As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prevention strategies are key to preventing pest infestations.
Eliminate entry points by removing food, water, and shelter. Store garbage in containers with tightly fitting lids, and clean out storage areas regularly. Maintain proper drainage and eliminate standing water around buildings. Also, call Pest Control Tulsa experts to check your house regularly.
Identifying the pest or rodent that is causing problems helps to guide control efforts. Without proper identification, incorrect control tactics may be used, wasting time and money or even putting people or property at risk. If you suspect a pest infestation, contact your local Cooperative Extension office or a licensed pest management professional for assistance in identification.
Managing pests at the source is a critical part of an integrated pest management program (IPM). All pests need food, water, and shelter to survive. The best way to prevent pests from entering living areas is to remove their food sources and water supplies. This includes keeping food in sealed containers, removing garbage regularly, and sealing gaps around pipes, wires, walls, and pavement with caulking materials. It is also important to make sure that there are no leaking drains or faucets and that all living areas have adequate air circulation.
Prevention is the most effective method of controlling pests and should be considered before using any controls. Threshold levels, based on esthetic or health considerations, have been set for many pests and if a pest population is near these thresholds, then action may be required to reduce pest populations.
If a pest infestation is detected, it is often possible to use non-chemical controls to prevent or reduce further damage and/or spread. Some examples include planting flowering plants that act as natural repellents to pests, using sticky fly traps and/or odor baits to control flies, spraying vinegar solutions on ant trails, and placing cinnamon powder in cracks and crevices where cockroaches hide.
Chemical pest control involves the direct application of chemicals to kill or prevent a particular insect, rodent, weed, or microbe. Chemicals can be delivered in liquid, aerosol, granule, or powder form. Some common products that are used in homes include commercial pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Some of these products may linger on surfaces after application or can contaminate the environment, so safe disposal is important. Alternative control methods, such as biological pest control, are growing in popularity and may be a safer alternative to chemical treatments.
Pest infestations are often costly and a health risk to people and pets. Uncontrolled pests can also damage buildings and destroy plant materials. There are several steps to controlling pests including prevention, suppression, and eradication. Prevention involves preventing pests from entering the building or area by blocking entrance points. In some cases, this may include screens on windows, doors, and vents. It also includes keeping trash receptacles and garbage cans closed and away from the building, sealing cracks, patching leaks, and eliminating weeds or other plants that could provide hiding places for pests.
Cleaning regularly, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms, is an important step to prevent pests from becoming a problem. Food should be stored in tightly sealed containers to prevent ants, roaches, and other pests from raiding it. In addition, storing clothing in plastic bags or boxes is helpful to protect linens from moths and other insects. Trash cans should be kept tightly sealed and disposed of frequently. Water leaks should be fixed promptly and standing water eliminated to reduce the attracting power of moisture for many different pests.
Some cultural practices help control pests. These include proper watering and fertilization, removing infested debris or plants, growing competitive plants, soil solarization, and heat treatments. Many of these methods do not require the use of chemicals and can be used in conjunction with chemical controls.
Suppression is a common goal of pest control and is a good alternative to eradication. Suppression is the reduction of a pest population to an acceptable level in a given environment such as a home, garden, or commercial building. It is often achieved by combining control methods such as traps and baits with sprays and baits.
Eradication is rarely a goal in outdoor settings, but it can be a successful strategy in indoor areas such as dwellings, schools, offices, and healthcare facilities. Eradication is generally attempted only when it is deemed that the pests are causing unacceptable harm to humans or other organisms, such as disease, destruction of property, or nuisance.
Pests can cause a lot of problems, including structural damage and health issues like food poisoning. They can also cause a lot of stress to homeowners and businesses. They are often feared because of their grotesque appearance or their bite or sting (like bed bugs, cluster flies, wasps, and mud dauber wasps). Some contaminate our food, water, or personal items (like rice, potatoes, cabbage, apples, and clothes). Some can carry and spread diseases (like rats and roaches), some have a foul odor, others stain or damage surfaces (like termites, pine seed bugs, and boxelder bugs) or cause allergies and sensitivities (like mosquitoes, mice, house centipedes, ants, and bees).
Sanitation practices help prevent and suppress pests. These include: disposing of garbage frequently, maintaining cleanliness in food handling areas, covering and sealing waste containers, and ensuring that buildings are properly ventilated. Some forms of sanitation can even reduce pests by removing their sources of food and shelter, such as food residue and contaminated manure.
If preventive measures fail, pest control is needed. In most situations, it is best to use the least toxic method of control first – such as traps and baits – before resorting to chemicals. Be sure to choose and use chemicals carefully, following all label directions, to avoid unnecessary exposure to people and pets. Never use foggers or spray any product directly on humans or pets.
Chemical pesticides are available in liquid, aerosol, and powder form and can be applied to the inside and outside of structures and on crops. They are most commonly used on plants and animals to kill unwanted organisms, but they can also be used against rodents and insects. Pesticides can have serious or even life-threatening health effects if misused, so it is important to consult with a trained professional who knows how to safely apply them and when to do so.
Some pesticides are effective only on certain types of organisms, so a variety of control methods may be required. Sometimes pesticides fail to work because the wrong pesticide is chosen or the timing of application is incorrect. Other times, resistance is a factor, but this can be managed by rotating pesticides and using integrated pest management techniques.
While pesticides can be an important part of any pest management program, they must be used sparingly and with great care. Whenever possible, try to use alternative methods such as traps and bait. Avoid indiscriminate spraying which will usually only make things worse in the long run and may lead to resistance to pesticides. If you must use pesticides, be sure to select a product that is designed for the particular pest you are targeting and read and follow all label instructions including safety warnings. Ensure that pets and children are out of the area while applying pesticides and keep them away from areas where spray drift may occur.
Many pesticides contain chemicals that are dangerous to people, especially if they get on the skin or in the eyes. It is very important to wear appropriate clothing and protective equipment such as impermeable gloves, goggles or face shields, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants when handling pesticides. In addition, it is a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand. If you should come into contact with a pesticide, immediately rinse the affected area with water and see a physician if necessary.
STORING AND USING PESTICIDES SAFELY
Pesticides should be stored in a cool dry place where they will not be exposed to sunlight or extreme heat and where they are not likely to be contaminated by food, feed, seed, or other materials that could make them unfit for their intended purpose. They should be kept out of the reach of children and animals and in a secure, locked storage area. Ideally, they should be stored in their original containers. Using recycled containers for pesticide storage increases the risk of contamination and is not recommended.
If you must store pesticides, they should be labeled clearly and in a safe location away from other chemicals or products. It is a good idea to have a lockable container for storing chemicals that cannot be used immediately and to store empty pesticide containers separately from other waste material. Ensure that pesticides are not stored near fuel or power sources such as gas tanks, generators, etc.