Pests are more than just a nuisance; they can cause property damage and pose a health risk. Some can spread diseases like hantavirus, leptospirosis and Salmonella.

Pest control methods depend on the type of pest and the surrounding environment. They could include a physical exclusion, a chemical application or removal of material to address an issue. Contact Best Pest Control Boise now!

Identifying pests is the first step to controlling them. Pests can be insects, arachnids, or rodents, and each has its own characteristics, behavior, and potential for damaging property or posing health risks. Some of the most common household pests include ants, cockroaches, termites, bed bugs, rodents (such as rats and mice), flies, mosquitoes, and stink bugs.

A thorough pest-identification program can help you learn to recognize the most common pests and their infestation signs. The process of pest identification includes examining the pest’s body parts (leg counts, antennae), coloration, and size as well as looking at other features that distinguish one species from another. This may include specific patterns, pheromones, or droppings left by the pest that can be used to identify it.

It is also important to know the seasonal activity pattern of the pests you are trying to control. This can help you anticipate when pests will be most active, so you can take preventive measures or plan effective treatments. For example, spring is the resurgence season for many ant, termite, bee, and wasp species, while summer brings a higher activity level for mosquitoes and stinging insect species.

It is also helpful to understand what kinds of things attract certain pests, as this can help you determine how to protect your property and possessions from them. For example, garden pests are often attracted to outdoor food sources, while pantry pests like flour beetles and grain moths are drawn to indoor storage areas. Pests are also attracted to certain odors, with rat and mouse droppings having a strong urine smell while cockroaches and bed bugs have a characteristic vinegary scent. In addition, the presence of gnawed materials or chewed wires is a sure sign of a problem.

Identifying the Source of the Infestation

In general, pest control strategies focus on prevention and/or suppression rather than eradication. However, in many enclosed areas — such as dwellings; schools, office buildings, and health care, food processing, and food preparation facilities; art galleries, museums, libraries, and archives; and restaurants and hotels — the goal is to remove pests before they can cause damage. Eradication programs are also used for special circumstances, such as eradicating an insect pest that has become established in an area (such as the Mediterranean fruit fly and gypsy moth) or in cases where the infestation is considered a threat to human health.

The three main things that attract pests to a building are food, water and shelter. Keeping these items out of reach through regular inspections and close monitoring is essential. Moisture can also be a source of attraction, so it is important to keep sinks and work surfaces free from spills and leaks.

Pests also seek hiding places and undisturbed areas to establish their nests. Cluttered spaces, stacks of newspapers or piles of fabric can provide ideal harborage. Finally, cracks in walls, holes in insulation and poorly closed windows and doors can all offer easy entry points for pests.

Signs of infestation can be as simple as finding droppings or observing signs of rodent activity. For example, gnaw marks on wood, wires and other surfaces indicate a rodent presence, as will the discovery of nesting materials such as shredded paper or fabric. Rodents can also spread diseases through their urine, saliva and droppings. Infestations that are not promptly identified and treated can lead to structural damage, electrical hazards, fires and public health risks. In addition to taking preventative measures, a thorough understanding of the different types of pests and their identification signs can allow for quick reactions and swift action to eliminate them.

Identifying the Pests

To control pests effectively, you must know what you’re dealing with. In some cases, identification requires a physical sample, but in many situations, you can learn about the pest’s characteristics through symptoms it produces or signs of damage it leaves behind.

Look at the pest’s size and shape, color and number of legs. Six legs is typical of insects; eight is common for arachnids (spiders, mites and centipedes). Insects may change color as they mature or through various life stages. Also, be careful not to confuse pests with beneficial organisms or plants.

If you’re not sure what you’re seeing, search the Internet for information about that pest. Your local university, Cooperative Extension service or library may have fact sheets on most common pests. You’ll also want to understand the pest’s biology and life cycle. This will help you determine whether or not exclusion or suppression is a viable option.

Symptoms can include droppings, bites or other marks on skin or surfaces. You might notice small holes in the ground or in plants or fruit. Some pests also carry diseases that affect human health. These pathogens are spread through fur, droppings, saliva, feet or other parts of the body.

Performing regular inspections of the outside of your home can help prevent pest infestation. Ensure that screens on windows and doors are in good condition, and seal any cracks or holes to eliminate outside entry. Also, regularly remove trash from the home and repair leaky plumbing.

Identifying the Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control insects, weeds, and fungi that damage crops. The federal government regulates the use of these chemicals in food production. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluates each chemical to ensure it is safe for humans and the environment when used according to label directions. The EPA also establishes tolerances, which are the maximum residue levels allowed in or on foods.

There are several types of pesticides, including herbicides and insecticides. Each type has its own safety risks and effects on the environment, human health, and wildlife. Some are extremely toxic, while others are less harmful. A wide variety of methods can be used to reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides, including crop rotation, grazing animals, tillage and other mechanical methods, and biological or cultural controls.

When pesticides are necessary, the simplest and least-toxic method is to choose non-chemical alternatives. These include non-toxic options for indoor infestations such as boric acid in crevices or bait stations for fleas, and low-toxicity outdoor choices like diatomaceous earth and horticultural oils.

Many pesticides disproportionately harm people of color and low-income communities. They may be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. These harms can range from skin irritation to birth defects. A recent study found that black and Mexican American communities are disproportionately exposed to pesticides across the entire life cycle, from production to disposal.

In order to prevent the development of resistance, it is important not to apply the same pesticides repeatedly. This can be done by using insecticides with different modes of action or applying them in a rotation or tank mix. It is also important to note that a pesticide can develop resistance even when it has not been applied frequently or at high concentrations.

Taking Action

Pest control involves a wide range of activities and strategies to keep pests at bay, from removing their food to disrupting their ability to reproduce. These actions are usually necessary in enclosed areas like homes, schools, office buildings, or health care, food processing, and food storage facilities. In these situations, eradication is generally not the goal, but rather prevention and suppression are.

The first step is to identify the type of pest you are dealing with. Then use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to determine the best course of action. Using an IPM approach ensures that pesticides are used only when they are needed, keeps the environment safe, and minimizes the impact on other organisms and natural processes. This also reduces the chance that the beneficial insects necessary for healthy ecosystems will be killed or harmed during treatment.

Look for places where pests can breed and hide, including piles of trash or debris, stacks of newspapers or cardboard, and leaky pipes. Clean these areas on a regular basis. Organize and discard clutter, and make sure that garbage cans are sealed. Fix any doors that don’t shut completely and install weather stripping around outside doors.

Finally, use a combination of methods to prevent pests, starting with non-toxic options. If these don’t work, apply the appropriate chemical treatments to treat the affected area. Select a pesticide that is specific to the targeted insect or rodent and least likely to affect people or pets. Often, applying the pesticide at an earlier stage in the life cycle — or at a time of year when the pest is less active — will help achieve control more quickly and easily.

If you haven’t already, get involved with your community’s pest control efforts. Consider volunteering with the local extension service to educate your neighbors on the basics of pest control and preventative maintenance, or getting a business license and setting up a pest-control company that serves your local area.