By Sooraj Surendran
Every country worldwide has been fighting to control pests for ages. The term pest is usually referred to the harmful animals that are detrimental to human health or even the ecology. Pests can be even organisms, fungi, or weeds, etc.
Before we study the various means to control the pests, here are a few of pests that we have to fight with most commonly –
Caterpillar is a pest that causes damage to the crops. Termites are known to damage furniture, and structures. Ants, cockroaches’ wasps and flies are also pests. Can we forget mosquitoes and bed bugs? Rats, rodents and other mammals not just cause infections but are also carriers of diseases. Birds like pigeon, seagulls, and crows are regarded as pest when their population turns a nuisance, as they cause more damage than good.
Controlling pests has always been a part of human evolution, since a balance has to be maintained. In order to improve the agricultural output, one has to keep away the pests from the fields and protect the crops. It is generally seen, where there is human activity, and food flies and other insects gather. Public places where people throw or dispose waste it a common breeding ground for the pests.
There are various types and methods of pest controls used today some of them are –
- Electronic and
- Ultra sonic pest control devices
To control pest from being a frequent visitor or an inmate of your home, it is best to keep their source of survival and attraction away. Keep food closed, and close the trash. On a larger perspective, proper waste management and drainage system is important. The garbage is the breeding ground for mot of the pests. Rats, cockroaches, dogs, cats, mosquitoes are bound to be in your vicinity if the garbage is your neighborhood!
Today there are electronic and ultra sound devices that are used for home pest control. After using chemicals to control pest, today we have technology aided control methods. One has to understand, an electronic pest control system are not pest killers. These only drive away the pests and keep them away from your home.
These devices use the ultrasonic sound waves, UV rays, electromagnetic waves etc to keep the pests and flies away. Very commonly used in commercial places like restaurants, hotels, and food stalls, where these pests are easily attracted to, the electronic pest controllers are effective. Even birds and spiders or bats can be scared away by the device. There are electronic rodent pest controllers available too, that trap these rats and rodents.
Controlling pests is very important. Some of the common diseases transmitted to humans due to pests are Rat fever, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Bird flu, Swine flue, Murine typhus, Leptospirosis and many more.
By Gerald F. McKidman
One of a homeowner’s worst nightmares is having any type of insect or rodent problem. Although most of these creatures are harmless, fire ants can be very dangerous to adults, children, and animals. When you see an insect problem in or around your home, it is always important to identify what type of insect it is in order to know how to best protect your home and control or eliminate the insect population. Here is a guide to identifying fire ants and tips on how to keep them out of your home and away from your family.
Information About Fire Ants
Fire ants are identified by their reddish brown to reddish black color and the stinger located on the backside of their bodies. These ants can range in size, from 1.6mm to 5mm. These insects typically nest in the ground, but the nests can become visible above ground and can hold colonies of up to 250,000 ants. These insects are very aggressive, known to be on the attack and sting or bite when they feel threatened. These ants are also omnivorous, meaning they will eat both animal and vegetable sources for food.
Although they are not native to North America, they have become a growing nuisance throughout the southern regions of the country. This species prefers warm, sunning weather conditions and will inhabit dry fields instead of shady wooded areas. These insects will thrive in underpopulated areas, can grow colonies of over several hundred thousand ants, and build mounds that can reach over 60cm wide and up to 18cm high. While the colony may be large, each group is controlled by a single queen.
Signs of Infestation and Preventive Measures
There are several signs that may indicate an infestation. First, the appearance of sandy mounds throughout the property can indicate a colony has taken root; these are most easily visible after rainfall. Another important indicator is the appearance of the worker ants or complaints of bites from an unknown source. While infestations are serious and should be handled by a professional exterminator, preventive measures can be taken.
The best prevention method for an insect infestation is to contact pest control professionals to do an inspection of the home and property as well as setting up a preventative maintenance program that is performed on a regular basis. As for home remedies, orange oil and boric acid have been reported to work well for warding off these insects. Additionally, make sure to keep your home and yard free of attractants for the ants, such as spilled liquids, open food containers, and stagnant water.
If you get bedbugs, you don’t have to call a licensed pest control company, but you’d be foolish not to, is the take-away message from a warning issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last August. “Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make you, your family, and your pets sick,” the EPA said in a consumer alert quoted by The Hill Healthwatch online. “It can also make your home unsafe to live in – and may not solve the bedbug problem.”
Alarmed by reports of dangerous pesticide misuse and extreme measures being taken by some homeowners and apartment dwellers in do-it-yourself efforts to eradicate bed bugs, the U.S. EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a joint statement last July warning consumers against using outdoor pesticide products inside their homes in attempts to get rid of bed bugs. Reports from licensed pest control professionals in the field and news media of people dousing their beds, their pajamas and even bathing their children in garden insecticides has caused growing concern among government officials, the medical community, public health guardians, and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The use of harsh chemicals not approved by the EPA for residential use can cause severe burn-like irritation of the skin and eyes, possible damage to the central nervous system, and may even expose you to carcinogens.
There have also been numerous news reports of house and apartment fires begun by desperate people using highly flammable liquids to kill bedbugs. In January, a Cincinnati, Ohio man who was wiping down his furniture with a mixture of insecticide and alcohol started a fire in his apartment when his cigarette ignited fumes from the chemical mixture. In July 2008, an Eatontown, New Jersey man blew up his apartment while attempting do-it-yourself pest control. A pilot light ignited the chemical spray and fumes causing an explosion that blew out the front windows of the apartment and resulted in a fire that destroyed the man’s apartment and caused serious damage to neighboring units.
“Pest control firms reported seeing many ineffective and potentially dangerous measures used by do-it-yourselfers, including ammonia, bleach, fire, smoke, kerosene, wasp spray, and bug bombs, as well as concentrated pesticides bought on the internet,” University of Kentucky entomologist and national bedbug expert Michael Potter, writes in Bugs Without Borders, Defining the Global Bed Bug Resurgence, an international survey of pest management companies recently conducted by the University of Kentucky in conjunction with the NPMA. “As bedbug victims become more desperate, serious injury may result from such applications, especially among those who choose not to hire a professional,” he warns.
Bedbugs do not always respond to home treatment. These apple seed-sized insects that feed on human blood are hard to kill, a function of their biology and behavior. At best, do-it-yourself home treatments may force bedbugs to relocate, spreading infestations more quickly. These insects have a tough, protective carapace that is not easily penetrated. To kill, pest control products must come into direct physical contact with the insect; and their eggs are unaffected by products currently approved by the EPA for residential use. When not feeding, bedbugs hide in inaccessible spaces deep inside minute crevices, inside walls, behind baseboards, under floorboards, and inside electronic devices. Bedbugs and their eggs are also easily transported on clothing and belongings, allowing infestations to quickly spread through a home or apartment building. This combination of biology and behavior makes it nearly impossible to kill an entire bedbug infestation with a single pest control treatment. Three professional pest control treatments spaced two weeks apart are typically required to successfully exterminate a bedbug infestation and ensure that all hidden bugs and newly-hatched eggs have been killed.
Professional extermination by a licensed pest control company with an expertise in bed bug elimination is the most effective way to exterminate bed bugs. The EPA, on the Bed Bug Information Page posted on its website, states, “Getting a pest management professional (PMP) involved as soon as possible rather than taking time to try to treat the problem yourself is very effective at preventing further infestations.”
Fast action is essential in battling bed bug infestations. Bed bugs reproduce at an alarming rate and infestations can grow quickly. During its 6- to 12-month lifespan, a female bed bug can lay 500 eggs with offspring capable of reproducing within a month. It is common to see three or more bed bug generations present in an established infestation. Prompt treatment in the earliest stages of infestation can limit the infestation and prevents it from spreading.
To successfully treat bedbug infestations, licensed pest control professionals employ a combination of environmental management procedures, called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and a variety of pest control materials approved by the EPA for residential use only by licensed pest management professionals. Effective bedbug extermination begins with meticulous pre-treatment preparation to remove clutter, clothing, bed linens and other items that might allow bedbugs to escape exposure to pest control materials. When site preparation is complete, a combination of pest control materials is employed to attack bedbugs on multiple levels.
Concerns about health and safety issues that have arisen from misuse of pest control chemicals by unlicensed or improperly trained pest controllers and unqualified contractors trying to cash in on public fear prompted the EPA to warn consumers to avoid insect extermination services made with “unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost.”
Last July, a Newark, New Jersey pest control company was accused of illegal application of chemicals not approved for residential use. While providing bed bug treatments to 70 homes and apartments units, technicians sprayed powerful chemicals on mattresses and children’s toys. In Cincinnati, Ohio last June, an unlicensed contractor hired to exterminate bed bugs saturated an apartment complex with an agricultural pesticide, sending seven tenants to the hospital and causing public health authorities to quarantine the property.
In the hopes of preventing such incidents, the NPMA recently developed Best Management Practices for Bed Bugs (BMP) to serve as a guide for both the industry and consumers. A list of consumer tips for selecting a pest professional provided in the BMP recommends that consumers hire only qualified and licensed pest management firms to protect their health and safety and ensure that the pest control services they receive are safe and effective. The NPMA further recommends that consumers give preferential consideration to licensed pest management firms that have attained QualityPro certification, indicating that they exhibit the highest technical, educational and ethical standards in the industry.
By Paul T. McCoy
Pest control in commercial warehouses is a big challenge for most pest control companies. Various types of pests, animals and insects can plague your warehouse. Commercial warehouse clients know how valuable it is to treat warehouses and facilities effectively. Food stocks and other perishable items add to the difficulty of treating warehouses. There are 6 steps in protecting your storage and making sure that your warehouse is free from pest infestations.
- Assessment. This is the initial step to create an effective pest control program. Assessing warehouses is a complicated job. Special concentration is given to entry points, food sources, water sources, shelter areas, and employee and customers corners. They will also assess all areas in the warehouse like cafeterias, pantry, janitorial closets, storage room, utility room, comfort rooms, and shipping and receiving area.
- Examine building design. After the thorough assessment and identifying existing and possible problem areas, the next thing to do is find out the building’s customer and employee traffic which is the total number of individuals going in and out of the building every day. Inspect entry areas such as pedestrian doors, electrical conduits, overhead doors, water sources, and exterior perimeters including dumpster areas, fence lines, storage buildings, etc.
- Pest ID. Each type of pest has a different treatment technique depending on the reaction of the pests to each treatment. Pest management professionals usually gather information from employees to get precise information about the pests to avoid further infestations and monitor current problems.
- Customized programs. Each warehouse is different from the other warehouses, thus, each warehouse requires a different pest control program from the other. Some factors to consider are location, age of building, weather, size of the warehouse and many other factors. To develop the best pest management program that will fir the requirements of your warehouse, professionals will inspect and break down facilities and will talk to employees.
- Sanitation. The bottom line in every pest control and maintenance is sanitation. The success of any pest control program and maintaining pest free warehouse will depend on the sanitation in your warehouse. Pest controllers will make use of service record logs, application records, sighting logs, and sanitation report for the program to be effective. You will be able to prevent health risks, financial and legal problems connected with pests’ invasion.
Integrated Pest Management Techniques
Integrated pest management is a pest control technique that uses inspection, records, sanitation, elimination, traps, pest monitors, and chemicals if necessary. Combining these techniques will provide a program that will eliminate pests. The approach used in controlling pests centers to sanitation and prevention. It will also teach your employees on right practices and correct strategies on pest control. IPM method diminishes the use of dangerous chemicals and other harmful materials. Other services that are offered may include:
- Caulking lines and pipes
- Using rodent and insect traps
- Installing or modifying insect traps
- Making changes in structure
- Documenting insect sightings
- Maintain records and reports for clients and officials
- Commitment to safety. Be certain that safety is necessary to IPM as much as it is necessary to warehouse industry.
The program’s key benefits may include the following:
- 24-hr service. Services are available anytime you need them. They have flexible schedules and plans based on warehouse needs.
- Best quality. Quality level is monitored consistently and surpasses standards set by state and licensing bureau. They provide personalized sanitation and documents together with log books. Their technicians are licensed who passed thorough background investigation.
- Clear communication. IPM provides the best results. Their log books give access to pertinent data, proposed guidelines, and reports which are needed during inspection, safety and review check.
- Professional entomologist. You will be able to hire pests and insect experts that are knowledgeable in what they are doing.
Types of warehouses that pest control services can help includes:
- Data warehouse
- Food warehouse
- Dry goods warehouse
- Importers warehouse
- Exporter warehouse
- Wholesalers warehouse
- Transport business
- Customs warehouse
- Automated warehouse
- Refrigerated warehouse
- Manufacturing warehouse
- Third party logistics warehouse
- Cold storage warehouse
- Drug warehousing
- Moving and storage companies
- Medical warehouse
By Vernon Stent
The application of pest control ranges from do-it-yourself arrangements to scientific and very precise deployment of chemicals and predatory insects by highly skilled practitioners. Despite the fact that pest control is a world-wide industry it is still dominated by family or 1-person businesses. Those that need to control pests range from householders to large scale agri-conglomerates who need to maximize their yield. In between these two are restaurants, bars, food production facilities, farmers – in fact, anybody that routinely deals with food. Pest control can make us more comfortable – but can also save lives.
The word pest is subjective as one man’s pest may be another man’s helper. For instance, pest A may be a threat to crop A, and pest B a threat to crop B. However, if pest B is a natural predator to pest A, then the farmer who wishes to protect crop A may cultivate and release pest B among his crops.
There is a theory that without man’s intervention in the food chain through agriculture, hunting and long distance travel there would be no pests. The theory continues that man’s intervention (for instance, in cultivating and releasing pest B, or in carrying creatures long distances) has upset the balance of the food chain, producing instability in insect and other animal numbers and distorting their evolution. This instability has led to over-population of a given species with the result that they have become pests. Having said this, if we assume that the very first fly swat was the first instance of pest control – and we know that large animals swat flies – it could be argued that pest control dates back way before humans came on the scene.
The first recorded instance of pest control takes us back to 2500 BC when the Sumerians used sulfur to control insects. Then around 1200 BC the Chinese, in their great age of discovery towards the end of the Shang Dynasty, were using chemicals to control insects. The Chinese continued to develop ever more sophisticated chemicals and methods of controlling insects for crops and for people’s comfort.
No doubt the spread of pest control know-how was helped by the advanced state of Chinese writing ability. Although progress in pest control methods undoubtedly continued, the next significant scrap of evidence does not come until around 750 BC when Homer described the Greek use of wood ash spread on land as a form of pest control.
Around 500 BC the Chinese were using mercury and arsenic compounds as a means to control body lice, a common problem throughout history. In 440 BC the Ancient Egyptian’s used fishing nets to cover their beds or their homes at night as a protection from mosquitoes.
From 300BC there is evidence of the use of use of predatory insects to control pests, although this method was almost certainly developed before this date. The Romans developed pest control methods and these ideas were spread throughout the empire. In 200 BC, Roman censor Cato encouraged the use of oils as a means of pest control and in 70 AD Pliny the Elder wrote that galbanum resin (from the fennel plant) should be added to sulfur in order to discourage mosquitoes. In 13 BC the first recorded rat-proof grain store was built by the Romans.
The first known instance where predatory insects were transported from one area to another comes from Arabia around 1000 AD where date growers moved cultures of ants from neighboring mountains to their oasis plantations in order to prey on phytophagous ants which attacked date palm.
Despite the enlightenment provided by the ancient Chinese, Arabs and Romans, many of their teachings did not pass down though time. Certainly in Europe during the dark ages, methods of pest control were just as likely to be based on superstition and local spiritual rituals as any proven method. Pests were often seen as workers of evil – especially those that ruined food, crops or livestock.
Although there were undoubtedly studies of pests during the dark ages, we do not have any recorded evidence of this. It is not until the European renaissance when more evidence of pest control
emerges. In 1758 the great Swedish botanist and taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus cataloged and named many pests. His writings were (and remain) the root and source of future study into pests (as well as plants and animals generally). At the same time, the agricultural revolution began in Europe and heralded a more widespread application of pest control. With the work of Linnaeus and other scholars and the commercial needs to ensure crops and livestock were protected, pest control became more systematized and spread throughout the world. As global trade increased, new pesticides were discovered. At this point pest control was carried out by farmers and some householders as an everyday activity. By the early nineteenth century however, this changed as studies and writings started to appear that treated pest control as a separate discipline. Increasing use of intensive and large scale farming brought matching increases in the intensity and scale of pest scares such as the disastrous potato famine in Ireland in 1840. Pest control management was scaled up to meet these demands, to the point that dedicated pest controllers began to emerge throughout the 20th century.
In 1921 the first crop-spraying airplane was employed and in 1962 flying insect control was revolutionized when Insect-o-cutor started selling fly killer machines using ultra violet lamps. Pest control is still carried out by farmers and householders to this day.
There are also pest control specialists (sometimes called pesties); many are one-person businesses and others work for large companies. In most countries the pest control industry has been dogged by a few bad practitioners who have tarnished the reputation for the highly professional and responsible majority.
One thing is for certain, from way before the Sumerians of 2500 BC to us in modern times, there have always been – and probably always will be – pests (including some human ones!). Thank goodness, therefore, that we have pest controllers.
By Flora Richards-Gustafson
Green pest control does not mean ineffective pest control; rather, it is all about integrated pest management, or IPM. A pest control company that embraces IPM believes prevention, client awareness and education, and building inspections are all as important as controlling pests.
What is Green Pest Control?
Integrated pest management begins with learning how and why a pest entered a home or building. Professionals in this field are knowledgeable about the life cycle of pests and their preferred nesting locations. Thus, they are able to use innovative pest prevention techniques that are the least hazardous to plant life, property, pets and people.
IPM uses common sense practices in coordination with environmentally sensitive chemicals. For example, instead of using harmful chemicals to prevent the return of a pest, pest control specialists may install preventative materials such as new window and door screens, fresh caulking, new door sweeps, and so on. The professionals may also set up traps to learn about additional areas a pest may live or install solar powered repellants as an alternative to using harmful chemicals.
The Benefits of Green Pest Control
Pest control products that are green are made of organic and natural ingredients. Additionally, these products are engineered to be biodegradable and equally as effective as their non-green counterparts.
Green pest management practices help promote the health and structure of plants, as they provide a biologically based alternative to chemical sprays. The control tactics used in IPM are benign and therefore reduce the environmental risk often associated with traditional pest management, such as ground water contamination. IPM also helps reduce the risk of an infestation and is a cost effective solution.
How It Works
Rather than spray a multi-purpose pesticide all over an infested property, IPM experts use a process that sets an action threshold, monitors the pests in order to identify them, prevents their return and uses control methods.
When an action threshold is set, the professional learns how large an infestation is, how much of a danger the pests pose, and determines the type of immediate action needed.
When an IPM professional monitors pests, he is making sure he is identifying the pest correctly. Proper identification of a pest helps ensure the right types of pesticides are used, but pesticides are avoided if they are not needed.
Prevention of pest invasions is one of the key components to green pest control. IPM includes identifying and correcting problems that make a home or building welcoming to pests. Prevention is cost effective and does not risk the health of individuals or the earth.
If pest prevention methods are ineffective by themselves, control methods are required. When professionals implement a control method, they first evaluate it for risk and effectiveness. Methods that pose the least risk, such as traps or the use of pheromones to disrupt mating, are used first. If the thresholds in place indicate these methods are not effective, the control process then moves to the use of pesticides in targeted areas.
What to Look for in a Green Pest Control Company
When looking for a green pest control company, seek one that will create a plan that meets your needs. The company should take into consideration the type of pest, the size of the infestation and the environment in which the pests live.
Learn about the process and chemicals a company uses before hiring them. Some professionals use green pest control products initially and then follow them with traditional chemicals, which you may not want. A good environmentally friendly exterminator should focus on using quality products that are low or non-toxic rather than products that are the least expensive, which are often highly toxic. Additionally, quality green pest control companies educate their clients on how to prevent the return of pest, help correct conditions that are inviting to them and offer to install pest-proofing materials.
The observation, prevention and intervention approach to green pest control helps consumers have peace of mind knowing that evicting pests from the home does not mean hurting the environment. Whenever you need the help of professionals to assist with unwanted pests, keep in mind that green pest management is the only method that has both your personal and financial well-being in mind.
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