Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques are necessary to reduce the number of pests that threaten human health and property. This systems approach to the problem relies on more than one technique to reduce or eliminate pests. It can be visualized best as concentric rings of protection that reduce the need for the most risky and dangerous options of control and the potential for pests to evolve and develop. It typically involves using some or all of the following steps:
- monitoring, identifying, and determining the level of threat from pests;
- making the environment hostile to pests;
- building the pests out by using pest-proof building materials;
- eliminating food sources, hiding areas, and other pest attractants;
- using traps and other physical elimination devices; and
- when necessary, selecting appropriate poisons for identified pests.
The above actions are discussed in more detail in the following section on the four basic strategies for controlling rodents.
Most homeowners have encountered a problem with rodents, cockroaches, fleas, flies, termites, or fire ants. These pests destroy property or carry disease, or both, and can be a problem for rich and poor alike.