Pest Control

Pest Control – How to Get Rid of Insects, Rodents and Termites

Pest Control Meridian includes eliminating unwanted pests like rodents, insects and crows as well as controlling diseases they bring. These include rat- and mouse-borne Salmonella, typhus and plague as well as ticks and fleas that can spread diseases such as cat-scratch fever and spotted fever.

Prevention is key – so regularly clear away debris where pests harbor, eliminate or breed and keep garbage and pet food in sealed containers. Preventive maintenance also includes removing moisture sources and draining or emptying puddles where mosquitoes breed.

Insects make up more of the world’s animal species than all other terrestrial organisms combined and are a fundamental part of the complex food webs in natural, agricultural and urban environments. Insects contribute to soil and water quality, shape and form a diversity of landscapes and provide invaluable pollination services that drive plant growth. They are also necessary decomposers of organic materials and key indicators of a healthy ecosystem.

Unfortunately, insects are the cause of many pest problems in our homes and gardens. Whether they are eating plants or transmitting diseases, their presence can lead to significant damage and even threaten a harvest. In the home garden, insect pests cause damage in several ways: chewing the leaves and stems of vegetable plants; sucking out plant juices; boring within a plant’s roots, seeds or fruit; and spreading plant pathogens.

There are two types of insect pest damage to growing plants: direct damage caused by the feeding insects themselves; and indirect damage, in which the insect serves as a host for a pathogen and injects it into the plant hypodermically as it feeds. Hundreds of pest plant-feeding species occur, including orthopterans, homopterans, hexapodans, Coleopterans, Lepidopterans and dipterans.

Most synthetic and some organic insecticides are effective at controlling these insects. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the same chemical sprays used for pest control may also kill beneficial insects, especially when the insecticide is applied during the larval stage of the pest’s lifecycle, which is when the most damaging feeding occurs.

In addition, most broad-spectrum pesticides (e.g., pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates, neonicotinoids) are also harmful to natural enemies. The effectiveness of natural enemies in protecting crops depends on the numbers of predators, parasites and disease-causing pathogens that are available to prey on the pests, as well as how often the pests are exposed to these predators and parasites.

It’s recommended that you examine the plants in your garden at least twice each week during the growing season, searching under leaves, inside developing fruit, along stems and at the plant crown and base for signs of insect activity and damage. By carefully examining your garden and keeping records, you can help to determine the best pest control measures for your unique situation.


Rodents are a common problem for people. They are active at night and can be heard scratching and gnawing inside walls and ceilings. They are attracted to buildings with easy access to food, water and shelter and can get out of hand quickly if they find comfortable indoor living conditions. Certain rodent species act as reservoirs for diseases that affect humans, such as plague, murine typhus, scrub typhus, tularemia, rat-bite fever and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Rodents have a global distribution and are found in all habitat types from the Arctic tundra to savannahs, forests and deserts. They are a significant crop pest and have hitched rides on ocean-going ships since people started sailing the seas 10,000 years ago. Rodents can cause billions of dollars in damage each year, and they are also one of the main agents of island extinctions.

Physical/mechanical controls for rodents include removing food sources, cleaning up travel pathways and restricting access to nests with exclusion and sanitation techniques. Often, traps and baits are necessary to control rodent populations. However, if sanitation and exclusion are utilized in concert with trapping and baiting, these practices can help reduce the need for rodenticides.

Mice, rats and rabbits are the most familiar rodents that people encounter in their homes. But the world is home to many other rodents, including squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and gophers, as well as the largest rodent of all—the capybara, which can weigh more than a fully grown man.

In the wild, rodents are important part of a healthy ecosystem. They are a significant source of food for predators and scavengers, including hawks, eagles and owls. Some nonnative rodents, such as Norway rats and roof rats, become pests when they invade houses, crops and other structures. They can spread disease and cause loss of property, destruction of native plants, disruption of human activities and harm to people through exposure to pathogens from consumption of contaminated food or water and from breathing dust containing rodent droppings.

To reduce rodent populations, place nontoxic monitoring bait blocks in tamper-resistant stations in inaccessible areas (such as custodial closets, garages and sheds) and check them on a daily basis. Inspect these areas frequently for signs of rodent activity, including droppings, gnaw marks and sebum trails (an oily, brown substance that gathers on rodent pathways). Clean up these residues as soon as they appear.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a problem that can be hard to eradicate once they get started. They are wingless, apple seed-sized and reddish-brown in color. Their eggs are tiny, white and glued to surfaces. The best method for eliminating an infestation is a professional heat treatment. This is the only treatment that will kill all stages of the bug, including eggs. Chemical treatments are also available, but multiple applications may be required and there is a risk that the bugs will become resistant to chemicals or that they will scatter throughout your home in an attempt to avoid them.

If you choose to use a chemical treatment, make sure it is labeled for bed bug control and that it contains an insecticide that is registered for use indoors. If the insecticide is only registered for outdoor use, it could harm you or your family members if inhaled. It is also important to follow the application instructions carefully. Do not apply more pesticide than is recommended on the label.

A thorough inspection of your house and all rooms is essential for finding bed bugs. Check behind furniture, inside drawers, on and under mattresses and in the corners of rooms. Also look in cracks and crevices for bed bugs, fecal spots and nymphs (first instar stage of bed bugs).

Wash all linens, curtains, clothes and stuffed animals in hot water and dry them on the highest heat setting. Place stuffed animals and shoes in plastic bags and throw them out in your trash container outdoors as soon as possible after treating them to ensure that any bed bugs are killed.

Vacuum the bedroom and adjacent areas every day, paying special attention to windows and molding. Remember that dark lighting can make it harder to see small bed bugs and their fecal spots, so be sure to use bright lighting when inspecting.

Purchase protective covers for your mattress and box springs to keep bed bugs from crawling out from the voids in them. Covers that seal are ideal, but if you can’t afford to buy them, wrap your mattresses and box springs in old sheets or blankets. Buy interceptor traps to place under the legs of beds, couches and plush chairs. These are designed to trap the bugs as they try to escape.


Termites are destructive wood-eating insects that damage homes and other buildings. These eusocial insects live in colonies that contain a queen, king, reproductives (also called alates), soldiers and workers. While all members of a termite colony work toward the same goal—to consume cellulose, the material in which plants are based—termites that have wings can spread to new areas in search of a mate and a better environment for their future generations.

Because a termite’s nest and tunnels are constantly moist, the insects can remain active in cold temperatures. As a result, termites infest houses in the winter and often go undetected until after renovations are underway.

During the warmer months, swarmers will break away from mature colonies and look for areas that are moist and sheltered. Termite swarmers have wings, and when they land in their new home, they will drop these wings and settle down. This is when a homeowner may begin to see signs of an infestation, such as mud tubes or discarded wings, in addition to the visible destruction caused by the pests’ relentless search for cellulose.

There are several ways to control termites, including soil treatment. Typically, a liquid insecticide is applied to the ground around the foundation of a house. When the pesticide comes into contact with a termite, it is absorbed by the insect and carried to the colony, where it disrupts the reproductive process.

Besides soil treatment, other methods to control termites include baiting, fumigation and heat treatments. A termite expert will recommend the most appropriate option for the client’s situation and property. It’s important to always follow the pesticide product label instructions. This will ensure that the pesticide is used as intended and not diluted by excess water or applied in an area where it can’t reach its target. A professional will also be able to advise clients on preventive measures, such as keeping tree stumps and other dead wood off the property. In the event a termite infestation does occur, the expert will be able to provide prompt service and repairs to minimize damages.