Integrated Pest Management, Some Things We Are Doing.
Unwanted insects, rodents, birds and animals that get into homes, offices, restaurants and other structures are known as structural pests. Our company, PES Professional Ecological Services Ltd., specializes in the control of structural pests. Whenever possible, we use a least-chemical or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to the pest control services we offer.
Integrated Pest Management is an approach that emphasizes prevention of pest problems and the use of least-toxic controls. IPM programs follow a decision-making approach to managing pests, starting with making sure pests are correctly identified. In an IPM program, treatments are only applied according to need as shown by a monitoring program. One or more types of treatment may be combined in an IPM program to provide the desired level of control and to prevent future pest problems.
The 5 components of an IPM program are:
- Identification - it is important to correctly identify the pest so the correct controls can be used.
- Monitoring -one or more inspections are done to determine the extent of the infestation, and may require the use of sampling tools such as sticky traps
- Action Decisions - then, after the information is collected, treatments are made only when and where monitoring shows they are needed
- Treatments - treatments can be preventive measures and/or control measures. A number of different types of treatments may be used
- Evaluation - this step is done to make sure the treatments worked
There is a lot we can do with IPM in structures. We are really only limited by people's expectations that all of the pests be eliminated right now, and by their ability and willingness to pay for IPM services. People are used to the cheap, fast results that pesticide use can offer.
Our most successful IPM programs are for existing carpenter ant, rodent, silverfish or cockroach problems. These IPM programs are all cost competitive with traditional pesticide-only programs and often provide even better control than pesticides alone.
Our IPM program for fleas is also very effective. Unfortunately, flea IPM costs more than traditional spraying and it takes longer to eliminate the fleas. Our customers, therefore, usually only accept it in situations where minimal pesticide use is essential.
Following is a brief outline of our IPM programs for carpenter ants, rats and mice, silverfish, cockroaches, and fleas.
Carpenter Ant Control Using Integrated Pest Management
A. Search for carpenter ant attractions. There are many things that can attract carpenter ants to a building. We identify these attractions and recommend ways to eliminate them. Elimination of these attractions is very important for long-term carpenter ant control.
B. Search for carpenter ants' nests. Carpenter ants usually have more than one nest site. We spend a lot of time following ants in order to locate their nests. Sometimes we must do this work at night when the ants are most active. Unfortunately nests can be in tree roots, in dense woods, on neighbouring properties or inside walls and can be impossible to find.
C. Eliminate carpenter ants' nests that we find. When we can find and get at a nest, it is easy to eliminate it. If we know that a nest is inside a wall, we will probably recommend that we open the wall to get at the nest. Once accessible, most of the ants in the nest can be vacuumed out and the remaining ants killed with a low toxicity insecticide.
If we cannot find a nest, we try to eliminate it by applying appropriate insecticides in the areas the ants walk.
D. Install a Teflon® barrier on the foundation of the building. The Teflon barrier is too slippery for the ants to walk across. It prevents the ants from getting into the house after looking for food and prevents them from moving in from nearby nests.
E. Spray areas outside the house where the Teflon cannot be installed. Most buildings have some areas where the Teflon barrier cannot be installed. These areas must be protected with an insecticidal barrier.
F. Maintain the outside of the house so that carpenter ants find it unattractive and difficult to enter the house. After the initial carpenter ant control work is done, it is very important that the house be maintained to prevent the ants from reentering. At least once each month during the summer we check and clean the Teflon barrier, reapply Teflon where it is needed, reapply the insecticide barrier where it is needed, and check that vegetation growing near the house does not bridge the barriers.
Rat and Mouse Control Using Integrated Pest Management
A. Inspect. We look for things that attract rats and mice to the property and for ways the rodents can get into the building. We then either correct these problems, or make recommendations on how our customer can correct them.
B. Trap. We use snap traps to catch the rats or mice. We use between 12 and 36 traps in a typical house although we have used as many as 300 traps in a single building. Using traps eliminates any chance of poisoning non-target organisms. It also enables us to remove the dead bodies so that there are no decay-odour problems or problems with insects that could feed on the bodies. We usually make between 3 and 6 visits to a building over a 2 to 4 week period to maintain the traps.
When we are trapping rats, the traps are usually baited but left unset for a few days so that the rats overcome their fear of the traps. Once the rats begin accepting the bait in the traps, the traps are set. In mouse control work, this "pre-baiting" is usually not necessary.
C. Bait. In rare situations where the rats or mice have become trap-shy, we will use poisoned baits to kill the rodents that we cannot catch in traps. Poisoned baits are used only as a last resort. Whenever they are used, great care is taken to ensure that there is no chance of children or pets contacting the bait. Poisoned baits are always removed once the rats and mice have been eliminated.
D. Maintenance. In high-risk situations we provide a follow-up preventive maintenance service. We maintain the property so it is unattractive to rats and mice, inspect areas likely to become infested, and maintain traps and/or bait stations as required.
Cockroach Control Using Integrated Pest Management
A. Identify. There are many types of cockroaches, each with its own preferred habits and habitat. It is very important to know the species of pest cockroach.
B. Inspect and Trap. We use sticky traps and a good flashlight to help us locate areas where cockroaches are living. We also look for things that attract cockroaches and recommend ways to correct them. Once we know where the cockroaches are, we can plan appropriate controls.
C. Treat. The treatment we use depends on the type of cockroach, where it is, and how many there are. Sometimes baits can be very effective. Other times diatomaceous earth, amorphous silica gel or boric acid dusts can be used. Only rarely are "traditional" pesticides used and then only in tiny amounts.
D. Monitor. Following the treatment traps are reinstalled to monitor for the presence of cockroaches. The traps are checked regularly and further treatments performed as appropriate.
Flea Control Using Integrated Pest Management
A. Thorough vacuuming. The first step is to remove many of the fleas and much of the food that young fleas eat. We combine the use of a special high-suction vacuum and our knowledge of flea habits to make this a very effective first step in a flea control program.
B. Apply Precor®. Precor® is a flea growth regulator that stops the development of immature fleas. It is sprayed onto floor areas where immature fleas are likely to be living.
C. Install several flea traps. Flea traps serve three purposes:
to catch adult fleas before they bite
to check on the effectiveness of the control work
to help us accurately locate areas fleas are living
D. Repeat the high-suction vacuuming twice more at one-week intervals. Each time we vacuum we collect more fleas and more of the dried blood the young feed on.
E. Check the flea traps at the time of each vacuuming, replace the sticky pads if needed, and move the traps if necessary. This ensures that the traps are always working well.
F. Perform other control work needed. If additional work is needed at the end of the first two weeks, we continue with the vacuuming and trapping work and/or apply appropriate insecticides in areas where our traps catch fleas. Insecticide use can usually be restricted to very small areas.
G. Pet maintenance. We discuss with our customers the importance of maintaining good flea control on their pets.
Silverfish and Firebrat Control Using Integrated Pest Management
A. Inspect. We look for conditions that contribute to the silverfish problem. We then either correct these conditions, or make recommendations on how our customer can correct them.
B. Trap. We use sticky traps to catch silverfish. Trapping can be used alone as a control measure or as a method of determining where silverfish are most common.
C. Treat. When insecticides are needed, we select appropriate materials for the particular situation. Often non-toxic diatomaceous earth can be used to provide excellent control. Other times an odourless insecticide can be used. The insecticide is applied into cracks and crevices where silverfish hide so that people are not exposed to it.
D. Maintenance. In high-risk situations we provide a follow-up service. Traps are used to monitor for the pests and to help us determine when and where additional control work is needed.