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Types of Pests and How to Control Them

Pests are a nuisance and can cause damage to property. They also can transmit disease to humans like hantavirus, leptospirosis, plague, and cat scratch fever through bites.

Bakersfield Pest Control methods include chemical and physical controls. Chemicals include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and growth regulators. Physical controls include traps and netting to kill or capture pests. Monitoring of pests includes scouting and trapping, as well as checking environmental conditions.

Insects are the largest group of animals and there are about a million known species, or types, though scientists are constantly discovering new ones. They are the only members of the phylum Arthropoda to have evolved powered flight, which has allowed them to exploit niches that are impossible for other land-bound groups of invertebrates. Insects are found everywhere on the planet and can adapt to any environment. They are most familiar to us as butterflies, bees, flies, mosquitoes, termites and crickets.

In some cases, insects become pests when they injure or damage crops or cause other harm. They include grasshoppers and locusts that eat crops; gypsy moths that kill trees; termites that destroy wooden buildings; and mosquitoes, lice, fleas, and wasps that bite and carry disease-causing germs. Other insects are useful, such as pollinators for flowering plants or parasites that reduce the populations of harmful insects.

Insects are a key part of many natural ecosystems. Their populations are limited by their native predators, parasitoids, and pathogens. Biological control involves using these natural enemies to reduce the population of potential pests. This can be done by preserving and conserving existing natural enemies; introducing new ones into the environment; or mass rearing and periodic releases of parasitoids or pathogens, either inundatively or in spray formulations. In addition, the use of plant-derived metabolites such as nicotine from tobacco or capsaicin from chili peppers, pyrethrins from chrysanthemums, and azadirachtin from neem can reduce insect damage by acting as repellents.


Rodents (rats and mice) are one of the most common pests found in homes, businesses, and other commercial properties. They carry disease-causing bacteria, create unsanitary conditions, cause structural damage, and pose health risks. Additionally, rodents’ continuous gnawing can weaken the structure of buildings and lead to costly repairs.

Rodents enter structures in search of food, water, and shelter. In order to reduce the risk of an infestation, it is important that food is stored in rodent-proof containers and that spills and crumbs are promptly cleaned up. Regular inspections of the outside and inside of buildings for cracks, gaps, and places where utility lines enter can also reduce the chance of rodents gaining access to your home or business.

Rats and mice are opportunistic feeders and will feed on a variety of materials including meat, fruits, vegetables, grains, and even paper products. In addition, a rodent’s teeth never stop growing and must be constantly trimmed, which is why they chew on anything within reach, including wooden frames and structural beams in your home.

Long-term rodent control programs include sanitation, exclusion and, if necessary, trapping or baiting. Because rodents are naturally suspicious, when setting a trap or bait, it’s best to leave the trap alone for 3 to 5 days in order to allow the rodent to get used to it being there. This will help ensure that the trap is set correctly and that it is triggering when it should be.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny, wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They don’t care whether their environment is clean or dirty, as long as it contains a suitable host. They have no natural predators and their flat bodies allow them to slip into tight, secluded spaces, like behind headboards or in the seams and tufts of mattresses and box springs. Their small size also makes them difficult to detect without a magnifying glass.

While they aren’t considered to be dangerous, their bites can be annoying and itchy. They usually strike during the night, and at their peak time for feeding, which is between midnight and 5 AM. They can mate and lay hundreds of eggs, which are about the size of a poppy seed. Eggs must be fed at least five times before becoming mature adults.

Increased global travel has been cited as one of the primary reasons for the current bed bug resurgence. They’re most likely to find their way into homes from apartments, condos and hotel rooms, but they can also hitch a ride in clothing, luggage, or purses that have come in contact with an infested item. They’re notoriously hard to get rid of and can quickly spread from room to room in a house or apartment complex.

To avoid them, cover up in dark, breathable pajamas and always inspect secondhand furniture for signs of bedbugs before buying or bringing it into a home. It’s also a good idea to encase a new mattress and box spring in protective covers, which are available from some pest control companies and at many retail outlets.


Mosquitoes are a nuisance pest that affect business operations. They are a common problem in wet climates or areas with water features and they become more prevalent each year as temperature and humidity trends lengthen the mosquito season.

The mosquito is a flying insect belonging to the order Diptera, the true flies. Females bite people and animals for blood (they also eat nectar) to produce eggs. They lay their eggs in water or soil that subsequently hatch into larvae. Larvae feed on algae and microorganisms in the water or soil. Once mature, they pupate in a dry container such as a leaf or other debris. Adult mosquitoes die after a hard frost in autumn, but some species can “over-winter” in protected places such as crawlspaces or basements.

In addition to their role as a nuisance pest, mosquitoes are known to transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus and Zika fever. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work closely with state and local health departments to monitor the potential for mosquito-borne diseases and respond to disease outbreaks as they occur.

In some instances, resistance to insecticides may be increasing for important mosquito vectors such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito that has become adapted to urban environments and its life cycle is characterized by being closer to human habitation in all steps from larval to adult stages. This has resulted in an increased focus on education to heighten public awareness and a search for novel tools to reduce mosquito populations and the transmission of disease.


Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that attach to the skin and coat of pets, dogs, cats and humans to feed and lay eggs. They can transmit tapeworms and deadly diseases, including the plague, murine typhus, and tungiasis, through their bites. Fleas are also notoriously difficult to eradicate. Adult fleas can jump 13 times their body length, easily entering homes through screened windows and doors or even from outdoors.

Flea eggs hatch into larvae within a few days, where they can grow for several weeks. During this time, larvae are legless and almost colorless. Once mature, larvae spin cocoons, which can survive for up to a year until conditions are right for adult fleas to emerge. Optimum conditions for this life cycle include warm (70-85 degrees F) and humid conditions. This is why flea problems often peak during the spring, summer and fall.

When conditions are right, an adult flea may emerge from a cocoon and immediately start feeding. It will also start breeding — laying up to 200 eggs per day. These eggs are typically deposited on the host animal, but may also fall to the ground or into bedding and carpet fibers.

To help prevent a flea infestation, routinely bathe pets with a flea and tick shampoo. You can also use a flea comb to remove them from your pet’s fur. For indoor control, vacuum frequently and wash your pet’s bedding regularly. Treat outdoor areas where pets spend time with sprays, powders or repellents.