Pest Control

Insects and Their Uses in Pest Control

Pest control involves preventing and/or controlling unwanted organisms. It also involves reducing the numbers of pests to an acceptable level.

Physical methods include traps and barriers. Remove sources of food, water and shelter. Clutter reduces hiding places for pests. Keep garbage in tightly-covered containers. Eliminate breeding sites by cleaning and repairing. Click the to know more.

Insects are found throughout the world and are extremely diverse. Some are pests that damage crops, others pollinate plants, and still others act as scavengers or spread disease. Many are useful as research subjects for elucidating basic aspects of genetics and ecology.

The most familiar insects include house flies, ants, grasshoppers, beetles, dragonflies, cockroaches, cicadas, crickets, mosquitoes, and ticks. Children often love to catch these insects and observe their unique body structure, piercing mouthparts, wings, and antennae.

Most pests need to eat and they have special mouthparts for that purpose. Some, such as those that suck nectar or other liquids, have mouthparts modified into a tube-like proboscis; others eat leaves and plant matter by chewing with specialized teeth. In addition, they have special sense organs for light, sound, air pressure, and temperature.

Biological control methods involving the introduction of natural enemies to reduce the population of unwanted pests are becoming increasingly important as chemical insecticides lose popularity. These methods require extensive studies of the biology of both the pest and its natural enemy, with attention to the possibility of unintended consequences (e.g., impact on native species that are not pests or other natural enemies of the target). Suitable natural enemies must be collected, quarantined to eliminate pathogens, and then released with careful consideration of their life cycle in the environment and the behavior of the targeted pest.

The use of dsRNA in sprays to kill insects is a newer approach, and its success depends on a number of factors including the ability of the dsRNA to survive harsh environmental conditions and to be taken up by pests with high mortality rates. These factors are being addressed in ongoing research and development of novel formulations, many utilizing nanomaterials.


Rodents are a diverse order of mammals that inhabit every habitat on earth. They are the second most successful mammal order, having adapted to every environment ranging from the arctic ice sheets to the driest deserts and humid rainforests. Rodents can survive on almost any food source. Rodents are important agricultural pests that can cause billions of dollars in crop damage each year, as well as contaminate food supplies with their urine and feces. They also transmit diseases to humans, such as the Black Death (bubonic plague) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Additionally, rodents are one of the major causes of island extinctions. Health problems from rodents are exacerbated by the fact that their droppings contain allergens that can trigger asthma and allergic rhinitis in sensitive persons.

Rodents have sharp front teeth that never stop growing and their constant gnawing can damage buildings, electrical wires, gas lines and other structures. Their gnawing has been the cause of fires that have destroyed many homes and businesses. They also destroy vegetation, create mud slides and undermine roads and bridges.

Sanitation is the first step in controlling rodents. This includes cleaning up and disposing of garbage on a regular basis and keeping all refuse, food and water sources away from building exteriors. All landscaped areas should be kept neatly trimmed, and firewood piles should be elevated to prevent rodent access. Garbage containers and dumpsters should have tight-fitting lids, and pet food should be stored indoors at all times to prevent the feeding of rats or mice.

Long-term rodent control for urban areas typically combines sanitation, exclusion and traps or baits in what is called an integrated pest management (IPM) program. A good IPM program includes routine inspections by staff or contractors and the use of a variety of traps, baits, mechanical controls and other non-chemical methods to manage pest populations.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are tiny, reddish-brown, wingless insects that feed on blood and live in many places, including bedrooms. They’re nocturnal, meaning they’re most active at night when people are sleeping. Bed bugs do not spread disease, but their bites can cause itchy skin problems.

The best way to treat a bed bug problem is to eliminate their hiding places. Doing this can be done by cleaning, vacuuming, and using silicon caulk to seal cracks and crevices. This prevents them from re-entering the room after treatment, and can help keep them away for good.

If you decide to use insecticides to kill bed bugs, be sure the label clearly states that it is safe for indoor use and that it will work against bed bugs. Using an insecticide that’s designed for garden, outdoor or agricultural use could expose your family to harmful chemicals, and might not even be effective against bed bugs.

Before treatment, physically inspect the room for bed bugs and eggs, and remove them as necessary. Also, double bag clothes, shoes and other personal items that may contain bedbugs or eggs and place them aside until they can be carefully cleaned or disposed of.

Vacuum all the surfaces in the infested area. This will reduce the number of bed bugs and their eggs, as well as any dead ones that are found after treatment. Make sure to use a vacuum that’s equipped with a HEPA filter, as this will help to minimize the return of allergens into the air.

Using mattress and pillow encasements can also prevent an infestation. These plastic covers block the bugs from accessing oxygen and food, suffocating them inside. In extreme cases, fumigation may be required. This involves leaving the home for several hours or overnight, and requires extensive preparation in advance.


Mosquitoes are annoying pests that not only feed on people and other animals, but also transmit diseases. While male mosquitoes only eat nectar, females need blood to produce eggs. They can be carriers of many different illnesses including encephalitis, Zika virus, West Nile virus and malaria.

The genus Aedes is responsible for many of the most dangerous mosquito-borne viruses, but other species of mosquito can also transmit disease. Many of these species have vastly different behavioural, anatomical and ecological traits that make them difficult to control.

All mosquitoes thrive in warm, humid conditions with access to water. Eggs, larvae and pupae all require submersion in water to develop, so eradication and population-control efforts often involve removal or treatment of standing water. Adult mosquitoes can be controlled with insecticide spraying, although chemical resistance is a significant issue.

Research is ongoing to explore alternatives to traditional pesticides, but many of these are not yet available. Some involve producing sterile mosquitoes through irradiation, genetically modifying them to carry a lethal gene or introducing the bacteria Wolbachia into the genome of female mosquitoes to reduce their fertility (Crawford et al. 2020).

In the meantime, community involvement and education are key to reducing breeding sites. Cities and communities should be encouraged to keep yards free of brush and dead leaves where water collects, and they can work together to position awnings, table umbrellas and other outdoor objects so they don’t hold water that can attract mosquitoes. Increased populations of mosquito’s natural predators can also help to decrease their numbers. Pesticides used to treat mosquitoes should be disposed of carefully, as they can run off into stormwater and pollute the surrounding environment.


Fleas are tiny, wingless parasites that thrive on the blood of animals and humans. Their piercing mouthparts, spiny back legs that lock into hair, fur or feathers and flattened laterally (from side to side) allow fleas to move between hosts with relative ease. The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common pest flea found in the United States. In the wild, it is primarily a predator of rodents but in our homes, it feeds on pets and humans. Its bites can transmit diseases such as the bubonic plague, murine typhus and tungiasis.

Adult fleas can survive up to two weeks without a meal, but are eager feeders and motivated by the need to lay eggs. They can quickly locate new hosts by sensing body heat, movements and breath and then jumping onto skin, fur or feathers to begin feeding. They are excellent jumpers – able to leap vertically up to seven inches and horizontally up to 13 inches.

In addition to the treatments that we provide for your pet, there are a number of things that you can do at home to help prevent fleas. Vacuuming frequently in high-concentration areas will help to remove existing fleas and their eggs. Washing your pet’s bedding regularly in hot water will kill fleas and their eggs as well.

If you have a severe flea problem, we can recommend more comprehensive treatment programs that include an inspection of your indoor and outdoor living spaces to determine potential breeding sites, as well as the use of insect growth regulators, which interfere with the normal development of fleas from egg to adult. We can also apply highly effective sprays or chemical-free heat treatments to effectively treat and control the flea infestation, while minimizing exposure to your family and pets.