Smart Pest Control to Protect Your Health
The combination of preventive measures and reduced-risk treatment methods to reduce the reliance on, and therefore the corresponding risk from, the use of chemical pesticides is generally known as Integrated Pest Management.
Kick Pests Out and Keep Them Out
Pests such as cockroaches, rodents and mosquitoes need food, water and shelter. Often, problems involving these pests can be solved by removing these key items. Some actions you can take to reduce or prevent pest problems include:
- Making sure food and food scraps are tightly sealed and garbage is regularly removed from the home.
- Not leaving pet food and water out overnight. Also, if you apply pesticides, pet food and water should be removed from the area.
- Fixing leaky plumbing and looking for other sources of water, such as trays under house plants.
- Eliminating standing water in rain gutters, buckets, plastic covers, bird baths, fountains, wading pools, potted plant trays, or any other containers where mosquitoes can breed.
- Keeping swimming pool water treated and circulating, and draining temporary pools of water or filling them with dirt.
- Closing off entryways and hiding places (e.g., caulking cracks and crevices around cabinets or baseboards).
- Making sure window and door screens are "bug tight."
- Replacing your outdoor lights with yellow "bug" lights which tend to attract fewer mosquitoes than ordinary lights. (Please note that the yellow lights are not repellents.)
Properly Use Pesticide Products
In addition to preventive measures, you can use traps, bait stations, and other pesticide products (including repellents) to control some pests. These can be used with low risk of exposure to the pesticide as long as they are kept out of reach of children and pets and used according to label directions. For assistance choosing an appropriate pest control product:
- Consult your local cooperative extension service office.
- Contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).
- Find insect repellent products.
Don't buy any pesticides that don't have a n EPA registration number on the label. An EPA registration number indicates that the product has been studied by EPA and found to be effective when used as directed on the label, will not cause unreasonable harm to human health or the environment
Pesticides with public health uses are intended to control pests that may spread disease, but in order to be effective, they must be properly applied. By their nature, many pesticides may pose some risk to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. Proper pesticide use depends on using the appropriate pesticide correctly.
The pesticide label provides essential information for using a pesticide safely and effectively. It must be read and followed when using a pesticide product.
Tips for Hiring a Pest Control Professional
If you have a pest issue that you are uncomfortable dealing with yourself, you may wish to hire a pest control professional.
- Choose a pest control company carefully. Firms offering pest control services must be licensed by your state. Ask to see the company’s license. If you have any concerns, call your state pesticide regulatory agency.
When hiring a pest control service, choose one with experience in IPM. This will help your response succeed.
- EPA's Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety offers more tips on how to choose a pest control company.
- For additional assistance and tips on locating and hiring a pest control professional in your area, contact: