Cultural Pest Control Methods
The use of non-toxic traps (non-chemical) and natural (non-synthetic) chemicals has always been an important part of pest control. If control of a pest infestation can be achieved without recourse to synthetic chemicals it will be the best course of action. Non-toxic methods of control are often referred to as cultural control methods. They may include:
- Physical barriers to exclude pests. E.g. Fitting fly screens, putting food in the pantry in sealed containers and sealing up gaps where pests may gain entry.
- Changing the conditions to make this attractive to, or suitable for the pests, weed or disease. E.g. Removing food sources to reduce pests that would feed on it, removing sap-sucking insects that ants would farm and ensuring plants are not providing cover for pests.
- Looking after your home and garden with regular maintenance of the buildings, soils and tools will help control pests.
- Non-toxic traps (non-chemical) can be effective on their own or as part of an integrated pest control programme.
- Biological controls and the use of botanical (natural) pesticides are also considered cultural control methods. E.g. Organic Insect Control (Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, Btk) for control of caterpillars and NO Bugs Indoors pyrethrum for control of many insect pests.
- Encourage the natural predators of pests. E.g. Birds that would feed on flying and crawling insects.
- Prompt action can help stop pests getting out of hand. E.g. Search for and deal with ant nests as soon as ants are seen active.
These cultural controls may not always be enough on their own to control a pest infestation, weed spread or disease infection, but they should always be part of your integrated pest management programme of control.