The Basics of Pest Control

Pest control is the effort to keep unwanted organisms away from buildings or other structures. These organisms may be animals such as rodents or plants such as weeds or invasive species. The goal of pest control is usually to prevent harm to the organisms or structures, but in some cases it can also include attempts at eradication.

Preventive measures are generally the first line of defense against pests, and they’re often the most effective. These can include steps like removing food sources such as ripe fruit for fruit flies or uncooked rice for moths or cleaning up areas that attract certain pests vacuuming carpets to remove fleas. Preventive measures may also involve caulking cracks and crevices around doors, windows and other entry points, trimming trees and bushes, and sealing outdoor trash containers.

In more serious cases, chemicals can be used to eliminate pests. Chemicals are typically targeted directly at the pest, and are often more effective against insects than other creatures. However, chemicals can be hazardous to humans and pets if misused, and can also damage the environment. Chemicals should always be used as a last resort, after all preventive measures have been taken.

Eradication is a rare goal in outdoor pest control, as it’s nearly impossible to completely eradicate some species of plants or animals once they’re established in an area. However, eradication is sometimes the aim in indoor pest control, especially when specific types of weeds or wood-destroying insects are present in residential and commercial settings.

Cultivation and use of resistant varieties of crops, plants and animals can help minimize pest problems. Resistant species are more vigorous or tolerant than other types, and are less likely to be seriously damaged by the pests that target them.

When pests infest a building, they’re typically looking for a warm, dry place to live and a source of food. Getting rid of these things is the key to controlling them.

Remove Food Sources

Store foods in sealed plastic or glass containers, and make sure that garbage cans are tightly closed. Trash should be removed regularly, and stored outside or in the garage to avoid attracting pests. Don’t allow ripe fruit to sit in the kitchen, and regularly clean food and cooking utensils. Keep pantry items like flour and rice in sealed, airtight containers, or in the refrigerator for longer storage.

Fix leaky pipes and don’t let water collect in trays under houseplants or in the kitchen. Keep pet food and water sealed, and don’t leave their bowls out overnight.

Keep Storage Areas Clean

Store tools, firewood and other items in protective covers, and periodically clear out basements, closets and other storage areas to prevent pests from nesting in these inconspicuous places.

Physical traps and barriers can be a good way to control pests, depending on the type of problem. These can range from simple fly paper to more complex baited traps. They should be placed in regions that show signs of pest activity, and they should be checked regularly to remove captured creatures, as well as replace or reset the traps.