Pests can really be a pain in the neck. Whether you’re dealing with wasps, bees, mice, squirrels, ants, rodents or roaches, there are effective and safe ways to rid them from your home. Before you reach for that bottle of chemicals or a traditional trapping device, both of which can be harmful to occupants and or the environment, consider trying these alternatives.
You have several options available to you when you find that pests are living in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency says that sometimes, non-chemical methods of pest control can be just as effective and convenient as their chemical counterparts at removing critters. You can choose from pest prevention, non-chemical pest controls, and chemical pesticides, but often the most effective strategy for controlling pests is to combine all three in one. This process is known as integrated pest management (IPM), which focuses on preventing pest damage with the least monetary expense coupled with minimal safety hazards to occupants of the home, says the EPA.
The best way to begin any pest control initiative is to remove the possibility of pests infesting your home in the first place. The EPA recommends removing any standing or accumulating water in and around your home, as high humidity can attract pests. Also, seal any access points pests may use to get in your house. This may involve caulking cracks, monitoring storage areas, and inspecting all packages for critters before bringing them in the house.
It’s also a good idea to install screens to keep bugs out, and to place weather stripping on doors and windows. Clean up regularly, especially in the kitchen and dining room. Crumbs on floors and countertops are the first thing to attract ants and mice, so be sure to thoroughly clean any areas you may have food.
Avoid Certain Methods
You may have a tried and true method for getting ants to leave your abode. You may have even have called in a professional to fumigate your home or spray chemicals in susceptible areas. But you may not have realized that A) these methods don’t always work, and B) they can pose a safety hazard to occupants of your home, especially small children and pets.
Chemical-free strategies may include vacuuming up bugs — they will suffocate once inside the bag — and laying traps such as fly, pheromone, jar and light traps. The Natural Resources Defense Council endorses each of these pesticide free measures.
If you find that these simple remedies aren’t working and think you need something stronger, try lower-risk pesticides instead of spraying highly toxic poisons. The NRDC suggests dusting boric acid on cracks and crevices to slowly poison anything from ants to cockroaches to silverfish. This option is less toxic to humans and animals, but could still be dangerous to animals and small children. Exercise caution and apply it away from high-traffic areas.
You could also set tamper-resistant bait boxes, which are safer materials than sprays, powders or pellets. Alternatively, you could try insecticidal or fatty acid soaps to kill soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, fleas, and mites on contact. Unless ingested, these soaps can’t hurt humans.
Before you break out the big guns and go spraying commercial chemicals that could be poisonous to your family’s health, consider safer alternatives first.
As Myron Elliott, a freelance writer based in Detroit, Michigan, understands, the business of pest control can sometimes be very messy and difficult. To learn more about controlling pests in an effective way, visit bainpestcontrol.com.
Image credit goes to Mkosov.