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Rodents (like mice and rats) chew wires and can cause a fire hazard. They also spread diseases such as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, leptospirosis and salmonella. Contact Pest Control Kansas City now!

Identifying pests is an important step in developing and implementing a pest management strategy. It enables the planner to select the control tactics that will be most effective and minimize any unintended damage to people, plants and other organisms. This process involves determining the type and severity of the pest, considering the environmental factors that may affect its control, and observing local and State laws and regulations regarding pesticide applications.

Whether it is an insect, weed, disease or microbe, correct identification of the pest is essential to effective pest control. Incorrect identification leads to improper control tactics that are often costly in time and money, as well as unnecessary risks to humans or the environment.

In the field, pest identification is typically accomplished by visual observation of the bug or plant. The shape, color, markings or other unique features, feeding habits and phenology of the pest are all important characteristics to consider. Insects are particularly useful in this respect as morphological features, such as mouthparts and wings, can be used to identify specific species.

A number of resources are available for learning to identify insects affecting crops. Contact your local County Extension service for printed and online insect identification guides specific to your crop. Some IPM programs offer pocket guides for insect scouting that include illustrations and photos of common crop pests.

The use of a variety of techniques for pest identification is recommended. These include examining the pest in its natural habitat, as well as searching for signs of infestation in its feeding or nesting habits. The identification of the host plant and the presence or absence of natural enemies should also be considered. In addition, a pesticide label should be examined to ensure the application method is appropriate and that all local, State, and Federal pesticide application regulations are followed.

In the home, accurate pest identification is essential. Many people are quick to kill anything with six legs, but a few careful observations could save you time, money and unnecessary risk. Silverfish (Firebrats): flattened insects with 3 tails, gray or tan in color, found in boxes, cabinets, closets, bathrooms, and around stored books and papers. Dehumidify and store these items in sealed containers. Cockroaches: 12 inch long, brown to black, antennae long, found in kitchen and bathroom, usually seen at night. Sanitation and roach baits are primary controls.


There are a wide variety of pesticides available, each designed to kill or harm insects in a specific way. They may disrupt the nervous system, damage exoskeletons, or act in some other fashion. They can be delivered as sprays, dusts, gels or baits. Nearly all commercial pesticides are complex mixtures of the active ingredient and a large number of other ingredients. The other ingredients are used to increase the efficacy of the product, decrease its toxicity or allow it to be sold in different forms such as a liquid, powder or aerosol. Many of these other ingredients are considered proprietary information and are not disclosed.

Most pesticides are designed to kill the targeted pest, but they can also harm other insects and animals, including humans and pets, and pollute the environment. For this reason it is important to select the most environmentally friendly option, follow all label instructions, use the least amount possible and carefully clean up after application. In order to minimize health risks, always wear the recommended protective clothing when working with pesticides.

The use of pesticides is regulated at federal, provincial and territorial levels through various acts, regulations, guidelines, directives and bylaws. At the provincial and territorial level, governments are responsible for licensing applicators, vendors and growers, responding to spills and incidents and ensuring that pesticides work as claimed on their labels.

In addition, provincial and territorial governments regulate the sale, storage, transportation and disposal of pesticides and the training, certification and licensing of those who sell or apply them. This ensures that all people using pesticides are adequately trained and have the appropriate safety equipment and knowledge to minimize their risk of injury or poisoning.

Beyond Pesticides has also worked to hold federal agencies accountable to the Endangered Species Act, which requires that they consult with federal wildlife agencies on how to best conserve ecosystems on which threatened and endangered species depend. This includes addressing the overuse of chemical pesticides, which can lead to the loss of valuable habitat and increase the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals.

When a pesticide is used incorrectly, it can have serious health consequences for people and other living things, such as changing heart rate, difficulty breathing or unconsciousness. This can be caused by a single exposure or repeated exposures over time (chronic poisoning).

Biological Control

Biological control uses living organisms (often called “natural enemies”) to suppress pest populations below damaging or intolerable levels. People use them in gardens, greenhouses and some fruit and vegetable fields to replace chemical pesticides. The organisms are imported, augmented or conserved and they form dynamic, self-maintaining populations. This makes them more complex and costly to use than chemical pesticides. They also take longer to work and must be reapplied regularly. However, they are safer for the environment than conventional pesticides and are less likely to persist in the soil.

Using natural enemies to control a pest must be done carefully and in accordance with strict guidelines. They must be native to the area of release and related to the pest they are targeting. They must be collected in their home range and then undergo a lengthy testing, quarantine and rearing process to ensure that they are healthy and free of unwanted diseases or parasitoids. Once the enemy population is established, it may require a few generations to kill all of the target pests.

The classic biological control method involves introducing an insect of foreign origin to kill a pest that is of the same or closely related species and which is often of foreign origin (called exotic, introduced or invasive). Examples include the use of decapitating flies against red imported fire ants and flea beetles, thrips and stem borers against alligator weed.

Other methods of biological control use natural enemies that are already present in the field or garden. These are known as augmentation biological controls. The augmentation method of biological control is the most common in greenhouses, nurseries and some fruit and vegetable fields. The goal is to enhance the number or effectiveness of existing natural enemies in order to reduce pest damage. This is typically accomplished through the introduction of predators and parasitoids.

Inundative biological control uses large numbers of natural enemies to quickly overtake a pest population and bring it into balance. This method is most commonly used to control weeds, nematodes and pathogens. Some pathogenic organisms, such as fungi, penetrate insects’ external cuticle and cause disease inside, while others, such as bacteria and viruses, infect and destroy the internal organs.


Pest infestations are more than just a nuisance. Rodents, insects and other unwanted critters can carry dangerous pathogens that pose health risks to people, pets and livestock. They can also destroy valuable crops and damage structures and properties. Pest control methods are designed to eradicate them before they cause significant problems.

Prevention is the best approach to pest control, and it can be as simple as sealing entry points, proofing buildings, proper storage and waste disposal, and trimming trees and bushes away from structures. Pests are attracted to food, water and shelter, so reducing their available resources will deter them. Regular inspections and quick action can prevent small problems from becoming major infestations that are expensive to treat.

Clutter provides hiding and breeding areas for pests, so get rid of piles of paper and cardboard. Keep food in sealed containers, and dispose of garbage regularly. Regularly vacuum and sanitize floors, carpeting and furniture. Keep woodpiles away from houses, and trim branches and bushes to reduce access to roofs and utility lines. Inspect windows and doors for cracks, and caulk them as needed. Regularly check the foundation, siding and roof for openings, and patch or fill them as soon as you notice them.

Biological pest control uses natural enemies of a target pest, including parasites, predators and pathogens, to disrupt their population growth. This method is often used in conjunction with other controls and may have a lag time before it takes effect.

Eradication is rarely a goal in outdoor pest situations, but it can be successful in enclosed environments such as greenhouses and indoor areas. Eradication strategies for plant diseases are more common, and they can be augmented with chemical controls.

Integrative Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests and their damage through monitoring, manipulation of environmental factors, resistance management and the use of nontoxic treatments when necessary. It’s important to work with a licensed pest control professional to ensure that preventive measures are effective, and any pesticides are applied with precision to minimize off-target movement and environmental contamination.