The first step in Pest Control in Houston TX is to correctly identify the problem. Use reference books to learn about pests’ life cycles, behavior and development.
Many pests have natural enemies that can be introduced to the environment or grown in the garden. These may be predators (such as lacewings, spined soldier bugs and lady beetles) or parasitic wasps that live on and kill the pest.
Insect pests can be controlled through cultural practices, physical devices or insecticidal agents. The latter are materials that kill the insect by absorbing its body fluids or poisoning its exoskeleton. The use of pesticides should always be balanced with other control methods.
Predators (including lady beetles, lacewings, spiny soldier bugs and spiders) feed on many of the insects that can damage plants. Parasites such as the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) attack certain insects by injecting them with a protein that disrupts their cell membranes, causing them to dehydrate and die.
Chemical insecticides include wood ashes, natural plant oils such as neem and jojoba, organic solvents such as mineral spirits and alcohol, and the insecticidal nematodes Steinernema and Heterorhabditis. Always try less toxic sprays first, especially for Pest Control in Houston TX Avoid spraying during the day when pollinating insects are active, and read and follow label instructions carefully.
Weeds compete with crops for sunlight, water and nutrients. They are a major problem in gardens, nurseries and farms. Farmers control weeds through a combination of agronomic (ground cover, crop rotation), mechanical (weeding and mowing) and chemical (herbicides) methods.
Annual weeds spread from seeds and typically have a very short growing season. Common examples include annual meadow grass and green foxtail. Perennial weeds spread from rhizomes or tubers. These weeds are harder to eliminate than annuals. Common perennials include quackgrass, Johnson grass and dandelion.
Ideally, weeds should be controlled through preventative methods. However, sometimes this is not possible, especially in fields and greenhouses. Herbicides can be applied preemergence to eliminate existing weeds or to prevent their germination. The most common herbicides used in greenhouses and greenhouse-like structures are sodium metaborate + sodium chlorate (BareSpot Monobor-Chlorate), acetochlorophene or flumioxazine (Sureguard) and indaziflame (Marengo). They must be applied carefully to prevent crop injury. In general, spot spraying is best, avoiding the overuse of chemicals that can cause environmental and human health problems.
Rodents, including squirrels, chipmunks, shrews and mice, are important for grazing and seed dispersal in grasslands and forests. They also provide food for predators and scavengers. However, some species, especially non-native rodents such as rats and mice, are nuisances because they damage houses, crops and property, spread disease (such as the bubonic plague and typhus) and introduce predatory or invasive species that can cause harm to native animals, plants and humans.
Signs of rodent activity include droppings, tracks and chewed holes in walls or woodpiles. Prevent rodents by closing entry points inside and outside your home, keeping trash containers tightly closed and removing brush and other materials that could serve as nesting sites for mice and rats. Disinfect snap traps and surfaces contaminated with rodent urine or feces before resetting them or disposing of them by soaking in a general household disinfectant. Remember to wear rubber, latex or vinyl gloves when handling rodents and their droppings or contaminated items.
Birds are important to our natural ecosystems, but they can become pests when their numbers get out of control. They can cause noise, damage and messes and carry pathogens such as histoplasmosis, salmonella and cryptococcosis. They can also destroy crops, contaminate grain fields and steal fruit from orchards.
Many birds are effective insect predators, especially in forest ecosystems. By consuming insect Pest Control in Houston TX, they can significantly reduce population peaks and increase the interval between outbreaks.
In addition to habitat modification, repellents are an essential tool in controlling bird problems. We use several methods, including visual deterrents like predator decoys and “false owls” that are harmless to people but highly effective against pest birds such as rock pigeons. We also install devices that emit a silent, colored laser beam to discourage pest birds from landing on or resting near the property. This method is especially effective against starlings(Opens in a new tab) that can wreak havoc on roofs, eaves and siding.