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The Basics of Pest Control

When pests get a foothold, they can cause serious damage to your home and health issues for you and your family. Ignoring a problem can only worsen the situation.

Clutter provides hiding places and food sources for pests. Be sure to clear away piles of wood, leaf debris, garbage, and other potential shelters. Contact Bakersfield Pest Control now!

Pest identification is the first step in any pest control process. Knowing what organism you are dealing with will help you determine its food, environmental and harborage needs and the time of year when it is most vulnerable to pest management tactics.

Incorrect pest identification can be costly for a business or home owner. Identifying pests correctly allows you to plan more effective preventative or pesticide treatment strategies, reduce application costs and minimize risks to people and the environment.

Pests have a variety of different appearances. Some are grotesque or frightening, like spiders and silverfish; others bite or sting, such as wasps and mud daubers; some have an unpleasant smell, like bed bugs and cluster flies; some stain or damage personal possessions, such as clothing moths and carpet beetles; and many spread diseases, including worms, slugs, mites and fungi.

A pest’s physical form can also change as it reaches various stages in its life cycle. It may start as a weed seedling, then develop into an immature insect or mature adult. This is important to know because the best pest management tactics are those that target a specific stage in the pest’s life cycle and are not intended for general use, which could result in off-target damage.

Identification of a pest will also give you clues about its habitat and habits. If a problem is confined to one area, it might be possible to use a cultural practice to limit its occurrence, such as removing wood debris around a building or keeping firewood piles away from the house. Alternatively, a physical barrier such as a tightly fitting screen might be used.

If the pest is persistent or requires an immediate response, it might be necessary to use a pesticide. If pesticides are used, they must be applied accurately and at the correct time of year to be effective. Some pesticide applications fail because the wrong type of chemical was applied or it was applied at a time when the pest was not susceptible to the chemicals. Incorrect pest identification will also lead to an ineffective pesticide application.


Pests are more than a nuisance – they can damage your property and create health risks for you and your family. The best way to deal with a pest infestation is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Pest prevention is an ongoing process that requires vigilance, regular cleaning and monitoring for pests and their signs. It also involves removing food, water and shelter sources that attract pests. This includes storing all food items in containers that are tightly sealed, removing pet water dishes regularly and keeping garbage bins and dumpsters tightly closed. It’s also important to reduce or eliminate moisture sources by fixing leaky pipes, avoiding overwatering house plants and clearing away damp areas around your home or business.

Preventing a pest problem can be time consuming, but it’s worth the effort. You will save on repairs, avoid health and safety risks and enjoy a less stressful life without pests pestering you.

Many pest control professionals use a preventive approach that encompasses inspection, identification and monitoring, sanitation and cleaning, exclusion and maintenance and cultural practices. This type of pest management system identifies what a client is responsible for and what the pest control professional is responsible for and ensures that both parties are working together to avoid problems.

For example, it may include establishing an employee on staff who is responsible for inspecting incoming deliveries to prevent pests from entering a facility. It might also involve developing a protocol for staff to follow when cleaning facilities to help remove pests from surfaces before they have a chance to settle on them. It could also include determining the best time to treat for pests in a field so that they do not interfere with crops at an inappropriate time.

Prevention can be a complex task, and it is difficult for the average person to keep on top of when they are busy with work, family and other activities. This is why many people choose to have a professional pest control service take care of the issue for them. These experts are knowledgeable about the different pests and how to prevent their infestations, which means you can have peace of mind knowing that your home or business is safe from unwanted guests.


When pest populations reach unacceptable levels that threaten esthetic or economic values, action must be taken. This is known as suppression. Suppression tactics make life difficult for pest organisms so they cannot survive or reproduce, and are most effective when combined with prevention techniques.

Climate influences pest populations directly and indirectly, through temperature, moisture, day length, and soil conditions. These factors affect pest growth and development, as well as the growth of their host plants. Unusual weather can cause a rapid increase in pest numbers and damage, or may suppress them.

The presence of natural enemies (parasites, predators, or pathogens) can control pests. Predatory insects and birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and other animals feed on pests and help keep their populations low. Parasitic mites, nematodes, and viruses can also reduce pest populations. Many of these natural enemies are available commercially as biological control agents. Their effectiveness depends on the species of pest and its environment, and they may have a lag period before they begin to suppress a new pest population.

Physical barriers such as netting, screens, traps, and fences can prevent pests from entering an area or reaching harmful levels. In addition, mulching can inhibit weed growth beneath crops or in fields, and grid wires or spikes may discourage bird pests. Chemicals, radiation, electricity, or steam sometimes are used to control pests by altering their environment or killing them.

Resistant varieties of plants, wood, and structures can help keep pest populations below damaging levels by making them less attractive or inhospitable to them. Using resistant trees, crops, and materials can save money and reduce the need for pesticides.

Some crops or areas are naturally more suited to particular pests. Using these areas can lower pest pressure and improve production. Resistance is usually a genetic trait, but other traits, such as physical characteristics or chemical properties of the host, can also provide pest protection. For example, certain types of apples and pears are resistant to fungus, and some vegetables and herbs have natural chemicals that repel or kill pests. A variety of other substances, such as odors, can also deter pests.


In some cases, pests must be eradicated completely, such as when an invasive species threatens the health and biodiversity of an ecosystem. This is a very difficult goal to achieve, and it is usually a last resort. In outdoor settings, eradication is rarely attempted. Instead, prevention and suppression are the primary goals. Eradication is more common in indoor environments, where the pests can be more easily contained and controlled. Examples include fumigation of homes or buildings, which involves sealing them and releasing toxic gas to kill the pests; and the use of rodenticides to control rodent infestations in homes and businesses.

Many invasive foreign plants are considered pests because they disrupt local ecology by displacing native species and taking over crop, pasture and rangeland. These plants can also taint hay and other agricultural crops, costing farmers millions of dollars each year. Sutter County Pest Control works to identify and eradicate these noxious plants, so they can no longer damage our farms and wildlands.

Biological control is the mass production and release of a pest’s natural enemies, such as predatory insects or parasitoids. These are organisms that attack the pest directly, either by eating its eggs or larvae or attacking its adult stages. To be effective, these organisms must have a close life cycle with the target pest, and they must survive in disturbed systems where their own population may not have sufficient density to offset the impact of disturbance on the host and prey populations.

Chemical pesticides are highly specialized chemicals that kill or repel specific kinds of pests. They are typically sprayed as aerosol sprays, dusts or baits, and they may work by disrupting the nervous system of the pest, killing it or by causing genetic mutations that prevent reproduction. These chemicals are regulated by the EPA and are generally not harmful to humans, but they can be hazardous to beneficial insects, other animals and microorganisms in water runoff or soil.

Another type of biological control is the use of parasitic nematodes, microscopic worms that live in the soil and kill or sterilize the insects they attack. These nematodes, such as the roach-eating nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, can be sprayed in large numbers to attack unwanted insects in the soil.