Biological controls and chemical controls both have a place in dealing with pests. Your unique situation will play a big part in choosing the best solution.
Contact Environmental Pest Management today for a free quote. We’ll walk you through all the options and find a solution that meets your needs and respects our environment.
There’s something uniquely satisfying about growing your own food. Vegetables smell better. Food tastes fresher. There’s a sense of ownership in bringing those big tomatoes or beans to the table.
The flip side of that is the unique sense of frustration when pests move in and eat your hard-earned crop. They didn’t plant the seeds, or pull the weeds, or remember to water them. How incredibly rude to just show up and start eating your food.
So, of course, you want to remove these little freeloaders.
Let’s consider some of your options.
Biological Pest Controls
Sometimes referred to as natural control, biological control is a method of reducing pests by introducing their natural predators into their space.
While biological control isn’t quite the same things as DIY pest management, it’s up the same alley. Many people who choose DIY methods will lean towards biological controls.
Nature sometimes helps us get rid of unwanted pests. A sudden change in temperature or a wind event might knock down a pest population.
But a naturally-occurring event is not the same as a biological control. To be a biological control, a human must set things in motion.
Some people will introduce a beneficial predator to control pests in their gardens. Predator insects feed on other insects.
Some examples of predator insects include:
- Lacewings eat aphids, caterpillars, and beetle larvae.
- Ladybugs eat spider mites, the larvae of beetles and other small insects, aphids, and numerous other smaller pests.
- Wasps eat most smaller insects, spiders, flies, beetles, caterpillars, and sometimes other wasps.
- Dragonflies are great for controlling mosquitos. They also go after moths, midges, and sometimes bees.
- Spiders eat all kinds of insects. If they can catch it, they’ll eat it. That includes eating other spiders.
Careful consideration must be given before any new species is introduced to an environment. Only self-limiting or environmentally-limited species should be used for this purpose.
People trying to control pests have inadvertently opened the door to several invasive species. Farmers in Australia in the 1930s tried introducing the Hawaiin cane toad to protect their sugar cane from beetles.
The toad did reduce the beetle population, but since it had no natural predators in the new environment, it quickly became a nuisance.
The cane toad secretes a toxin that is dangerous to would-be predators and is particularly toxic to dogs.
We don’t want to replace our pest problem with more significant issues. Always consult with a pest professional and your local ordinances before attempting biological pest control.
Chemical Pest Controls
Sometimes, natural pest control options just aren’t enough.
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Pesticides are chemicals – usually human-made – that kill pests while leaving your plants uninjured.
Chemical pest control tends to be the most powerful option, but it can have unwanted side effects. These chemicals are meant to kill, and they don’t cease to exist after your pest is eradicated.
Pesticides get a bad rap because they have the potential to harm people, pets, and the environment. Excessive use will damage more than the pests you target.
Picture yourself sitting on your deck, enjoying a late summer day.
A fly comes along and is determined to get a bite out of you. You reach for a fly swatter. You swipe at it several times but have no luck.
The fly tells his buddies how tasty you are, and they join him. You manage to swat a few, but these flies are tough. Some of them keep zipping around even after being swatted.
Luckily for you, there’s a spray can of flying insect killer right next to you. You grab it, spray a cloud around your uninvited guests, and they drop.
Chemicals are great for situations that are impractical or impossible to control with natural methods.
We need to treat them with respect, though. You wouldn’t spray that fly while it’s on your arm. If you had a cold drink sitting in the area you just sprayed, you wouldn’t continue drinking from it.
The EPA regulates these chemicals, and they are safe when used correctly:
- Always start by reading all of the directions.
- Protect your skin and face with gloves, a mask, and goggles.
- Only apply the pesticide in an area with adequate ventilation. If you’re using these indoors, make sure you have windows open, run a fan, and limit your time in the space. Then leave the area for the amount of time the manufacturer recommends.
Integrated Pest Management
The solution to your pest problem needs to work. Biological and other natural controls aren’t always effective.
You also don’t want to poison yourself, your pet, or your planet. Your choice needs to be responsible. Integrated pest controls draw from both natural and chemical resources to minimize environmental impact.
An integrated control plan starts with knowledge of the pest you’re trying to remove. The pest’s life cycle is determined so that pest predators can be introduced at the most effective time.
Biological pesticides (or biopesticides) target specific pests. They are made from living organisms (such as microbes) or the product of a living organism (such as hormones).
Where chemical controls are like taking a shotgun approach, integrated controls are more like using a scalpel. This method is a thoughtful approach that limits potential environmental damage while placing a high value on results.
Talk To the Professionals
Whether your pests are indoors or outdoors, a professional service will yield the best, most environmentally responsible results. At Environmental Pest Management, we are passionate about providing safe and effective pest control.
Contact us for a free quote today. We’ll help you develop a plan that controls all your pest problems without breaking the bank or our planet.