The Basics of Fence Installation

Fences add value to homes and property and improve security, privacy, and functionality. They come in a variety of materials and styles.

It’s best to have professional fence installation, as mistakes or rework can end up costing more in the long run. However, if you decide to DIY, the following tips can make the process easier: Contact Fence Installation Anchorage AK now!

The first step in installing a fence is clearing the area where it will be placed. This will save time and frustration for you and the fence installation crew. If you have any errant rocks, toys, plants, sprinklers or anything else in the path of your fence line, clear them out so the installers can move easily and safely. You may want to consider a fence company that will do this for you as part of their overall service.

It is important to locate where sewage lines, water pipes, and electrical lines run underground in your yard. This is for safety reasons so that the crew doesn’t accidentally hit them when digging holes for the posts. Contact your local utilities or ask your fence company if they have this information. You should also check to see if there are any property easements that need to be considered.

Next, it’s important to dig post holes that are deep enough for stability. A good rule of thumb is to dig a hole that is a minimum of one-third to one-half of the height of the fence post. The type of soil also plays a role in the depth of the hole; sandy soils generally require deeper holes than loamy ones.

Once the posts are set, the rest of the fence can be installed. Be sure to follow the guidelines provided by your fence contractor for sizing and spacing. If you are using panels, make sure that they are properly secured with the screws or brackets provided. If you are using pickets, be sure to stagger them so that the seams will not show.

After the fence is finished, it is a good idea to apply a coat of preservative or stain. This will help to protect the wood from moisture and sun damage. It’s best to let the product dry completely before using the fence.

It’s a good idea to discuss the fence with your neighbors, especially if it’s going on your property line. This will prevent any issues down the road, and it’s a legal requirement in many communities.


While installing fence posts isn’t a difficult task, it requires careful planning and execution to ensure the stability of your finished product. A good rule of thumb is to bury about one-third of each post’s total length in the ground, and to space them at least six feet apart. Local building codes may require a specific minimum depth, so check with your local authority before starting.

You can use concrete, gravel, or dirt to set your fence posts. If using concrete, be sure to choose a fast-setting mix so that the post doesn’t have to be braced while it sets. If choosing gravel or dirt, be sure to compact it tightly around each post, and use a two-sided post level to make sure the posts are plumb (or perfectly vertical) before adding any additional materials.

To prevent water accumulation and rot, dig each post hole a little larger at the bottom than at the top and add about six inches of gravel to the base. This will help the soil to drain properly, and it will also help prevent the formation of puddles that could damage the posts over time.

Before setting any wood posts, be sure to treat them with a preservative or sealant. This will not only enhance their durability, but it will also help protect them from insects and fungi that would otherwise eat away at the wood. Choose a wood that is naturally resistant to decay, such as cedar or pressure-treated pine, if possible.

When setting the first couple of posts, it’s helpful to use a string and batter board to guide you. This will keep the posts a consistent distance apart and straight, which is critical to creating a well-aligned and sturdy fence.

Once the first two posts are set, dig holes for the remaining posts. Call 811 before digging to learn the location of underground utilities, and then remove any rocks, roots, or other debris that may be in the way of the post holes. Before you start digging, be sure to have your concrete ready; it usually takes four to six hours for it to cure. Once the concrete has cured, you can cover it with soil to give the posts a more natural appearance, or you can opt to leave them bare.


Choosing the right fence panels is critical to ensuring a safe and durable property boundary. Options range from wood to vinyl, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these differences and selecting the best option can help ensure your project is a success.

Premade fence panels are a convenient alternative to constructing a custom fence from scratch. They save time by eliminating the need to mark where posts will go, run plumb lines, dig holes, and set concrete. Nevertheless, they may not be ideal for hilly terrain or unique design requirements that require more flexibility.

Before installing fence panels, make sure the posts are plumb and level with each other by driving a stake at each location then stretching a line across the ground to determine if it’s straight. Once you’ve determined the proper height of your fence, measure and mark the locations of the corners of each panel. Start with the corner posts and work outward from there, building one panel at a time. It’s important to use blocking underneath each panel when setting it to prevent it from sagging or bowing over time.

Using wood fence panels requires regular maintenance to protect it from weathering, rot, and pest infestation. Staining or painting can be helpful to preserve the wood’s aesthetic and structural integrity. However, these methods are not foolproof and may require regular reapplications.

Another consideration is the impact of fence panels on a home’s value. The style and condition of a fence has a significant influence on its perceived value. Researching which fence styles are most appealing to potential buyers and how they can enhance the curb appeal of a home is essential for achieving a positive first impression and increased property valuations.

Wood fence panels offer numerous design and customization options to match a homeowner’s aesthetic preferences and property specifications. However, these choices often add to the overall cost of the project. Consideration of alternative materials, such as aluminum or vinyl, can significantly reduce installation costs while ensuring a safe and secure yard.

Sustainable fencing solutions also involve assessing the materials used in fence panels and their environmental footprint. This involves evaluating whether they are recycled or sourced from renewable resources, and examining the manufacturing process to ensure it uses energy efficiently and minimises waste.

Final Touches

After the posts have been set, it’s time to install the rails and panels. This is when your fence really starts to take shape and can be seen from the street or garden. Again, precise measurements are key to ensuring the final product is consistent and aesthetically pleasing. This is also the point when your fencing contractor will likely apply any necessary finishing touches, such as gate installations or the addition of hardware and decorative features.

After preparing the area—removing any rocks, plants, or debris that could hinder installation—the fence line is marked with stakes or spray paint. The fence installer will also call 811 to mark any underground utilities like sprinkler lines or electrical cables (if applicable). This step is important, as it ensures that any digging work does not disturb these vital services.

Once the post locations have been mapped out, stakes are driven into the ground where the posts will be located, usually 6-feet to 8-feet apart. These marks will be used to guide the construction of your fence. When all the posts are in place, they will be leveled and aligned to the fence line using a post level. After they’re properly set, concrete is poured into the holes to secure them. This is a critical process, as the stability of your fence relies on these being set properly.

Depending on your choice of fence material, your contractors may use screws or nails to secure the panels to the posts. Some types of fences require special fasteners, while others can be installed with the help of a tool called a Fence Stretcher, which distributes tension evenly along the entire length of the fence. Once the panels are in place, your fencing contractors will attach a wire to each post, using fence staples or ties designed for your specific type of post. This will help hold the wire in place and prevent it from sagging or falling off the posts over time.

While it’s easy to get intimidated by the idea of installing a fence, partnering with a reputable contractor can make the process straightforward and efficient. Be sure to do your homework before selecting a contractor, reading reviews, comparing quotes, and checking licensing and insurance coverage. With proper care and attention to detail, your new fence will add both functionality and value to your property.

Job Description and Salary of an Exterminator

Exterminators help homeowners and businesses get rid of pests. They use chemical treatments, traps, and baits to control infestations. They also provide recommendations for prevention.

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An exterminator is an expert who eliminates pests like ants, bees, rodents and cockroaches from residential and commercial buildings. These pests cause damage to property and can pose health risks. They can also spread diseases, including encephalitis, Zika virus, malaria, and dengue fever. The job description of an exterminator includes:

  • Inspecting buildings and identifying the type of infestation.
  • Sharing estimated costs with customers.
  • Treating the affected area.

They may also use traps, baits, and other forms of pest control.

A qualified exterminator will have a high school diploma or equivalent and a license to apply pesticides. They should be able to work well in teams and possess good communication skills. They should also be familiar with the different types of pests and their behavior.

When an exterminator arrives at a customer’s house, they will begin by performing a thorough inspection of the premises. They will examine the pests, their nesting areas, and the damage caused by the pests. Then, they will develop a treatment plan to remove the pests and prevent them from returning.

This is not an easy job, but it can be very rewarding. It is important for an exterminator to be patient and listen to their customer’s concerns. They should also be able to explain the treatment plan in as much detail as possible. This will help the customer understand how the exterminator is going to treat their home or business.

Unlike DIY solutions, an exterminator’s methods are safer for pets and children. They use chemicals and baits that are specifically formulated for the pest in question, and they seal off entry points to keep the pests from coming back. They can even use mechanical devices, such as ultrasonic sound waves, to repel certain pests.

A career as an exterminator offers a variety of opportunities for advancement. It is a lucrative field that allows you to travel and meet new people. However, it is not for everyone. The job is physically challenging and requires a lot of energy. It is also a field that often involves working outdoors in all weather conditions.

Work environment

Exterminators are responsible for treating and preventing pest infestations. They work in a variety of settings, including homes and businesses. They may use chemical treatments or traps to control pests. They also provide recommendations on how to prevent future pest problems, such as improving sanitation or sealing cracks and crevices.

It is important for a company to offer a supportive work environment for its employees. This can help them feel satisfied with their jobs and increase productivity. A positive work environment can also make it easier to attract and retain qualified candidates.

Employers should consider offering flexible working hours and shift options to attract applicants. They should also clearly indicate whether the position is full-time or part-time, and if it is seasonal or year-round. This will help applicants determine if they are a good fit for the job.

In a recent survey, former exterminators rated their job satisfaction at 2.5 out of 5 stars. This is below the national average of 3 out of 5. They were less happy with their salary and skills utilization, which are two common causes of dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, they found their careers to be interesting and meaningful. They were also relatively stress-free, as they did not experience frequent time pressure to complete tasks.

Education and training requirements

Exterminators are trained to identify and control pests that can invade homes, businesses, or other structures. They use a variety of techniques and products to eliminate pests, including traps, baits, and chemical treatments. In addition, they must have good customer service skills, as they work closely with clients to address their pest problems. Exterminators also need to have a good amount of physical stamina, as they often work in cramped spaces and are on their feet or crouching for long periods of time.

In addition to their technical knowledge, exterminators must have a strong understanding of environmental safety laws and regulations. In some states, exterminators are required to obtain a license to apply certain types of pesticides. These certifications can be obtained through state or professional pesticide licensing agencies or through an independent certification program. While obtaining these credentials is not necessary in all cases, they can improve an exterminator’s professional credibility and may provide opportunities for career advancement.

Many exterminators begin their careers working for larger companies, and some move into administrative roles within the company. Others start their own business after gaining experience and establishing themselves in the market. It’s a good idea to research the local market before starting your own business, as you need to be aware of competitors and their pricing structure. You also need to develop a strong bookkeeping system to keep accurate records of your inspections and treatments.

A pest problem is a nuisance and can damage property, so it’s important to take care of it quickly. In addition, it can cause health issues for people and animals. Exterminators have a crucial role in protecting human and animal health by controlling the spread of disease-causing pests. In addition, they help prevent the loss of valuable property by removing pests such as termites and rodents.

As a result, exterminators enjoy a sense of satisfaction in their work. They know that they are helping protect the health and well-being of their community. In addition, they can also earn a good income. However, if you’re considering this career path, it’s best to have a college degree or equivalent experience in the field.


The salary of an exterminator varies depending on their level of expertise and experience. Entry-level technicians typically start at a lower salary, but as they gain experience and build their skills, their earning potential increases. A good way to increase your salary as an exterminator is by learning specialized methods, offering additional services, and networking. You can also increase your earning potential by improving your bookkeeping skills, as this will help you keep track of the hours you work and the pest control techniques you use.

The average salary for an exterminator can vary from $29,250 to $58,970 per year. This depends on the amount of education and experience the individual possesses, as well as the geographic location of the job. Generally speaking, larger cities and areas with warmer climates tend to have higher demand for exterminators. This is due to the fact that these areas are more likely to have pest infestations than other locations.

An exterminator can be self-employed or part of a large pest control company. Self-employed exterminators have more flexibility in their work schedules, while those employed by a corporation usually have set hours and a fixed salary. Regardless of the type of employment, working as an exterminator can be challenging and dangerous. In some cases, the exterminator may be required to enter sewage systems or garbage disposal sites to identify the source of the infestation. In these instances, the exterminator must follow strict safety protocols to protect themselves and others from exposure to hazardous chemicals.

In addition to the above, an exterminator’s daily responsibilities include inspecting different types of premises and taking appropriate measurements of affected areas. They also use various kinds of chemical treatments to eradicate pests, such as cockroaches and bed bugs. In addition, they provide recommendations to clients to help prevent future infestations. For instance, they might recommend changes in sanitation and sealing cracks or gaps around the home.

Lastly, an exterminator’s duties may also involve using other non-chemical methods to remove pests, such as baits and traps. These non-chemical methods can be as effective as pesticides. The advantage of using these methods is that they can be used in homes with children and pets. The only drawback is that they can take a long time to be effective.

What Does a General Contractor Do?

General Contractor Richmond VA manages construction projects from start to finish. Licensed contractors are required to have extensive experience in the construction industry, and many jurisdictions require that GCs obtain a license to practice in their area.

General Contractor

When hiring a General Contractor, look for the right fit for your project. While a fully licensed contractor with years of experience and dozens of glowing references are essential checkboxes, it’s also important to get along with your GC.

As the demand for construction projects increases, so does the need for licensed general contractors. Being a licensed contractor can significantly increase your earning potential because you can take on bigger and more lucrative jobs. The first step to becoming a licensed contractor is passing the state licensing exam. In order to pass the test, you need proper study and preparation. The best way to prepare for the exam is by taking courses at a contractor school. These classes are taught by industry professionals who are up-to-date on the latest regulations and exam standards. In addition, these courses usually provide study materials that are specifically tailored for the exam. These materials can help you focus your studying and reduce stress.

In addition to taking classes, you should also spend time reading and studying on your own. It is also a good idea to join a study group. By being part of a study group, you will have other people to practice with and talk through your questions. Additionally, you can get feedback on your practice tests from other members of the group. This is important because it can give you an indication of whether or not you are ready to pass the exam.

The exam itself consists of two separate parts. The business and law portion includes questions on topics like contracts, bidding, accounting, insurance, building codes, environmental laws and safety regulations. The trade portion of the exam focuses on subjects such as plan reading and estimating, site engineering, excavation, footings and foundations, concrete and masonry. The number of questions varies from state to state, but it is generally between 50 and 120. The exam is typically held over a period of 3 to 5 hours.

Once you have passed the state licensing exam, you will be eligible to work as a general contractor. You can perform all types of construction jobs for new buildings and structures as well as repair existing one-, two- or three-family dwellings. You can also do wood frame structures, masonry and pre-engineered metal buildings. You must pass a criminal background check in order to become a general contractor.

Contract Negotiation

Getting to contract negotiation is an important step in the process of bidding for a construction job. The contract sets the work terms, obligations, and responsibilities for both parties. A well-negotiated contract is a critical component of successfully performing the work on time and within budget.

As a general contractor, you need to understand the key contract clauses that pose risks to your company. These include indemnification clauses, change order procedures, and pricing provisions. It is helpful to have an attorney in the negotiations who knows state laws and how they affect contract language. If the GC or owner is unaware of these laws, you can use this knowledge to leverage a better deal in your contract.

The first and most critical point to negotiate is price. A general contractor will want to have a profit margin built into the contract so they can recoup costs for the project. To counter this, be upfront with the GC about your budget and what you expect to spend. Then you can negotiate a fair price that both of you can agree on.

Another area to focus on is the scope of work. Often, the GC will try to saddle the subcontractor with a lot of requirements that could potentially delay the project and increase cost. To avoid this, review the contract carefully with your attorney or HR representative and discuss the goals of the project and how they can be met within the current schedule and budget constraints.

One other issue to keep in mind is a project’s supply needs. Often, a GC will try to pass on the cost of purchasing supplies for the project to the subcontractor. By keeping the GC accountable for these expenses and negotiating with suppliers on your behalf, you can reduce the overall cost of the project.

Finally, a common issue for contractors is escalation clauses. These are a way for a GC to shift risk from the project to the contractor. By negotiating for minimum and maximum escalation limits, you can protect yourself from exorbitant pricing increases.

Project Management

After a contract is signed, the general contractor manages construction to ensure that all deliverables are met. This includes managing all subcontractors and the project team to get the work completed in the required timeline. They will also use formal value management to make sure all costs are in line with the goals of the owner and design team.

During construction, the general contractor will be responsible for obtaining building permits, securing the property, providing utilities on site, disposing or recycling construction waste and ensuring that all work is compliant with codes and safety regulations. They will also oversee all phases of construction including estimating, procurement, scheduling and workforce management.

A commercial general contractor specializes in construction and renovation of large commercial projects like offices, retail buildings and restaurants. They will work with the architect, engineers and client to ensure that the project is built on time and within budget. They will also use a structured delivery process such as Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) or guaranteed maximum price (GMP).

Residential general contractors specialize in the construction and renovation of single-family homes, townhouses, duplexes or triplexes, and condos. They will work with the architect and engineers to create the blueprints for a new home or remodel. They will then hire subcontractors to do the specialized work onsite, like plumbing or carpentry. They will also be responsible for obtaining permits, sourcing materials and ensuring that all work is in compliance with codes and safety regulations.

Both types of general contractors will have similar responsibilities, but they will manage these tasks differently. A general contractor will typically be hired once a design is in place and the project has been put up for bid. The low bidder will be awarded the contract. This is the process most procurement departments and project teams are familiar with. A project manager, on the other hand, will be brought in earlier in the design process to help with planning and estimating. They will then utilize a structured delivery process, such as CMAR or a GMP, to complete the project for a fixed fee.

Subcontractor Management

The process of procuring and overseeing subcontractors is critical to a General Contractor’s success. The GC must carefully assess each potential subcontractor to determine their strengths, weaknesses, experience and costs before selecting the best one for a project. The tendering process should also be open to multiple bidders, which encourages a competitive environment and ensures the GC has a comprehensive view of the available options for each trade. Obtaining multiple bids also helps to mitigate risks and negotiate the best contract terms.

Fostering a collaborative environment with subcontractors to identify and implement cost-efficiency measures is an important part of effective subcontractor management. In addition to reducing the overall project budget, it can help to maintain a high quality finish and avoid costly rework.

Another key aspect of effective subcontractor management is monitoring compliance. The landscape of legal regulations is a complex one, and the smallest oversight can have severe consequences. A GC must have clear procedures in place for tracking compliance with laws and regulations to safeguard the reputation of both the company and the project.

General contractors must ensure that all stakeholders are clear about contractual terms and site procedures from the outset. This provides a level of transparency that supports a positive relationship and minimizes the risk of misunderstandings and disputes. A centralized platform that allows for transparent communication between the GC and its subcontractors is a crucial tool for managing these issues effectively.

A GC must regularly communicate with its subcontractors to keep them updated on the progress of the project, to assess their performance and to identify any areas for improvement. Using software that allows for easy and transparent sharing of real-time project updates, including status reports, change orders and daily attendance records, is essential to ensuring all parties are on the same page.

Specialty trade subcontractors can offer invaluable onsite expertise and valuable insights, so it’s crucial for the GC to remain open to their input. This includes incorporating pull planning, a collaborative scheduling technique that engages subcontractors in the planning process. This can improve the schedule by reducing rework and helping to resolve conflicting priorities.

The Basics of Pest Management

Pest management involves monitoring and controlling pests to protect plants, animals, people and the environment. Control methods include preventing pests from becoming problems, suppression (reducing their numbers), and eradication (destroying them).

Prevention includes denying pests food, water, shelter and space. It also means avoiding clutter where they can hide. Contact Armis Pest Management now!

Pests are unwanted organisms (insects, diseases, weeds, nematodes, vertebrate animals or plants) that degrade and damage human or natural products or resources, including agricultural crops, food stores, lawns, gardens, homes and buildings. They can also displace and cause significant economic damage to wildlife and disrupt terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

The first step in pest management is prevention. It is generally less costly and environmentally responsible than suppression or eradication. It involves preventing pests from entering a facility through regularly cleaning and sanitizing areas where they are likely to settle, avoiding conditions that promote their growth and development, and implementing cultural, biological or physical controls.

A well-established preventive program enables plant and QA managers to slash pesticide costs while staying in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA. Rather than a knee-jerk reaction to spraying pests, prevention programs empower technicians to work smarter by using the most effective methods possible, such as IPM.

IPM incorporates all aspects of the pest control process: trend analysis, risk assessment, exclusion, sanitation and cleaning, maintenance and cultural practices. By prioritizing prevention, technicians can avoid the need for chemical interventions and keep customers satisfied by reducing pest populations before they grow out of control.

Taking advantage of IPM can reduce pest control costs by one-third, while slashing pest complaints by 90 percent. Integrated pest management is not a quick fix; it requires vigilance and dedication, but the results are well worth the effort.

Preventive measures include keeping kitchen and bathroom areas scrupulously clean, sealing any cracks or openings that pests could use to gain access, locating trash cans away from entrances, trimming bushes and vegetation and fixing leaky water pipes. In a commercial setting, it means regularly cleaning equipment and materials and sanitizing storage facilities.

Observing environmental factors that contribute to pest problems, such as soil conditions, crop conditions and timing, will help identify the best controls to implement. Understanding pest life cycles and knowing their favored habitats will also help when selecting the proper controls. Considering the type of pest and the size of the infestation will also dictate the type of control needed.


The goal of suppression is to reduce pests to levels below those that cause unacceptable damage, whether to crops or property. This is often a matter of setting an action threshold, where any pests must be controlled before they can cause unacceptable injury. Thresholds may be based on esthetic or health considerations, and they can also be influenced by economic factors.

There are several different methods for suppressing pests, depending on the type of pest and the problem. Some pests are naturally controlled by predatory birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians; parasitic insects or plants; grazing animals; pathogens; or other natural enemies. Increasing the abundance of these natural enemies can help reduce pest populations, and biological control is an important area of research in pest management.

Some crops, trees, structures, and types of soil are resistant to certain pests, and use of these varieties can help prevent pest problems from occurring in the first place. Sanitation practices, such as improving sanitation in food handling areas and removing food sources and places of shelter, can also prevent pests from becoming a nuisance.

Chemical controls, such as using resistant crop varieties, can also help prevent pest infestations by making conditions less favorable for them to survive and thrive. The application of pheromones, such as the artificial release of female insect pheromones to confuse males and prevent mating, can also reduce pest numbers. Juvenile hormones can also be used to keep pest populations below damaging levels by preventing them from maturing into normal, reproducing adults.

Phytosanitary measures, such as weeding and removing spoiled crops, can also be useful in reducing the number of pests. In addition, some plant disease organisms are able to infect only certain kinds of host plants under specific conditions, and so can be kept to a minimum by limiting the types of hosts.

Devices, machines, or other physical controls can be used to alter the environment and condition of cultivated plants in order to prevent or suppress an infestation of unwanted organisms. These include traps, screens, barriers, fences, radiation, and other physical means of altering the environment in which a pest normally exists.


Insects, plants and other organisms are regarded as pests when they cause damage that is economically or ecologically undesirable. Eradication methods reduce the pest population to levels where harm is not unacceptable. This is usually accomplished by using preventive and suppression methods, with chemical control as the last resort in a comprehensive integrated pest management plan.

Preventive measures help prevent pest invasions and infestations from developing by frequently cleaning areas where the pest is likely to live, planting crops that discourage host selection, avoiding wasteful cultivation practices and other cultural activities. Suppression measures inhibit pest activity and population growth by quickly implementing control measures when pests are first detected. Chemical pest control methods may be used in a variety of situations, including crop protection and household pest control.

Eradication is the most challenging to accomplish, as it involves destroying all specimens of the pest. This can be extremely difficult and expensive, as is evidenced by the difficulty of eradicating smallpox and rinderpest. The word itself derives from the Latin eradicare, meaning “to pull up by the roots.”

The goal of eradication is to destroy all of a pest species at localities where it is causing economic or environmental harm. In addition to the physical destruction of all pests, this also includes eradicating the pathogen that causes the pest’s disease. Unfortunately, this level of accomplishment is often unobtainable.

Many pesticide failures result from incorrect identification or application. Sometimes the wrong type of pesticide is applied to a problem site or at the time when the pest is most active. Other times, the pest has evolved resistance to the chemical or has escaped the pesticide.

Regional cooperative pest management is essential for eradicating large, widespread infestations. Monitoring at several locations reveals the speed and direction of pest movements and makes it easier to respond by applying preventive, suppression and eradication methods at the right times and in the right places. Regional pest management programs also encourage people to pool resources, information and efforts, which improves individual motivation and the effectiveness of the overall effort.

Biological Management

Biological management involves the conscious use of living organisms to control unwanted insects, mites, weeds, or diseases. These organisms, called natural enemies, are generally non-toxic to humans and can be a vital part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program. Natural enemies can include predators, parasitoids, pathogens, nematodes and other microorganisms. While biological control does not eliminate all pests, it can reduce the need for pesticides and help prevent development of resistance to pesticides.

The goal of biological control is to introduce and establish self-sustaining populations of natural enemies that suppress a pest population at low levels with minimal disturbance. This approach, known as conservation, augmentation or classical biological control, requires extensive research to find natural enemies that are suitable for the particular pest and environment, rigorous testing to ensure that introduced species will not negatively impact non-target native plants, and careful planning for the release of the enemy.

Some fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms that attack and kill their hosts are available for purchase and use as biological or microbial pesticides. These products, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, entomopathogenic nematodes, and granulosis viruses, are usually sold as a replacement for synthetic chemical pesticides.

In the early 1960’s, a growing awareness of the risks and environmental drawbacks of some pesticides led to the publication of Rachel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring. Subsequently, growers and homeowners have searched for alternatives to synthetic chemicals. Pesticides are still important tools in crop protection, but they need to be used wisely and only when monitoring indicates that they are needed.

Modern, reduced-risk pesticides are less persistent in the environment and pose fewer risks to human health, beneficial insects and other organisms, and nontarget plants than past insecticides. However, there are still many concerns about the environmental effects of pesticides.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that uses habitat manipulation, crop rotation, cover crops and other practices to manage pests without the use of synthetic chemicals. IPM is often more effective than the use of conventional chemical sprays. IPM also helps prevent the development of pesticide resistance.