Exterminator Services

The Basics of Pest Control

Use physical or biological methods to control pests before resorting to chemical treatments. This includes scouting regularly for pests and recording what you find (e.g., aphids, bagworm larvae).

Learn the life cycle and biology of the pest you are trying to manage. This will help you determine whether preventive and/or nonchemical methods can solve the problem.

Pest Identification

Often, Pest Control in El Paso TX starts with accurately identifying the species of pest that’s causing damage. This requires observing the insect, taking photos (if possible), and looking at where and how much damage is being caused. This information can then be compared to known pest behaviors and patterns. For example, thrips are elongated insects that feed by puncturing plants with their piercing mouthparts. Plants damaged by these pests look stippled and have a silvery appearance, as the chlorophyll is scraped from the plant.

Other pests such as the potato cyst nematode or flour beetles damage crops by feeding on roots. These pests leave a gritty frass on the surface of the soil. Their tunneling damages the root systems of the plant and may also kill it.

To help you identify a suspected pest, UC Cooperative Extension has developed a number of Pest Identification Guides that are available as free downloads. These guides are a useful tool for growers, crop consultants, master gardeners, and home gardeners. These publications feature photographs, descriptions of the pest’s morphology and biology, and the types of damage it causes to plants.

For more in-depth analysis, NIS offers pest identification services to support PPQ’s quarantine and regulatory programs. Our national team of expert specialists consists of botanists, entomologists, and malacologists. They are the final taxonomic authorities for PPQ’s identification services and provide critical information that supports our mission to safeguard the nation’s natural resources.

Pest Prevention

Pests can damage crops and trees in gardens, as well as invade homes. They can also spread pathogens that can cause diseases in people and animals. Rodents and insects transmit more than 30 diseases. Many of these diseases can be very serious or even fatal.

A good preventative program starts with monitoring. This includes scouting, assessing, and identifying pests. It also includes setting thresholds for pest damage and determining the type of pest. Monitoring also includes evaluating cultural, physical and biological (as a last resort) methods of control.

The best method of preventing pests is through sanitation and eliminating potential harborage sites for them. This means keeping food, garbage, and compost in containers with tight lids and cleaning them regularly. Sealing gaps around doors, windows, and vents keeps rodents out. Installing door sweeps and ensuring that all expansion joints are properly sealed prevents insect pests from entering wall voids. It’s also important to keep facilities clean and dry and to locate dumpsters away from entrances.

Cultural practices include growing plants in healthy soil, using pest resistant varieties, removing infested plant parts, and applying beneficial organisms to control pests. These methods are often less expensive than pesticides, and they’re safe for organic production. A common example is bacillus thuringiensis, found in products such as Dipel and Thuricide, which helps to prevent certain foliar diseases by attacking the plant pathogen.


A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances that is intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest, including insects (insecticides), rodents (rodenticides), weeds (herbicides), diseases or microorganisms (fungicides). Pesticides may be used on crops or in the home garden.

Pesticides are very powerful chemicals that are dangerous to humans and other organisms when they come into contact with them in large amounts. Poisoning by pesticides can be fatal if it comes in contact with the skin, eyes or respiratory system. They can also be ingested or inhaled and they can leave residues on the food we eat. They can also degrade the quality of water in streams and rivers and cause other environmental problems. Some pesticides can even enter groundwater and become a problem for human health.

Most pesticides are designed to be toxic to specific target organisms. The most widely used pesticides are insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Other kinds of pesticides include molluscicides, fumigants and larvicides.

In order to protect human and animal health and the environment, pesticides must be manufactured and sold in a safe way. Those who work with pesticides are monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure that they don’t exceed internationally-accepted maximum residue limits. Nonchemical ways to control pests include removing infested plant material, using barriers and traps, cultivating, soil solarization, and heat treatment. Biological control agents such as natural predators, parasitoids and pathogens can be used to reduce pest numbers below damaging thresholds.


Pest Control in El Paso TX management professionals often talk about IPM (Integrated Pest Management) but this system is rarely understood by the general public. IPM takes a “whole system” or ecosystem approach to managing pests, and relies on careful monitoring and evaluation of both living and nonliving components to determine how and when action will be taken.

The goal of IPM is to combine preventative and control strategies to reduce or eliminate pests from causing economic injury. The most common preventative strategies include cultural, physical and biological controls. These may include screens, other barriers to pest entry, temperature or moisture modification, plant selection, sanitation and weed removal. Biological control includes predators and parasitic insects that kill or otherwise interfere with crop pests. This strategy helps to maintain natural enemies and avoid reliance on broad-spectrum chemical insecticides that also kill beneficial insects and other organisms.

When action is needed, IPM practitioners will carefully assess the damage caused by the pest, the status of their natural enemy population and other factors, such as stage of development of a crop or weather conditions. They will establish guidelines, or thresholds, for when the pests may cause economic damage, and use information such as scouting reports, pest forecasting models and trapping data to take timely action.

When chemical products are used, they are formulated and applied to minimize environmental impact, and with the least possible exposure to people, pets and wildlife. The pesticide will be sprayed with the lowest effective amount from carefully calibrated equipment.