Integrated Pest Management Techniques

Integrated Pest Management Techniques

As the Spring season starts to ramp up (some may already have summer temperatures), pests and bugs begin to emerge. Some are lucky this year to have the 13-year-old and 17-year-old Cicadas emerging (sorry, Nashville), but it is a part of the cycle of life. Many are dealing with birds and bats mating and looking for nests to build, and chipmunks and rabbits are searching for places to seek shelter and burrow for their offspring.

However, as cute as these creatures are, they are pests nonetheless to property owners. But fear not! We have the power to keep them at bay. Let’s explore some integrated pest management (IPM) techniques that are proven effective in managing these seasonal pests.

Education is Key. Spring seasonal pests have typical behaviors, including nesting habits, feeding preferences and territorial instincts. Understanding their behaviors can help property owners predict and address potential pest issues more effectively. Much wildlife has various habitat requirements. Natural habitats preferred by birds, bats and chipmunks include nesting sites, food sources and shelter preferences. Knowing what they choose, you can create a less hospitable environment for these pests without causing harm.

Spring is known as new beginnings and new life, meaning many will have reproductive cycles this season—mating seasons, gestation periods and offspring rearing. Key moments in their reproductive cycle may have more of an impact on pest activity on residential properties. Swallows, particularly barn swallows, have developed an affinity for living close to humans. They prefer to be in the most inconvenient spots for human and bird interaction, such as entranceways and areas where they will be protected from predators.

Prevention is the first line of defense in IPM. The beginning of the spring season is the perfect time to take proactive steps. Check for gaps and potential nesting sites, install deterrents, and change landscaping. Maintaining cleanliness, sealing entry points and eliminating attractants like food waste or standing water is also essential. Remember, if a property is located by a body of water, it typically will have more insects that bats and swallows love to feast on. Taking these measures makes you responsible for your property’s pest control. Several methods of control within the IPM framework include:

  • Cultural controls such as habitat modification
  • Mechanical controls such as barriers and traps
  • Biological controls, such as getting a cat or predator
  • Least-toxic chemical controls such as targeted repellents

Many pests do not like peppermint, cinnamon or eucalyptus oils, so apply them to potential entry points or spray around the property. If swallows are a problem outside on roofs, eaves or entranceways, install control spikes, which are stainless steel and are blunted to prevent bird injury, but they won’t be able to get comfortable. Mechanical fake owls are known to scare off pests, but be sure to move them every three to five days to appear natural.

Watch like a Hawk. Identify signs of pest activity, such as droppings, nests or visible damage, early! This will require regular inspections and accurate identification of the pests involved. Take a picture and let Google Lens or iPhoto help you be extra sure. Implement pest management strategies for shared spaces in the community. Shared spaces such as hallways, laundry rooms, and common areas pose challenges and must be inspected regularly.

Flex and assess. Your role in ongoing monitoring is crucial. It evaluates the effectiveness and adaptation of control measures based on seasonal changes or evolving pest populations. This vigilance ensures you stay aware of any potential pest issues and can address them promptly, making you a proactive and responsible property owner.

Embrace the warmer weather, get busy cleaning and remember that IPM is a volatile approach that requires continual assessment and adjustment. Also, remember that pests are valuable to the ecosystem and environment, so please be kind and as humane as possible when using these strategies.