The Key to Effective Pest Control

Effective pest control is to apply the right management action at the right time to prevent or limit damage. There are many different pest control options, but it is important to select the most environmentally sound and economically feasible strategy. The most common strategies include: prevention – keeping a pest from occurring; suppression – reducing a pest population to an acceptable level; and eradication – totally eliminating a pest.

Proper identification is the first step in developing an effective pest control program. This allows the selection of controls that are most likely to be effective against a particular pest, such as choosing insecticides with specific target pest activity or targeting certain stages in a pest’s life cycle when they are most susceptible to control.

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Identifying pests also allows you to understand what is causing the pest problem and what environmental conditions favor the pest’s presence and growth. For example, some plant diseases only occur under certain environmental conditions; these can be controlled by avoiding or limiting the type of environment that favors disease development.

Physical removal of weeds and other pests by hand picking or digging can be very effective in some situations, particularly if the weeds have not yet produced seeds. Other options to remove pests from the environment include mowing (especially before seed production), trapping using visual cues or odors, or barriers such as fences and physical barriers. Biological control methods can be used to reduce pest populations by introducing natural enemies into the environment. These include parasites that eventually kill their host; pathogens, which infect other organisms; and nonspecific predators, such as beetles, that feed on all insect larval forms regardless of their identity.

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