In years past, pest control was simply a matter of spraying a multitude of chemicals over a wide area in the hopes that any and all types of bug would be killed and the homeowner would be happy. In the past twenty years or so, the industry has greatly changed.
One of the modern techniques of pest control is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM means that we focus on maximum effectiveness with minimum hazardous side effects by identifying the source of the problem, selecting a targeted solution, applying preventative measures, and educating the consumer.
At this time, there are several specific targets of pest control research that could become part of an IPM plan:
Biological Control: Instead of using heavy doses of chemicals, many of the modern techniques include biological control. This may include introducing natural predators (such as using ladybugs to kill spiders) or it could mean modifying the habitat to discourage pest population growth (such as moving compost piles – which attracts bugs – far away from the home)
Focus on “greener” methods: As we better understand the side effects of the harsh chemicals used in years past, we do try to create products that have fewer risks to our environment, our pets and our children. Some options include soap-based or oil-based solutions which are proven to be effective against certain pests.
Odor controlling solutions: Instead of focusing attention of killing pests, there is quite a bit of attention on how to prevent pests from moving into your home or your lawn. In several research studies, there is an effort to design and build better dumpsters, trash cans or trash chutes to completely eliminate or reduce odors while they are holding trash.
Heat Treatment: Some methods look at using high heat to reduce pests. In one specific study, the scientists are using large heating elements and tents to target a wide area and deep into a structure in order to kill all the pests without using a chemical solution. Not only does this method kill pests, but also has been found to combat mold, odors and other pollutants.
New Bedbug research: Bedbugs are one of the hardest pests to get rid of and still require the use of harsh chemicals. During one study, one woman allowed herself to be bit more than 180,000 times over the course of five years. At the end of the study, it was found that certain scents attract bedbugs. The next steps are to build effective bedbug traps to prevent these pests from even getting into your mattress.