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Identifying Pests and Pest Solutions

Insects, ants, rodents and other pests can cause serious problems for homeowners. Some are continuous while others may be sporadic.

Pest control is an important part of maintaining a safe environment. There are various types of pest solutions, from chemical to organic. Some of these include physical controls, traps, screens and fences. Contact Apex Pest Solutions now!

Pest identification is the first step in developing an integrated pest management strategy. It’s important to know exactly what type of pest you’re dealing with, especially if you plan to use chemicals to control it. If a pest is not correctly identified, the wrong control tactic may be used, which can waste time and money and cause unnecessary risk to people or the environment.

To accurately identify a pest, start by looking at its physical appearance. Consider the number of antennae or body segments it has, its shape, and how it moves. If possible, compare what you see to photos of the pest online or in a book. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the damage caused by a particular pest species. For example, weevils leave small holes and trails around the edges of leaves while caterpillars chew into the interior of a leaf.

Once you have an idea of what the pest looks like, research its life cycle and habits. This will help you determine whether it can be tolerated or if it needs to be controlled. In addition, understanding a pest’s behavior will help you select the best timing for control tactics. For example, a weevil that has already hatched out of its egg can be controlled with a larval spray, but the insect would not respond to an adulticide spray because it hasn’t reached its vulnerable stage yet.

If you’re unable to identify the pest, consult a plant disease specialist or a local entomologist. There are also a variety of resources available through the Cooperative Extension Service, and many publications on pest identification can be found at libraries or bookstores.

When an environmentally approved method of controlling a pest fails to work, it may be necessary to resort to pesticides. However, a pest technician should always discuss the situation with the property owner to make sure they are aware of and consent to the choice to use a chemical product. Then, the pest technician can choose a product that will be most effective and cause the least amount of harm to humans or the environment.

Pest Prevention

Pest infestations of buildings, homes or commercial facilities are not just unpleasant but also pose a health hazard. Some pests, such as cockroaches and rodents, carry diseases or create allergens that can cause asthma or allergies. Others, such as ants and termites, can damage or contaminate food or cause fires by chewing through wires.

Preventing pests is the best strategy for avoiding health and property problems. Pests need a constant source of food, water and shelter to survive and thrive, so eliminating these sources is an important first step. Trash bins should be sealed and garbage collected regularly, and areas where pests can hide should be kept clean and free of debris.

Clutter, including stacks of paper, cardboard and wood, is an invitation to pests. In addition, cracks in walls and crevices around pipes are magnets for pests. Sealing these gaps with caulk or steel wool prevents pests from entering. It is also important to make sure air conditioning filters are clean, as moisture build-up can attract pests.

Most pests move from one environment to another by searching out food, water or shelter. For example, ants find food in trash cans and other places where it is left out. To avoid pests, remove crumbs and food scraps from kitchens and wash food containers in the sink before throwing them away. Garbage should be disposed of regularly and stored in tightly closed containers. Leaking pipes and standing water are also attractive to pests, so they should be fixed as soon as possible.

Many pests enter museums through openings such as open windows or air vents, but they can also be carried in on people and objects on loan or on merchandise. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques can reduce these threats through good site sanitation, monitoring and treatment of attractors, and quarantine and fumigation of artifacts to kill pests and control their population.

Pest Suppression

Pests are organisms that cause damage to crops, weeds, and garden plants. They also can eat and spoil food, degrade soil quality, displace native plant species, and disrupt terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (EPA, 2014). Pests can be a single organism or populations of organisms, such as insects, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, weeds or vertebrates. Humans consider any organism a pest that reduces the availability, quality or value of a resource they need.

Pest control is the process of reducing pests to a level acceptable to humans. This is often accomplished through a combination of preventive and suppression techniques. Preventive measures include sanitation, proper watering and fertilization, growing resistant crops, preventing disease through careful observation, and using barriers to keep pests out. Suppression techniques can be physical (knocking pests off plants with a forceful spray of water, for example), cultural (rotating crops, cultivating healthy soil), or chemical.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a method of controlling pests that uses nonchemical methods before resorting to more serious measures. This approach helps minimize the risk of harming people, pets or the environment.

IPM methods include pest proofing (insulating homes, sealing cracks, removing garbage regularly), crop rotation, mulches and other physical controls, steam sterilization of the soil, and planting trap crops to divert insect pests from valuable plants. It’s important to remember that any of these methods must be used consistently and correctly for them to be effective.

There are also biological methods to control pests, which involve encouraging organisms that naturally reduce or destroy them. These organisms, called natural enemies, are predators, parasites, or disease vectors. Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly known as Bt, is an example of a microbial pesticide that has been developed into strains that target specific insect pests.

Some organic and natural methods are very slow, but they can be a good choice for small infestations and can provide long-term control. For example, pheromones that mimic the signals female insects emit to attract males can be used to interfere with mating and thus reduce population levels. Proper follow up is important to evaluate the success or failure of any suppression tactic and inform future prevention and avoidance strategies.


Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control harmful plants, insects, germs and other organisms. They are found in homes, yards and gardens, farms, businesses and on commercial products. There are many types of pesticides, including herbicides that destroy or control weeds, insecticides that kill or control insects, and fungicides that eliminate mildew and other fungi. Although pesticides are useful, they can be harmful to people and pets if not used properly. Always try non-chemical methods of pest control first, and when it comes to using pesticides, use only the amount recommended on the label.

The active ingredient in a pesticide is the chemical that is biologically and chemically active against the target pest (e.g., organophosphate insecticides, thiocarbamate herbicides). However, nearly all commercial pesticides are complex mixtures of the active ingredient and other ingredients (see figure below). The other ingredients are generally not tested for safety, but they often contribute to the toxicity of a pesticide. Moreover, they may also produce metabolites that are more toxic than the parent chemical [29].

When applied to soils, pesticides can be transported and degraded within the environment through adsorption, leaching, volatilization and spray drift. The transport processes and the degradation process are influenced by factors such as temperature, pH levels, moisture, and binding to soil particles.

Improper use and disposal of pesticides can lead to environmental pollution, including soil pollution, water pollution, air pollution and contamination of food crops. This can affect human health, wildlife, and the quality of the environment if the pollution is persistent or occurs in large quantities.

Homeowners can prevent the spread of pesticide pollution by storing and disposing of pesticides properly. They should also use pesticides only when absolutely necessary, and never apply them to areas where they might reach native animals or children. They should wear protective clothing as suggested by the manufacturer and should follow the instructions on the label for proper application and safety. They should also drain puddles that collect in birdbaths or ornamental ponds to keep mosquitoes from breeding, and change the water in outdoor ponds at least once a week.