Pest control has many faces; depending on the pests in question, there are a number of different methods of control, some of which are eco-friendly and some which aren’t.
Because some pests are extremely difficult to eradicate, the use of poisons has been popular for many years.
Domestically the most common methods for pest control include;
Rodenticides are usually highly poisonous and formulated as bait…disguised as something tasty which attracts rats, mice and other small mammals but which then affect the animal’s nervous system or other functions, ultimately causing death. This of course creates risk for pets and for native wildlife. Dogs are especially at risk when it comes to rat poison as they are attracted to the scent of the bait and will go to great lengths to reach it.
In Australia the affects of rat poison is proving to be of real concern as it has made its way into the food chain thanks to the fact that goannas who eat rats as part of their diet, are particularly resistant to rat poison and Aboriginal people in some areas, commonly eat goannas. Little research has been done on which lizards are resistant to rat poison but in a study using one lizard species, all of the subjects survived doses of rat poison which were 4000 times per body weight, the amount needed to kill one rat.
Pesticides designed to kill aphids and other insects which commonly eat crops are known to cause some side effects and because they’re affecting the planet’s bee population, there’s a lot of concern surrounding their use. Bee populations are shrinking and most especially in the USA where pesticides are used heavily and some of those which are regularly used have been banned in other countries. Larvicides which are designed to eradicate the larvae of insects is similarly risky.
Biorational Pesticides and Techniques
A buzzword gaining traction in the world of pest control is “Biorational” which refers to the use of “Biorational Pesticides”. Biorational refers to any pesticide which causes little to no harm to humans, animals or the environment. It’s something which has gained popularity not only in farming but also in the prevention of pests such as rats and cockroaches.
The use of natural extracts in pesticides used on crops is commonplace and the term does not only refer to the use of sprays or other substances but also to the practice of proactive techniques such as facility maintenance and sanitation to prevent rather than cure.
An environmentally responsible approach to pest control which focuses on proactive tactics such as facility maintenance and sanitation with the idea that prevention is better than cure.
Proactive techniques which manage rat, cockroach, mouse and other common problems, include sealing entrance-points, providing alternative habitats away from dwelling places and regular sanitation.
Mobile technology in pest control
The use of mobile technology within pest control is growing and is especially useful in capturing data. Understanding how pests gain access and being able to effectively monitor those that do is a step towards eradicating problem pests and is proving a useful tool in preventing infestation, particularly for fruit flies which are a constant problem for farmers in Australia where necessity truly has been the Mother of invention. One farmer, tired of monitoring his fruit fly traps, rigged up a device to do it for him and the result was such a success that the product soon to be on the market for commercial purposes.
New technology and broader thinking is changing the face of pest control and helping us work towards a cleaner planet.