Pest Identification

Pest Control is the act of controlling unwanted animals and insects that destroy crops or cause damage to property. These animals include rodents like mice and rats (who chew on electric wires causing fires), ants, ticks, fleas and mosquitoes that transmit diseases like rabies, plague, typhus and cat scratch fever through bites. Contact Killian Pest Control now!

In order to properly control pests, the pest must first be identified. Proper identification enables you to learn more about the pest, including how it reproduces and what environmental conditions favor its growth, so that management tactics can be applied at just the right time. It also enables you to avoid application of control measures that could harm beneficial organisms or pose unnecessary risks to people and the environment.

Often, the damage caused by a particular pest is one of the most useful clues to its identity. Look for scurrying, chewing, burrowing and excreting activity on or around your crop. In addition, many pests follow specific eating patterns that can be used to identify them. For example, weevils leave holes around the edges of leaves, while caterpillars leave long trails inside the leaves.

Other clues to pest ID may be found by examining a bug’s body structure, such as wings, antennae and feet. Some pests produce distinctive odors, such as the high-pitched whine of crickets and the musky scent of bed bugs. Some even make distinctive noises, such as the scratching sound of mice and rats in walls and ceilings.

Detailed descriptions of common pests can be found in many online and print resources. In addition, your county extension service can offer identification and control advice.

Insect pests are generally the most common pests encountered in the home. These include ants, cockroaches, flies, wasps and bees, termites, earwigs and silverfish.

Some insects have sucking mouthparts that pierce or damage plant tissue, whereas others have chewing mouthparts and attack stems, roots or fruit. Some, such as aphids and mites, spread disease to healthy plants. Others cause rapid deterioration of the foliage (leaf miners) or eat stems, roots and fruit from below ground.

A good insect identification guide can be extremely helpful in determining the type of pest you have. Using an insect identification chart is a great way to get started, and it will help you remember important details about the pest you are trying to identify. Other helpful tools to use when identifying pests are a magnifying glass and a set of binoculars.

Pest Prevention

Pests can damage plants, food and personal items. They can also contaminate food with harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi, spread disease to people or pets, and cause asthma and other health problems. Safe pest control is a team effort and everyone in a building or home has a role to play.

In the first step, determine what kind of pest you’re dealing with. Look for signs of infestations, including damage, droppings or chewed holes in materials. Some pests smell unpleasant, like mice, rats, cockroaches, ants and cluster flies. Others sting or bite (like bed bugs, wasps and bees) and some have a grotesque appearance, like spiders, silverfish, earwigs and house centipedes.

A common preventive strategy is “pest proofing,” which includes blocking entryways with screens, installing door sweeps and repairing cracks and crevices in walls, windows, roofs and chimneys. Regular interior and exterior inspections should be done to identify and modify possible entry points, such as rotting foundation or siding, loose vent covers, open doors or utility openings.

Another preventive strategy is to take away a pest’s food and shelter. For example, if you have cluster flies, find and eliminate their breeding site – such as a dead mouse or bird in the attic or chimney, pet feces in the yard, dirty garbage cans, or moist compost piles.

If you see the pest in question regularly, or they are causing significant damage, use threshold-based decision making to select an appropriate physical, biological or chemical control method. If a plant is being destroyed by Japanese beetles, for instance, you may need to apply insecticide to stop the population explosion.

Be sure to use a product that is designed for the specific type of pest you’re trying to control. Many pesticides are highly toxic to humans and pets, and can also affect beneficial insects and pollinators. If you decide to use pesticides, follow the label instructions carefully. Using less toxic alternatives, such as plant-based products or bait stations, is often a more desirable option. Remember that certain pests follow different damage cycles and require different management strategies, such as encouraging natural predators or timing treatments to coincide with the peak feeding period.

Pest Control Products

A pest control professional is a valuable resource for anyone dealing with an insect infestation. Their know-how and technology allow them to identify the type of pests that have invaded your home or business and then create targeted treatments that target those specific pests at their roots. They can also offer preventative services, which help keep pests away from your property in the future.

When selecting a pest control product, always choose one that is designed for the specific pests you are targeting and follow all of the proper safety instructions. Some of the most popular pesticides are available in sprays, dusts, gels, or baits and may be applied to the ground, in crawl spaces, attics, or walls. When choosing a pesticide, read the label carefully to determine the toxicity level and application method required. If possible, select products with a lower toxicity level to minimize the impact on people, pets, and the environment.

Some pesticides may leave residue on surfaces where they have been applied, so it is important to test a small area of your property before applying to ensure that the chemical does not stain or discolor anything. Some pesticides can also have a strong odor, so if you are using them in areas where people will be living or working, it is important to provide adequate ventilation and to consider the use of odor-control products.

Keeping up with regular inspections of your property is the best way to prevent pests from invading your space. During your inspection, look for signs of pests such as droppings and damage to your property or your belongings. Then, take action immediately to eliminate the pests and prevent them from coming back.

When pesticides are necessary, it is essential to always work with a reputable and knowledgeable professional. They will be able to find the right product for your pest problem and apply it properly to avoid harming your family, pets, and the environment. In addition, they will be able to provide information on other prevention methods, such as keeping up with regular inspections and making your property unattractive to pests.

Pesticide Safety

When prevention fails and pesticides must be used, proper use is important to protect both people and the environment. Read the label thoroughly and follow all instructions and warnings, including how to mix and apply the product. Dispose of unwanted pesticides and their empty containers properly.

When selecting a pesticide, choose one with the least environmental impact and that will be as selective as possible to avoid damaging or killing beneficial insects and organisms. Broad spectrum pesticides generally affect many different species and can be more dangerous than targeted pesticides. Look for a product with a low toxicity level (measured as the LD50); a short residual life; and minimal ecological hazards.

Wear the appropriate protective equipment when handling and applying pesticides. This usually includes rubber gloves, eye protection, a long-sleeved shirt and pants, and close-toe shoes. Some pesticides can be absorbed through the skin, so avoid contact with the liquid or dust. If any of these materials do get on your skin, immediately wash the area with soap and water. Inhaling sprays, dust or vapors can also be hazardous; be sure to move away from the application area and ventilate the space. If any of these materials enter your eyes, follow emergency directions on the label and rinse with water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Keep children, pets and other critters away from areas where pesticides are mixed and applied. Children may play with or handle pesticides, and they can inadvertently ingest or absorb them through the skin. Never put baits for rodents, such as mousetraps or ant traps, where small animals can reach them. Consider putting these baits in a trough or other secure enclosure to minimize exposure.

Apply only the amount of pesticide that is listed on the label, as it can be illegal to apply more than this. Over-application can lead to runoff or seepage that can contaminate water supplies and harm wildlife. Be careful not to spray when heavy rain is expected within 48 hours as this can carry pesticides off the field or into downstream aquatic habitats. Leaving a buffer strip between fields and areas where sensitive organisms are located is another way to reduce environmental exposure.