Skip to content

What are the Three Methods of Pest Control?

Pest infestations can be embarrassing, inconvenient and devastating, particularly for any businesses in the food industry. 

Fortunately, rigorous legislation ensures that businesses install preventative measures and carry out regular pest control to avoid major problems. 

Pest control should be carried out by qualified professionals with extensive training and experience in dealing with pests of all types in both domestic and commercial premises. This article explores the role of pest control companies, their three methods of pest control, and how well they work.

Bird mess left after nesting

What does a pest control company do?

Pest controllers are trained to find and install innovative solutions to remove infestations or control them to keep the environment safe from contamination and the spread of disease. Codes of practices in the sector regulate the equipment and methods that can be lawfully used for pest control in the UK.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a practical and environmentally friendly approach to pest management. IPM programs use up-to-date detailed information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment.Local authorities can inspect premises to ensure they are pest-free and legally require a business to take immediate action under The Public Health Act 1961. It is, therefore, crucial to seek the help and support of a reputable pest control company if you suspect you have a pest problem.

A pest control company will clear all debris and deep clean the area

What kind of pests need to be controlled?

Pests generally fall into three main categories. The type of pest will determine the rules and regulations that govern how they can be controlled and influence the decisions made by pest controllers when establishing a plan.

  • Insects

Insect infestations are a common pest in both domestic and commercial premises. Their small stature often goes unnoticed until an infestation is significant and can be hard to remove.

Problematic insect pests include ants, cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas, wasps and bees.

  • Rodents

When pest control is mentioned, most people’s first thought is rats, although mice also present a major problem. A challenge with rodents is that they breed fast, and their population can increase rapidly.

Rodents are a problem in domestic properties and the food sector as they are drawn to premises where food is readily available. The damage and spread of disease can lead to a significant public health problem.

  • Birds and Others

Birds and other wildlife may not be as threatening, but an infestation can still cause damage and even health issues. 

Pigeons and seagulls are the most common bird pests, but other wildlife such as foxes can also present severe issues when present in large numbers. 

This type of pest control is known as Fauna Management and is highly specialised as most wildlife is subject to animal protection laws meaning they cannot be harmed or disturbed.

It is vital to seek professional advice to ensure that you can get control of the problems without harming the animals that cause them.

Three Methods of Pest Control

Pest control involves a wide variety of strategies that typically fall into three main types of pest management.

1. Physical

Physical pest control is the process of trapping and exterminating or removal of pests to eliminate them from an environment. 

Physical pest proofing involves establishing physical barriers to prevent pests from entering or returning to a site. 

Examples include removing or destroying nests, setting traps, blocking holes, entrances and less common methods such as controlling the temperature of an environment. Techniques such as field burning and planting a trap crop are popular in farming.


  • No harmful chemicals that may impact the environment.
  • It remains effective as resistance is not an issue. 


  • Trapping and killing animals is considered inhumane by many, and there are animal welfare and protection issues that have to be considered.
  • The effectiveness of physical control can be limited for large infestations, and it will be a time-consuming operation. 
  • Pests may not be prevented from returning to premises.
2. Chemical

Chemical pest control is widespread and is often used to control weed infestations and stop crop diseases.

Pesticides poison and kill any pest that consumes or is exposed to them. They are often combined with traps put out where pests are roaming. 

Only qualified pest control technicians are permitted to use many chemical pesticides, as these substances are often harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment. 

Fogging is an ultra-low volume (ULV) chemical method to fight insect infestations. Fumigation involves sealing off premises and filling them with gas to eliminate all presence of a pest. 


  • It is highly effective with quick results.
  • Economical
  • Low chemical percentage pesticides can be used by those without qualifications. 


  • Chemicals can be extremely toxic and cause severe issues to pets, humans or wildlife. 
  • Can cause contamination to groundwater and affect the environment negatively. 
  • Possible resistance can be developed by pests making them harder to control. 
3. Biological

Biological methods are the oldest type of pest control and management. They involve making natural changes to the environment without pesticides or physical harm.

It can mean using natural organisms to reduce or eliminate a pest. Sometimes this consists of the introduction of a known natural predator

In agriculture, examples are ladybirds being introduced to eliminate aphids or where microorganisms might be introduced to protect a host species. 

Modern biological methods in premises include treatments with low oxygen, heat and a combination of vacuum technology and MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging).


  • It is extremely environmentally friendly and can boost wildlife habitats and ecological systems.
  • It is often a long-term solution. 
  • Low cost and easy-to-manage method.


  • Not very reliable as results are unpredictable.
  • Not particularly fast and will not usually completely eliminate a pest problem.
  • Can upset the natural balance of the environment by altering the food chain and creating a different infestation. 

If you require help with a pest infestation or advice on preventing pests, get in touch with us at EWS Group. We are pest control specialists using the IPM approach, ready to work with you to control your pest problem professionally and discretely. We also offer prevention advice to prevent future damage and disruption.