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Steps in Pest Control

Pests do more than just irritate homeowners. They can also spread dangerous germs and cause structural damage. Contact Bakersfield Pest Control now!

Prevention is the best way to deal with pests, and starts at home. Add screens to your windows and doors, and seal cracks and holes.

Some natural features limit pest populations, like mountains or water. Altering the environment can also control some pests, such as releasing sterile insects or using pheromones.


Prevention is the first step in pest control, and involves taking steps to prevent pests from finding food or shelter. This is done by removing sources of food and water, as well as by blocking access points where pests may enter the property. It also includes keeping the area around buildings clean, storing food in sealed containers (including pet foods), and repairing leaks.

Prevention can be achieved through a combination of tactics, including monitoring and inspecting the property on a regular basis to identify problems. It is important to report any sightings or indications of pests to a Pest Control Operator. This will help ensure that the problem is addressed as quickly as possible, and that it is properly diagnosed.

Monitoring can include examining the site on a daily or weekly basis, looking for signs of infestation such as droppings and webs. It can also include assessing the environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture, sun exposure, and shade, which can influence the growth and/or activity of many different organisms, including insects and vertebrates. Monitoring may also include identifying natural enemies of the pests, and supplementing those enemies by releasing more into the environment (for example, parasites or predators).

Preventive treatments can include physical, mechanical, or biological methods. Physical methods such as rodent trapping and netting, or the use of pheromones, can be effective for some pests. Biological controls involve the introduction of natural enemies of the pest, and can be a very effective form of control.

Often, pests are a result of an imbalance between the predators and prey in an ecosystem. This can be caused by a lack of competition for resources or by overpopulation of one species at the expense of another. Prevention of pests should be focused on balancing the ecosystem, which can often be accomplished through the practice of integrated pest management.

Educating people about pests, their habits and ideal habitats can empower them to take proactive measures to keep them at bay. For instance, most pests enter homes because of food, so getting rid of scraps and storing food in sealed containers will deprive them of their main source of sustenance. It is also essential to seal cracks and holes that pests might use as entryways, using caulking or other materials. Finally, it is important to properly store and dispose of garbage, and to keep grass, bushes, and other vegetation neatly trimmed so that they don’t provide hiding places for pests.


Pests are unwanted organisms that harm human food and material goods, degrade landscapes and ecosystems, and damage structures and property. Insects, weeds, viruses, bacteria, nematodes and vertebrates are considered pests (EPA, 2014). Pest infestations can be continuous, requiring regular control; sporadic, requiring only occasional controls; or potential, threatening to become a problem under certain conditions.

Prevention and suppression methods reduce the number of pests or prevent them from causing damage, while eradication methods destroy existing populations. Eradication is often not feasible on a large scale and may only be practical in very confined environments, such as buildings or home landscapes.

Preventive measures are economical and environmentally responsible, reducing or eliminating the conditions that lead to pest infestations. Frequent cleaning of areas where pests tend to live, such as food stores and homes, can reduce or eliminate their threat. Physical controls such as traps, screens, fences, netting and barriers kill or keep pests out or make the environment unsuitable for them. Controls that alter the environment, such as adjusting temperature, moisture and day length, can also suppress some pests.

Plants, wood and structures that are resistant to specific pests help keep pest populations below harmful levels. If these resistant species are not available, other characteristics of the host can be used to manage pests. Examples of this include a more vigorous or tolerant variety, natural resistance to specific predators and parasites, and physical attributes that make the host more difficult to attack.

Biological or “classical” biological control involves the introduction of natural enemies to suppress insect pests. These organisms might be predators, parasites or competitors that occur naturally in the area to be managed, or they might be specially bred and introduced from elsewhere.

Some pests have a zero threshold and cannot be present in some environments due to health, safety or environmental concerns. In these situations, eradication techniques are employed to remove the pests from the area and prevent their return. Preventive and suppression methods are essential, but to achieve successful eradication, accurate identification of the pest is key. This helps managers select the best treatment method and evaluate its effectiveness.


Eradication is a step in pest control that is used to eliminate existing infestations. It typically involves a more intense approach that may include chemicals, baits and traps. It is generally necessary when preventive measures have not been successful.

Some pests are a nuisance because they damage property or are unsightly, like woodpeckers, ants, cockroaches and spiders. Others are a health concern because they carry and spread bacteria, such as rodents, fleas, cluster flies and earwigs. Still others degrade and discolor plants, like nematodes and aphids. Other pests are dangerous because they sting or bite, such as spiders, silverfish, hornets, bees and yellow-jackets. Many of these also trigger allergic reactions and sensitivities, such as hives and headaches.

Preventive steps that can help to avoid pest problems include regularly removing garbage from the house and keeping it securely stored in trash cans that are tightly closed. It is also helpful to clean up leaves, brush and woodpiles that can serve as hiding places for pests. Regular trimming of bushes and shrubs can also help to keep pests away from your home.

Other preventive measures that can be employed are caulking cracks and crevices, filling holes with steel wool, and sealing vents and other openings. Another important step is to maintain a sanitary environment by storing food in sealed containers, properly cleaning counters and floors, and making sure garbage cans are tightly closed.

Chemical solutions that are used to get rid of pests include repellents, which can be sprayed or wiped on surfaces, and insecticides, which are used to kill insects and other pests. There are a wide variety of products on the market, including organic insecticides.

There are also biological controls, which use natural enemies of pests such as parasites, predators and pathogens to reduce or even eradicate pest populations. These methods are often not as effective as the chemical controls, and there is a time lag between the increased numbers of natural enemies and the reduction in pest population levels. They can, however, provide a good alternative to pesticides when they are applied appropriately and in the right situations.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

When pest populations get out of control, IPM strategies use a combination of biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools to control them. The goal is to bring all areas back to a monitored and managed state, with pesticides used only when necessary to protect valuable plants or people.

Before any control methods are used, a thorough inspection is done to determine the extent of the pest problem. This is critical, as not all insects, weeds and diseases are considered pests and may not require control at all. In fact, many organisms that are considered nuisance pests in one environment may be important in another.

After an initial inspection, pests are monitored regularly. When pest numbers reach a level that indicates action is needed, an action threshold is established. This threshold takes into account the economic damage, life cycle, environmental requirements and habitat of each species of pest. It also considers the population at which a particular pest will cause significant injury or damage, so that pest control is undertaken before it becomes a serious problem.

Once the action threshold is reached, less risky pest control methods are evaluated, such as using pheromones to disrupt mating or physical controls such as trapping or weeding. These are preferred to more toxic chemicals, as they present fewer risks to human health and the environment. If these are not effective, more toxic chemical solutions may be needed. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.

In addition, IPM programs often incorporate the use of beneficial insects (predators and parasitoids) to reduce pests. In natural areas, the greatest factor that keeps plant-feeding insect populations in check is their abundance of predators and parasitoids. To increase the number of predators and parasitoids, they can be released deliberately or natural ones can be attracted to the area by planting the right kinds of flowers or introducing the proper soil bacteria.

Integrated pest management is an excellent choice for all environments, whether they are gardens, farm fields, wildlands or other types of landscapes. IPM can help to reduce the evolution of resistance to pesticides, as well as reduce the toxicity of the chemicals that are required.