Pest Control

Pest Control – Preventing and Treating Pests

Pests can cause damage to plants and structures. They may also carry diseases that can affect people.

Pest Control Oak Ridge TN includes methods such as traps, screens, barriers, fences, radiation, and chemicals. The proper use of these methods depends on identifying the pest correctly. Scouting and monitoring are also important.


prest control

Taking preventive steps to keep pests from invading is the most cost-effective way to control them. This includes removing the food and water that attract them, sealing cracks, cleaning trash containers, and keeping areas tidy. Also, using resistant varieties of plants, trees, or animals reduces the need for other control measures.

For example, planting marigolds around a vegetable garden deters aphids from destroying the vegetables. Similarly, putting out baits and traps to catch pests before they cause damage is more economical than waiting until the pest population grows out of control. It’s also important to know the life cycle of each pest and the time of year when they are most active, so that you can take the appropriate preventive actions.

Preventive techniques include cultural, physical, and biological controls. Cultural controls involve modifying the environment or human practices to discourage pests, such as planting insect-resistant varieties of crops or changing cultivation methods to avoid soil contamination. Physical methods include removing the pests or blocking their entry to buildings by repairing cracks and sealing gaps, and laying down barriers such as wire mesh or netting. These can be used alone or in combination with other controls.

Biological controls include using predators or parasites to kill the pests, and may be used alone or in conjunction with physical or chemical controls. This is the most environmentally friendly method of pest control, but it can be slow and is usually only applicable to small invasions.

A pesticide is a substance that destroys a pest, whether by attacking its nervous system or by poisoning it. There are many different types of pesticides, including organic compounds such as rotenone and pyrethrins, and synthetic substances such as methyl bromide and diazinon.

Pesticides should be used only when necessary, and only after careful evaluation of their benefits and risks to people and the environment. It is important to read product labels carefully, and follow all instructions for use. Also, never transfer pesticides from one container to another; this can cause them to lose their effectiveness and may be dangerous to humans or pets.


Even after you and your maintenance crew take careful steps to keep a building sanitary, pests can still invade in numbers that cause damage or have negative health implications for building occupants. Pests include insects, rodents, birds, weeds and other organisms that interfere with desired plants in fields or orchards, damage homes and other structures, or disrupt ecosystems.

Infestations are most likely to occur when environmental conditions favor the growth of pest populations, such as when a food source becomes available that is attractive to them or they find shelter or water. Weather conditions can also affect pest populations directly by killing them or indirectly by affecting the growth of their host plants.

There are several types of pest control techniques, including biological, physical and chemical. Physical methods involve blocking a pest’s access to food, water and shelter. They may involve traps, netting, or decoys. They are typically safer than chemical methods, and they can be used alone or in combination with other methods.

Chemical pest control involves using toxins to kill or repel unwanted organisms. Common chemicals include insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These products are most commonly used in agriculture to protect crops from pests, but they can also be used in buildings to combat ants, termites, cockroaches, and other household pests. These products are often more effective than preventative measures, but they can be dangerous to humans and pets if not handled properly.

A less harmful type of pest control is biological. This involves introducing a pest’s natural enemies into the environment to reduce its population. It can be used to supplement other pest control methods, such as by releasing predators into an area that has a natural problem with a specific type of pest.

The best way to prevent pest infestations is to take preventative measures, including regularly cleaning and maintaining facilities, blocking points of entry with quality sealant or knitted copper mesh, and keeping trash cans covered. If you do experience a pest infestation, immediately seek professional help. There are many different pest control experts with the knowledge and resources to deal with even the most stubborn pests safely and effectively.


Pest monitoring is checking a field, landscape, forest or building to identify which pests are present and how many there are, or what damage they’ve caused. This helps determine whether the pests are at a level that warrants control tactics. It can also help select the best control methods and when to apply them.

Pests can be a nuisance or a health hazard. They may bite or sting, as with mosquitoes, bed bugs, fleas and cluster flies; or they might stain, stink or damage property, as is the case with termites, cockroaches, ants, pine seed bugs, boxelder bugs, silverfish and clothes moths. Some have a frightening or grotesque appearance, as is the case with spiders and scorpions. And some spread diseases, as is the case with rats, mice and roaches. They can even cause asthma and other health problems, as is the case with cockroaches, which are linked to respiratory issues. In some cases, they are merely a nuisance, as is the case with squirrels, pigeons and rodents.

Safe pest control requires a partnership between residents, building owners, managers and pest professionals. The latter are trained to identify pests and their sources, and can recommend steps that can be taken to eliminate or deter them. This approach is called integrated pest management, or IPM. IPM reduces the need for chemical spraying and improves living conditions, while saving time and money in the long run.

For example, some pests, such as mosquitoes, can be controlled by reducing the amount of standing water in the area where they breed. For rodents, sealing and repairing cracks and openings in walls and floors can prevent them from entering buildings and spreading pests. And the use of nontoxic, natural predators, such as garter snakes and owls, can provide effective prey control without introducing new or invasive species.

Using pheromones to lure male insects can help reduce populations, as can using juvenile hormones to keep pests from maturing into adulthood. Similarly, using natural enemies, such as birds, lizards and bees, to eat pests or their eggs can be more effective than applying pesticides, which can have negative impacts on the environment.


Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are parasitic insects that feed on human blood and cause a variety of health impacts including itchy, red bumps from their bites. Training housekeeping and maintenance staff to spot a bug can help prevent an infestation. Medical professionals cannot accurately diagnose the bug by its bite, so a specimen should be brought to a county Extension agent or pest control professional for identification. Treatment depends on the stage of the infestation and whether nonchemical methods are effective, or pesticides are required. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are the most commonly used chemicals for treating bed bugs, and should only be applied by a licensed pest control company. Bed bugs have developed resistance to some chemicals. Alternatives are being developed for future use. See the UT Extension Bed Bug Resource Page and Pest Blog.