Identifying and Controlling Pests in Commercial Facilities

Pests can damage or devalue crops, food stores, gardens, lawns, and other areas. They can also contaminate food and create fire hazards.

The goal of pest control is prevention and suppression. Eradication is only attempted in enclosed environments. Pesticides are often used, but they must be selected carefully and used correctly to minimize risk to people and the environment. Contact Pest Control Shawnee KS now!

Properly identifying the pest is an essential first step when evaluating pest problems. This enables understanding what it is, its life cycle, environmental and harborage requirements, damage symptoms and reproductive habits. This information is helpful in determining whether a pest can be tolerated or if control measures are necessary. It also helps in selecting the most effective management tactics.

Identifying pests accurately is the most important aspect of the monitoring phase of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. It is often done by walking through a field or landscape and observing what pests are present, how many there are and what kind of damage they are doing. In the case of insects, it is possible to identify them by their wing patterns, color and other physical characteristics, or by looking at a sample under a microscope. Monitoring can be done daily or weekly, depending on the environment and the type of pest. It is a key component of establishing thresholds, which is a term used in IPM that refers to the level at which a pest population starts to cause significant crop damage and warrants a reduction or elimination of its presence on the property.

Pests should always be identified to the species level, if at all possible. Different species within a family and even genera can have drastically different behaviors, host plants and natural enemies. Accurate identification allows a much more targeted approach to pest management, minimizing the use of chemicals and other forms of intervention that may damage or harm beneficial organisms.

To help ensure you are correctly identifying pests, a sample of the insect or plant should be collected and placed in a clear jar or plastic bag. This is especially useful if the specimen needs to be sent for further evaluation. It is also helpful to consult the many available online resources to identify the pest, and it is best to work with an expert, such as a Rentokil pest control professional. These experts can provide you with the necessary identification tools and additional pest management advice.

Pest Prevention

Pest prevention is a proactive approach to denying pests access to a commercial property. It involves identifying trends in pest activity, determining the risk of pest infestation, blocking entry points, sanitation and cleaning practices, maintenance and cultural practices. It also includes establishing what responsibilities the client holds and what the pest management professional is responsible for. For example, a client might be responsible for inspecting incoming shipments to prevent the introduction of pests into the facility or keeping employees from accidentally carrying infested items into work areas. A pest management professional might be responsible for creating barriers that prevent pests from entering a facility, removing or sealing up entrance points, and educating staff on pest identification and prevention.

In many pest situations, the aim is to suppress a pest population to a level that is acceptable without resorting to control measures. This is commonly called threshold-based decision making.

Threshold-based decisions may be based on a variety of sources, including previous findings, inspections by staff or pest control professionals, and sightings by employees. In food processing environments, thresholds are based on the presence of specific pests associated with raw materials (called stored product pests) and the impact their presence may have on wholesomeness.

Preventing pests can be as simple as eliminating access to food, water and shelter. For example, screens on windows and doors, netting in greenhouses, and floating rows covering horticultural crops keep common pests out of buildings and from damaging plants. Regular trash removal, garbage cans with tight lids, and reducing clutter where pests might hide are other basic preventive steps.

Other prevention techniques include blocking entry points, such as cracks around foundations and utility lines, and sealing openings in masonry walls. Cleaning practices should be sanitized to reduce moisture, which attracts pests. And cultural practices, such as wetting rather than dry washing produce, can limit the spread of diseases caused by pathogens, such as nematodes and fungus gnats.

When other preventive measures fail, pesticides might be used. But even when pesticides are applied, the goal is to apply them in a way that minimizes risks to human health and beneficial organisms. This is called integrated pest management, or IPM. IPM includes a combination of pest prevention techniques, such as habitat manipulation and modification of cultural practices, with the use of nontoxic treatments, when necessary.

Pesticides

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances that prevents, destroys, repels or mitigates a plant disease, insect infestation or other undesirable organism. Pesticides include disinfectants, sanitizers, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. These are found in a wide variety of products such as garden sprays, crop dusters, household cleaners, hand soaps and swimming pool chemicals. Insecticides kill insects; herbicides kill weeds; fungicides kill mold and mildew; and rodenticides kill rats, mice and other rodents. Some pesticides are persistent in the environment and toxic to wildlife; others are less hazardous but still disrupt ecosystems. Pesticides are formulated (prepared) in liquid, solid and gaseous forms. Liquid formulations include solutions, emulsifiable concentrates, suspensions and aerosols. Solids include granular, pelleted and soluble granules, dry flowables, baits, tablets and wettable powders. Gaseous pesticides are typically fumigants.

All types of pesticides are harmful if not used properly and if they come in contact with people, pets or plants. Insecticides are generally the most acutely toxic. Most are designed to attack the nervous system of a specific pest, but they can also affect humans. Herbicides and fungicides present more chronic risks. They may increase the risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease or infertility, and they can poison or cause other health problems such as rashes, headaches or stomach upset.

When working with any type of pesticide, it is important to read and follow the instructions on the label carefully. When applying pesticides, try to use a minimum amount needed for the job. Spray the pesticide at a time of day when there is no wind and the air is cool to reduce the amount that travels from the spray area into other areas.

If anyone comes into direct contact with any pesticide, drench the skin and clothing in water or a solvent. If a person gets any pesticide in his or her eyes, rinse them immediately with a constant stream of clean, cool water. If the poison reaches the skin or respiratory tract, seek medical attention immediately. In case of an emergency, look at the pesticide label for first aid instructions.

Getting Started

Starting a pest control business can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Getting started with the right steps can help you get your company off the ground quickly and grow your profits over time. You’ll need to research your market, develop a business plan, and set up a formal business structure. Once you’ve taken these important steps, you’ll be ready to start marketing and growing your new company.

Getting the word out about your new business will help you build a healthy client list and start earning revenue. Consider creating a social media presence and using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to attract organic traffic to your site. You can also showcase your services, customer testimonials, and expertise on websites and blogs to establish yourself as a trustworthy and reliable resource in the industry.

Before you begin pest control treatments, you should take the time to properly prepare the area. This means removing any sources of food, water or shelter that the pests may be using and storing away all items that are not essential. For example, clothes, children’s toys, jewelry, make-up and toiletries should be packed away for the duration of the treatment. You should also seal trash cans and remove trays from under house plants and refrigerators.

For insect infestations, you should wipe down surfaces and vacuum carpeting to remove visible and hidden eggs and larvae. This will improve the results of your pest control treatment and reduce the amount of chemicals needed for effective removal.

You should also take the time to choose the right pest control business structure for your specific situation and region. For example, if you live in a college town, you’ll likely need to register your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, whereas in the desert, you’ll want to establish your business as an LLC to minimize your liability.

Depending on the type of pest control you plan to offer, you’ll need to acquire licensing and certifications. This will typically involve taking courses and passing applicator examinations for your state’s governing agency. Once you’ve met these requirements, you can purchase your equipment and get to work!