When asked about how to control pests, most homeowners would immediately think of pesticides, but there are many ways to get rid of creepy-crawlies. Lee Maddocks, owner of Gold Coast based pest control company Richards Pest Control, explains the six approaches to pest control and how homeowners can apply them.
1. Chemical Control
The most obvious of the pest control strategies, chemical control nevertheless requires a mention – and a warning from Maddocks: “Most people don’t bother to read the label, especially when they’re buying a ready-mixed pesticide. Others will look no further than the instructions for mixing a concentrate. Although pest control chemicals available for home use are reasonably safe, they stop being safe when used irresponsibly or incorrectly.”
When the pesticides available to the general public seem ineffective, when the physical structure of the home is threatened, or when problems keep recurring, it’s time to consult the experts. “Qualified pest controllers have access to a broader range of chemicals, and beyond the chemicals themselves, they also understand the pests and what homeowners can do to protect themselves,” says Maddocks.
2. Physical Control
The simplest form of physical control is well-known to laypeople. Find the bug, squish it and that’s that. However, people are sometimes inclined to reach for pesticide right away, even when it’s not really necessary. “One caterpillar, or even 10 of them, in a garden doesn’t represent an infestation. Some pest species are relatively solitary, and catching the critter and killing it is the easiest way to go,” he explains.
But squishing bugs isn’t the only physical measure that works. “Barriers that prevent pests from accessing the home are also a form of physical pest control as is mending chinks and gaps that allow them in.”
3. Biological Control
Those who enjoy rodent-free homes because they own a cat are already using a simple form of biological pest control. In fact, it’s this handy habit that may have been behind the domestication of cats in the first place. But biological controls have become much more advanced over the years.
“Nowadays, we often use products that contain highly specific microorganisms that only target specific types of insects. They’re completely non-toxic and can’t affect humans, but they wreak havoc on pest populations. We also use beneficial insects, the most well-known example being ladybugs. From the average person’s perspective, that means avoiding broad-spectrum pesticides in the garden. They could be wiping out beneficial organisms along with the pests opening the door to future pest problems.”
4. Host Resistance
This method of pest control is primarily used in agriculture, but ordinary people can also benefit. “Certain strains of plants are purpose-bred to resist the pests and diseases that affect crops. In a home veggie garden, that would mean targeting these varieties to limit the need for vigilance against plant pathogens and insects,” says Maddocks.
“Another way to use host resistance is to ensure that household pets are resistant to ticks and fleas. Most pet owners will know about the spot treatments and tablets vets recommend for the job. They’re very effective, keep pets healthy, and help to prevent household flea infestations.”
5. Cultural Control
The way people grow plants can attract or repel pests. Cultural control in pest management usually refers to agriculture and veg gardening. Just keeping plants healthy and growing them in environments where pests and plant pathogens struggle to survive and reproduce can help to stave off attacks by their natural enemies.
“A simple example would be fungal diseases on plants,” says Maddocks. “If people plant them too close together or overwater them, they get sick. That’s when folks reach for chemical agents, but it may already be too late to stave off damage, and it wouldn’t be necessary if the correct cultural practices were followed.”
One of the best ways to prevent pest problems is to apply good sanitation practices. They range from the well-known to the ones people may not have considered in the past or may have forgotten.
“Most people know that they shouldn’t leave scraps of food lying around for flies, rodents, and cockroaches since it attracts them,” says Maddocks, “But they may have forgotten that bins need to seal properly. It’s a common mistake to omit looking for water damming up in gutters or outdoor objects where mosquitoes can breed, and of course, since untreated wood attracts termites, they may not realise the dangers of leaving untreated lumber or tree stumps in the garden.”
Experts Develop Holistic Pest Control Strategies for Homes
Maddocks emphasises the need for a pest control strategy that embraces several forms of control. A single pest control strategy, for example chemical control, may have limited effects, warns Maddocks: “When people experience serious pest problems, they may need to apply several of the control methods just discussed. Richards Pest Control operatives will assist clients with a full strategy that keeps pests at bay effectively, and for a longer period.”
For more information on all things pest control and ridding your home of unwanted guest including bedbugs or to learn more about how Richards Pest Control can keep your home properly maintained, visit the Best Pest Control In Gold Coast & Tweed | Richards Pest Control or call Lee and his team for a no obligation quotation on (07) 5533 9512.