Pest Control – Identifying and Blocking Entry Points

Pests seek food, water and shelter. Crumbs in kitchens, leaky plumbing and untidy yards invite them in.

Eradication is rarely a goal in outdoor pest situations, but prevention and suppression are. This article will focus on those strategies. Identifying the pest is an important first step. Contact Pest Control St Petersburg FL now!

Insects, members of the phylum Arthropoda, are probably the most familiar organisms in gardens and landscapes. They pollinate plants, serve as natural enemies of crop pests, and are important food for other animals. They are also valuable objects for scientific research, providing information about genetics, hormone action, nerve and sense organ function, and population biology.

The number of insects in an area depends on the weather and environmental conditions, with populations rising and falling over years in response to changes in temperature, moisture and other factors. Insecticides can be used to protect plants when a damaging insect infestation is predicted or observed. However, a spraying effort must be justified on the basis of economic or aesthetic injury levels and the cost of the chemicals involved.

Often, spraying results in an increase of other insects or mites, which can cause damage on their own. For example, a spraying of conifer trees for an imported cabbage worm outbreak may result in defoliation by aphids and/or flea beetles. The use of insecticides for these purposes is usually justifiable only when the break-even costs are low enough.

Indirect effects of insecticides can be as serious as direct impacts, with water quality and ecosystem health affected. Residues of fungicides and certain insecticides can accumulate in streams, lakes, ponds and soils. The fungicides methyl bromide and methyl parathion, for example, are toxic to fish and other aquatic life; the insecticide phosmet can leach into groundwater supplies. Insecticides are often toxic to birds and other wildlife that eat seeds or weeds and can contaminate the food chain.


Rodents are some of the most destructive pests in the world. They can chew through almost anything, including electrical wires. They also create a wide variety of unpleasant odors, and damage personal property, often leaving it stained or ripped. Rodents also contribute to a wide range of health risks for people, contaminating food with their droppings and urine, as well as spreading diseases like bubonic plague through flea bites.

Rodents may damage buildings by chewing through walls, floors, and ceilings. They also chew through pipes, vents, and other utilities. They can also contaminate stored foods with their feces and urine, which is why it’s important to store food in sealed containers and keep garbage away from the home.

Another common issue with rodents is that they can attract other pests like roaches, ants, and flies. This can lead to further damage and expensive repair bills.

Some of the most obvious signs of a rodent problem are droppings, pilfered food, and grease marks (darker stains that indicate heavier or longer activity). Look for these indicators in areas where rats or mice spend time, such as wall voids, cardboard boxes, wooden or plastic pallets, vending machines, heating units, and appliances. You may also hear scratching or scurrying noises, especially during quiet times.

Rodent Control

Rodents are a constant threat to homes and businesses. They can chew through wires, furniture and food products, causing damage and contaminating items. They can also spread diseases through bite wounds, contaminated water and food, and simply by breathing in germs. They are prodigious breeders and even a few rats or mice can quickly turn into an infestation.

The most effective way to control rodents is through sanitation and exclusion. This involves preventing access to food and water, eliminating nesting sites, reducing clutter and promoting natural predators.

This can be done by storing firewood away from the house, putting out only outdoor food in rodent-proof containers and cleaning up debris, garbage and weeds around buildings. Regularly removing bird feeders, putting out only small amounts of pet food and not leaving it out overnight, keeping garbage cans tightly sealed and rinsing all food and drink containers before throwing them out are also helpful.

In addition, closing up all entry points, repairing all cracks and crevices, and trimming overhanging trees and shrubs are important steps in preventing rodent infestation. Finally, it is important to regularly inspect all areas of the property for signs of rodent activity. Look for signs of gnawing, droppings, urine (using a black light) and rub marks. Also, listen for scratching and keep in mind that rodents are active at night.

Cockroach Control

Cockroaches are one of the most annoying pests that affect human health and well-being. They spread more than 30 types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning and aggravate asthma and allergies. A single female cockroach can produce over 100 offspring in just one year. Sanitation is the key to preventing and controlling infestations. Store perishables in the refrigerator, clean up food and waste quickly, and avoid accumulating stacks of newspapers, paper bags, cardboard boxes, or other items that provide hiding places and harborage for cockroaches. Eliminate leaky plumbing, ventilate properly, and vacuum cracks and crevices to remove cockroach eggs and shed skins.

Cockroach pest management begins with inspections to locate cockroaches and their sources of food, water, and shelter. Cockroaches enter buildings through gaps around doors, windows, vents, and utility openings, and also travel between apartments in shared walls. Seal these entry points, and use door sweeps and weather stripping.

Depending on the species, inspect outdoor habitats, including garbage containers and wood piles, for signs of activity. Look for cockroaches at night, when they are most active. Use baits and sprays labeled for cockroach control to target problem areas, and be sure to treat all harborage areas.

Bed Bug Control

Bed bugs are tiny bloodsuckers that leave red, itchy welts on people. They’re smart and tough, reproduce quickly and can survive for months without a meal. Professionals use a combination of chemical and nonchemical tactics, including sanitation and habitat modification. They may also use CO2 traps designed to imitate a sleeping host or mattress and box spring encasements that remove hiding areas and help prevent the spread of bugs from untreated sites. In severe cases, pest management professionals can fumigate the home or apartment.

Until recently, the pest was associated with crowded and dilapidated housing, but it has undergone a dramatic resurgence that appears to be linked to increased travel, ease of movement for infested items and changes in bed bug resistance to insecticides. They’re a particular problem in hotels, furnished apartments and dormitories and are common in homeless shelters and prison cells.

Bed bugs are nocturnal and usually come out at night to feed. They have a distinctive apple seed-shaped body and rounded abdomen, and their heads come to a point at the end. They’re not invisible, but they’re good at camouflage and can be difficult to spot until you start to notice bite marks that look like grouped red welts. Infestations are also often evident in the stains of excrement on bedding, mattresses and furniture and by an offensive, musty odor. The pests can be transported on infested clothing or in luggage and other containers that are not properly screened before they’re used.

Termite Control

Termites are a major problem for homeowners, as they devour wood and can damage structures significantly. In addition, if left unchecked, they can depreciate property value. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures that can help keep these wood-destroying pests away.

A pest control professional will thoroughly inspect a property for signs of termite activity and determine the severity of an infestation. After a thorough inspection, a termite treatment will be recommended. Liquid termiticides and bait systems are both effective at killing king, queen, worker, and soldier termites within the colony and preventing them from spreading to other colonies. Fumigation is a more intensive treatment that involves tenting and flooding a house with lethal gas to kill all the termites in a colony.

Alternative treatments that do not use chemicals include physical barriers (such as steel mesh) and thermal methods (such as heating). The most effective approach to eliminating a current termite infestation is through a combination of steps. For instance, an inspector can install monitoring stations that replace bait stations once highly active areas have been determined.

Homeowners can also protect their properties by ensuring that wooden fences and garden structures are kept away from soil, and that any exposed wood is treated with a preservative. Moreover, homeowners can divert rainwater to away from their homes, and regularly clean up any debris that could attract termites. It is also important to store firewood above ground, and avoid keeping it in contact with soil.