The problem with pesticides is that they are bad for our health and for our planet. These chemicals can trigger everything from nausea, vomiting and headaches to more serious health concerns like lung damage, reproductive problems and cancer. Pesticides are especially harmful to children and pets who spend more time closer to the ground where these chemicals are often applied. Integrated pest management, or IPM, focuses on preventing infestations before they start and using pesticides as a last resort. It is a low-budget, environmentally sensitive solution that will slash your pest removal costs and complaints.
Pesticides can not always eliminate pest infestations because they can not kill the pests off at every stage of their life cycles, this leads to their overuse. The first line of IPM is preventing the pests from entering your home at all. This calls for repairing window and door screens, sealing kitchen and bathroom cracks and plugging any small holes with cement, steel wool or other materials that the pests can not chew through.
Once you’ve secured your home, the next step is to deny pests the shelter, food and water they need to survive. For example, replace rotting wood, fix any leaking pipes and faucets, and recycle any old papers that are sitting around. You should also be more diligent with household cleaning. Make sure to mop up spills, and sweep and vacuum regularly. Wash your dishes and take out the garbage daily. Store ripe fruit in your refrigerator and never leave uncovered food on your counter.
IPM asks us to pick our battles when dealing with pests. Whether you call the extermination should depend on the nature of the beast. While some insects like mice, cockroaches, and fleas carry diseases and present real health risks, others, like silverfish for example are annoying but harmless. When you do decide to kill the pests start with an old school approach. Use a fly swatter. Sweep away individual bugs and nests. Use mouse traps, fly traps, and nontoxic bait.
If the rodents or insects still persist, pesticide should be your last resort. Use these chemicals sparingly and limit the treatment to the affected areas rather than the whole house. Never exceed the application quantity indicated on the label and take the recommended safety precautions indicated on the label. After you’ve sealed and cleaned your home, pesticide use should finally end the infestation.
If all else fails, hire an extermination service that is licensed, certified and offers a guarantee of service as well as follow-up visits.