Pest Control and Eradication

Pests are undesirable organisms — insects, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, viruses or vertebrate animals — that injure or degrade crops, plants and landscapes, displace native species, and interfere with human activities. A pest infestation can negatively affect soil health, plant productivity and aesthetics, and cause problems for humans such as diseases, food shortages, property damage and loss of enjoyment. Pests can be controlled using a variety of methods including habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides may also be used, but only after careful consideration of their risks to nontarget organisms and the environment and with a focus on application techniques that minimize risks.

Eradication is a more extreme form of London pest eradication that involves physically removing a pest population from a given area. This can be done through traps, poisoning or fumigation. A successful eradication usually requires extensive research and effort to identify the pest’s natural enemies and to understand its biology and ecology. Once suitable natural enemies are found, they must be collected and quarantined to eliminate any pathogens or parasites. They are then released with care, in an area with a similar ecology to the pest’s home and where there is no disturbance.

Integrated Pest Management IPM is a long-term approach to pest control that includes preventive measures such as habitat manipulation, changing cultural practices and use of resistant varieties. It also uses natural enemies, such as predators and parasites, to control pest populations. Pesticides are employed only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines. They are selected and applied to minimize the risk of adverse effects on people, beneficial organisms, other landscape species and the environment.

The first step to effective pest control is to determine the problem and identify the pests. This can be done with a guide such as this one or by consulting your local UC Cooperative Extension office. Scouting and regular searching for, identifying and assessing pest numbers and damage are essential. Often, a pest needs to be seen close-up to be identified correctly.

Once the problem is identified, you must decide on a strategy. The most environmentally sound approach is to remove the factors that encourage the pest and make it unfavorable for survival, such as water or food. This is called exclusion or isolation. The best way to do this is to clean up the areas where the pests live, such as by removing trash and debris. This makes it harder for them to find food, water and shelter and reduces their ability to reproduce. In homes, this means cleaning under the refrigerator, oven and kitchen sink on a regular basis to remove potential feeding and breeding sites.

When prevention and isolation methods don’t work, baits can be used. These are usually highly toxic and require careful use to minimize exposure to people and pets. The type of bait used depends on the pest, its habits and the environment. It is important to read the label carefully and follow the directions to ensure safety and effectiveness.