Preventive and Controlling Pest Solutions

Using preventive measures is the best way to keep pests away. Eliminate sources of food, water and shelter. Store garbage in tightly-sealed containers and remove it regularly. Caulk cracks and crevices and fill holes with steel wool.

Chemical pest control treatments can be safe if used properly. Use sprays sparingly, particularly around areas where family members touch. Click to learn more.

Many pest problems can be prevented with a comprehensive approach that includes environmental modification and preventative pesticide applications. This is known as Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. Integrated Pest Management has been proven to slash pest removal costs by one-third and reduce pest complaints by 90 percent.

Denying pests food, water and shelter is the first step to controlling them. This means cleaning up crumbs and food scraps, storing foods in sealed containers, removing trash regularly, and fixing leaky plumbing. It also means minimizing vegetation that may creep toward the home, such as weeds and brush. Rodents, ants, termites and other pests use these areas as highways to gain entry into homes.

In addition to denying pests the things they need to thrive, it is important to perform regular inspections to detect problem areas and correct them before they become an infestation. Inspecting a structure’s exterior for cracks and crevices, observing if there is standing water around the building, and checking the condition of the foundation, siding and roof should be done at least twice per year.

Another part of prevention involves learning about a specific pest’s life cycle and habits. This helps you spot and predict problem periods, such as egg hatching and larval development. It also enables you to apply strategies that can disrupt the pest’s cycle, such as spraying vinegar solutions on ant trails or spreading diatomaceous earth around baseboards.

A thorough pest assessment of a property should also include the establishment of a monitoring program. This includes keeping records of pest activity, identifying potential entry points and making recommendations for corrections. A comprehensive pest control plan includes monitoring and treatment programs for both exterior and interior pests as well as preventative maintenance services like mowing, raking, leaf blowing, and trimming shrubs and bushes around the house.

The most effective way to keep pests out of your facility is to work with a licensed pest control operator to develop a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. The goal is to use the fewest number of pesticides necessary to provide adequate pest control. This includes using a combination of methods such as habitat modification, limiting access to food and water, preventing food contamination, and training employees on good sanitation practices.


Pest problems can be managed using a variety of techniques. Preventive measures are economical and environmentally responsible, and they reduce the conditions that foster pest infestations and damage. Frequently cleaning areas where pests are likely to live prevents them from settling in the first place. Suppression methods restrict pest activity and population growth to manage existing pest infestations. Pesticides are used only when monitoring indicates that they are needed according to established guidelines.

Biological control involves the use of natural enemies, such as predators, parasites and pathogens, to injure or consume pests and control their populations. In addition to being safe for people, plants and the environment, these organisms are often better adapted to local environments than pesticides. However, biological controls require significant investment in research to understand the biology of a target pest and the environmental factors that influence its occurrence. Once suitable natural enemies are found they must be collected, passed through a quarantine process to ensure that no unintended negative consequences occur, reared to an appropriate size and released at a site where they can successfully colonize and control the target pest.

Chemical pesticides are often easier to find and more effective than biological controls. They may also work faster, delivering instant results. Examples of chemicals include repellents, which deter pests from entering an area, and insecticides, which kill the pests. However, some chemical solutions are also harmful to people and the environment upon exposure and must be carefully applied.

Cultural and mechanical controls directly influence the number of pests by changing the habitat in which they thrive. These practices can include modifying irrigation to limit the amount of water available for plant growth and by removing or altering soil conditions that encourage pests. Alternatively, they can involve physical trapping or blocking pests from entering or exiting an area.

Regulatory control methods, including quarantine and eradication programs, address severe pest problems that threaten human health and safety or damage valuable crops or natural resources. These programs are usually coordinated by state or federal agencies. For example, NMSU has several pest management specialists who can help you understand how to use various prevention and suppression methods.


When pest problems become so severe that they threaten your home, you may need to eradicate them. This generally requires a combination of physical, biological, and chemical techniques. For example, a few wasps visiting your yard once in a while probably doesn’t warrant any action at all; however, if you see them daily and in increasing numbers, they likely pose a real threat to your family or pets, and it’s time to locate and destroy the nest.

The eradication process usually involves some level of pesticide application, but this should be limited as much as possible to protect the environment and other wildlife. A professional can apply a broad spectrum insecticide to the problem areas, which should quickly eliminate most or all of the pests. They can also use baits, which will kill only the target pests without harming other insects and animals.

In addition to these general methods, there are many other ways you can help control pests in your garden and around the house. For instance, if you have a problem with fruit flies, try storing food in sealed plastic containers (tupperware and the like). If ants are a major nuisance, sprinkling baking soda around the area will repel them. You can also deter mosquitoes by spraying your lawn and flower beds with a homemade mixture made from mint, lavender, citronella, or other strongly-scented oils.

A few of the larger pest control companies that specialize in residential services include Arrow Pest Control, Truly Nolen, and Ehrlich Pest Control (formerly JC Ehrlich). They all offer extensive preventive treatment options for standard bugs, rodents, and even bedbugs. They all have excellent reviews and ratings on Google, TrustPilot, and the Better Business Bureau. Most also offer a satisfaction guarantee and competitive pricing. They are all licensed, insured, and bonded.


Monitoring is the practice of checking or scouting to determine what pest species are present, how many and how much damage they are doing and whether control tactics need to be applied. This can be done by individuals or by enlisting employees, students, volunteers or other stakeholders to act as your eyes and ears. For example, plant disease organisms are often triggered by specific environmental conditions, so knowing what these are allows us to anticipate their appearance and begin management activities before the problem gets out of hand.

This can be an ongoing effort, with sampling occurring over the entire season or growing period as part of a regular scouting program. If the pest population reaches an action threshold and the damage caused is unacceptable, suppression tactics can be implemented by using IPM strategies or chemical treatments.

In addition, ongoing monitoring can help prevent pest problems from getting out of hand. For example, continuous pests such as weeds can be controlled with a combination of cultural and mechanical means to keep them from overtaking desirable plants. Ongoing monitoring can also alert us to a potential pest problem, such as the first signs of a termite infestation, which can be addressed by installing wood-destroying insect monitors and deploying predatory insects.

Similarly, with rodents, monitoring can be used to alert us of the type and severity of pressure, from where pests are coming into the facility or property, and when an action threshold has been reached. This can be accomplished through glueboards, multiple catch traps and bait stations that are augmented with pheromones or attractants.

While there are cost savings to be realized with some remote pest monitors – like less time spent on empty traps – it is important to use them appropriately and in conjunction with a trained eye. Otherwise, they can create a false sense of security or complacency that results in missed introductions and failure to meet your pest prevention requirements. Your trusted pest control partner can help you to determine how best to balance the pros and cons of these new technologies.