them. This helps identify potential limiting factors such as harborage or entry points, structural issues, sanitation problems and employee habits that can limit an effective pest control program.

Pest monitoring can help establish action thresholds, which are levels of pest populations above which pest control is required. This allows a facility to avoid the unnecessary application of pesticides. If a pesticide is applied and it doesn’t control the population, it may be that the pests are resistant to the chemical, that the correct pesticide was not used, or that the application was not made at the right time.

Monitoring is also an important component of a preventive maintenance program for pests in buildings and structures. These programs can include inspections, cleaning and sanitation, non-chemical treatment methods and a variety of other techniques to manage pests before they become an issue.