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Pests are organisms that damage or spoil crops or other materials or interfere with people’s activities in a harmful way. Control of pests often requires a combination of suppression and prevention tactics. Contact Pezz Pest Control now!

Pest identification is the first step in any pest control strategy. Pests can look very similar, particularly during different life cycle stages or when in the same environment. Accurate identification is important to determine whether the pest requires cultural, physical, or chemical management techniques.

Pests are often identified by their droppings, gnaw marks, or unusual trails on the surface of plants. They can also be detected by their presence in the garden, home, or workplace. Inspecting the areas around doors, windows, foundations, and utility lines can help prevent pests from entering structures. Caulking and weather stripping are easy ways to seal gaps and cracks that could allow unwanted pests to enter.

Observing the signs of infestation and keeping a file of labeled digital images of sampled pests will provide helpful information when managing an insect, mite, or rodent problem. In addition, it’s a good idea to learn about pest behavior and habitat as you work towards an integrated pest management (IPM) solution.

It is essential to remember that not all pests are harmful, and some can benefit crops. It’s important to prioritize the health and safety of people, pets, and livestock before implementing a pest control strategy, which is a good idea.

Practicing IPM requires careful observation and identification of pests, followed by non-chemical methods or lower-toxicity chemical controls when appropriate. When chemical controls are needed, always use the least toxic products available.

If you’re unsure what type of pest you have, research it online or consult a field guide, such as one produced by the National Pest Management Association. You can also visit your local library or Cooperative Extension office for further assistance. Look at pictures of the pest and note its color, shape, antennae, body segments, number of legs, markings, and other features. If the pest is moving too fast or hiding in a crevice to be observed easily, catch it and bring it inside for further inspection. Counting its legs can be very useful for some species, while others may seem similar in appearance but have distinct identifying characteristics.


A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances used to prevent, destroy, repel, or control pests that interfere with the production, storage, transport, sale, and consumption of food, agricultural commodities, wood products, or animal feedstuffs. The use of pesticides is not without cost or controversy, as pesticides can also harm other organisms besides the intended target species. A pesticide may be delivered by a wide variety of application methods, such as fumigants (applied to soil), herbicides (sprayed on foliage) and insecticides (sprayed on insects).

The effectiveness of any pesticide is affected by the frequency and duration of its use. Repeated applications of the same pesticide encourage microbial degradation, which can reduce the amount of the chemical left to act against the target pest. This is especially problematic when a spray drifts to nontarget sites, such as a crop field, where the chemical can damage biodiversity and environmental health.

Many pesticides are volatile and can move off-target by vapor or gas drift. This can result in injury to nontarget plants and even human or animal populations who breathe the vapors or gases. To help prevent this, pesticides should be applied when the potential for off-target movement is minimal.

Most pesticides are toxic to living things and must be carefully mixed and applied to avoid harming humans, other plants and animals. The toxicity of a pesticide can also affect other parts of the ecosystem, including water and air quality.

Insecticides, rodenticides, and fungicides kill unwanted pests by directly attacking the nervous system or other systems of the targeted organism. Some are contact poisons, which remain on the surface of the plant and act against organisms that touch or ingest them; others are systemic chemicals that translocate through the tissues of the plant to the inside (xylem and phloem) where they act against the targeted pest.

Some pesticides are genetically modified and produce chemicals that are inserted into the DNA of the target organism to kill it or make it resistant to a specific disease. This is called biotechnology and is becoming a common method for controlling pests in agriculture, as well as in other industries such as food processing.


Suppression refers to the process of reducing pest numbers or damage to an acceptable level. This may be based on aesthetic, health, or economic concerns. Threshold levels, which have been determined for many pests, indicate the levels at which action must be taken to prevent unacceptable harm.

The number of pests in a region is affected by a variety of factors, including weather conditions such as temperature, day length and humidity. These can affect the growth and reproduction of the pest as well as its interaction with predators and parasitoids. A pest’s roost or food source, water supply and shelter also can affect its population. In addition, natural features such as mountains, lakes, and rivers restrict the movement of some pests.

Natural enemies, which include predators, parasitoids, and pathogens, suppress pest populations. They are part of a complex ecosystem service that is valued at over $13 billion per year in the United States.1 However, research has shown that natural enemy guilds do not operate in isolation, and instead interact in complex ways to influence the strength of pest regulation. For example, different parasitoids and predators attack a given pest at different times, resulting in additive, antagonistic or synergistic effects.

Cultural controls can disrupt a pest’s environment and deprive it of the resources it needs to survive and reproduce. These include plowing, crop rotation, planting trap crops, managing irrigation schedules to avoid periods of high relative humidity, destroying infested plant material and maintaining clean greenhouse and tillage equipment.

Biological control uses predators, parasitoids, and pathogens to reduce pest populations. It can be supplemented with chemical control.

The preservation of different natural enemy guilds, a practice known as conservation biological control, has been shown to decrease the use of pesticides in agriculture and foster sustainable development through ecological intensification in farming1. It can be achieved by adopting specific management practices at landscape scale, such as establishing non-crop areas, low-impact tillage and temporal crop rotation. A better understanding of how natural enemy guilds function, including the impact of climate change on their ability to suppress pests, will be essential to optimizing biological control and promoting sustainability in agriculture.


The best pest control strategy is to prevent infestations from occurring in the first place. This can be done by limiting access to food, water, and shelter, which are the primary needs of most pests. Prevention techniques are often more effective than chemical treatments, and they minimize ecological impact. They include Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies such as monitoring, inspection, and education. IPM emphasizes environmentally sensitive methods such as biological controls and habitat manipulation, which support a healthy ecosystem.

Preventive measures for indoors and outdoors are geared towards eliminating or reducing sources of food, water and shelter for pests. In some cases, these steps can be as simple as taking out the trash regularly and avoiding piles of wood, paper or other materials where insects might breed or hide. Regularly inspecting the exterior of your home for cracks, holes and places where pipes might enter is also helpful. Inside, it is important to keep garbage cans tightly sealed and to store food in plastic or glass containers. Clutter should be removed from the house, and a consistent routine of washing dishes and floors is essential to keeping surfaces clean.

Natural deterrents, such as repellants that mimic spices or predators’ odors, are an integral part of preventive pest management. These products can be sprayed around the outside of the home or business to deter pests from entering. It is also important to keep a clean house and sanitize food-handling areas to reduce the risk of pest infestations.

Sanitation practices are critical in the reduction of many pests, especially those that attack crops and livestock. Improvements in sanitation such as limiting feed and water contamination, increasing frequency of garbage pickup, and implementing sanitary animal handling practices can reduce the number of pests. It is also important to properly design and operate facilities to limit the spread of pests from one location to another.

Biological control is the use of living organisms to suppress pest populations, such as natural enemies, parasites or pathogens. In order for biological methods to work, they must be introduced at just the right time and in sufficient numbers to be effective. This is sometimes accomplished through the introduction of natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings, or by the release of nematodes that target specific soil-dwelling pests.