Pests can cause problems in gardens and homes, damaging plants and food sources. They can also spread disease. For example, cockroaches can carry bacteria that cause illness in people like salmonellosis.

Always follow product labels and heed safety instructions when applying pest control chemicals. Store chemicals safely and away from children and pets. For more information, click the link provided to proceed.

Identifying pests is one of the first steps in developing an effective pest management program. The goal of identifying pests is to distinguish them from non-diseased or beneficial insects, to determine the cause of damage, and to assess the severity of the problem.

In integrated pest management, the identification of pests is the foundation of all other activities. It is important to correctly identify the pest species present, as this will influence the methods used to control them. For example, different pests attack crops at different times of the year and in different stages of growth. Different pests also have varying feeding habits and life cycles. Observing how pests attack plants and collecting physical specimens will help to provide accurate pest identification.

Some pests can be controlled by removing their food sources or by altering the environment where they live. For example, eliminating access to water and shelter will make it more difficult for pests to thrive. Other types of pests, however, may require the use of chemical controls. In these cases, pest identification is extremely important as it will ensure that the proper pesticides are applied to the correct locations and at the right time.

If you are unable to identify your mystery pest, Rentokil’s free Pest ID Center can analyze your physical specimen or pictures of the pest or insect bites and provide an identification within two hours. Simply send your specimen or pictures to the Pest ID Center, and an entomologist will contact you with results and suggestions for treatment. For more information, visit our Pest ID Center page. If you are a business customer, our Pest ID tool is a convenient way to keep your pest control professional informed of the exact pests that are affecting your property.


A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances that kills or controls an unwanted pest, such as insects, rodents, weeds, mildew and germs. It may also modify a plant’s growth (regulator), cause it to drop its leaves prematurely (defoliant), or act as a drying agent (desiccant). Pesticides are usually chemicals, but they can be made from animal products, plants and bacteria.

Pesticides are regulated at the federal, provincial and municipal levels through various acts, regulations, guidelines, directives and bylaws. These regulations ensure that pesticides are used safely and effectively, and that they do what they claim to do.

Most pesticides are grouped into chemical families based on their structure and how they work on a particular pest. Each pesticide has a specific label that indicates how and where it can be used, what types of pests it can control, and the risks associated with its use. Pesticides are sold in liquid, solid or gaseous forms.

There are two basic types of pesticides: biodegradable and persistent. The former are broken down quickly by microbes and other living things into harmless compounds, while the latter linger in the environment for days, weeks or even longer. Some pesticides are very fast acting, while others, such as space sprays and termite treatments, require a few hours to take effect.

All pesticides carry some health risks and should be handled carefully. They are most dangerous to agricultural workers who spread them and to people in the immediate area during, or shortly after, spreading. They can also be absorbed through the skin and inhaled. They can also contaminate the environment, causing damage to crops, wildlife and water supplies. For these reasons, a pesticide must always be used according to its label instructions.

Biological Control

Biological control involves the use of living organisms to reduce pest populations. This can include predators, parasitoids and disease pathogens. In addition, many microorganisms produce and exude substances that directly inhibit or toxic to pest species. This type of biocontrol is often referred to as microbial pesticides.

Insect pests can be infected with fungi, protozoans and bacteria that slow or stop their growth, interfere with their reproduction, or kill them. Insects are also parasitized by a variety of eusocial wasps and flies. In addition, nematodes (including some that infect insect pests with their symbiotic bacterial symbionts) and predatory mites are common natural enemies of insects.

The presence of these natural enemies limits the population size of a pest and reduces its damage to plants. Unfortunately, many natural enemies have been devastated by the use of pesticides. Insect pests that were historically of minor economic concern can rapidly become damaging when their natural enemy populations are depleted.

Ideally, biological control should be used in conjunction with other strategies to manage pests. This can include cropping practices that provide food or shelter to natural enemies, the use of herbicides that do not interfere with microbial or plant diseases and reducing the use of pesticides where possible.

Importation or classical biological control involves expeditions to the locations of pest origin to collect and bring back the appropriate natural enemies. These are then reared and released. They are usually highly specific to attacking the target pest to avoid causing unintended harm in the environment where they are released. They may be released in a process called inundative releases or via inoculative releases.

Fortuitous or adventive biological control is when natural enemies that are already present in the new environment naturally suppress the pest population. This is less risky than importation biological control but can be more costly since no advance planning or monitoring of the population of the introduced natural enemy is carried out.

Chemical Control

Chemical pest control involves using chemicals to kill or repel unwanted organisms. These can be sprays, powders or granules. They are generally the fastest way to reduce a pest population and may be needed if other methods fail. Pesticides are highly effective against many pests, especially those that destroy crops. However, they can damage the environment and pose health risks when not used properly. Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can also move into water or air where they can negatively affect animals, plants and people. They can also cause environmental problems when disposed of improperly, which is why working with licensed and trained professionals is so important.

Heavy or regular use of chemical pesticides can lead to resistance in the targeted insect species. This can mean that higher concentrations or more frequent applications of the pesticide are required to achieve the same results. This can be particularly difficult to achieve with insects like aphids, which produce numerous generations per year and build populations that overwhelm plants. To prevent this, a rotation of different modes of action is used to keep the pests from developing resistance.

Another type of chemical pest control involves the use of microbial organisms that are naturally hostile to targeted insects. These organisms can be introduced in the form of bacteria or fungi that are parasites or predators to the pest species. There is often a lag between the introduction of new enemies and the reduction in pest populations, but if successful, these organisms can help to keep pest levels below damaging amounts.

Microbial organisms are a great choice for environmentally friendly pest control as they are less toxic to people and the environment than traditional chemical pesticides. Bacillus thuringiensis, better known as Bt, is a common example of a useful microbial pesticide that targets specific types of insects without harming the environment or humans. Other organisms, such as the nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, have been specifically developed for use in controlling fleas, grubs and other garden pests.

Physical Control

As the name suggests, physical pest control is about removing the pest from the environment by trapping or killing it and then removing it from your premises. This includes putting up physical barriers and ‘pest proofing’ to stop pests entering your business in the first place, such as blocking holes or doors. It also includes things like removing bird and fox food sources in urban areas to reduce pest populations, and using traps, such as sticky insect traps or pheromone-based rodent traps.

This type of pest control is a common choice for those who want to avoid using chemicals and it can be particularly effective in controlling birds, such as pigeons, or rodents, such as rats. However, it’s not as effective in stopping plant diseases or weed growth and should only be used as part of an integrated pest management approach.

Another physical method of pest control involves introducing natural enemies into the environment to fight off pest infestations. This can be done through predators, parasites or pathogens. It’s often a more sustainable option as it doesn’t use any chemicals, but there may be a time lag between a pest population increase and the emergence of the enemy species to control it.

Monitoring is an important part of any pest control strategy and it’s usually a combination of scouting, trapping or counting. This helps you determine the right course of action to take, such as preventing the pest from causing more harm than is acceptable, controlling the pest population, or eradicating the pest entirely. It can also include assessing environmental conditions, such as soil moisture or temperature, that may favour the pest and help you decide whether any preventative measures are required.