There are few situations in life as skin-crawling and disturbing as finding an infestation of pests in your home. Not only are these pests creepy and disgusting, but they can also do quite a bit of damage to your furniture, clothing, and health.
Thankfully, we do not have to suffer in silence when our homes are invaded by rodents or bugs as there is a myriad of pest control methods to choose from.
As mentioned above, there are many pest control methods available to choose from, but they can be loosely grouped into six categories: Hygienic, Biological, Chemical, Physical, Fumigation, and Heat treatment. Each method can resolve pest infestations to varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the scale of the infestation, as well as on the type of pest.
Maintaining a clean home is of utmost importance for reducing the chances of an infestation. Pests seek out places with an abundant food source, as well as a safe environment in which they can breed. Check the tips below to ensure that your home is inhospitable for creepy crawlies and rodents.
- Clean all surfaces after eating.
- Put all food scraps, crumbs, peels, etc. in the bin, preferably sealed in a sandwich bag or paper.
- Wash all used dishes, cutlery, utensils, cups, glasses, pots and pans when you’re finished cooking/eating.
- Keep worktops, tables, floors, and cupboards clean and free from food scraps.
- Create and stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Don’t forget to include hard-to-reach areas, such as behind large kitchen appliances.
- Store food in containers with a tight seal.
- Make sure that all bathrooms in your home are kept clean.
- Install fly screens on your windows.
- Check the internal and external walls for holes and cracks and seal any you find.
If basic home hygiene is ignored, the effects of other pest control methods will be incredibly short-lived as the pests will soon be back, and in greater numbers. Check out our article “How to make a cleaning schedule and stick to it” for more advice on how to create a regular cleaning routine.
Although keeping your home clean will deter many would-be pests, there are some that are more stubborn and will laugh in the face of your cleanliness. This is where the might of the other pest control methods comes into play.
Biological control methods can also be seen as natural solutions as they do not rely on the use of pesticides or other chemicals. Biological pest control methods take advantage of the hierarchy within nature. This can be as simple as introducing the natural predator of a particular type of pest into your environment.
This method of pest control is by no means modern. People have been using natural predators to control pest populations since the fourth century B.C. The fact that it is still in use shows how effective this method can be.
This tactic is most commonly used by gardeners seeking to control a pest population without the use of chemicals. One of the most popular applications of this method is the use of ladybugs to control, or remove, aphid infestations. However, introducing large numbers of a foreign species to an area can have the opposite effect as well.
The best example of this is the giant cane toad in Australia. This species of toad was introduced to the country in order to reduce the population of cane beetles which were destroying crops. The toads did not reduce the beetle population as expected. Instead, they bred uncontrollably and have become a major ecological issue in their own right.
Another popular natural pest control method used by gardeners is the use of beneficial microorganisms on plants. Unlike the use of natural predators, using microorganisms to control pests is a preemptive method. When a helpful microorganism is in a symbiotic relationship with a plant, it will actively protect the plant by deterring pests and destroying harmful bacteria and fungi.
Physical pest control methods rely on the trapping, killing, and removal of both insect and rodent pests. Most of the methods listed below will work in your home and garden, but they are more suited to homesteads and small farms.
Elimination of breeding grounds
When looking for a place to infest, pests prefer to hide in a place that provides food and a safe breeding ground. Eliminating one, or both, of these factors will greatly increase your chances of removing pests. The best way of getting rid of breeding grounds in your home is to keep your home clean, dry, and warm. Maintaining a hygienic home and regularly cleaning dark, damp areas will severely limit the housing options for pests in your home.
Using poison bait is a popular and highly effective method of pest control and there are many pest-specific poisons to choose from. Pest control poison normally comes in one of two states. The first is in the form of granules and the second is a gel or jelly. Regardless of the type, poisoned bait is placed in areas that show signs of pest activity and will either be eaten directly or carried back to the nest.
If you have young children or pets, make sure that they cannot access any area where the poison is in use. Some commercial poisons can lead to serious health issues if ingested.
Field burning is a traditional pest control method used by farmers internationally. Fire is used to burn away debris, as well as the top layer of soil with the aim of destroying pest populations. This method of pest control has fallen out of favour in recent decades since fire kills beneficial insects along with the pests and can have a negative impact on the soil. Another reason is that the effectiveness of modern pesticides is now significantly better.
Trap cropping is a method of pest control which involves the planting of a decoy crop to which the pests are more attracted to. The main goal of this method is to trap pests in the decoy field in order to make extermination easier. However, large-scale farmers have found this method to be inefficient as the pests tend to make their way back to the main crop. As such, trap cropping may be more efficient if used in small homesteads or as a means to keep pests away from a personal vegetable garden.
Using physical traps to control pests is possibly the most recognisable pest control method. Traps range in complexity (from simple fly paper to more complex baited traps) and they are mostly used to deal with rodents, birds, other small animals, and insects.
As with the previously mentioned methods, trap placement should be focused in areas that show signs of pest activity. One major downside to using traps is that you have to check them regularly in order to remove any creature that has been caught, as well as to replace or reset the used traps.
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The most effective and widely used pest control method is the use of chemical pesticides. Due to their reliability, there are several types of pesticide available to tackle rodent and insect infestations. Regardless of which type of pesticide is being used, it is always important to read and follow the instructions carefully since most of them are highly toxic.
As the name suggests, insecticides are chemical products designed to kill insects, such as ants, cockroaches, and flies. Most commercially available insecticides are either spray- or granule-based and, while both will kill insects, they each have a particular area of expertise.
- Granulated insecticides are excellent for dealing with pests, such as ants and any other pests that build nests in hard-to-reach areas or actively scavenge for food. The granules are mistaken as food and are carried back into the nest, or are just eaten directly. The poison is usually fast-acting, so most insects die shortly after ingesting it.
- Sprays, on the other hand, are best used against flying pests and biting pests, such as fleas. Most insects will die within minutes of coming into contact with an insecticide spray, but some stubborn bugs may make you spray the area multiple times before giving up.
Rodenticides are a highly lethal type of pesticide, more commonly known as rat poison. They are much stronger than the other pesticides due to the caution that rodents show when they encounter a suspicious food source.
Due to this need for increased lethality, rodenticides are effective against all mammals when ingested. This includes humans, cats, dogs, and other scavengers. Since rat poison is so toxic and poses a threat to other animals, a lot of companies now prefer to use a baited trap box, rather than poison pellets.
As with insecticides, you should always read and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer to keep your pets and children safe.
Fumigation is the nuclear option when it comes to pest control and removing serious infestations. During a fumigation service, your home will be sealed for 48-72 hours. During this timeframe, a large amount of strong pesticide will be sprayed into your home. This process will not only kill adult pests, but will also kill any insect eggs or larvae that are present. Since the pesticide in use is so potent, you cannot remain in your home during the fumigation and must air the property for at least one day before returning.
A chemical-free option which has been gaining popularity in the field of pest control.This method is used to deal with infestations caused by fleas, bed bugs, and other insects. During a heat treatment service, the infested area will be gradually heated to a temperature of 55-60°C. The rising temperature will eliminate the creepy crawlies at every stage of development (eggs, larvae, and adults). This is a great option if you have children or pets and are not keen on the idea of scattering poison throughout your home.
If you have noticed signs of pest activity or a developing infestation in your home, contact us here to receive a quote from our Fantastic pest control experts.
Deciding on whether to use natural or chemical methods when dealing with pests can be difficult. To help you make this decision a little bit easier, we have listed the pros and cons of both options so that you can choose the best method for your situation.
Benefits of natural methods
- Natural products do not contain potentially harmful chemicals;
- Once natural insect predators become established, your plants will have long-lasting protection;
- Insects cannot develop a resistance to predators;
- Natural products are often environmentally friendly.
Disadvantages of natural methods
- It can be difficult to kill the entire population of pests;
- Pest populations may move or spread over a larger area;
- The use of natural predators and microorganisms is a reactive rather than a preventive measure, so there is more time for the infestation to grow.
Benefits of chemical methods
- Pesticides are relatively inexpensive;
- Chemical methods are often more reliable;
- Chemical pest control products are easy to use;
- They are fast-acting.
Disadvantages of chemical methods
- Insects can develop a natural resistance to chemical pesticides over time;
- Using pesticides can leave residue on plants, which can cause health issues;
- They are highly toxic and can cause severe health issues if ingested;
- Groundwater may become contaminated through heavy use of pesticides.
Regardless of which method you choose to deal with common pests, remember the following guidelines for using pesticides safely:
- Always read and follow the instructions given on the packaging;
- Choose the right pesticide for the job;
- Only apply pesticides to the areas affected by pests;
- Only use as much pesticide as needed;
- Try to spray when there is little to no wind;
- Make sure that there are no other people or animals nearby while you are spraying the pesticide;
- For home treatments, open all doors and windows after the treatment to air your home and get rid of any lingering chemical smells;
- Do not let other people or animals into the treated area for as much time as it is stated in the instructions.
So there we have it, your guide to the different pest control methods. Now that you have armed yourself with this pest fighting knowledge, you can confidently tackle common pests. Contact us today via phone, live chat or email for a quote from our pest removal experts and let us take care of the creepy crawlies for you.
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