What is Integrated Pest Control
Integrated Pest Management consists of ideas, processes, and considerations. The concept behind Integrated Pest Management is to understand the nature and habits of the specific pest we are dealing with so that we can not only treat the problem but also prevent future problems. An excellent example is a mosquito infestation at a residential home. We know that mosquitoes need standing water, such as a puddle of mud or a flowerpot filled with water, so tech will walk around a house to look for any standing water and be sure to empty the water out, preventing future mosquito problems and thus less frequent visits to apply pesticides to the property.
Integrated Pest Management vs Pest Control
1) Integrated Pest Management and Pest Control are two different approaches to treating pest problems. Integrated Pest Management first understands the pest situation, not just sees a bug and decides to apply a chemical. For Example, Mosquitoes lay eggs in still water. Pest management would tell you to dump the water out instead of treating it with pesticide dunks. Just like medicine and humans, Using the least amount of pesticides is the best route if possible.
2) Another difference between Integrated Pest Management and Pest Control is an assessment of pest threshold. A good example is, here in Alaska, if a home has carpenter ants in their yard in September. However, if the ants have yet to enter the home, we suggest that customers wait until the snow falls. When it gets cold, ants naturally hunker down in trees or soil to keep warm. If customers are worried that the ants will try to hunker down in their homes, then we would just apply a liquid pesticide barrier at the base of the home. The barrier would simply be applied three feet out from the base of the home and then three feet up on the home instead of treating the whole yard.
3) One of the most well-known problems with pest control is the overuse of pesticides, which can lead to resistance. If Insects are consistently exposed to the same pesticides and survive, they will vary and build up resistance. One way for us to use Integragted Pest Management skills is to understand the habits and nature of the pest we are dealing with. For example, suppose customers are getting many flies in their yard. In that case, regular pest control methods of old may have a technician apply pesticides to the whole yard, which disrupts other beneficial insects like bees. Using pest management skills, we understand that flies like to lay eggs in mud. In this case, we would have the tech look for muddy areas and planter boxes where flies love to lay eggs and treat those specific areas.
4) Integrated Pest Management also deals with the customer. Does the customer freak out when seeing a spider in their home but love the ants foraging outside? By understanding that we only need to treat the indoor spiders and not all the insects, we cut down on many pesticides typically used in this situation. Because we understand the nature of spiders in Alaska, the simplest way to fix this would be to apply a simple 3-foot barrier up and 3-foot barrier out at the base of the home and then treat the attic and crawlspace.
5) Informing homeowners about what they can do to minimize pest problems is another form of Integrated Pest Management. For example, if a customer has a cockroach, they will have a better chance of needing fewer return visits to reapply pesticides if they ensure that there are no crumbs, grease, or food left out in the home.
How to Inspect a Home for Pest Problems
1) Where are you seeing the cockroaches?
Assessment: The areas where customers have been seeing Cockroaches are where the technician will focus.
2) Do you see a cluster of black dots? If so, where?
Assessment: Black dots are a sign of fecal matter left by cockroaches. Cockroach fecal matter is usually found near cabinets in the kitchen, by light sockets, or on walls. These are hot areas to treat.
3) Are there any crumbs or leftover grease in the kitchen?
Assessment: The Customer should clean the kitchen so that if the technician puts down bait, the cockroaches are more likely to go for the bait than the leftover crumbs and grease.
4) Where do you keep your dog or cat food?
Assessment: Animal food should be put in airtight containers so Cockroaches have a limited food supply.
5) Do you have any water leaks under your sinks?
Assessment: In Florida, cockroaches are known as water bugs because they are attracted to water. The Customer should fix the leaks.
6) How long have you had cockroaches?
Assessment: This will give the technician an idea of how bad the cockroach infestation is and how they will treat them. Usually, the longer the cockroaches have been in the home, the more time they have had to reproduce.
7) Did you move in?
Assessment: Cockroaches are not native to Alaska, so if someone moved here from Hawaii, where cockroaches are very prevalent, we know where the problem came from.
8) What have you tried so far to eliminate the cockroaches?
Assessment: If customers have used store-bought products and they have yet to work, we will only use products with the same active ingredient.
9) Do you have toddlers?
Assessment- people with toddlers are likelier to have crumbs in the home. In this case, we recommend watching for crumbs, which are a whole meal for cockroaches.
10) Did you buy any used furniture or kitchen appliances?
Assessment- many times, customers will buy used appliances that are filled with cockroaches living in them. If this is the case, the tech will focus most of his efforts on the used appliances and the surrounding areas.
Green Pest Management
Green Pest Management is a shift to using our brains more and less depending on the overuse of pesticides. Suppose the applicator understands the pest situation, which includes the habits and nature of the target pests, and also knows what will satisfy the Customer. In that case, they will be better equipped to use the necessary pesticides alongside more natural ways of controlling pests. For example, we understand that bed bugs like to live in cracks and crevices near their host. They like to feel two surfaces on their bodies to feel safe and out of sight. Knowing this, we will treat the crevices of the mattresses, pillows, bed frames, headboards, and all other cracks in crevices in that room. Using more precise methods and achieving the same results while using fewer pesticides is better for the environment.