What methods does a pest control company use to eliminate pests?
Depending on the pest infestation, the environment where it’s occurring and the limitations of the building or structure where the pest is found, there are a variety of methods that can be used. Generally, they fall into two categories: physical and chemical.
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The physical pest control methods include trapping, killing or removing the pest and putting up barriers to keep them from coming back. This includes putting up screens on windows and doors and erecting fences around gardens. It also involves ‘pest proofing’ buildings to prevent pests from entering in the first place, such as sealing cracks and crevices where they can nest.
A wide range of biological and natural methods can be used in place of chemicals to keep pests away. These include using microorganisms that are specific to the pest, such as the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is used to control caterpillar populations by producing toxins that kill them when ingested. Introducing plants or animals that are natural predators of the pest, such as marigolds in a vegetable garden to control nematodes, is another common biological pest control method.
Another popular option is a combination of environmental and physical methods, such as eliminating food sources or reducing moisture in the area where pests are present. Getting rid of food sources by storing garbage in sealed containers, and eliminating water sources by repairing leaky roofs or faucets, and by draining water from outdoor containers are effective ways to make the area less attractive to pests.
Chemical pesticides are also often used. They can be poisonous or repellent, and can disrupt the nervous system, metabolism or reproduction of pests. They may be used in conjunction with physical traps, baits or crack and crevice treatments. Only qualified pest control technicians should use chemical pesticides, and should always be aware of their limitations. They should be able to explain the dangers and risks of these chemicals to their customers, and supply them with a Material Safety Data Sheet.
Using natural, non-toxic pest control methods such as these can help reduce the need to use harmful chemicals in homes and businesses. However, when this is not possible or practical, chemical pesticides can be used. Before a pest control company uses any chemical, ask them to identify the active ingredients and the EPA registration number of each product they plan to use. A reputable pest control company should have no problem providing this information. Also, ask them to avoid overuse of chemical pesticides, and to only use them where it is necessary. This will not only reduce the risk of exposure to chemicals, but it will also reduce the amount of pesticides in the environment. This is especially important for residential and commercial settings that are close to schools, parks or playgrounds.