- $38 for exterior pest control for up to 4,000 square feet ($79 value)
Integrated Pest Management: The Ecology of Creepy Critters
There’s a lot more to pest control than spraying some chemicals and walking away. Find out how the pros deal with infestations with Groupon’s rundown.
No bug is an island. Each cockroach or mosquito—or mouse or rat, for that matter—lives in a community that includes both members of its own species and the many other life forms around it. Surveying a pest’s entire neighborhood can help control an infestation long-term, while doing the least amount of harm to the surrounding environment. That’s the philosophy behind integrated pest management (IPM), recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an eco-friendly approach. Most practitioners follow four basic steps:
1. Set thresholds for action. A single bedbug is probably a big problem, but a single ant sneaking across the floor is probably not. A pest-control pro with an IPM mindset will help clients understand what’s a warning sign and what’s business as usual.
2. Monitor the situation. The first step in treatment is a thorough inspection to be sure that whatever’s biting you or rustling around at night is correctly identified and located. It’s also important to note where pests are in their life cycle—insect larvae will probably be treated differently than adults, for instance.
3. Apply an ounce or two of prevention. Depending on the results of the inspection, a solution could incorporate something as simple as sealing up a mouse’s entryways or cutting off roaches’ food and water sources. You could even get creative and plant natural pest repellents around your house, such as marigolds, lavender, or mint.
4. Control pest populations. It may indeed be necessary to apply chemicals. But, an IPM plan will start small—perhaps targeting pests with pheromones that will prevent them from breeding or a bait that their particular species finds especially tasty. General-purpose pesticide sprays might be used, but only as a final option, since harsher chemicals can leach into the environment and pose health risks to families and pets.