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Glossary of Pest Control

Summary: Confused about all those technical terms your pest control company throws at you? Here's a helpful glossary of pest control terminology that will give you the necessary ammo to lob a few terms right back at them.

Your pest control company has just chastised you for requesting a fumigation when you should have been asking for an aerosol treatment. Trick me once, but never again. Here is a glossary of terms with which you can impress your friends and stifle the next pest control technician to darken your door. Many definitions are provided with assistance from Truman's Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, Sixth Edition.

Abamectins: Biologically derived organic compounds that disrupt the nervous system along axons.

Aerosol: An extremely fine mist or fog consisting of solid or liquid particles suspended in air. Also, certain formulations used to produce a fine mist or smoke.

Attractant: Attracts insects or vertebrates, sometimes used in conjunction with a residual pesticide.

Bait Shyness: The tendency for rodents, birds or other pests to avoid poisoned bait.

Complete Metamorphosis: Development where there are four life stages (egg, larva, pupa and adult). The immatures and adults, besides having different appearances, have different habitats and food preferences.

Concentration: The amount of active ingredient in a given volume or weight of formulation.

Contact Pesticides: Penetrate the body wall to cause death.

Crack and Crevice: Application in structures to cracks and crevices where pests may live.

Desiccants: Kill by removing or disrupting the protective, waxy outer coating on the insect's cuticle. This causes loss of body fluids, so that the insect dies of desiccation or dehydration.

Diluent: Any liquid or solid material used to dilute or carry an active ingredient.

Emulsifier: A chemical that aids in suspending one liquid in another.

Emulsion: A mixture in which one liquid is suspended as tiny drops in another liquid, such as oil in water.

Fumigants: Gaseous pesticides whose vapors enter the pest's body via inhalation, or in the case of insects, through the spiracles.

Fumigation: The process of introducing poisonous gases into an area for the purpose of eradicating pests.

Gradual Metamorphosis: development in which there are three life stages (egg, nymph and adult) and the nymphs resemble the adults, live in the same environment and have similar food .preferences.

Harborage: living areas for pests.

Insect Growth Regulator: Synthetic organic compound that disrupts development and reproduction of insects. (Gentrol, Precor, Nylar, Archer)

LD50: The dose of an active ingredient taken by mouth or absorbed by the skin, which is expected to cause death in 50 percent of the test animals so treated. If a chemical has an LD50 of 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), it is more toxic than one having an LD50 of 100 mg/kg.

Metamorphosis: Changes that occur during growth or development to the adult stage.

Nocturnal: Performs most activity at night.

Oral Toxicity: Ability of a pesticide to cause injury when taken by mouth.

Organophosphates: Synthetic organic compound that disrupts the nervous system at the synapses.

Pheromone: Chemical used by insects and vertebrates to communicate with each other. Pheromones can signal danger or reproductive availability. They are sometimes used to attract insects to a pesticide such as a sticky trap.

PPB: Parts per billion. A way to express the concentration of chemicals in foods, plants and animals. One part per billion equals 1 pound in 500,000 tons.

Pre-Baiting: Process of getting rodents accustomed to traps before setting the traps.

Pyrethroids: Synthetic organic compound that disrupts the nervous system along axons; most commonly and widely used insecticide in urban pest management.

Pyrethrins/Pyrethrum: Botanically derived organic compounds that disrupt the nervous system along axons.

Repellant: Repels insects, mites, ticks, or vertebrate pests.

Residual Insecticide: A crystalline or film-like layer forms on treated surfaces where insects congregate or are expected to walk. The speed that the insect is affected and the length of time that the residual will persist on the surface vary with the active ingredient, type of formulation, surface it is applied to, and external conditions such as wind, rain, and humidity.

Resistance: If a pest population is repeatedly treated with the same insecticide and each new generation of insects has increasingly higher tolerance, a œresistant strain of insects is produced.

Soil Sterilant: A chemical that prevents the growth of all plants and animals in the soil. Soil sterilization may be temporary or permanent, depending on the chemical.

Solution: Mixture of one or more substances in another in which all ingredients are completely dissolved.

Spot Treatment: Application to a small area.

Stomach Poisons: These must be swallowed to kill an insect, bird, or rodent.

Surfactant: A chemical that increases the emulsifying, dispersing, spreading and wetting properties of a pesticide product.

Suspension: Finely divided solid particles mixed in a liquid.

Synergists: Materials that, if used alone, have little toxicity to insects but combined with another active ingredient enhance the activity of an insecticide.

Target Pest: The pest at which a particular pesticide or other control method is directed.

Volatile: Evaporates at ordinary temperatures when exposed to air.

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