pest control
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Pest control is the regulation or management of a
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of ...
defined as a
pest Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant deemed to be detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious disease, an illness resulting from an infection ** ...
; any animal, plant or fungus that impacts adversely on human activities or environment. The human response depends on the importance of the damage done and will range from tolerance, through deterrence and management, to attempts to completely eradicate the pest. Pest control measures may be performed as part of an
integrated pest management Integrated pest management (IPM), also known as integrated pest control (IPC) is a broad-based approach that integrates both pesticide, chemical and natural pest control, non-chemical practices for economic Pest control, control of pests. IPM aim ...
strategy. In agriculture, pests are kept at bay by
mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Machine (mechanical), a system of mechanisms that shape the actuator input to achieve a specific application of output forces and movement * Mechanical calculator, a device used to perform the basic operations of ...
,
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior, institutions, and Social norm, norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the ...
,
chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. Some references add that chemical substance cannot be separated into its constituent Chemical element, elements by physical separation m ...
and
biological Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary i ...
means. Ploughing and cultivation of the soil before sowing mitigate the pest burden, and crop rotation helps to reduce the build-up of a certain pest species. Concern about environment means limiting the use of pesticides in favour of other methods. This can be achieved by monitoring the crop, only applying
pesticides Pesticides are substances that are meant to pest control, control pest (organism), pests. This includes herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insect repellent, animal repellent, microb ...
when necessary, and by growing varieties and
crops A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence agriculture, subsistence. When the plants of the same kind are cultivated at one place on a large scale, it is called a crop. Most crops are cultivated in a ...
which are resistant to pests. Where possible, biological means are used, encouraging the natural enemies of the pests and introducing suitable
predators Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (wh ...
or parasites. In homes and urban environments, the pests are the
rodents Rodents (from Latin , 'to gnaw') are mammals of the Order (biology), order Rodentia (), which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are roden ...
,
birds Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all animal Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms in the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, b ...
,
insects Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, Thorax (ins ...
and other organisms that share the habitat with humans, and that feed on and/or spoil possessions. Control of these pests is attempted through exclusion or
quarantine A quarantine is a restriction on the Freedom of movement, movement of people, animals and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or Pest (organism), pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing th ...
, repulsion, physical removal or chemical means. Alternatively, various methods of biological control can be used including sterilisation programmes.


History

Pest control is at least as old as
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating Plant, plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of Sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of Domestication, domesticated species created food ...
, as there has always been a need to keep crops free from pests. As long ago as 3000 BC in Egypt,
cats The cat (''Felis catus'') is a Domestication of the cat, domestic species of small carnivorous mammal. It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and is commonly referred to as the domestic cat or house cat to distinguish it ...
were used to control pests of grain stores such as rodents.
Ferret The ferret (''Mustela furo'') is a small, Domestication, domesticated species belonging to the family Mustelidae. The ferret is most likely a domesticated form of the wild European polecat (''Mustela putorius''), evidenced by their Hybrid (biol ...
s were domesticated by 1500 BC in Europe for use as mousers.
Mongoose A mongoose is a small terrestrial carnivorous mammal belonging to the Family (biology), family Herpestidae. This family is currently split into two subfamilies, the Herpestinae and the Mungotinae. The Herpestinae comprises 23 living species tha ...
s were introduced into homes to control rodents and snakes, probably by the
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
ians. The conventional approach was probably the first to be employed, since it is comparatively easy to destroy weeds by burning them or ploughing them under, and to kill larger competing herbivores. Techniques such as
crop rotation Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crops in the same area across a sequence of growing seasons. It reduces reliance on one set of nutrients, pest and weed pressure, and the probability of developing resistant ...
,
companion planting Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for any of a number of different reasons, including pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, maximizing use of space, and ...
(also known as intercropping or mixed cropping), and the
selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to Selection (biology), selectively develop particular phenotypic traits (characteristics) by choosing which typically ...
of pest-resistant
cultivar A cultivar is a type of Horticulture, cultivated plant that people have selected for desired phenotypic trait, traits and when Plant propagation, propagated retain those traits. Methods used to propagate cultivars include: division, root and st ...
s have a long history. Chemical
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests. This includes herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insect repellent, animal repellent, microbicide, fungicide, ...
s were first used around 2500 BC, when the
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
ians used
sulphur Sulfur (or sulphur in British English) is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol S and atomic number 16. It is abundance of the chemical elements, abundant, Polyvalency (chemistry), multivalent and nonmetallic. Under standard c ...
compounds as
insecticide Insecticides are substances used to kill insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chit ...
s. Modern pest control was stimulated by the spread across the United States of the
Colorado potato beetle The Colorado potato beetle (''Leptinotarsa decemlineata''), also known as the Colorado beetle, the ten-striped spearman, the ten-lined potato beetle, or the potato bug, is a major Pest (organism), pest of potato crops. It is about long, with a ...
. After much discussion, arsenical compounds were used to control the beetle and the predicted poisoning of the human population did not occur. This led the way to a widespread acceptance of insecticides across the continent. With the
industrialisation Industrialisation (American and British English spelling differences, alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial society. This ...
and
mechanization Mechanization is the process of changing from working largely or exclusively by hand or with animals to doing that work with machinery. In an early engineering text a machine is defined as follows: In some fields, mechanization includes the ...
of agriculture in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the introduction of the insecticides
pyrethrum ''Pyrethrum'' was a genus of several Old World plants now classified as ''Chrysanthemum'' or ''Tanacetum'' which are cultivated as ornamentals for their showy Pseudanthium, flower heads. Pyrethrum continues to be used as a common name for plants ...
and derris, chemical pest control became widespread. In the 20th century, the discovery of several synthetic
insecticide Insecticides are substances used to kill insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chit ...
s, such as DDT, and
herbicide Herbicides (, ), also commonly known as weedkillers, are substances used to control undesired plants, also known as weeds.EPA. February 201Pesticides Industry. Sales and Usage 2006 and 2007: Market Estimates. Summary in press releasMain page fo ...
s boosted this development. Biological control is first recorded around 300 AD in China, when colonies of weaver ants, ''
Oecophylla smaragdina ''Oecophylla smaragdina'' (common names include Asian weaver ant, weaver ant, green ant, green tree ant, semut rangrang, semut kerangga, and orange gaster) is a species of tree, arboreal ant found in tropical Asia and Australia. These ants form ...
'', were intentionally placed in
citrus ''Citrus'' is a genus of flowering plant, flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as Orange (fruit), oranges, Lemon, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and lim ...
plantations to control beetles and caterpillars. which cites Also around 4000 BC in China,
duck Duck is the common name for numerous species of waterfowl in the family (biology), family Anatidae. Ducks are generally smaller and shorter-necked than swans and goose, geese, which are members of the same family. Divided among several subfam ...
s were used in paddy fields to consume pests, as illustrated in ancient cave art. In 1762, an Indian mynah was brought to Mauritius to control locusts, and about the same time, citrus trees in Burma were connected by bamboos to allow ants to pass between them and help control caterpillars. In the 1880s,
ladybird Coccinellidae () is a widespread family (biology), family of small beetles ranging in size from . They are commonly known as ladybugs in North America and ladybirds in Great Britain. Some Entomology, entomologists prefer the names ladybird be ...
s were used in citrus plantations in California to control
scale insect Scale insects are small insects of the Order (biology), order Hemiptera, suborder Sternorrhyncha. Of dramatically variable appearance and extreme sexual dimorphism, they comprise the infraorder Coccomorpha which is considered a more convenient g ...
s, and other biological control experiments followed. The introduction of DDT, a cheap and effective compound, put an effective stop to biological control experiments. By the 1960s, problems of resistance to chemicals and damage to the environment began to emerge, and biological control had a renaissance. Chemical pest control is still the predominant type of pest control today, although a renewed interest in traditional and biological pest control developed towards the end of the 20th century and continues to this day.


In agriculture, horticulture, and forestry


Control methods


Biological pest control

Biological pest control is a method of controlling pests such as
insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, Thorax (ins ...
s and
mite Mites are small arachnids (eight-legged arthropods). Mites span two large orders of arachnids, the Acariformes and the Parasitiformes, which were historically grouped together in the subclass Acari, but genetic analysis does not show clear evid ...
s by using other organisms. It relies on
predation Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (wh ...
,
parasitism Parasitism is a Symbiosis, close relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the Host (biology), host, causing it some harm, and is Adaptation, adapted structurally to this way of lif ...
,
herbivory A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example foliage or marine algae, for the main component of its diet. As a result of their plant diet, herbivorous animals typically have mouthpart ...
, parasitody or other natural mechanisms, but typically also involves an active human management role. Classical biological control involves the introduction of natural enemies of the pest that are bred in the laboratory and released into the environment. An alternative approach is to augment the natural enemies that occur in a particular area by releasing more, either in small, repeated batches, or in a single large-scale release. Ideally, the released organism will breed and survive, and provide long-term control. Biological control can be an important component of an
integrated pest management Integrated pest management (IPM), also known as integrated pest control (IPC) is a broad-based approach that integrates both pesticide, chemical and natural pest control, non-chemical practices for economic Pest control, control of pests. IPM aim ...
programme. For example: mosquitoes are often controlled by putting ''Bt
Bacillus thuringiensis ''Bacillus thuringiensis'' (or Bt) is a gram-positive bacteria, gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacterium, the most commonly used biological pesticide worldwide. ''B. thuringiensis'' also occurs naturally in the gut of caterpillars of various types ...
'' ssp. ''israelensis'', a bacterium that infects and kills mosquito larvae, in local water sources.


Cultural control

Mechanical pest control is the use of hands-on techniques as well as simple equipment and devices, that provides a protective barrier between
plant Plants are predominantly Photosynthesis, photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; however, all curr ...
s and
insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, Thorax (ins ...
s. This is referred to as
tillage Tillage is the agriculture, agricultural preparation of soil by mechanical wikt:agitation#Noun, agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning. Examples of manual labour, human-powered tilling methods using hand tools inc ...
and is one of the oldest methods of weed control as well as being useful for pest control; wireworms, the larvae of the common click beetle, are very destructive pests of newly ploughed grassland, and repeated cultivation exposes them to the birds and other predators that feed on them.
Crop rotation Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crops in the same area across a sequence of growing seasons. It reduces reliance on one set of nutrients, pest and weed pressure, and the probability of developing resistant ...
can help to control pests by depriving them of their host plants. It is a major tactic in the control of corn rootworm, and has reduced early season incidence of
Colorado potato beetle The Colorado potato beetle (''Leptinotarsa decemlineata''), also known as the Colorado beetle, the ten-striped spearman, the ten-lined potato beetle, or the potato bug, is a major Pest (organism), pest of potato crops. It is about long, with a ...
by as much as 95%.


Trap cropping

A
trap crop A trap crop is a plant that attracts agricultural pests, usually insects, away from nearby crops. This form of companion planting Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for any of a numb ...
is a crop of a plant that attracts pests, diverting them from nearby crops. Pests aggregated on the trap crop can be more easily controlled using pesticides or other methods. However, trap-cropping, on its own, has often failed to cost effectively reduce pest densities on large commercial scales, without the use of pesticides, possibly due to the pests' ability to disperse back into the main field.


Pesticides

Pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests. This includes herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insect repellent, animal repellent, microbicide, fungicide, ...
s are applied to crops by
agricultural aircraft An agricultural aircraft is an aircraft that has been built or converted for agricultural use – usually aerial application of pesticides (crop dusting) or fertilizer (aerial topdressing); in these roles they are referred to as "crop duster ...
, tractor-mounted crop sprayers, aerial spray by modern aircraft or as seed dressings to control pests. However, successful control by pesticides is not easy; the right formulation must be chosen, the timing is often critical, the method of application is important, adequate coverage and retention on the crop are necessary. The killing of natural enemies of the target pest should be minimized. This is particularly important in countries where there are natural reservoirs of pests and their enemies in the countryside surrounding plantation crops, and these co-exist in a delicate balance. Often in less-developed countries, the crops are well adapted to the local situation and no pesticides are needed. Where progressive farmers are using fertilizers to grow improved crop varieties, these are often more susceptible to pest damage, but the indiscriminate application of pesticides may be detrimental in the longer term. The efficacy of chemical pesticides tends to diminish over time. This is because any organism that manages to survive the initial application will pass on its genes to its offspring and a resistant strain will be developed. In this way, some of the most serious pests have developed resistance and are no longer killed by pesticides that used to kill their ancestors. This necessitates higher concentrations of chemical, more frequent applications and a movement to more expensive formulations. Pesticides are formulated to kill pests, but many have detrimental effects on non-target species; of particular concern is the damage done to honey-bees, solitary bees and other pollinating insects and in this regard, the time of day when the spray is applied can be important. The widely used
neonicotinoid Neonicotinoids (sometimes shortened to neonics ) are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine, developed by scientists at Royal Dutch Shell, Shell and Bayer in the 1980s. The neonicotinoid family includes acetamiprid, c ...
s have been banned on flowering crops in some countries because of their effects on bees. Some pesticides may cause
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases involving Cell growth#Disorders, abnormal cell growth with the potential to Invasion (cancer), invade or Metastasis, spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Poss ...
and other health problems in humans, as well as being harmful to wildlife. There can be acute effects immediately after exposure or chronic effects after continuous low-level, or occasional exposure. Maximum residue limits for pesticides in foodstuffs and animal feed are set by many nations.


Hunting

Pest control can also be achieved via
culling In biology, culling is the process of segregating organisms from a group according to desired or undesired characteristics. In animal breeding, it is the process of removing or segregating animals from a breeding stock based on a specific tr ...
the pest animals — generally small- to medium-sized wild or
feral A feral () animal or plant is one that lives in the wild but is descended from Domestication, domesticated individuals. As with an introduced species, the introduction of feral animals or plants to non-native regions may disrupt ecosystems an ...
mammals or birds that inhabit the
ecological niche In ecology, a niche is the match of a species to a specific environmental condition. Three variants of ecological niche are described by It describes how an organism or population responds to the distribution of Resource (biology), resources a ...
s near
farm A farm (also called an Agriculture, agricultural holding) is an area of land that is devoted primarily to Agriculture, agricultural processes with the primary objective of producing food and other crops; it is the basic facility in food produ ...
s,
pasture Pasture (from the Latin ''pastus'', past participle of ''pascere'', "to feed") is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep, or Domest ...
s or other
human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscule number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities ...
s — by employing human
hunter Hunting is the human activity, human practice of seeking, pursuing, capturing, or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest food (i.e. meat) and useful animal products (fur/hide (skin), hide, ...
s or trappers to physically track down, kill and remove them from the area. The culled animals, known as
vermin Vermin ( colloquially varmint(s) or varmit(s)) are pests or nuisance animals that spread diseases or destroy crops or livestock Livestock are the domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to provide labor and produce dive ...
, may be targeted because they are deemed harmful to agricultural crops, livestock or facilities; serve as
host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may also refer to: Places *Host, Pennsylvania, a village in Berks County People *Jim Host (born 1937), American businessman *Michel Host ( ...
s or
vector Vector most often refers to: *Euclidean vector In mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities ...
s that transmit
pathogen In biology, a pathogen ( el, πάθος, "suffering", "passion" and , "producer of") in the oldest and broadest sense, is any organism or agent that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a Germ ...
s across species or to humans; or for
population control Population control is the practice of artificially maintaining the size of any population Population typically refers to the number of people in a single area, whether it be a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, ...
as a mean of protecting other
vulnerable species A vulnerable species is a species which has been Conservation status, categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being threatened species, threatened with extinction unless the circumstances that are threatened species, ...
and
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syste ...
s. Pest control via hunting, like all forms of harvest, has imposed an artificial
selective pressure Any cause that reduces or increases reproductive success in a portion of a population potentially exerts evolutionary pressure, selective pressure or selection pressure, driving natural selection Natural selection is the differential sur ...
on the organisms being targeted. While varmint hunting is potentially selecting for desired
behavioural Behavior (American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages of the Unit ...
and
demographic Demography () is the statistics, statistical study of populations, especially human beings. Demographic analysis examines and measures the dimensions and Population dynamics, dynamics of populations; it can cover whole societies or groups ...
changes (e.g. animals avoiding human populated areas, crops and livestock), it can also result in unpredicted outcomes such as the targeted animal adapting for faster reproductive cycles.


Forestry

Forest pests present a significant problem because it is not easy to access the canopy and monitor pest populations. In addition, forestry pests such as bark beetles, kept under control by natural enemies in their native range, may be transported large distances in cut timber to places where they have no natural predators, enabling them to cause extensive economic damage.
Pheromone trap A pheromone trap is a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects. Sex pheromones and aggregating pheromones are the most common types used. A pheromone-impregnated lure, as the red rubber septa in the picture, is encased in a convent ...
s have been used to monitor pest populations in the canopy. These release volatile chemicals that attract males. Pheromone traps can detect the arrival of pests or alert foresters to outbreaks. For example, the
spruce budworm ''Choristoneura'' is a genus of moths in the family Tortricidae. Several species are serious pests of conifers, such as spruce and are known as spruce budworms. Species *''Choristoneura adumbratanus'' (Walsingham, 1900) *''Choristoneura africa ...
, a destructive pest of
spruce A spruce is a tree of the genus ''Picea'' (), a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal ecosystem, boreal (taiga) regions of the Earth. ''Picea'' is the sole gen ...
and
balsam fir ''Abies balsamea'' or balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland west to central Alberta) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in the App ...
, has been monitored using pheromone traps in Canadian forests for several decades. In some regions, such as New Brunswick, areas of forest are sprayed with pesticide to control the budworm population and prevent the damage caused during outbreaks.


In homes and cities

Many unwelcome animals visit or make their home in residential buildings, industrial sites and urban areas. Some contaminate foodstuffs, damage structural timbers, chew through fabrics or infest stored dry goods. Some inflict great economic loss, others carry diseases or cause fire hazards, and some are just a nuisance. Control of these pests has been attempted by improving sanitation and garbage control, modifying the habitat, and using repellents, growth regulators, traps, baits and pesticides.


General methods


Physical pest control

Physical pest control involves trapping or killing pests such as insects and rodents. Historically, local people or paid rat-catchers caught and killed rodents using dogs and traps. On a domestic scale, sticky flypapers are used to trap flies. In larger buildings, insects may be trapped using such means as
pheromone A pheromone () is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting like hormones outside the body of the secreting individual, to affect the behavio ...
s, synthetic volatile chemicals or ultraviolet light to attract the insects; some have a sticky base or an electrically charged grid to kill them. Glueboards are sometimes used for monitoring cockroaches and to catch rodents. Rodents can be killed by suitably baited spring traps and can be caught in cage traps for relocation. Talcum powder or "tracking powder" can be used to establish routes used by rodents inside buildings and acoustic devices can be used for detecting beetles in structural timbers. Historically, firearms have been one of the primary methods used for pest control. " Garden Guns" are smooth bore shotguns specifically made to fire .22 caliber
snake shot Snake shot (also commonly known as rat shot and dust shot) refers to handgun A handgun is a short-gun barrel, barrelled gun, typically a firearm, that is designed to be usable with only one hand. It is distinguished from a long gun (i.e. rif ...
or 9mm Flobert, and are commonly used by gardeners and farmers for snakes, rodents, birds, and other pest. Garden Guns are short-range weapons that can do little harm past 15 to 20 yards, and they're relatively quiet when fired with snake shot, compared to standard ammunition. These guns are especially effective inside of barns and sheds, as the snake shot will not shoot holes in the roof or walls, or more importantly, injure
livestock Livestock are the domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to provide labor and produce diversified products for consumption such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep an ...
with a
ricochet A ricochet ( ; ) is a rebound, bounce, or skip off a surface, particularly in the case of a projectile. Most ricochets are caused by accident and while the force of the deflection decelerates the projectile, it can still be energetic and almost ...
. They are also used for pest control at
airport An airport is an aerodrome with extended facilities, mostly for commercial air transport. Airports usually consists of a landing area, which comprises an aerially accessible open space including at least one operationally active surface ...
s,
warehouse A warehouse is a building for storing goods. Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs, etc. They are usually large plain buildings in industrial parks on the rural–urban fringe, outs ...
s, stockyards, etc. The most common shot cartridge is .22 Long Rifle loaded with #12 shot. At a distance of about , which is about the maximum effective range, the pattern is about in diameter from a standard rifle. Special smoothbore shotguns, such as the Marlin Model 25MG can produce effective patterns out to 15 or 20 yards using .22 WMR shotshells, which hold 1/8 oz. of #12 shot contained in a plastic capsule.


Poisoned bait

Poisoned bait is a common method for controlling rats, mice, birds, slugs, snails, ants, cockroaches, and other pests. The basic granules, or other formulation, contains a food attractant for the target species and a suitable poison. For ants, a slow-acting toxin is needed so that the workers have time to carry the substance back to the colony, and for flies, a quick-acting substance to prevent further egg-laying and nuisance. Baits for slugs and snails often contain the molluscide
metaldehyde Metaldehyde is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula (C8H16O4). It is used as a pesticide against slugs, snails, and other gastropods. It is the cyclic tetramer of acetaldehyde. Production and properties Metaldehyde is flammable, ...
, dangerous to children and household pets. An article in
Scientific American ''Scientific American'', informally abbreviated ''SciAm'' or sometimes ''SA'', is an American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla, have contributed articles to it. In print since 1845, it i ...
in 1885 described effective elimination of a
cockroach Cockroaches (or roaches) are a paraphyletic group of insects belonging to Blattodea, containing all members of the group except termites. About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. Some species are well-known a ...
infestation using fresh
cucumber Cucumber (''Cucumis sativus'') is a widely-cultivated creeping vine plant in the Cucurbitaceae family that bears usually cylindrical fruits, which are used as culinary vegetables.
Warfarin Warfarin, sold under the brand name Coumadin among others, is a medication that is used as an anticoagulant (blood thinner). It is commonly used to prevent blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and to prevent strok ...
has traditionally been used to kill rodents, but many populations have developed resistance to this
anticoagulant Anticoagulants, commonly known as blood thinners, are chemical substances that prevent or reduce coagulation of blood, prolonging the clotting time. Some of them occur naturally in blood-eating animals such as leeches and mosquito Mosqu ...
, and
difenacoum Difenacoum is an anticoagulant of the 4-Hydroxycoumarins, 4-hydroxycoumarin vitamin K antagonist type. It has anticoagulant effects and is used commercially as a rodenticide. It was first introduced in 1976 and first registered in the USA in 2007 ...
may be substituted. These are cumulative poisons, requiring bait stations to be topped up regularly. Poisoned meat has been used for centuries to kill animals such as wolves and birds of prey. Poisoned carcasses however kill a wide range of carrion feeders, not only the targeted species. Raptors in Israel were nearly wiped out following a period of intense poisoning of rats and other crop pests.


Fumigation

Fumigation Fumigation is a method of pest control or the removal of harmful micro-organisms by completely filling an area with gaseous pesticides—or fumigants—to suffocate or poison the pests within. It is used to control pests in buildings (s ...
is the treatment of a structure to kill pests such as wood-boring beetles by sealing it or surrounding it with an airtight cover such as a tent, and fogging with liquid insecticide for an extended period, typically of 24–72 hours. This is costly and inconvenient as the structure cannot be used during the treatment, but it targets all life stages of pests. An alternative, space treatment, is fogging or misting to disperse a liquid insecticide in the atmosphere within a building without evacuation or airtight sealing, allowing most work within the building to continue, at the cost of reduced penetration. Contact insecticides are generally used to minimize long-lasting residual effects.


Sterilization

Populations of pest insects can sometimes be dramatically reduced by the release of sterile individuals. This involves the mass rearing of a pest, sterilising it by means of X-rays or some other means, and releasing it into a wild population. It is particularly useful where a female only mates once and where the insect does not disperse widely. This technique has been successfully used against the New World screw-worm fly, some species of
tsetse fly Tsetse ( , or ) (sometimes spelled tzetze; also known as tik-tik flies), are large, biting flies that inhabit much of tropical Africa. Tsetse flies include all the species in the genus ''Glossina'', which are placed in their own family, Glos ...
, tropical
fruit flies Fruit fly may refer to: Organisms * Drosophilidae, a family of small flies, including: ** ''Drosophila'', the genus of small fruit flies and vinegar flies ** ''Drosophila melanogaster'' or common fruit fly ** ''Drosophila suzukii'' or Asian fruit ...
, the pink bollworm and the
codling moth The codling moth (''Cydia pomonella'') is a member of the Lepidopteran family Tortricidae. They are major Agricultural pests, pests to agricultural crops, mainly fruits such as apples and pears. Because the larvae are not able to feed on leaves, ...
, among others. Laboratory studies conducted with U-5897 (3-chloro-1,2-propanediol) were attempted in the early 1970s for rat control, although these proved unsuccessful. In 2013, New York City tested sterilization traps, demonstrating a 43% reduction in rat populations. The product ContraPest was approved for the sterilization of rodents by the
United States Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. President Richard Nixon pro ...
in August 2016.


Insulation

Boron Boron is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol B and atomic number 5. In its crystalline form it is a brittle, dark, lustrous metalloid; in its amorphous form it is a brown powder. As the lightest element of the ''boron g ...
, a known pesticide can be impregnated into the paper fibers of cellulose insulation at certain levels to achieve a mechanical kill factor for self-grooming insects such as ants, cockroaches, termites, and more. The addition of insulation into the attic and walls of a structure can provide control of common pests in addition to known insulation benefits such a robust thermal envelope and acoustic noise-canceling properties. The EPA regulates this type of general-use pesticide within the United States allowing it to only be sold and installed by licensed pest management professionals as part of an integrated pest management program. Simply adding Boron or an EPA-registered pesticide to an insulation does not qualify it as a pesticide. The dosage and method must be carefully controlled and monitored.


Methods for specific pests


Rodent control


=Urban rodent control

= Rodent control is vital in cities. .
New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the L ...
and cities across the state dramatically reduced their rodent populations in the early 1970s.
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro ( , , ; literally 'River of January'), or simply Rio, is the capital of the state of the same name, Brazil's third-most populous state, and the second-most populous city in Brazil, after São Paulo. Listed by the GaWC as a b ...
claims a reduction of 80% over only 2 years shortly thereafter. To better target efforts,
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
began scientifically surveying populations in 1972 and this was so useful that all Local Authorities in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Engli ...
soon followed.


=Natural rodent control

= Several wildlife rehabilitation organizations encourage natural form of rodent control through exclusion and predator support and preventing secondary poisoning altogether. The
United States Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. President Richard Nixon pro ...
notes in its Proposed Risk Mitigation Decision for Nine Rodenticides that "without habitat modification to make areas less attractive to commensal rodents, even eradication will not prevent new populations from recolonizing the habitat." The United States Environmental Protection Agency has prescribed guidelines for natural rodent control and for safe trapping in residential areas with subsequent release to the wild. People sometimes attempt to limit rodent damage using repellents. Balsam fir oil from the tree ''
Abies balsamea ''Abies balsamea'' or balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland west to central Alberta) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in the App ...
'' is an EPA approved non-toxic rodent repellent. ''Acacia polyacantha'' subsp. ''campylacantha'' root emits
chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) containing atoms from more than one chemical element held together by chemical bonds. A homonuclear molecule, molecule co ...
s that repel animals including
rat Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus ''Rattus''. Other rat genera include ''Neotoma'' (pack rats), ''Bandicota'' (bandicoot ...
s.PlantZAfrica.com
/ref> World AgroForestry Centre


Pantry pests

Insect pests including the Mediterranean flour moth, the Indian mealmoth, the cigarette beetle, the drugstore beetle, the confused flour beetle, the red flour beetle, the merchant grain beetle, the sawtoothed grain beetle, the wheat weevil, the
maize weevil Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bord ...
and the rice weevil infest stored dry foods such as flour, cereals and pasta. In the home, foodstuffs found to be infested are usually discarded, and storing such products in sealed containers should prevent the problem from reoccurring. The eggs of these insects are likely to go unnoticed, with the larvae being the destructive life stage, and the adult the most noticeable stage. Since pesticides are not safe to use near food, alternative treatments such as freezing for four days at or baking for half an hour at should kill any insects present.


Clothes moths

The larvae of clothes moths (mainly '' Tineola bisselliella'' and '' Tinea pellionella'') feed on fabrics and carpets, particularly those that are stored or soiled. The adult females lay batches of eggs on natural fibres, including wool, silk, and fur, as well as cotton and linen in blends. The developing larvae spin protective webbing and chew into the fabric, creating holes and specks of excrement. Damage is often concentrated in concealed locations, under collars and near seams of clothing, in folds and crevices in upholstery and round the edges of carpets as well as under furniture. Methods of control include using airtight containers for storage, periodic laundering of garments, trapping, freezing, heating and the use of chemicals; mothballs contain volatile insect repellents such as
1,4-Dichlorobenzene 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB, ''p''-DCB, or ''para''-dichlorobenzene, sometimes abbreviated as PDCB or para) is an organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen or carbon-car ...
which deter adults, but to kill the larvae, permethrin,
pyrethroid A pyrethroid is an organic compound similar to the natural pyrethrins, which are produced by the flowers of pyrethrums (''Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium'' and ''Chrysanthemum coccineum, C. coccineum''). Pyrethroids are used as commercial and hou ...
s or other insecticides may need to be used.


Carpet beetles

Carpet beetles are members of the family
Dermestidae Dermestidae are a family of Coleoptera Beetles are insects that form the Taxonomic rank, order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, Elytron, elytra, distinguishing them fr ...
, and while the adult beetles feed on
nectar Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants in glands called nectaries or nectarines, either within the flowers with which it attracts pollination, pollinating animals, or by extrafloral nectaries, which provide a nutrient source to anim ...
and
pollen Pollen is a powdery substance produced by Spermatophyte, seed plants. It consists of pollen grains (highly reduced microgametophytes), which produce male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen grains have a hard coat made of sporopollenin that protects ...
, the larvae are destructive pests in homes, warehouses, and museums. They feed on animal products including wool, silk, leather, fur, the bristles of hair brushes, pet hair, feathers, and museum specimens. They tend to infest hidden locations and may feed on larger areas of fabrics than do clothes moths, leaving behind specks of excrement and brown, hollow, bristly-looking cast skins. Management of infestations is difficult and is based on exclusion and sanitation where possible, resorting to pesticides when necessary. The beetles can fly in from outdoors and the larvae can survive on lint fragments, dust, and inside the bags of
vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remove dirt from floors, upholstery, draperies, and other surfaces. It is generally electrically driven. The dirt is collected by either a d ...
s. In warehouses and museums, sticky traps baited with suitable
pheromone A pheromone () is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting like hormones outside the body of the secreting individual, to affect the behavio ...
s can be used to identify problems, and heating, freezing, spraying the surface with insecticide, and fumigation will kill the insects when suitably applied. Susceptible items can be protected from attack by keeping them in clean airtight containers.


Bookworms

Books are sometimes attacked by cockroaches, silverfish, book mites, booklice, and various beetles which feed on the covers, paper, bindings and glue. They leave behind physical damage in the form of tiny holes as well as staining from their faeces. Book pests include the larder beetle, and the larvae of the black carpet beetle and the drugstore beetle which attack leather-bound books, while the common clothes moth and the brown house moth attack cloth bindings. These attacks are largely a problem with historic books, because modern bookbinding materials are less susceptible to this type of damage. Evidence of attack may be found in the form of tiny piles of book-dust and specks of
frass Frass refers loosely to the more or less solid excretion, excreta of insects, and to certain other related matter. Definition and etymology ''Frass'' is an informal term and accordingly it is variously used and variously defined. It is derived ...
. Damage may be concentrated in the spine, the projecting edges of pages and the cover. Prevention of attack relies on keeping books in cool, clean, dry positions with low humidity, and occasional inspections should be made. Treatment can be by freezing for lengthy periods, but some insect eggs are very resistant and can survive for long periods at low temperatures.


Beetles

Various beetles in the Bostrichoidea superfamily attack the dry, seasoned wood used as structural timber in houses and to make furniture. In most cases, it is the larvae that do the damage; these are invisible from the outside of the timber but are chewing away at the wood in the interior of the item. Examples of these are the powderpost beetles, which attack the sapwood of hardwoods, and the furniture beetles, which attacks softwoods, including plywood. The damage has already been done by the time the adult beetles bore their way out, leaving neat round holes behind them. The first that a householder knows about the beetle damage is often when a chair leg breaks off or a piece of structural timber caves in. Prevention is through chemical treatment of the timber prior to its use in construction or in furniture manufacture.


Termites

Termites Termites are small insects that live in colonies and have distinct castes (Eusociality, eusocial) and feed on wood or other dead plant matter. Termites comprise the infraorder Isoptera, or alternatively the Taxonomic rank#All ranks, epifamily ...
with
colonies In modern parlance, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the ''metropole, metropolit ...
in close proximity to houses can extend their galleries underground and make mud tubes to enter homes. The insects keep out of sight and chew their way through structural and decorative timbers, leaving the surface layers intact, as well as through cardboard, plastic and insulation materials. Their presence may become apparent when winged insects appear and swarm in the home in spring. Regular inspection of structures by a trained professional may help detect termite activity before the damage becomes substantial.; Inspection and monitoring of termites is important because termite alates (winged reproductives) may not always swarm inside a structure. Control and extermination is a professional job involving trying to exclude the insects from the building and trying to kill those already present. Soil-applied liquid termiticides provide a chemical barrier that prevents termites from entering buildings, and lethal baits can be used; these are eaten by foraging insects, and carried back to the nest and shared with other members of the colony, which goes into slow decline.


Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are midge-like flies in the family
Culicidae Mosquitoes (or mosquitos) are members of a group of almost 3,600 species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is oft ...
. Females of most species feed on blood and some act as vectors for
malaria Malaria is a Mosquito-borne disease, mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes Signs and symptoms, symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue (medical), tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In se ...
and other diseases. Historically they have been controlled by use of DDT and other chemical means, but since the adverse environmental effects of these insecticides have been realized, other means of control have been attempted. The insects rely on water in which to breed and the first line of control is to reduce possible breeding locations by draining marshes and reducing accumulations of standing water. Other approaches include biological control of larvae by the use of fish or other
predators Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (wh ...
, genetic control, the introduction of pathogens, growth-regulating hormones, the release of
pheromone A pheromone () is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting like hormones outside the body of the secreting individual, to affect the behavio ...
s and mosquito trapping.


On airfields

Birds are a significant hazard to aircraft, but it is difficult to keep them away from airfields. Several methods have been explored. Stunning birds by feeding them a bait containing stupefying substances has been tried, and it may be possible to reduce their numbers on airfields by reducing the number of earthworms and other invertebrates by soil treatment. Leaving the grass long on airfields rather than mowing it is also a deterrent to birds. Sonic nets are being trialled; these produce sounds that birds find distracting and seem effective at keeping birds away from affected areas.


Guidelines and legislation

Guidelines and legislation regarding the usage permitted methods of application and the storage conditions of pesticides and chemicals vary from country to country, often being legislated by each state of territory.


Australia


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Environment Protection Act 1997 ACT


New South Wales


South Australia

Pesticides Regulations 2003 SA Pursuant to Controlled Substances Act 1984 SA


Victoria

Health (Pest Control) Regulations 2002 Vic pursuant to the Health Act 1958 Vic


Western Australia

Health (Pesticide) Regulations 2011 WA pursuant to Health Act 1911 WA


India

The Insecticides Act 1968


Malaysia

Pesticide Act 1974


Singapore

Control of Vectors and Pesticides Act


United Kingdom

Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949


See also

* Bee removal * Electronic pest control * Garden guns * Nuisance wildlife management *
Rabbits in Australia European rabbit The European rabbit (''Oryctolagus cuniculus'') or coney is a species of rabbit native to the Iberian Peninsula (including Spain, Portugal, and Geography of France, southwestern France), western France, and the northern Atlas ...
* Wildlife contraceptive


References


External links


Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers
{{DEFAULTSORT:Pest Control