Natural Forces and Eco-Friendly Pest Control

Natural forces often help control pests. These include climate, natural enemies, predators, parasites, pheromones, and pathogens. Natural barriers like mountains and bodies of water restrict the movement of many pests. Food, water, shelter, and overwintering sites limit their population growth. Click the to learn more.

Monitoring helps you determine whether or not pests are a problem and the extent of their damage. Correctly identifying pests also helps you select the most appropriate control methods.

Pests are more than just unwelcome guests; they can bring harmful germs, disease and structural damage to homes. The best way to deal with them is preventively, before they become a problem. Keeping pests away is as easy as sealing gaps, maintaining cleanliness, and regularly inspecting the property.

Clutter can provide hiding places for pests and also traps moisture, which they need to survive. Eliminate clutter around the home, and regularly sweep and vacuum your floors to remove food crumbs and pet droppings. Store foods in tightly sealed containers, including pet food, and regularly dispose of garbage.

Sealing Entry Points

The smallest cracks and crevices in the walls, trim, and roofline are all potential pathways for pests to enter. Seal them with caulking and other products to keep out rodents, spiders, and insects. Proper waste management is also essential: Ensure that trash and recycling bins are properly closed and emptied, and that weeds and wood piles are kept well away from the foundation of the house.

Proper maintenance of the yard also helps to prevent pests from getting into the house. Mow the lawn frequently, and keep bushes and shrubs properly trimmed to avoid contact with the house. In addition, make sure that gutters are clean and free of obstructions, as clogged gutters can create leaky water sources for pests to use as a way into your home.

Regular inspections by a qualified pest control technician are another important aspect of preventive pest management. A pest control professional can identify potential problem areas, such as the presence of gnaw marks or nests, and recommend appropriate measures to take.

Educating yourself about the pests you have and the options for their control is also critical to prevention. Understanding the life cycles and habits of each pest can help you to spot signs of infestations early, and make preventive measures more effective.

When prevention methods are ineffective, chemical pesticides can be used to eliminate infestations. However, any pesticide should be used sparingly, and always in a safe manner. If you need to use pesticides in your home, use baits or traps instead of spraying, and be sure to read and follow the product’s label instructions and safety warnings.


Often, the goal of pest control is not to eliminate a pest population entirely, but rather reduce it to a level acceptable to human beings and other organisms sharing the environment. Suppression is a common goal of pest control when prevention has failed or it is not practical or possible to prevent a problem.

There are many approaches to suppression, depending on the situation. The most common methods involve altering the environment in which the pest lives. Physical barriers such as fences, screens, traps and pheromones can sometimes stop or slow the spread of pests. Altering the availability of food or water can help reduce pest populations, as can changing roosting places or shelter. Heat, radiation and other techniques can affect the behavior of certain pests as well.

Chemicals may be used to kill or repel pests, but they should always be applied correctly and sparingly. They are usually more expensive and carry greater risks than do natural methods, so they should be used only when necessary, and only after careful consideration of the effects on people and other organisms.

The best way to reduce pest problems is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This can be done by practicing good farming and gardening practices, such as planting in rows, avoiding over-watering, rotating crops and removing weeds before they can establish themselves. Good sanitation also helps reduce the problems of some pests, such as rodents and insects that damage buildings and other structures, by reducing their food, water and shelter supplies.

Many pests occur only under certain conditions, so they can often be predicted and prevented. For example, plant diseases generally occur only when specific environmental conditions are present. Using cultural controls, such as soil cultivation practices, modification of irrigation, and use of resistant varieties can reduce the occurrence of some disease organisms. Biological controls such as predators, parasitoids, pathogens and competitors (including nonliving enemies such as nematodes) can also reduce pest populations by interfering with their ability to reproduce or feed.


Pests, such as roaches, spiders, and ants, can cause serious health issues, including a wide range of infections. In addition, they can destroy property and cause costly damage to homes and businesses. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent pest infestations. These include pest prevention, integrated pest management, and eco-friendly pest control.

Preventing pests from entering your home or business can be a simple process. One of the most important steps is to remove sources of food, water and shelter. This can be done by sealing cracks, removing trash regularly and keeping food stored properly. Also, ensuring that plumbing is in good working order and not leaking can help prevent leaks and water accumulation that can attract pests.

Eliminating food, water and shelter is often enough to keep pests away from your property. However, if this is not sufficient, there are a number of other things you can do. For example, you can seal any cracks or holes in your home, store foods in plastic containers, and keep garbage cans tightly closed. Getting rid of excess clutter can also be helpful, as it provides places for pests to hide and breed.

If these methods do not work, it may be necessary to resort to chemical controls. These can be more effective than other methods, and typically deliver results more quickly. However, some chemicals can be harmful to humans and the environment, so they should be used sparingly and only when necessary.

Some pests are continuous and require regular control; others are sporadic or migratory and only need treatment at certain times. In general, crops should be treated before pest numbers reach an economic damage threshold, but this varies by species.

It is not yet possible to eradicate all infectious diseases, although there have been major advances in the fight against some. The only human diseases currently listed as eradicated are smallpox and polio, while Guinea worm is on the verge of being eradicated, and rinderpest is close to eradication as well. However, samples of the viruses that cause these diseases remain in many locations around the world.


IPM is an ecosystem-based approach that integrates biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical methods of control to prevent unacceptable damage or annoyance and minimize risks to human health, beneficial insects, and the environment. Regular monitoring and record keeping determine if and when pest control is needed, with chemical treatments used sparingly and only in the least-toxic formulations effective against the target organism. Educational strategies are also an integral component of IPM programs.

A good IPM program starts with a careful evaluation of each pest problem, including the pest’s life cycle, potential damage, natural enemies, and effects of weather on the pest and the plants it affects. This information, combined with the availability of different pest control methods, helps determine which method(s) are best to manage each pest problem.

To reduce the need for chemicals, IPM programs incorporate cultural controls — techniques like soil preparation, planting practices, crop rotations, thinning or removal of diseased plants, and the use of resistant varieties — to create unfavorable conditions for pests. IPM programs also make wise use of physical and mechanical controls — trimming weeds, caulking cracks, and removing debris that provide hiding places or food sources for pests, for example. IPM programs also employ the use of disease-free transplants and agroforestry, where the plants are grown in a way that promotes biodiversity.

When a pest infestation is discovered, IPM programs first evaluate the condition of the plant and the pest using monitoring tools such as inspection checklists, sticky traps, glue boards, or snap traps. Usually, when only a small number of pests are present, no action is required. If the pests are damaging or causing a nuisance, IPM programs may recommend control actions that range from pheromones to targeted spraying with low-risk products.

IPM is an environmentally sound and economic alternative to conventional insecticides and herbicides. Those who follow IPM principles have lower costs, fewer health problems from biting insects and other pests, and are less likely to expose children or others to pesticides that can aggravate allergies and asthma. This is especially important for children who spend a large part of their lives in schoolyards and classrooms where exposure to pesticides and other chemicals can have serious consequences.