Skilled Pest Control Operator: Customized Strategies for Targeted Pest Eradication

Modern life is busy enough without pests adding to the stress. Pests like rodents gnaw at wires, spoil furniture, and spread diseases such as plague, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, leptospirosis, and salmonella.

A pest is any animal or plant that humans dislike for subjective reasons. For example, many homeowners consider crabgrass to be a nuisance because it detracts from the look of their lawn. Contact Pest Control Columbia MO now!

Pest identification is a crucial first step in pest control. Whether dealing with insects, diseases, weeds, vertebrates or microbes, correct identification allows for the selection of the best control methods to eradicate them. The most effective pest management strategies rely on accurate pest identification and knowledge of the pest’s biology, life cycle and behavior.

Pests may appear different from one another depending on the stage of their development or time of year, and some may change their appearance throughout their life cycles. Identifying pests to the species level is necessary because even related species will often exhibit very different behaviors, and may also differ in their host plants and natural enemies.

Many pests are identified by the structure of their mouthparts or wings, or the type of damage they cause to a plant. For example, the larvae of some butterflies or moths chew their host’s leaves and flowers while the adult stages of several beetles mine or pierce the leaves, fruits and roots of their target plants. The presence of certain odors can also be used to identify some pests.

If you are unsure of the identity of a pest, contact your local county extension office or a pest control professional to help with identification. NPMA also offers an online bug and pest identification guide for the latest in pest information and tips for prevention and control.

The National Identification Services (NIS) provides identifications and taxonomic expertise in support of APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine’s (PPQ) regulatory programs. The service is available to the public and is staffed by expert scientists from diverse disciplines including botany, entomology, malacology and mycology who are stationed at a variety of institutions including Federal research laboratories, State departments of agriculture, land-grant universities and natural history museums.

An understanding of pest identification can also improve the effectiveness of pesticide applications. It is not uncommon for pesticides to fail if the correct target is not selected, or the pest is in a life cycle stage or location that is resistant to the chemical used. When a pesticide application fails, it is important to investigate the reasons why before resorting to expensive or risky remedial actions.

Pest Control Methods

Pest control methods can be divided into three categories: prevention, suppression, and eradication. Prevention is the best way to reduce or eliminate a pest infestation because it means keeping them away from your property. This includes making sure all food in stores and homes is kept in containers that are tightly sealed to block odors, removing any rotting or moldy items from areas where pests can breed, and ensuring all garbage is securely stored away. It also involves repairing any cracks or holes in the foundation and walls that could be used for entry by pests, trimming bushes and trees to prevent them from being used as bridges, and sealing any openings where pipes can enter or exit.

Physical pest control is the use of traps and other physical barriers to keep pests away from your property. These can include window screens for keeping health and nuisance pests out of buildings, floating row covers for many horticultural crops, and plant collars for certain vegetables like tomatoes to deter codling moth larvae. Physical barriers also include traps such as glueboard traps for mice, red sphere traps for apple maggots, and sunken traps for earwigs. Other controls can include removal of weeds that may serve as hiding places for pests, destruction of crop residues such as corn stubble or squash vines that attract some pest insects, and careful timing of planting to avoid problems with disease.

Biological pest control uses natural predators or parasites to reduce or eliminate pest populations. Typically this is done by introducing the pest’s natural predators to the affected area, but can also include releasing organisms that are harmful to the pest such as bacteria or viruses. This type of pest control is usually only feasible in a small area and can take some time to work, but it is an environmentally friendly option.

Chemical pest control uses a combination of physical, biological, and chemical techniques to manage pests. This can include applying surface sprays around the exterior of your home, using baits inside, or removing the pest’s nest and killing them or their eggs. Always read and follow the instructions on the pesticide label and dispose of any leftover chemicals correctly.


The use of pesticides, or chemical agents that kill unwanted organisms, is a common practice in producing food crops. In addition, pesticides are used to control organisms that damage buildings and landscapes. These include insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria, viruses and fungi. Pesticides can be in the form of powder, liquid, granules or sprays. The type of form the pesticide takes affects how it enters the body and its impact on health.

Many pesticides have been linked to human health impacts ranging from short-term effects such as headaches and nausea, to chronic impacts like cancer and reproductive harm. This is due in part to the fact that the toxic chemicals found in pesticides are designed to be released into the environment, where they enter air, water and soil, and can even end up in our food.

While there are many benefits to using pesticides, it is important to recognize that they can also be dangerous if not used correctly. Therefore, you must read and follow all pesticide label instructions carefully. Also, be sure to wear all required protective equipment and clothing as indicated on the pesticide label. Finally, you should always wear rubber gloves when handling pesticides.

Pesticides are often grouped into “families,” or groups that share similar chemical properties. Each pesticide product has an active ingredient listed on the pesticide label, which is the specific chemical that acts against the target organism.

For example, fungicides kill fungi (including blights, mildews and molds), while insecticides kill insects and mites. Herbicides kill weeds, while plant growth regulators modify the expected growth, flowering or reproduction rate of plants. Insects can also be made resistant to certain types of pesticides by repeated applications.

The most important point to remember when working with pesticides is that they can be dangerous to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled. You must be extremely careful when applying and storing pesticides around children, pets and native wildlife. In addition, most provinces and territories require applicators, vendors and growers to be licensed.

Besides being aware of how to apply and store pesticides safely, you can reduce your exposure to pesticides by following simple practices such as keeping grass clippings and weeds out of garden beds and not running water or watering equipment in areas where the soil may be wet. In addition, regularly drain or replace standing water in birdbaths and ornamental ponds to discourage mosquito breeding.


The best way to deal with pests is to prevent them from entering in the first place. In addition to posing health and sanitation problems, some pests can cause structural damage to homes and other buildings. Many pests also carry disease organisms that can spread to people and pets. Preventive measures include removing food, water and shelter sources that attract them, as well as blocking points of entry.

The simplest method of prevention is to regularly inspect and repair exterior walls, doors, windows and other areas for cracks and crevices that could allow pests to enter. Sealing these openings with caulk or foam sealant can help keep pests out of structures. In addition, storing firewood away from the house and ensuring that garbage cans have tight-fitting lids will also help to deter pests.

Other natural factors can influence pest populations, including climate, the presence of natural enemies, availability of food and water and barriers that separate habitats. Using natural methods to control pests when possible can help reduce the amount of pesticide needed.

Some pests can be controlled by changing the environment to make it unfavorable for them, such as planting weeds that are beneficial or putting up fences to block off areas where they grow. In addition, some methods are non-chemical and involve sanitizing or trapping the pests instead of killing them.

Pests like rats, mice and cockroaches can enter homes in search of food or safe places to breed and lay eggs. Regular cleaning of floors, countertops, cabinets and other surfaces will make a home or building less attractive to these unwelcome guests. Keeping garbage cans tightly closed and removing them on a regular basis will also prevent rodents from finding food in unwanted piles of trash.

Leaky pipes, clogged drains and other plumbing problems should be fixed as soon as they are discovered. Pests need water to survive and a leaky pipe can offer them an ideal source. Similarly, rugs and mattresses that are not regularly washed can become safe havens for fleas and bedbugs. Cleaning fabrics often and properly storing them will also deter pests.