Pests cause damage to buildings, plants and personal items. They can also be a health risk (cockroaches, rodents and cluster flies) or trigger allergies and sensitivities (clothing moths and silverfish).

When using pesticides, follow the label’s instructions carefully. Use only the amount recommended. Be careful not to spray near food or cooking utensils. For more information, click the Nature Shield Pest Solutions to proceed.

Chemical pest control uses synthetic or natural chemicals to eliminate unwanted plants, insects, and animals. They can be applied in a variety of ways, from space sprays to surface sprays to termite treatments. Most pesticides have specific targets and work differently in different situations. Using the right chemical in the right location at the right time is essential for effective pest control. In addition, the type of plant or pest stage can affect how fast the chemical degrades or its effect on non-target organisms.

Before applying any chemical pesticides, it is important to read the label and understand how each works. Some important factors to consider are the toxicity level (measured by its LD50 value, which refers to how much of a chemical it takes to kill 50% of lab animals), how it will be distributed in the environment and where it will disperse, whether it is persistent or biodegradable, and what kind of environmental hazards it may have. In addition, it is always best to consult a professional pest control company for advice and application techniques.

Commercial pest control companies have the expertise and specialized equipment to use pesticides safely for their intended purpose. They will be able to provide detailed information about the products they carry and how they are used, including safety protocols to ensure human health, native animal populations, and ecosystems remain unaffected.

It is also important to note that many pesticides have specific effects on pollinators, so avoiding spraying near flowering plants or during the day when bees are actively foraging is essential. It is also recommended to give notice to people and pets in the area of any applications. This can help reduce the chances of them being exposed to the pesticide, although this may not always be possible, especially when large buildings or sports fields are involved. However, if the proper precautions are taken, it is safe to say that chemical pesticides can be very effective in eliminating pests and their habitats. Especially when combined with other methods, like traps or physical exclusion. Using these treatments in combination can provide long-term and sustainable protection against unwanted pests.


Most pest control programs use traps to monitor and/or reduce specific insect populations. Traps can be simple or elaborate, depending on the type of insects being targeted. Several common trap types include sticky, baited, and pheromone-based traps.

Sticky traps ensnare insects that crawl across them, using a glue-like substance to capture them. These can be used in indoor areas to catch fruit flies, cluster flies, or house flies, as well as outdoors to trap deer flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects. Glue traps work best when placed in areas where these pests commonly swarm, such as near food containers or trashcans.

Some traps require more regular maintenance than others. For instance, those that utilize pheromones for particular pests may need to be refilled with the specialized attractant when it runs out. Also, some traps may be sensitive to environmental factors, such as light or odor, that affect how effectively they work.

Homeowners can often find effective, cost-efficient, and easy-to-use traps at gardening retail outlets or do-it-yourself (DIY) pest control outlets. Cooperative Extension articles, gardening blogs, and YouTube videos are excellent resources for learning about how to build and use these traps.

While DIY traps can be useful to determine pest presence, they are often not enough to solve persistent pest problems. In addition, supplemental control methods such as sprays or baits may be required.

Pheromone-based traps can be particularly effective in the home for certain pests, including stored product beetles, pantry moths, and cigarette beetles. However, care should be taken to properly use these traps for maximum efficacy. Pheromones are sensitive to environmental conditions, and if the traps are not properly placed, they may not be able to attract or capture the target species.

For outdoor pests, especially those that are destructive to trees and shrubs, traps can be a valuable tool to monitor population levels. For example, a homemade trap consisting of yellow plastic gallon containers mounted upside down on sticks coated with transparent automobile grease or used motor oil can be effective in capturing ground beetles and cowpea and pigeon pea seeds that have invaded crops.

Physical Exclusion

The term physical exclusion refers to a wide variety of methods that make it difficult for pests to access food, shelter and water. Examples include:

  • Removing rotting logs and other debris from areas around buildings.
  • Regularly cleaning up messes.
  • Storing food in tightly sealed containers.
  • Maintaining a clean and clutter-free environment and sealing cracks and crevices that pests use to enter and exit a building.

Some physical controls are simple and inexpensive, such as placing a band of sticky material around a tree trunk to exclude birds from eating its leaves or using netting to keep insects from nesting in fruit trees. Other measures, such as steam soil sterilization for weed control, are more complicated and expensive but can be extremely effective in reducing a pest population.

For businesses, the most cost-effective method of pest exclusion is proactive rather than reactive. The best way to avoid a pest problem is to eliminate the food, shelter and water sources that attract pests. In a food processing facility, that may mean securing all doorways with rodent-proof seals and ensuring that the building is insulated properly so that temperatures aren’t too hot or too cold for pests to survive.

In a commercial setting, the key to preventing a pest infestation is frequent and thorough inspections of the entire property. During these inspections, look for cracks and gaps that are big enough for pests to slip through. Check window screens and frames and repair any that are damaged, and replace worn or gnawed door sweeps. Be sure to inspect all exterior windows, including those located below ground level in window wells, as pests can crawl through these openings to get inside. Seal these areas with weather-resistant caulking or foam.

Also be sure to inspect and replace all vents, as pests can sneak in through vent caps. And, install fine-mesh screens over all windows and vent penetrations to prevent pests from entering the building through these openings. In addition, screens that are required to be installed over plumbing holes must be constructed with apertures small enough to block the entry of termites.


Biological control uses natural enemies such as predators, parasites, and disease pathogens to suppress populations of harmful insects, mites, weeds, or other organisms that damage crops. NIFA supports research in bio-based pest management to find safer, more effective ways to limit the damage caused by these organisms, and reduce our reliance on synthetic chemical controls.

A key to success with biological control is proper identification of the target pest, often to species level. Accurate pest identification is also essential for choosing and releasing the correct biological control agent to achieve desired results. Biological control is most successful when integrated into an IPM program that includes regular scouting and monitoring, and the use of other pest control tactics to manage the problem when necessary.

There are three basic approaches to biological control: importation, augmentation, and conservation. Importation and augmentation are generally used for introduced or “exotic” pests, while conservation is usually used for native pests.

Classical biological control begins with a search for natural enemies in the exotic pest’s native habitat, followed by importing and rearing these natural enemies in sufficient numbers to significantly decrease the pest population (inundative release). The natural enemy must be capable of searching out its target host, be effective at attacking the pest, and have a high reproductive rate. It is also important that the natural enemy be able to reproduce on other hosts.

After a successful introduction, the natural enemy must be monitored to determine if it has become established and can effectively control the pest population, or if more biological control agents need to be introduced. Inundative releases are typically repeated as necessary to maintain control.

A newer approach, sometimes referred to as augmentative biological control, has been developed that attempts to accelerate the process by using genetically engineered or improved natural enemies that can more rapidly establish themselves and overwhelm pest populations. Examples of this include the inundative release of parasitoids such as lady beetles or lacewings, and entomopathogenic nematodes for certain soil-dwelling insect pests. The use of genetically modified or improved natural enemies may be augmented by other means such as habitat manipulation, allowing for more widespread application and greater effectiveness.