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The Most Common Ways to Control Pests

Pests have plagued humans for thousands of years. Whether it’s problems with crops or a termite inspection around the house, we’ve developed some highly effective methods for controlling insects. While the history of pest control is marked by controversy, modern research has led to solutions that are more targeted and less harmful than ever. Used together, the most common ways to control pests have helped us tackle major outbreaks and small-scale infestations all over the world. In this article we’ll explore the three most common categories of pest control and how they’re used to combat pests.

Chemical Pest Control

Chemical pest control products are some of the most common pest deterrents currently in use. Because not all treatments work on all types of pests, chemical pest control is broken into a variety of categories depending on its use. The one you’re probably most familiar with are the insecticides used around the home. Products like bug spray and bug bombs are simple, over-the-counter solutions for dealing with common household pests such as cockroaches.

The chemical compounds used for pest control in the 20th century were later found to be very harmful to humans, animals and the environment. To combat that, recent developments have focused on making products safer and more environmentally friendly. The common insecticides found in homes now contain a mixture of active ingredients called pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are synthetic compounds that are similar to an ancient type of pest control made from the flowers of chrysanthemums. Pyrethroids are a type of nerve agent that can incapacitate or kill a wide variety of insects. As long as they’re used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, pyrethroid-based insecticides aren’t harmful to humans or animals.

Biological Pest Control

Biological pest control is less common around the home, but it’s a common tactic in agriculture. Biological pest control involves assessing the insect population and then introducing biological deterrents, such as predators and parasites. The predators (often bacteria and other insects) and parasites that are released depend on the pests being dealt with.

While biological pest control was known in ancient times, it’s a technique that’s still used today. There have been a number of successful large-scale biological pest control initiatives in the past few decades. These include using the vedalia beetle to control scale insects in California and using bacteria to control the larvae of the gypsy moth.

Biological pest control is best suited to large-scale applications, and it always requires dedicated, long-term research. Releasing predators into a new environment can drastically alter the local ecosystem and have a negative impact on other insects, plants and animals in the area. Some examples of harmful biological pest control initiatives include the release of cane toads in Australia, which is widely credited with decimating local populations of frogs and native predators.

Environmental Pest Control

Finally, one of the most common and effective forms of pest control are environmental initiatives. Each type of pest thrives in certain environments. For example, mosquitoes are especially common in low-lying areas with standing bodies of water. By controlling environmental factors it’s possible to make a big difference to local insect populations. While environmental pest control is carried out on large-scale agricultural operations, it’s also an effective way to control pests around the home.

The first stage of environmental pest control is to inspect and identify local pest populations. Having a pest and termite inspection can give you an idea of which pests are a problem in your area and what you can do to combat the threat. Simple environmental pest control methods include:

  • Stocking ponds with fish
  • Trimming greenery that overhangs your house
  • Using termite screens and membranes during construction
  • Cutting back any brush that touches your home
  • Clearing fallen logs or tree stumps from your property
  • Cleaning out gutters and exterior drains regularly

Anything you can do to reduce the food, water and shelter available to insects will help control local populations. Especially if you’re struggling with insects making their way into your home, environmental pest controls can help you reduce or even eliminate the problem! For best results, environmental pest controls are often used with chemical insecticides. The combination of these two things is highly effective at controlling common pests like cockroaches, ants, ticks, fleas and termites.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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