The Basics of Pest Control

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Pest control is the management of undesirable organisms such as insects, disease-causing plants, weeds and animals. Its goals include prevention, suppression and, in the most extreme cases, eradication. It must cause as little harm as possible to the environment, crops or people.

Why is pest control good?

The first step is to identify the pest. Then, steps can be taken to prevent its return or minimize damage if it already exists. This can involve pest proofing which consists of taking away the source of food, water or shelter that attracts it. For example, woodpiles should be kept away from the walls of buildings, gutters should be cleaned regularly and grass should be trimmed. Pesticides are useful in controlling many unwanted pests. However, their use should be carefully weighed against other options such as using beneficial organisms.

It’s also important to note that there are natural forces that can affect all organisms, including pests, influencing their population growth and the conditions in which they appear. This makes it difficult to predict the need for pest control on a regular basis. However, continuous pests can usually be prevented by understanding their habits and life cycles.

For example, ripe fruit draws fruit flies and unwashed vegetables can invite carrot fly infestations. To help prevent pests, keep a clean kitchen by wiping up spills promptly and storing food in sealed containers. Store grains, such as rice and flour, in plastic or glass containers with tight lids. Remove garbage regularly and don’t leave pet food sitting out overnight.