The Importance of Pest Control

Pests like mice, ants and flies can damage your home and pose health risks. A professional pest control company can use natural and chemical treatments that are more effective than store bought products.

Look for a company certified by a state-level organization and with a track record of customer satisfaction. Ask about their plans and whether they offer a guarantee or warranty. Click Now to learn more.

Practicing prevention as a form of pest control is essential for maintaining healthy plants and crops, protecting people and property, and safeguarding the environment. Prevention strategies include the use of physical barriers such as fences, nets, and radiation; or chemical pesticides. Other preventive measures include plant selection, proper cultural practices, and soil health management. The first step in any pest control program is correct identification of the organism. Only then can the appropriate strategy be implemented.

Most pests are attracted to locations where they can find food or water, or shelter from predators. Some natural features limit the spread of pests, like mountains and large bodies of water. Other natural controls, such as nematodes (microscopic worms that live in the soil) can help prevent the spread of pests by competing with them for resources or killing them.

Some pests can be controlled by introducing enemies into the area, such as parasitic and predatory insects and fungi that feed on pests or destroy them. This can also be achieved by introducing disease organisms that can infect and cause the death of pests. There is often a time lag between when the pest population increases and when the number of enemies increases, so this method is not a complete eradication strategy.

Other types of physical and mechanical controls include traps, screens, barriers, and devices that alter the environment. Changes in temperature, moisture, and light can have a significant effect on pests.

In addition, many pests are destroyed by natural forces. For example, a sudden increase in temperatures or changes in day length can have a dramatic impact on insect populations and may cause them to become more active.

A few chemical pesticides can be used to control certain pests, but they should only be applied by a trained and licensed pest control specialist in accordance with local, State, and Federal laws and regulations. The pesticide must be labeled correctly, and only a small amount should be used. Applying more than the recommended amount can be dangerous and ineffective, and it exposes people and pets to unnecessary risks.


Pest control refers to actions taken to remove organisms that harm people, their property or the environment. Those organisms can be bacteria, fungus, animals like rats and mice, birds, weeds or invertebrates such as mites, ticks, spiders and nematodes. The purpose of pest control is to protect public health, safeguard food and crop supplies, preserve properties from damage and restore ecological balance by preventing invasive species from disrupting ecosystems.

There are three main forms of pest control: prevention, suppression and eradication. Preventing pests from causing problems is the best way to deal with them. However, not all situations allow for preventative measures. For example, in urban environments, a small number of cockroaches or mice can cause allergies and asthma attacks in humans. Eradicating these organisms may not be possible, but limiting their numbers to an acceptable level is the goal of pest control. This can be done by using baits, traps and sprays containing insecticidal soap, oil or other chemicals.

Monitoring pest populations is the next step in controlling them. This involves checking fields, forests, buildings and other sites for the presence of pests. It also includes assessing the damage they cause. The number of pests that must be present to trigger action is called an “action threshold.” It’s important to consider esthetic, health and economic factors when setting an action threshold.

Biological control of pests is a form of preventative pest control that uses natural predators and parasites to control unwanted organisms. It can be used in conjunction with other pest control methods or on its own. Examples of biological control include the use of pathogens to reduce plant diseases. These pathogens can be bacteria, fungi, viruses or other microorganisms that can cause disease in plants.

Chemical controls are usually the last resort for pest control. They involve the use of poisons to kill pests or their eggs. This can be done by baits, traps and sprays based on the type of pest being targeted. Physical controls such as fences, barriers and radiation can also be used to limit the movement of pests or their ability to reproduce.

Biological Control

Biological control is the deliberate use of natural enemies (predators, parasites, disease pathogens and competitors) to suppress and maintain populations of undesirable insects, mites, weeds or other organisms that damage ornamental plants, turfgrasses, fruits, vegetables and crops. It is an environmentally safer, energy self-sufficient alternative to chemical pesticides, which can have detrimental effects on ecosystems, and minimizes the occurrence of pesticide resistance.

NIFA supports research in biological control as a means of reducing our reliance on chemical pesticides, which have several drawbacks including environmental degradation and human health risks. While not always successful, biological control can be a useful tool in managing pests and improving crop productivity.

In this type of control, scientists seek to find or develop predators, parasites, fungi, bacteria and viruses that can significantly reduce or eliminate the target pest population. These “natural enemies” can be used as a replacement for harmful insecticides or weed herbicides, as fungicides or plant growth regulators or in combination with one of these chemicals in an integrated pest management program.

The three general approaches to biological control are importation, augmentation and conservation. Importation, also known as classical biocontrol, is mainly used against exotic, or non-native, pests that have been accidentally introduced to a new area or inadvertently moved with travelers. In this form of biological control, expeditions are conducted to the place of origin to search for and bring back the natural enemy that is being used against the pest.

Augmentation is a more intensive approach to biological control. It involves mass production and periodic releases of the natural enemy to establish a permanent, or augmented, population. The augmented natural enemy is then released to suppress or eradicate the pest in its new environment. The cost of augmentation is typically high, but the expense should be weighed against the long-term benefits of avoiding or reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

The third and final approach to biological control is conservation, which involves preserving existing natural enemies that attack the target pest. Growers and other professionals can do this by choosing cultural, mechanical or selective chemical controls that avoid harming native organisms. Habitat manipulation and the use of less persistent chemical pesticides can also be helpful in minimizing impacts to natural enemies.


IPM is a broad strategy that looks at all aspects of a pest’s life cycle to create conditions unfavorable for the pest, with prevention as a primary goal. This includes identifying and monitoring pests, applying cultural and biological controls, and if necessary using chemical control methods in an ecologically sensitive way.

An example of an IPM practice would be planting a disease-resistant crop or installing a bird bath to deter birds from visiting berry bushes. Physical and mechanical controls, such as stretching netting over fruit trees or setting rodent traps, can also be effective IPM practices.

With IPM, the first step is to monitor pests and their damage. This is critical to reducing pesticide use. Once the pest population reaches a threshold and damage is observed, the next step in an IPM plan is to take action. This may include setting a tolerable amount of damage, altering the environment around the crop, or using natural enemies. In an ideal situation, pesticides will only be used when all nonchemical options have been exhausted.

This eco-friendly approach to pest control is based on scientific research surrounding each type of pest. A pest can be a plant, animal or bacteria, virus or fungus that interferes with agricultural crops, causes damage to homes and other structures, or impacts human health and well being.

IPM takes into account the economic, social and environmental costs of a pest. The UC IPM website provides specific monitoring guidelines for most major pests and information on how to determine when management action is needed.

A successful IPM program combines multiple methods to prevent or manage a pest, and is effective in urban, agricultural and wildland or natural areas. IPM is a sensible and environmentally friendly alternative to not managing pests, and is the best option available for safeguarding people, plants and beneficial insects. By combining prevention, suppression and control techniques, an IPM program can achieve excellent results with relatively low pesticide use. Moreover, IPM is the best choice to slow resistance in invasive pest species and maintain the effectiveness of existing pesticides.