Published byAlexandra Page Modified over 8 years ago
Keeping Your Home Free of Pests and Harmful Pesticides
Steps to a Healthy Home Series Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating
Are You Bugged by Pests? Cockroaches, flies, rats, mice Dust mites
Fleas and ticks Spiders Ants Mosquitoes Many families are bugged by pests. Cockroaches, flies, rats, and mice carry disease and can get into food. Roaches and house dust mites can make allergies and asthma worse. Fleas and ticks riding into the home on pets or clothing can carry disease. The bites of rats and certain spiders can make children and others very ill. Even ants and mosquitoes can bite children and cause illness.
Keeping Your Home Free of Pests
Easier to prevent pest problems than to control infestations once they have become established. Pests need water, food, and habitat to flourish inside a home. Pest Problems Food Water Harborage It is much easier to prevent pest problems than it is to try to control infestations once they have become established. By taking some precautionary steps, you can prevent many pest problems. Make sure pests do not have access to water, a food source, and a place to breed. Control in multi-family housing requires that residents understand certain key factors about pests. Effective control procedures require that all residents in the structure increase their general sanitation and exclusion control efforts. Alternatively, if the apartment management or landlord takes responsibility for pest control, they should require all residents to participate in the program. To avoid pest problems, break the pest triangle.
Why Do You Have Pests? Broken, loose, or torn screens
Gaps or holes in home, especially around plumbing Dirty floors, counters, and dishes Spilled foods Storing garbage where pests can reach Roof or plumbing leaks Storing food in containers without lids Why do we have pests? We may have broken, loose, or torn screens that allow flies and mosquitoes to get inside. We may have gaps or holes in the home, especially around plumbing, that allow pests to get inside. We may have dirty floors, counters, and dried food on dishes that attract pests. Our garbage cans may have food items in them that attract pests. We may have water available to pests if we have plumbing leaks or leave dishwater in the sink overnight. We may attract pest if we store food that is easily accessible to pests.
Keeping Your Home Free of Pests
Sanitation – remove what attracts pests Exclusion – keep pests out of house Elimination of hiding places – get rid of places where they can hide Extermination – kill the pests Let’s look at four things you can do to make your home less attractive to pests. You can go through each of these techniques with each type of pest. Since cockroaches are one of the most common types of pest in households, we are going to focus on keeping them out. Cockroach traps. There are a number of cockroach traps that are inexpensive, convenient to use, disposable, and contain no toxic insecticide. Most are about the size of a large matchbox, are open at both ends, and have the inside surface covered with a very sticky adhesive. Some may contain a slow-release food attractant. Cockroaches that enter the trap become immobilized by the adhesive. Trapping alone will not eliminate cockroach populations. They must be used in conjunction with preventive measures for maximum effectiveness. Trapping can reveal the hiding places and the severity of an infestation, help monitor the effectiveness of control measures, and detect population increases that may require an insecticide treatment. Traps should be placed where cockroaches are likely to travel to and from feeding and hiding areas. It is best to place traps against walls and in corners where both ends are unobstructed. Reposition the traps if no cockroaches are caught after two to three nights. The number of traps required for a home or building will vary with the kind of cockroach present and the severity and location of the infestation.
Sanitation Regularly clean floors, windowsills, and other surfaces
Wipe up spills and crumbs right away Eat at the table or at least in the kitchen Clean up dirty dishes right after eating Clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces Keep a tight lid on trash cans and empty often Store food and pet food in sealed containers Sanitation. Proper sanitation, both indoors and outdoors, effectively limits most pest populations. Do not leave unwashed dishes, kitchen utensils, and uncovered food out overnight. Clean up all spilled liquids. Areas beneath and behind cabinets, furniture, sinks, stoves, and refrigerators should be cleaned often, as should cupboards, pantry shelves, and storage bins where particles of food frequently accumulate. Kitchen waste and excess refuse should be kept in pest-proof containers and disposed of as frequently as possible. Dry pet food should be stored in tight containers away from the kitchen and other foods. If pets are fed indoors, left-over foods should not be allowed to remain in the feeding dish overnight . Outdoors, garbage cans, racks, platforms, or slabs should be cleaned regularly.
Exclusion Seal cracks and crevices around pipes & electrical wiring
Check bags and boxes for pests before bringing them inside Keep window screens in good repair Keep pets either inside or outside Place screen wire over vents and other points where pests could enter Exclusion. Discourage cockroaches from entering the home by sealing any cracks of 1/8 inch or more in the foundation and exterior walls. Check the seal or caulk around air conditioning units, windows, doors, pipes, or other openings into the home. Repair cracks and holes in floors, walls, and ceilings. Seal openings around plumbing fixtures, furnace flues, electrical outlets, window sills, and walls. Also seal along baseboards and ceiling moldings. Leaky water faucets and pipes should be repaired. Thresholds on doors should be as tight as possible, and cracks in porches and stoops should be sealed.
Elimination of Hiding Places
Get rid of clutter Store clothing in chests or covered plastic containers Wash bedding weekly Dispose of old newspapers, magazines, and plastic bags Eliminate hiding places. Paper, cardboard, lumber, firewood, and other debris next to the home provide excellent refuge for several cockroach species. Keep yard trash and stacks of firewood away from the home or garage to minimize the chance of cockroach invasion. Also, limit stacks of magazines, newspapers, and paper sacks inside the home. Clothing should not lay around on the floor. It needs to be stored in a chest or in covered plastic containers. Control fleas by washing bedding often, shampooing pets, vacuuming floors, and using flea combs and traps. Clean bedding also reduces dust mites.
Extermination - Control
Control can be with non-chemical methods Control can be with chemical methods Control can be with pesticides
Non-chemical Control Trapping devices such as fly paper, mouse traps, or roach prisons Use a vacuum cleaner to help control pests such as fleas, moths, or beetles and to remove food sources
Chemical Control Baits are safe and effective
Use gel formulations along cracks & crevices Insecticide sprays may be used in cracks & crevices and along baseboards
Control with Pesticides
Buy only pesticides labeled for the pest and area you are treating Read & follow all label instructions; use only the amount listed – more is not better Keep children & pets out of treated area until the product is dry Never apply pesticides to food Protect your skin, eyes, and lungs while using pesticides Wash hands with soap and water
Storing and Disposing of Pesticides
Store where children and pets cannot reach them Store only in the container they came in Follow the label directions for disposal Never reuse a pesticide container Never pour a pesticide down a drain or toilet Store pesticides where children and pets can’t reach them or in a locked cabinet. Store pesticides only in the container they came in. Never put them in a soft drink bottle or any other kind of container. Follow the directions on the label for the right way to throw away pesticides. Never use an empty pesticide container for something else.
Tips for Controlling Household Pests
Clean food and grease from stove daily. If possible, clean under and behind stove. Clean up food spills, crumbs, and liquids on countertops and floors immediately. Empty trash daily. Clean and disinfect garbage cans and recycling bins weekly. Let the cans dry out before you put in a new garbage bag. Keep the cabinet under your sink dry and clean. Have leaks repaired. Clean the outside and inside of the refrigerator. If possible, vacuum underneath. Wash and dry dishes as soon as possible after eating. Wash floors at least weekly.
Tips for Controlling Household Pests
Cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture Remove or tightly cover all food Clean up spills on floors and counters Don’t leave water sitting in open containers Use baits or gel products to get rid of cockroaches. Seal any cracks around the walls or cabinets where cockroaches can get in. Throw away paper grocery bags and stacks of newspaper. Roaches like to live in them. Cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture — including crumbs, cooking grease, and plain water. It’s important to remove or tightly cover all food and water, especially at night when cockroaches are more active. Cockroaches are often found around the refrigerator because of food spills and dampness. These spills and moisture also grow mold and mildew. Keeping your refrigerator clean is an important part of maintaining a healthy home.
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