Rodent Exterminators

rodent exterminators

San Jose Pest Control Rapid Rodent Removal

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DIY Pest Control

While the economy continues to plod along and be more frugal homeowners in response, a new do-it-yourself trend imposed. More families enjoy home cooking meals instead of eating out. Rabies patio vegetable garden has permeated all the way the White House. Households are tackling renovation projects and repair of motor alone. And people are probably more looking at your pest control service as another possible means of reducing costs through a do-it-yourself plan. But the plague is an area where the Do-It-Yourself is a bad idea. Here’s why.

Pest control is a highly regulated industry and extensive training staff. During training, technicians learn about life cycles and habits of each species of household pests, and more developed, they know what types of treatment are more effective in eliminating pests, how to prevent recurrences, the exact quantities of chemicals to be applied if necessary, and how to handle and dispose of chemicals with the least impact on households, people, animals and the environment. Few home or business owners, regardless of the amount of research online or reading so they can reach the level of knowledge and skills that all professional pest control becomes possible. And the results of their good intentions, but not professional efforts to control pests can be disastrous.

Given that a number of homes in May, if a little is good, more is better training for pest control is assessing the situation determines the most effective treatment to meet customer needs and cost considerations, then applies a precise amount of pesticides in a given place. And for a pest control professional is trained to kill and storage certain chemicals used, the source of many accidental poisonings and tragedies of households.

As href = “”> recent Sacramento Bee article (apparently, the researchers found high concentrations of insecticides pyrethroids in the American River and several area creeks that feed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, one of the most important ecosystems in the world and a source of drinking water and agricultural irrigation for much of California. The source of the pesticides urban Sacramento. Scientists believe that consumers may be overapplying pesticides lawns, gardens and houses or casting or rinse with water.

Since 1987, the Pest Control Operators of California has conducted a campaign of service public, Chem-Safe, to educate consumers about proper handling of household chemicals. The Poison Control Center of the United States estimates that half accidental poisonings of all U.S. States are caused by household chemicals such as cleaners or pesticides. Every year, hundreds of thousands of children California under 5 are poisoned at home with household chemicals and medicines.

As proud members of Pest Control operators California, we in the Land of the Guard who want to control and dispose of all household chemicals carefully and consult your training pest management professional assess and treat pest problems in your home or business. Here are some safety tips PCOC

PCOC Safety tips for handling products household chemical

  • Keep all chemicals and pesticides locked up and out of reach of children.
  • The use of pesticides and household chemicals, according to the guidelines of the manufacturers.
  • Do not saturate: using twice as much a product does not mean that works twice as well.
  • Do not put products in labeled bottles or cans to keep them in their original containers.
  • Never play chemist! Do not mix products together, because chemical reactions toxic or explosive substances.
  • Always wear protective equipment such as goggles and gloves when using chemicals or pesticides.
  • Avoid breathing fumes or vapors, including aerosol products.
  • Keep children and pets away from area treated or cleaned.
  • Wash thoroughly after handling chemicals and pesticides.
  • The flow of the products with care: packaging thrown away in May still contain dangerous amounts of the products.

Dave Picton is owner of Earth Guard Pest Management Services –, serving the Greater Sacramento, California, region. Earth Guard is a family-owned pest control company specializing in customized pest management services for your home or commercial site, offering free estimates, senior discounts and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, with no contract, no cancellation fees.

Do It Yourself Pest Control

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Exterminator Cost

exterminator cost

Pests like bugs, termite, fleas, cockroaches, ants, rats, rodents, mice and many other insects create a nuisance in your house and make your life miserable. These pests multiply day by day and make your house unhygienic and invite several diseases as these pests infect your food and other eatable in your house. These roam around freely in your kitchen, bedroom or living rooms and most of the pests spoil your wood furniture too! its time to act now, choose a perfect pest control company that helps you get rid of this nuisance immediately before it causes a major threat to you and your family. The pest control company should have effective ways to manage, control and eradicate pest forever. But how will you choose the right pest control company? Well, here are a few suggestions that might help you to take a sensible decision: – Costs: Cost is the main factor that comes to your mind while choosing a pest control company. You need to think whether the fee charged by any company is within your budget. Once you know the price you can check its worth by the services they offer you. – Service: After you know the fees they charge you, you need to know what kind of services and treatments they will offer. See if the company charges you for the entire house pest control treatment, that is inside and the outside of the house or do they charge you something extra for the internal treatments too. However, a good company should charge you for your lawns or gardens and groundwork treatment. This depicts their capability and confidence in effective treatment methods they offer, thus keeping pests away forever. – Type of treatment: You need to know the type of treatment they offer and also know the chemicals they use for pest control. Some of the companies use harsh chemicals to control and kill pests, but these may be dangerous and harmful to you and your family. Check if the chemical include a warning label and if it does have, its sensible to search some other pest control services. Look for the company that offers you environmental friendly products and chemicals for treatment methods and remember, you are eradicating the problem and not inviting worries. – Schedule: Be sure the company offers prompt and quick services or provides treatment on the appointment date only. This shows that the company values time and respects your convenience too. If the problem is too serious, they should offer you instant services, this proves the authenticity of the company. They should be regular at work and provide effective treatment methods so as to help you live a tension free life. Remember, to live in hygienic conditions is of utmost importance. If you are living in healthy atmosphere, you are free from any kind of disease. The main cause of major health problems is how well you maintain your hygiene. As wisely said “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, you should maintain a clean and healthy environment where you live. It is not sufficient to keep the interiors of your home clean, you should also maintain the exteriors of your home like your lawns and gardens. So choose the right pest control company that has effective solutions to maintain first class hygiene for your family.

About the Author:

Choose the right pest control company and pest exterminating services and know more about termite control at

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comHow to choose the right pest control company

NJ Exterminator “Bedbug Control” New Jersey Pest Control Services at Low Cost

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Exterminator Pest Control

exterminator pest control

There are rodents insects and rodents living all over the world that don’t realize they are invading someone else’s space. If your space has been invaded you might need the help of a pest control company. They can help you get rid of any pest control problem you might have on the inside or outside of your home. Here are 5 great results you can expect when you hire them.

1. Fewer Bugs Outside. People don’t usually think of calling an exterminator until they have a serious pest problem in their home. The problem usually starts outside your home, in your own yard. Hundreds of insects make their home out of your backyard. Be proactive: call a San Antonio pest control company to help eliminate bugs outside of your house by breaking the life cycle of these insects.

2. Fewer Bugs Inside. It’s only logical that fewer bugs outside means fewer bugs inside. If you have tried various ways to get rid of your pest problem and they don’t seem to work, call the help of a professional. A reliable exterminator will be able to inspect your home, treat the problem, and ensure that the problem doesn’t return.

3. A healthier Family. Having pests and rodents in and around your home is not only annoying, they also carry many types of disease and bacteria. A San Antonio pest control company will employ the newest, safest technology to rid your home of pests that may be exposing your family to such problems as allergens, E. coli, and salmonella. Your family will be healthier and your home will be cleaner.

4. Your Investment is Protected. Today more than ever you are probably aware of just how valuable an asset your home is. Termites and rodents can chew through plaster, wood, and wiring, often causing serious damage before you know they’ve moved in. Don’t let small or even unseen pests threaten your biggest investment.

5. Peace of Mind. Really? Peace of mind is a result of employing a San Antonio pest control company? Really! Knowing you have done all that you can to ensure your family’s health and well being, seeing that your home is a safe and comfortable haven for them and your friends, you will certainly be experiencing peace of mind. Pick a pest control company that is qualified so you can have peace of mind in the fact that you are taking care of your family and you home inside and out.

About the Author:

Lisa Hosman works with Bulwark Exterminating, a San Antonio pest control company that is family friendly. They offer the best service and respect to their customers and get rid of their pest problems effectively. To learn more please visit or call 1-800-445-9313.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comSan Antonio Pest Control – 5 Awesome Results of Pest Control

Pest Control Center Exterminators in Sacramento

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Exterminator Service


Wherever you are in the United States – from Washington to Atlanta – exterminating pests can be a cinch. The prevailing misconception about pesticides these days is that when a product is labeled “natural” or “organic,” it is environmentally safe. While this may not always be true, there is still a host of ways to respect nature while taking care of unwanted visitors. Here are a few:

  • For moderate cases of insect infestations, go with botanical solutions. Cedar oil, for one is an organic, natural and non-toxic insect repellent. Because it’s safe for human skin—and smells rather good to boot—there are no restrictions to how it can be used. Apply it on your skin or treat your couch or beddings with it in order to ward off mosquitoes, fleas, cockroaches and ants.
  • Ornamental plants often serve as breeding houses for bad bugs. In the case of aphids, think twice about the chemical solution. Oftentimes, this type of bug can be washed away by a strong stream of water. For outdoor mosquito invasions you can grow the plant Citrosa Geranium on your porch or patio.
  • For more stubborn parasites, insecticidal soap can be a worthy alternative to chemical products. Unlike the latter, insecticidal soap is safe for plants, thus it can be sprayed directly on to plants or wherever the insect infestation is without running the risk of poisoning the area.

These tips are effective only to a certain extent. For more extreme cases, contact an Atlanta exterminating company.

Resource Box:

Breda Pest Management is a family-owned termite and pest control company. A leader in Atlanta exterminating services, it has been ridding households and gardens of pests since 1973. Visit or call 770-466-6700 for more information.

About the Author:

Jeff Paul is a writer and copy editor who likes to share information on many different topics.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comFrom Washington to Atlanta, Exterminating Pests the Green Way

Green Pest Control Houston TX Bugs and Burglars

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Pest Exterminators

pest exterminators

A-All Pest Exterminators

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Terminex Pest Control

terminex pest control

Terminix Natural Pest Control Video

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Terminex Pest

terminex pest

Lutz Fl Home for Sale

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Pest Control Services

Wondering how to choose a pest control company? This is a good overview of the thought process you will use to think through deciding who to call.

Pest control is as old as agriculture, this is because there has always been a need to keep crops free from pests. Apart from crop, pests can be seen in the household things also. Presence of household pests is an undeniable fact of life. Pests come to you by thousands of ways without making you aware of it and you cannot even avoid them. Once they arrive, you cannot ignore them, because ignoring will lead to an entire problem that these pests can cause. They can damage to your property, which can cost thousands to repair. One of the solutions for this can be – you can prevent and kill them by yourself, which can of course take up a plenty of your personal time and the work done would not be effective. To avoid wastage of time, it is recommended to hire a professional, who is proficient in Pest control services, to take care of the things for you in a matter of minutes. Call for pest control services to handle ants, mites, termites, roaches, bees, wasps, raccoons, rats, mice and all other types of destructive pests that may be causing you and your loved ones distress.

Why to choose Pest control services?

If you have home with garden or simply a home with family, then you need to opt for Pest control services, to get rid of harmful elements and materials, spread by pests in or around your home. These toxic materials can also cause harm to you and your children, which can lead to various serious deceases. Choosing right Pest control services would be the safer option for getting rid of pest or bugs. Pest control services are experts in handling and taking a good “care” of pests, apart from contributing in creating a healthy and safe environment for you.

How to choose Pest control services?

There always are two problems, when it comes to pests; one is the pests themselves and second is how to choose the right Pest control services; particularly if you are new to Pest control services or have little knowledge about Pest control services. You need to keep few things in mind, when choosing from the available Pest control services.

Cost: Perceptibly, cost is important to know, when it comes to choosing Pest control services. However, when considering the charge, make sure that you understand, what is the value that you are being offered.

Their pesticides and equipments: Another thing to keep in mind, when choosing Pest control services, is the type of the chemical they use. You not only want that the chemical should work only for pests, but it should also work for you and your family. That is, not only choose the most effective, but also the safest Pest control services. Make sure, the company you choose for Pest control services should be able to provide you with a warning label.

So, what are you waiting for? Get rid of menacing creatures in your home and work place by availing the Pest control services!

By: Godrej Hicare

About the Author:

Godrej Hicare is leader in Pest Control Service and Pest Control Products. Contact us for our various specialized products

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Biological pest control – overview

biological pest control – overview


Biological control of pests in agriculture is a method of controlling pests (including insects, mites, weeds and plant diseases) that relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other  natural mechanisms. It can be an important component of integrated pest management (IPM) programs.

Biological Control is defined as the reduction of pest populations by  natural  enemies and typically involves an active human role.  Natural  enemies of insect pests, also known as  biological control agents, include predators, parasitoids, and pathogens.  Biological control agents of plant diseases are most often referred to as antagonists.  Biological control agents of weeds include herbivores and plant pathogens. Predators, such as lady beetles and lacewings, are mainly free-living species that consume a large number of prey during their lifetime. Parasitoids are species whose immature stage develops on or within a single insect host, ultimately killing the host. Most have a very narrow host range. Many species of wasps and some flies are parasitoids. Pathogens are disease-causing organisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. They kill or debilitate their host and are relatively specific to certain insect groups. There are three basic types of  biological control strategies; conservation, classical  biological control, and augmentation. These are discussed in more detail below.


The conservation of  natural  enemies is probably the most important and readily available  biological control practice available to homeowners and gardeners.  Natural  enemies occur in all areas, from the backyard garden to the commercial field. They are adapted to the local environment and to the target pest, and their conservation is generally simple and cost-effective. Lacewings, lady beetles, hover fly larvae, and parasitized aphid mummies are almost always present in aphid colonies. Fungus-infected adult flies are often common following periods of high humidity. These naturally occurring biological controls are often susceptible to the same pesticides used to target their hosts. Preventing the accidental eradication of natural enemies is termed simple conservation.

Effects of Biological Control on Biodiversity

Effects on Native Biodiversity  Biological control can potentially have positive and negative effects on biodiversity. Most of the time a  biological control is introduced to an area to protect a  native species from an invasive or exotic species that has moved into its area. The control is introduced to lessen the competition among native and invasive species. However, the introduced control does not always only target the intended species. It can also target  native species. When introducing a  biological control to a new area, the amount of testing and research that has been preformed does not matter. It could still potentially harm an unwanted native species. If a species is introduced and attacks a  native species, the biodiversity in that area can decrease dramatically. When one  native species is removed from an area, it may have filled an essential niche, When this niche is absent it will directly affect the entire ecosystem. The cane toad (Bufo marinus) was introduced as a biological control and had significant negative impact on biodiversity. The cane toad was intentionally introduced to Australia to control the cane beetle. When introduced, the cane toad thrived very well and did not only feed on cane beetles but other insects as well. The cane toad soon spread very rapidly, thus taking over native habitat. The introduction of the cane toad also brought foreign disease to native reptiles. This drastically reduced the population of native toads and frogs. “The cane toad also exudes and can ****** poison from the parotoid glands on their shoulders when threatened or handled. This toxin contains a cocktail of chemicals that can kill animals that eat it. Freshwater crocodiles, goannas, tiger snakes, dingos and northern quolls have all died after eating cane toads, as have pet dogs (Cane toad,2003)”. This goes to show a small but deadly organism can alter the native biodiversity in an ecosystem in a very expedient manner. A pyramid effect can take place if  native species are reduced or eradicated. The domino effect keeps on going and can potentially exude on other bordering ecosystems. A second example of a  biological control that consequently took over  native species was the Rhinocyllus concius. The seed feeding weevil was introduced to North America to control exotic thistles (Musk and Canadian). However, the weevil did not only target the exotic thistles, it also targeted native thistles that are essential to various native insects. The native insects solely rely on native thistles and do not adapt to other plant species. Therefore, they cannot survive. Biological controls do not always have negative impacts on biodiversity (Corry 2000). Successful  biological control reduces the density of the target species over several years, thus providing the potential for  native species to re-establish. In addition, regeneration and reestablishment programs can aid to the recovery of  native species.  Native species can be affected in a positive way as well. To develop or find a  biological control that exerts control only on the targeted species is a very lengthy process of  research and experiments. In the late 1800’s, the citrus industry was in great fear when the cottony cushion scale was discovered. This organism could cause a great deal of economic loss to the industry. However, a biological control was introduced. The vedalia beetle and a parasitoid fly were introduced to control the pest. Within a few years time, the cottony cushion scale was controlled by the  natural  enemies and the citrus industry suffered little financial loss. Many exotic or  invasive species can suppress the development of  native species, therefore the introduction of an effective  biological control that targets the  invasive species will be reduced, thus allowing the rejuvenation of the  native species. Biological controls can reduce competition for biotic and abiotic factors which can result in the re-establishment of the once over ran  native species.

Effects on  Invasive Species  Invasive species are closely associated with biological controls because the environment in which they are invasive most likely does not contain their  natural  enemies. If  invasive species are not controlled, biodiversity may be at great threat in the affected area. An example of an  invasive species is the alligator weed. This plant was introduced to the United States from South America. This aquatic weed spreads very rapidly and causes many problems in lakes and rivers. The weed takes root in shallow water causing major problems such as, navigation, irrigation, and flood control. The flea beetle and two other biological controls were released in Florida. Because of their success, Florida banned the use of herbicides to control alligator weed three years after the controls were introduced ( Cofrancesco 2007). Biological controls for  invasive species also can have a negative impact on biodiversity. The cane toad, as mentioned previously, is a great example of trying to control an  invasive species. The cane toad was introduced to eradicate an  invasive species. However, it became invasive, thus altering the biodiversity. The introduction of the cane toad could have potentially caused more of a disturbance in biodiversity than the targeted species did.

Effects on Future With further  research and more scientific experiments,  biological control could potentially play a huge role  in the future of pest prevention. Obviously,  biological control is being used among soci
ety today; however, it could someday exterminate the use of many pesticides and herbicides, thus indirectly increasing the amount of biodiversity. Since biological control could potentially have a large economic value, if found to be successful,  research and job fields are would increase continually. By increasing the knowledge of  biological control among more and more people, many new successful biological controls could arise in the future. This could eliminate the overuse of chemicals, in return indirectly increasing biodiversity. Biodiversity would increase because untargeted species that are exterminated with chemicals would no longer occur.

Economic Effects Therefore, biological control is heavily analyzed by the amount of economic gain that directly comes from biological control. Many of the known economics of biological control are related directly to agriculture practices. Since agriculture has a huge impact on biodiversity this could potentially increase the biodiversity among agricultural practices. In order for agriculture to keep up with the growing population, many inputs are increased resulting in the loss of un-harmful species. Biological control use has been very minimal in agriculture. Less than 1% of global pest control sales of $30 billion involve biological methods (Griffiths 2007:in press). Very few case studies on the cost-benefit analysis of biological control have been done however a few have taken place. A Critical evaluation of augmentative biological control has found four case studies. In one case, “the releases of a parasitoid Gryon pennsylvanicum (Ashmead) to control the true bug Anasa tristis (DeGeer) on pumpkins produced lower net benefit (in dollars ) than applications of esfenvalerate (pesticide); 18% lower in one year and 120% lower in the next. In 1 year of the study, a combination of augmentative releases and use of a resistant pumpkin variety produced greater net benefit than pesticide alone, but not pesticide combined with the resistant variety (Olson et al. 1996)”. Another case study found that “calculated that releases of T. nubilale were considerably less cost-effective than pesticide applications used to control ECB on feed corn and fresh-market sweet corn. Pesticide applications produced 87% and 45% more net benefit (in dollars) than augmentation for feed corn and fresh market corn, respectively. In seed corn, however, Trichogramma releases produced essentially equivalent net benefits to pesticide treatments. In a third cost-benefit analysis of augmentation, Lundgren et al. (2002) showed that Trichogramma brassicae Bezdenko releases produced considerably less net benefit (94%; measured in cabbage head production) than methomyl treatments (Andow 1997). In two other studies, “biological control releases were about two times the cost of pesticide applications; this was true for releases of a parasitoid, Choetospila elegans (Westwood), used to control a stored product pest, Rhyzopertha dominica (F.) (Flinn et al.,1996) and releases of green lacewings, Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) to control leafhoppers in grapes (Daane et al., 1996). Finally Prokrym et al. (1992) suggested that Trichogramma releases were about six times as expensive as pesticide treatments for O. nubilalis in sweet corn,”(Collier 2003). These case studies offer us some idea of how economical biological control can be. These show that biological control is less cost effective than chemical applications and in result raises a flag that more research needs to be done. With progression in research, we can use more controls at a cheaper cost and increase the amount of biodiversity in areas because of the minimal use of chemicals that cannot target a specific species of pest.

Classical Biological Control

Classical biological control is the introduction of natural enemies to a new locale where they did not originate or do not occur naturally. This is usually done by government authorities. In many instances the complex of natural enemies associated with an insect pest may be inadequate. This is especially evident when an insect pest is accidentally introduced into a new geographic area without its associated natural enemies. These introduced pests are referred to as exotic pests and comprise about 40% of the insect pests in the United States. Examples of introduced vegetable pests include the European corn borer, one of the most destructive insects in North America. To obtain the needed natural enemies, scientists turned to classical biological control. This is the practice of importing, and releasing for establishment, natural enemies to control an introduced (exotic) pest, although it is also practiced against native insect pests. The first step in the process is to determine the origin of the introduced pest and then collect appropriate natural enemies associated with the pest or closely related species. The natural enemy is then passed through a rigorous quarantine process, to ensure that no unwanted organisms (such as hyperparasitoids) are introduced, then they are mass produced, and released. Follow-up studies are conducted to determine if the natural enemy becomes successfully established at the site of release, and to assess the long-term benefit of its presence.

There are many examples of successful classical biological control programs. One of the earliest successes was with the cottony cushion scale, a pest that was devastating the California citrus industry in the late 1800s. A predatory insect, the vedalia beetle, and a parasitoid fly were introduced from Australia. Within a few years the cottony cushion scale was completely controlled by these introduced natural enemies. Damage from the Alfalfa weevil, a serious introduced pest of forage, was substantially reduced by the introduction of several natural enemies. About 20 years after their introduction, the population of weevils, in the alfalfa area treated for alfalfa weevil in the northeastern United States, was reduced by 75 percent. A small wasp, Trichogramma ostriniae, introduced from China to help control the European corn borer, is a recent example of a long history of classical biological control efforts for this major pest. Many classical biological control programs for insect pests and weeds are under way across the United States and Canada. The population of Levuana Moth, a serious coconut pest in Fiji was brought under control by a classical biological control program in the 1920s. Classical biological control is long lasting and inexpensive. Other than the initial costs of collection, importation, and rearing, little expense is incurred. When a natural enemy is successfully established it rarely requires additional input and it continues to kill the pest with no direct help from humans and at no cost. Unfortunately, classical biological control does not always work. It is usually most effective against exotic pests and less so against native insect pests. The reasons for failure are often not known, but may include the release of too few individuals, poor adaptation of the natural enemy to environmental conditions at the release location, and lack of synchrony between the life cycle of the natural enemy and host pest.


This third type of biological control involves the supplemental release of natural enemies. Relatively few natural enemies may be released at a critical time of the season (inoculative release) or literally millions may be released (inundative release). Additionally, the cropping system may be modified to favor or augment the natural enemies. This latter practice is frequently referred to as habitat manipulation. An example of inoculative release occurs in greenhouse production of several crops. Periodic releases of the parasitoid, Encarsia formosa, are used to control greenhouse whitefly, and the predaceous mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, is used for control of the two-spotted spider mite. Lady beetles, lacewings, or parasitoids such as trichogramma are frequently released in large numbers (inundative release). Recommended release rates for Trichogra
mma in vegetable or field crops range from 5,000 to 200,000 per acre per week depending on level of pest infestation. Similarly, entomopathogenic nematodes are released at rates of millions and even billions per acre for control of certain soil-dwelling insect pests. Habitat or environmental manipulation is another form of augmentation. This tactic involves altering the cropping system to augment or enhance the effectiveness of a natural enemy. Many adult parasitoids and predators benefit from sources of nectar and the protection provided by refuges such as hedgerows, cover crops, and weedy borders.

Mixed plantings and the provision of flowering borders can increase the diversity of habitats and provide shelter and alternative food sources. They are easily incorporated into home gardens and even small-scale commercial plantings, but are more difficult to accommodate in large-scale crop production. There may also be some conflict with pest control for the large producer because of the difficulty of targeting the pest species and the use of refuges by the pest insects as well as natural enemies. Examples of habitat manipulation include growing flowering plants (pollen and nectar sources) near crops to attract and maintain populations of natural enemies. For example, hover fly adults can be attracted to umbelliferous  plants in bloom. Biological control experts in California have demonstrated that planting prune trees in grape vineyards provides an improved overwintering habitat or refuge for a key grape pest parasitoid. The prune trees harbor an alternate host for the parasitoid, which could previously overwinter only at great distances from most vineyards. Caution should be used with this tactic because some plants attractive to natural enemies may also be hosts for certain plant diseases, especially plant viruses that could be vectored by insect pests to the crop. Although the tactic appears to hold much promise, only a few examples have been adequately researched and developed.

Ladybugs, and in particular their larvae which are active between May and July in the northern hemisphere, are voracious predators of aphids such as greenfly and blackfly, and will also consume mites, scale insects and small caterpillars. The ladybug is a very familiar beetle with various colored markings, whilst its larvae are initially small and spidery, growing up to 17 mm long. The larvae have a tapering segmented grey/black body with orange/yellow markings and ferocious mouthparts. They can be encouraged by cultivating a patch of nettles in the garden and by leaving hollow stems and some plant debris over winter so that they can hibernate. Hoverflies resemble slightly darker bees or wasps and they have characteristic hovering, darting flight patterns. There are over 100 species of hoverfly whose larvae principally feed upon greenfly, one larva devouring up to fifty a day, or 1000 in its lifetime. They also eat fruit tree spider mites and small caterpillars. Adults feed on nectar and pollen, which they require for egg production. Eggs are minute (1 mm), pale yellow white and laid singly near greenfly colonies. Larvae are 8-17 mm long, disguised to resemble bird droppings, they are legless and have no distinct head. Semi-transparent in a range of colours from green, white, brown and black.

Hoverflies can be encouraged by growing attractant flowers such as the poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii), marigolds or phacelia, throughout the growing season. Dragonflies are important predators of mosquitoes, both in the water, where the dragonfly naiads eat mosquito larvae, and in the air, where adult dragonflies capture and eat adult mosquitoes. Community-wide mosquito control programs that spray adult mosquitoes also kill dragonflies, thus removing an important biocontrol agent, and can actually increase mosquito populations in the long term. Other useful garden predators include lacewings, pirate bugs, rove and ground beetles, aphid midge, centipedes, predatory mites, as well as larger fauna such as frogs, toads, lizards, hedgehogs, slow-worms and birds. Cats and rat terriers kill field mice, rats, june bugs, and birds. Dogs chase away many types of pest animals. Dachshunds are bred specifically to fit inside tunnels underground to kill badgers.

Parasitic insects

Most insect parasitoids are wasps or flies. Parasitiods comprise a diverse range of insects that lay their eggs on or in the body of an insect host, which is then used as a food for developing larvae. Parasitic wasps take much longer than predators to consume their victims, for if the larvae were to eat too fast they would run out of food before they became adults. Such parasites are very useful in the organic garden, for they are very efficient hunters, always at work searching for pest invaders. As adults they require high energy fuel as they fly from place to place, and feed upon nectar, pollen and sap, therefore planting plenty of flowering plants, particularly buckwheat, umbellifers, and composites will encourage their presence. Four of the most important groups are:

       Ichneumonid wasps: (5-10 mm). Prey mainly on caterpillars of butterflies and moths.

       Braconid wasps: Tiny wasps (up to 5 mm) attack caterpillars and a wide range of other insects including greenfly. A common parasite of the cabbage white caterpillar- seen as clusters of sulphur yellow cocoons bursting from collapsed caterpillar skin.

       Chalcid wasps: Among the smallest of insects (<3 mm). Parasitize eggs/larvae of greenfly, whitefly, cabbage caterpillars, scale insects and strawberry tortrix moth.

       Tachinid flies: Parasitize a wide range of insects including caterpillars, adult and larval beetles, true bugs, and others.

Plants to regulate insect pests

Choosing a diverse range of plants for the garden can help to regulate pests in a variety of ways, including;

       Masking the crop plants from pests, depending on the proximity of the companion or intercrop.

       Producing olfactory inhibitors, odors that confuse and deter pests.

       Acting as trap plants by providing an alluring food that entices pests away from crops.

       Serving as nursery plants, providing breeding grounds for beneficial insects.

Encarsia formosa

Most of the biological controls listed above depend on providing incentives in order to ‘naturally’ attract beneficial insects to the garden. However there are occasions when biological controls can be directly introduced. Common biocontrol agents include parasitoids, predators, pathogens or weed feeders. This is particularly appropriate in situations such as the greenhouse, a largely artificial environment, and are usually purchased by mail order. Some biocontrol agents that can be introduced include;

       Encarsia formosa. This is a small predatory chalcid wasp which is parasitical on whitefly, a sap-feeding insect which can cause wilting and black sooty moulds. It is most effective when dealing with low level infestations, giving protection over a long period of time. The wasp lays its eggs in young whitefly ‘scales’, turning them black as the parasite larvae pupates. It should be introduced as soon as possible after the first adult whitefly are seen. Should be used in conjunction with insecticidal soap.

       Red spider mite, another pest found in the greenhouse, can be controlled with the predatory mite Phytoseilus persimilis. This is slightly larger than its prey and has an orange body. It develops from egg to adult twice as fast as the red spider mite and once established quickly overcomes infestation.

       A fairly recent development in the control of slugs is the introduction of ‘Nemaslug’, a microscopic nematode (Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita) which will seek out and Parasitize slugs, reproducing inside them and killing them. The nematode is applied by watering onto moist soil, and gives protection for up to six wee
ks in optimum conditions, though is mainly effective with small and young slugs under the soil surface.

       A bacterial biological control which can be introduced in order to control butterfly caterpillars is Bacillus thuringiensis. This available in sachets of dried spores which are mixed with water and sprayed onto vulnerable plants such as brassicas and fruit trees. The bacterial disease will kill the caterpillars, but leave other insects unharmed. There are strains of Bt that are effective against other insect larvae. Bt israelensis is effective against mosquito larvae and some midges.

       A biological control being developed for use in the treatment of plant disease is the fungus Trichoderma viride. This has been used against Dutch Elm disease, and to treat the spread of fungal and bacterial growth on tree wounds. It may also have potential as a means of combating silver leaf disease.

       The parasitoid Gonatocerus ashmeadi (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) has been introduced to control the glassy-winged sharpshooter Homalodisca vitripennis (Hemipterae: Cicadellidae) in French Polynesia and has successfully controlled ~95% of the pest density

Economics of biological pest control

Biological control proves to be very successful economically, and even when the method has been less successful, it still produces a benefit-to-cost ratio of 11:1. One study has estimated that a successful biocontrol program returns £32 in benefits for each £1 invested in developing and implementing the program, i.e., a 32:1 benefit-to-cost ratio. The same study had shown that an average chemical pesticide program only returned profits in the ratio of 13:1.

Negative results of biological pest control

In some cases, biological pest control can have unforeseen negative results, that could outweigh all benefits. For example, when the mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in order to control the rat population, it predated on the endemic birds of Hawaii, especially their eggs, more often than it ate the rats. Cane toads (Bufo marinus) were introduced to Australia in the 1930’s in a failed attempt to control the cane beetle, a pest of sugar cane crops. 102 toads were obtained from Hawaii and bred in captivity to increase their numbers until they were released into the sugar cane fields of the tropic north in 1935. It was later discovered that the toads can’t jump very high so they did not eat the cane beetles which stayed up on the upper stalks of the cane plants. The toads soon became very numerous and out-competed native species and became very harmful to the Australian environment, including being very toxic to would-be predators such as native snakes.

By: The urban gardener

About the Author:

My name is guy. I am the founder and owner of the . I fell in love with hydroponics gardening. As time went by I gathered a vast knowledge base and 2 years ago I decided to find a way to make hydroponics gardening a hobby that anyone can peruse. I added a hydroponic gardening information center to our hydroponic supplies site that offers a large range of hydroponics articles. Thank you for your interest and feel free to ask questions on hydroponics gardening in our blog

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