Pests can be defined as animals or plants in the wrong place. Wrong in the sense that we consider it wrong because there they harm us or annoy us in some way. For example the fly in our soup is a risk to health because of the pathogens in might carry, the rat in the roof might gnaw through a wire causing a short or even fire, the ant in the pantry might contaminate our food, the aphid on the rose suck the sap and weaken the plant, the caterpillar on the cabbage might eat it all leaving us hungry, the bed bug in the bed might bite us and bug us in bed….enough of this alliteration!
Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control pests, usually insects. While pesticides are rigorously tested to show that they are safe in controlled use, most have some undesirable effects when overused or inappropriately used. There is a movement to reduce the use of pesticides and improve the environment.
There are usually ways to control pests without using pesticides or to allow the use of lower levels of pesticides.
If a pest is an animal or plant in the wrong place; stop them getting to the wrong place. This is usually some sort of physical barrier.
New Zealand has a unique and extraordinary natural flora and fauna that evolved in isolation from the rest of the world when the islands split away from Gondwanaland. Unfortunately man has brought to New Zealand many animals and plants from other parts of the world. Many of these animals and plants proliferated and are now regarded as pests. In an attempt to recreate and protect the natural New Zealand ecosystems these pests can be eliminated and then excluded from areas. Possums, rodents, mustalids (ferrets and stoats) and other pests have been eradicated from some off shore islands where reinvasion is prevented by the surrounding water. On the mainland, ‘island parks’ have been created with predator proof fences constructed around the boundary to stop pests reinvading after removal.
You can also exclude pests from your home. Rats and mice can be excluded by looking for possible entry points such as gaps under doors or around the eaves and preventing access by sealing the gaps or making the gap too small for entry. Flies can be kept out by keeping doors and windows closed or fitting fly screens. Ants and other crawling insects can be excluded by sealing gaps with sealant and using natural surface barrier containing natural capsaicin from chillies. Fleas, bed bugs and other insect pests can be excluded by checking animals, boxes, luggage etc. before they are brought into the house. Possums and rodents can be excluded from climbing trees by fitting a band of metal around the trunk.
Ask yourself why the pest would find your ‘wrong place’ an attractive place to live. Your house is attractive to rats and mice because it provides shelter, warmth and maybe food. The damp warmth behind your fridge or freezer and the spilled food may be attractive to cockroaches. The rose you bought might have little resistance to aphids or fungal disease. The dust mites in your house may thrive in the warmth and high humidity of your bedroom. The moss in the lawn likes the poor drainage and shade. Ants like to build their nests in dry warm places under paving and driveways.
Change the conditions to make it unfavourable to pests. Remove sources of food for pests. Use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity in areas where dust mites or cockroaches would be a risk. Purchase plants with good disease and pest resistance. Improve the drainage and sunlight where moss is growing in your lawn. Keep vegetation trimmed that would provide cover for rodents. Cut down climbing plants and don’t let trees overhang roofs where rats could gain entrance. Seal the cracks and crevices that would be entrances to nest sites for ants.
There are some ways to reduce the likelihood of pests choosing to move into your property. There has been a recent fad for electronic pest repellent machines. These profess to work by producing ultrasonic noise or magnetic fields that are detected and disliked by pests such as rodents and insects. They may have some real repellent effect and would make a mouse choose next door rather than your home. But they are unlikely make a mouse or other pest leave somewhere they have already made home.
There are some natural chemicals that will deter pests and not harm them. Kiwicare’s Organic NO Insects Barrier, made form chillies acts as a deterrent to crawling insects. Bird repellent can be painted onto perching surfaces making the perches uncomfortable for the birds. Kiwicare’s NO Cats and Dogs is a chemical that deters animals from garden areas, and Thiroprotect will deter possums, rabbits and hares from browsing on plants.
If pests cannot be excluded or deterred then control can be achieved by removal. Trapping has been used for catching or controlling animals for thousands of years. Traps can be live capture or kill traps. There have been many attempts to develop a better mouse trap but traditional snap traps are still an effective method of controlling rats and mice, either as an addition to baits, or on their own when there are only a few rodents. Sticky boards have been used to catch rodents but these are now regarded as inhumane.
Crawling insects such as cockroaches can be simply and safely trapped on sticky boards lured with specially formulated tablets. Trapping insects not only helps to control them but acts as sentinel for new infestations.
Kiwicare would recommend you use these methods of controlling pests whether on their own or in addition to our range of pesticide products.
Kiwicare is New Zealand’s own manufacturer and distributor of pest control, garden care and home maintenance products. The Kiwicare website contains advice on the eradication and prevention of all sorts of pests that bother us in New Zealand. Learn how to get rid of rats and mice, flies, spiders, ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs and other creepy crawlies. Protect your plants from aphids, grass grub, caterpillars, weeds and more. Keep biting insects at bay with the Safari range of insect repellents. See the BioGro certified organic range of products to help you stay pest free without chemicals.How To Control Pests Without Using Pesticides,