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Pest Control Methods – Chapter 1 – Organic Pest Control

Posted on September 4th, 2017 by Panther Pest Control Team
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biological pest control - pest control methods

Image source: Wikipedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

Table of Contents

Chapter I – Organic Pest Control Methods

1.Organic Methods of Pest Control

2.Natural Pesticides For Plants

3.Best Insecticide For Vegetable Garden

Chapter II – Chemical Pest Control Methods

1.Chemical pest control methods

2.Advantages and Disadvantages of Chemical Pest Control

3.Texture of Chemical Pesticides


Chapter III – Rodent Control Methods

1.Rodent Pest Control Methods

2.Rat Pest Control Methods

3.Common Rat Control Products

4.Mice Pest Control Methods

Chapter IV – Bird Control Methods

1.Bird Control Methods

Pest control is a process of exterminating pests that is as old as agriculture. People have been trying to get rid of rodents and insects the moment they started taking care of crops. Nowadays, pest treatments are done with the help of special insecticides and modern technology which brings innovations to the existing pest control methods.

A wide range of pest control methods and techniques exist and continue to be developed each year. Though, some methods of pest extermination remain fundamental such as:

  1. Biological pest control
    This is a pest control method that utilizes predators and parasites to control vermin. The goal is to eliminate a pest species with a minimum negative impact on the environment, which means no usage of chemicals such as insecticides.
  2. Pest-destroying animals
    A technique for pest eradication that requires animals that naturally feed on pest. Such animals are cats, ferrets, birds of prey and more.
  3. Pesticides (chemical pest control)
    Chemical pest control through the usage of pesticides is the most common way to treat farmlands and crop fields. Crop dusters fly over the territory and spray the whole area with the insecticides, which keep pests away from the plantations.

However, this appears to be a very unhealthy and dangerous approach for pest extermination as spraying with pesticides pose a big threat to humans’ health and is related to cancer diseases. It also destroys the wildlife, mostly bees who are extremely important for the ecosystem.
Down below, all common pest control methods are explained in detail and additional information is provided.

Why is Pest Control Important?

  • Health issues
    The bubonic plague was transfered by rodents. Therefore the population of all pests should be kept at low levels. This reduces the risk of disease transmission. Check the damages and risks of a rat infestation.
  • Impact on production and resource
    Pests are able to destroy entire agricultural planting zones if not controlled properly. This may leave a whole population without food supplies. This might lead to total starvation or even death. For this reason, pest control has essential role in protecting plants from insects that feed on them.
  • Prevents structural damage
    Rodents, especially rats are able to eat through cables and cause data loss or electricity issues worth a fortune.
  • Hygiene
    Commercial properties such as hotels, kitchens and hospitals maintain a high level of hygiene which should not be disrupted by contamination caused by pests. To ensure such security, business owners spend a fortune on pest control each year. Wide range of methods are used during regular pest treatments. Among the most popular are setting bait stations or doing complete fumigation of entire premises.

Organic Methods of Pest Control

Image source: Wikipedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

What is Organic Pest Control?

The organic pest control method, also known as biological pest control, is a method of controlling pest animal species (predators), pathogens or parasites). The most common natural processes that allow this are called predation, parasitism and herbivory. For the last century, the most significant achievements in terms of organic pest control were made by humans. The anthropogenic factor creates an environment for the development and maintenance of IPM (integrated pest management programs).The natural predators of pests are called biological control agents. These are mostly predators but organisms such as parasitoids and pathogens belong to the same category.

It’s important to point out that any type of organic pest control leaves a footprint on Earth and affects the biodiversity. If not executed properly, an IPM may lead to the extermination of a particular pest species, which is a natural prey of the newly introduced predator.

Types of Organic Pest Control

3 basic types of organic pest control are currently being used effectively. Anyone interested in pest control methods should carefully read the information we provide for each of them.

Importation

As explained above, the process of exterminating pest thanks to its natural predator is absolutely organic. However, such predators or parasites are often not present in the area or their population is so low that it’s simply not enough to deal with the pest on time.

When this happens, biologists and pest control experts work together to initiate a proper importation. This introduces a new animal or plant species where it naturally doesn’t exist. Usually, organisms that adapt quickly to a new environment are used. When this procedure is not researched carefully, it may lead to the new introduced species turning into pest itself.

The introduced animal species should rely heavily on the pest as a food source. This way, when the population of the pest is reduced, the population of the imported species will maintain itself naturally without going out of control.

Augmentation

parasitoid wasp used for augmentation process - a method of pest control

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: Public Domain

The difference between the importation and the augmentation methods of organic pest control is that augmentation is used on natural enemies of pests that already live in the infested area, no importation is required.

During augmentation the control agents’ population gets boosted by people who manually release more of them in precise intervals of time. This helps for the faster reproduction of the control agents so that they can reach a population big enough to destroy the targeted pest.

Another approach of the augmentation process is to release a large population of the control agent all at once, this is called inoculative release. When this is done, the control agent should exterminate the targeted pest as soon as possible, before its population gets out of control too quickly.

A parasitoid wasp is often released on the territory of crops where the population of greenhouse whitefly threatens the production process. The wasps deals with the pest naturally and doesn’t cause any damage to the crops.

Conservation

Birds attracted for conservation biological pest control method

Image source: Pixabay; License type: Public Domain

The conservation pest control method has the purpose of providing good conditions for the biological agent that is already used to the habitat and the targeted pest for extermination. These conditions are created artificially by people so that the pest’s natural enemy can survive, reproduce and live in a much more suitable environment.

When wasps are the primary biological unit a nectar-producing plants are planted by humans to ensure the conservation of the wasps. Therefore, the flying insects will maintain and even increase their population, which will help them continue the organic extermination of the targeted pest (often other insect) as wasps are carnivorous and feed on other animals as well.

When conservation is done properly, the necessity of chemical insecticides is greatly decreased. This provides opportunity for plants with a much better quality and less toxicity.

You can use conservation methods for DIY pest control purpose even in your garden. Simply learn how to attract birds in your garden. This way you will get rid of at least several insect species birds feed on.

Animals Used for Biological Pest Control

hedgehog - pest-destroying animal

Image source: Pixabay; License type: Public Domain

Predators

    • Dragonflies
      Dragonflies naturally hunt on mosquitoes and are able to exterminate them while the pest is in the water or in the air. Organic pest control of this types is preferred, compared to using chemical pesticides, which along with the mosquitoes, kill dragonflies as well.
    • Lacewings
      Green lacewings are used for organic pest control of insects and mites, especially in agriculture and private gardens. These biological control agents are the perfect weapon against Colorado potato beetles, many caterpillars, borers, corn earworms, leafhoppers, whiteflies and more. Sources of sugar are very tempting to lacewings and attract them in an instant (in case you decide you need some in your garden).
    • Ground beetle
      Ground beetles are very beneficial insects for your garden – they create tunnels under the ground, which are later used for hunting their prey. Usually, the ground beetles hunt or insect which are common pests such as: corn earworms, asparagus beetles, cabbage worms and more. Flat stones provide perfect shelter for the ground beetles, feel free to place some in your garden to attract this biological control agent to your yard.
    • Centipedes
    • Ladybugs
      Ladybugs are harmless, their larvae, on the other side, is a vicious predator that feeds on pest such as aphids, greenfly, mites and some caterpillars. Next time you spot plenty of ladybugs in your garden, we advise you to better let them spread even further instead of exterminating them.
    • Frogs
    • Toads
      There’s no need to explain this any further. Simply take a look at this gluttonous toad, it eats anything in its sight.

  • Lizards
  • Hedgehogs
  • Birds
  • Cats
  • Dogs
    Rat terriers kill field mice, rats, june bugs, and birds. Dogs chase away many types of pest animals. Terriers are great helpers to farmers who want to deal with tons of sneaky rodents without the use of pesticides.
    Embed video of terriers hunting rats:

Parasitoid insects

Prasitoid insects are types of insect species which lay their eggs inside the body of a host. The body is later used by the larvae as a food source. Parasitoid insects are among the most suitable animals for the organic pest control method. There are four major group of parasitoid insects:

  • Ichneumonid wasps
    This species prey on caterpillars and moths, which makes a very efficient biological control agent.
  • Braconid wasps
    Feed on greenflies and use cabbage white caterpillar as host for their larvae. Great for organic pest control in gardens.
  • Chalcid wasp
    Parasitizes the eggs and the larvae of whiteflies, greenflies, strawberry tortrix morth and other inect species.
  • Tachinid fly
    The tachnid fly’s larvae are endoparasites, which means internal parasites. They use the bodies of insects such as caterpillars, butterflies and moths as a host. Bees and sawflies are also parasitised by the tachinidae.

Parasitic nematodes

parasitic nematode effective for organic pest control method

Image source: Wikipedia; License type: Public Domain

Parasitic nematodes are species which aim to kill other insects in order to change the process of their development. Nematodes are also popular by the name roundworms and there are over 25 000 species of nematodes on Earth.

There are 2 major types of nematodes. The first type are predatory and are very suitable for organic pest control procedures as they kill various pests. The other type spread plant viruses between separate plantations and are considered to be extremely harmful in agricultural aspect.

Predatory nematodes will protect your garden from: cutworms, corn earworm moths and other nematode species which are pests.

Most of the parasitic nematode species live in the top layer of the soil, not deeper than 15cm from the surface. Unlike other organisms, nematodes do not decompose organic matter, instead, they feed on living organisms. Bacteria can be destroyed effectively by nematodes, which makes its regulation much easier. An average of 5000 bacterial organisms may be destroyed per minute by nematodes.

Biological Pest Control Method Advantages and Benefits

The positive effects of biological pest control are unquestionable. It’s something that occurs in nature organically and people make further developments to get the most of what Earth provides us as methods of organic pest control.

Some are still confused what are the actual advantages and benefits of the biological pest control processes. That’s why we are about to point out the 3 primary advantages, which make any organic pest control efforts totally reasonable.

Sustainability Benefits

sustainability benefits of organic pest control method

Image source: Pixabay; License type: Public Domain

Any form of biological pest control is better for the environment than using chemicals as a solution. There is no water or soil contamination when organic pest control method is used. Biological control agents that are used in IPM programmes are harmless unless their population get out of control.

The risk of losing certificates of any kind if you’re a farmer is greatly reduced when biological pest control is used as alternative to the chemical treatments. Here is the full list of biological pest control advantages related to sustainability:

  1. Reduced toxicity of groundwater
  2. Beneficial insects are preserved
  3. Plant food nutrients are maintained at high levels
  4. More quality food
  5. No soil contamination
  6. Better soil fertility
  7. Cleaner air

Precise Targeting

As mentioned earlier, precise targeting is a huge advantage of the biological pest control. When another organism is supposed to destroy a pest it usually threatens only the targeted pest and nothing more.

This precise targeting greatly helps to preserve other animal species in the area of pest control such as birds, reptiles, mammals and other non-targeted insects.
Wildlife suffers from chemical pest control and organic methods of extermination prevent this.
In fact, according to an article, published by the Guardian, about 97% of the endangered species on Earth are threatened of extinction only from 2 extremely dangerous pesticides.

Health Benefits

health benefits of biological pest control method

Image source: Pixabay; License type: Public Domain

First thing that evokes when your hear “pesticides” is probably cancer. And there’s a reason for this. Cancer among children increases each year and one of the reasons for this is probably the use of pesticides.

Organic pest removes the risk of cancer from consuming agricultural products or at least minimizes it significantly as the plants are not sprayed with chemicals. According to medical studies, products like pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are linked not just to cancer but to a whole list of diseases such as:

  • Breast cancer
  • Brain functionality issues
  • Various Birth defects
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Infertility
  • Autism
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Depression
  • Prostate cancer

All these terrifying diseases may be avoided with the implementation of organic pest control instead of spraying with chemical pesticides.

What Fruits Have the Most Pesticides on Them

fruits that contain most pesticides

Image source: Pixabay; Licence type: Public Domain

USA today published an article in which the fruits that contain most pesticides are listed, based on research and studies conducted by EWG (Environmental Working Group). According to these 2 trusted sources, the fruits that are richest in pesticides and we buy and consume quite often are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

Natural Pesticides For Plants

natural insect repellent

Image source: Wikipedia; License type: CC BY 3.0

Natural remedies for pest control were used long before the invention of the chemical substances that now largely distributed across the whole world. Most natural pesticides serve primarily as repellents and only make the pest run away from the sprayed areas. Other natural substances are much stronger and can put an end to various pests.

Most natural pesticides are prepared by mixing essence from plants and weed with water. This allows easy and efficient spraying over the areas, which get frequently infested and threaten the life of plants. We’ve mention such DIY solutions in other posts in our pest control blog but let’s see more of them:

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceious earth is the alpha and omega of home remedies, you’ll see it in every list, mostly at the top. Its unique structure, which consists of super tiny and sharp particles destroys the exoskeleton of insects like cockroaches and leads to total dehydration and death. It’s super effective! That’s why at Panther Pest Control, we highly recommend this home remedy to any of you, especially if cockroach have infested the property.

How to make a spray out of Diatomaceous earth?

Simple. Grind some dry chile into powder and mix with a cup of diatomaceous earth. Add about 2 liters of water and let it settle down for several hours. Shake well before you apply it and start spraying all over the place where bugs were spotted.
Neem Juice Spray
Neem oil is such a good natural remedy for pest control that even Indians have used it for protecting their plantations. There are more than 50 natural insecticides in the neem juice, which makes it top 1 natural repellent (highly arguable statement to some).

You don’t need more than an ounce of neem oil extract for your DIY pest control spray. Mix it with a teaspoon of liquid soap and add some hot water to these ingredients. Stir it and put inside a spray bottle. Then you’ll have a working and battle-tested neem juice spray that kills bugs 24/7.

A complete guide on how to use neem leaves as a natural pesticide.

Tobacco Spray

Tobacco is bad for anyone, not just humans, It’s hazardous compounds kill pests such as caterpillars and aphids quickly.

200gr of tobacco mixed with water will deal some great damage to any pest insects in your garden. You can spray almost any plants except nightshades such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and more.
Lime sulfur and dormant oil
Lime sulfur and dormant oil are best used as a spray, applied directly on the trunk and branches of fruit trees while they are dormant. This will stop the oxygen to any insect eggs on the tree.

It’s very important to point out that this mixture of sulfur and oil must be applied only during dormancy, otherwise it will cause inevitable damage to the tree.

For maximum efficiency, it’s recommended to wait until daytime when the temperature is between 12 and 15 °C for 3 or 4 consecutive days. Apply the spray before the buds of the tree open. Applying too late or too early will lead to no success of the organic pest treatment.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a sugar substance that is harmless to people in small quantities but kill ants super easily. Just combine aspartame with a liquid that is sticky and sugary such as apple juice and sprinkle it where ants crawl inside your property.

The juice will attract them quickly and once they consume some of it, they’re doomed.

Borax powder and corn syrup mixture

This mixture is simply deadly. Use equal parts of both substances and spread similar to the way you’d use the aspartame mixture. The borax powder is a bit more effective as it take effect more slowly which gives the poisoned ants time to get to the colony, where they’ll spread the poison further.

Her method is to mix equal parts and corn syrup and spread on an index card. The ants are attracted to the sweetener, eat it and take it back to their nest and it poisons them. Again, not an immediate fix, but a good long-term one.

Best Insecticide For Vegetable Garden

Some insecticides are suitable for application in your garden against various pests but some are simply better. We’ve researched the best insecticides for a vegetable garden that are organic and safe. In addition to this, they’ll give quick and efficient results without the extra hustle that stops others from doing any pest control themselves.

Horticultural Oils

This is made from very well-refined extracts of crude oil. Horticultural oils have perfect application for gardens because this substance poses zero threat to humans and biological control agents which destroy pests organically.

Horticultural oil have instant deadly effect on pest insects due to the ultimate ability of this substance to block the pores of the exoskeleton, through which the insect absorbs oxygen.

When you spray with horticultural oils make sure you carefully control the temperature of the liquid. It should not exceed 30°C, neither should it be colder than 4.5 °C, otherwise it will cause harm to the plant.

Use the oil spray effective against any of these pests: spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, leafhoppers, corn earworms etc.

Pyrethrin-based Insecticides

pyrethrin - a natural insecticide

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: CC BY-SA 3.0

All such insecticides consist primarily of pyrethrin, which is extracted from flowers of the pyrethrum chrysanthemum plant. This extract, mixed with water, creates the perfect organic pest control spray for most common household pests such as ants, fleas, aphids, cockroaches, flies, wasps, caterpillars and more.

It gets quickly removed from plants and soil and causes no damage to any of these except the pests. It’s also non-toxic to household pests and to humans.

To wipe out insects with pyrethrin-based product they should have contact with the substances, to its recommended to spray directly on them or to treat all infested surfaces with the spray.
and livestock. Pyrethrin works as a fast knock-down for insects as soon as they come in contact with it, but they may revive if the dose you use is not high enough.
Important! – Pyrethrin-based products are known for destroying beneficial insects too, which may disrupt the pollination of your garden. This is why we highly recommend to use it only in case your plants are severely infested by a particular pest. Once killed, you can spray the treated plants with pure water to minimize the risk of killing beneficial insects.
Pyrethrin-based sprays may turn out to be ineffective and only stun insects instead of killing them if the essence is not mixed with synergists such as piperonyl butoxide. If you don’t have success, seek for alternative compounds you can add to your spray to enhance its deadly potential.

Insecticidal Soaps

This is effective only to insects with soft bodies such as spider mites, mealybugs, aphids and whiteflies. This might be an advantage as other beneficial insects will not be harmed by the acids of the insecticidal soap.

Feel free to use insecticidal soap spray in your vegetable garden, it’s highly unlikely to cause any harm to your veggies. Don’t use any standard soap products for dishes or hands, even if some state that they would kill insect, such product may do more harm to your plants than protection from pests.

Ingredients for the spray:

  • 5 tablespoons of insecticidal spray
  • 3.8 liters of water
  • Use cooking oil if you want to make the solution more sticky

Use it with care and if you spot any unpleasant effect on your plants, treat with clean water and don’t use the spray any more.