Pests flourish where they find necessities for life: food, water and protective shelter. If your home, restaurant or business is infested with pests, they likely originated in your yard and landscape. The best way to control pests from entering your home or business is by removing the elements that insects, spiders, scorpions, ants, centipedes, mice and rats need to survive. There is a natural order of food supply with animal pests. Examples: Spiders primarily feed upon insects as do scorpions. Some insects feed on certain plant life. Other insects like the cockroach will feed on food scraps as do rats and mice.
Prevention Strategy Without Toxic Pesticides Preventing pests in your yard is a simple strategy that requires little cost, if any. Control the food supply of certain pests and you will reduce the volume of other pests. For example, eliminate food scraps and waste, and you will minimize cockroaches which in turn will reduce the chances of spider and scorpion infestation. Control and eliminate breeding and hiding places and you will be a step closer to a
• Place garbage receptacles on hard, cleanable surfaces farthest from home foundations and building entrances.
• Always bag garbage tightly in plastic bags before putting bags in garbage cans.
• Thoroughly wash garbage containers and the surfaces around them at least once per month.
• Make sure the lids on containers are always tightly closed.
• Keep garbage containers at least 6″ from walls.
UNNECESSARY DEBRIS :
• Remove anything that collects stagnant water which act as a breeding ground particularly of mosquitoes. Water is also an attractant to insects and other pests. Things to look for include old tires, children’s toys, plastic swimming pools, empty pots, pet food dishes, wheel barrows, and other sources of water collection.
• Remove junk. Besides serving as receptacles of stagnant water, they are hiding and breeding places for insects, spiders scorpions, and other pests including rats and mice.
• Rock piles and construction material such as bricks should be moved away from walls and foundations.
• Ground should slope away from houses and buildings. Retained moisture against building will attract pests. Water that seeps into the ground around foundations will attract termites. Slopes should be sufficient enough to flow water away from structures.
• Soil should not be so compacted that it inhibits absorption of water. Try aerating the soil to benefit adequate draining.
• Check and clean gutters. When drains are plugged by leaves, pine needles and other debris, standing water become breeding ground for mosquitoes. Overflow will drip along walls settling around foundations. • Make sure that condensation lines from air conditioning units and coolers flow away from foundations. Extend lines at least 6-12 inches from the foundation.
LANDSCAPING ISSUES :
• Keep grass mowed low. Thatch lawns at least once per year to remove buildup of grass clippings and excessive natural buildup of mulch which is a favorite hangout of insects.
• Tree stumps attract insects, primarily termites. Removing them can be expensive, but as a minimum treat them with pesticides and check them often.
• Trim tree limbs, bushes and plant life so that they do not touch outside walls or rooftops. Excess growth permits Insects, scorpions, spiders and even rodents to avoid chemical pesticide barriers.
• If you plant bushes and vegetation, preplan so that at mature growth they are at least 6 feet away from foundations.
• Avoid planting grass lawns or installing sprinkler systems against foundations. Retained moisture will harbor insects and invite termites. Besides, sprinkler over-spray will damage wood exteriors.
• Avoid adding soil and bark-chip mulch near foundations and walls. It promotes “damp rot” which attract insect pests.
• Store firewood off the ground and farthest away from walls and foundations. Termites will infest firewood and insects, spiders, and scorpions will harbor in it. Before taking logs inside, check them for pests. Always use gloves when handling firewood.
Note:- It’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate pests in your yard, but following a strategy and plan for prevention, you may be able to control pests with minimal use of chemical pesticides.
You’ll be surprised at the high number of places where pests gain entry into your home, restaurant or business. Some insects and spiders only need an opening the thickness of a credit card. Mice can squeeze their way through a gap the size of a nickel. Once they make their way inside it will be difficult to evict them. Lock those pests out now.
Lock Pests Out of Your Home or Business
You can do this yourself, or hire a professional. Many pest control firms offer home-sealing services as part of its pest control management plan. Fixing many problems are relatively easy and affordable while others can be be costly. However, every crack, crevice and entry that is sealed will reduce the potential of internal pest infestation.
If You Do It Yourself
Grab a pen and pad. Put on your old clothes and a pair of gloves since you’ll be slithering around bushes, climbing a ladder and crawling in dirt. Tape a mirror to the end of a broom stick to check hidden places. When you discover quick-fixes, you’ll need a caulking gun, a can of quick-drying putty, hammer and nails and some fine mesh screen.
Carry a screw driver to poke around. A good idea is having a can of insect spray in case you run into a black widow spider or scorpion. If you find major issues you can’t correct, make a note and mark the spot with a piece of colored tape to make it easier to find later.
This will likely be more than a one day job. Start with the roof, then walls, foundation, and under porches and decks. This is a good time to also check the general condition of your home, restaurant or building. No crevice is too small to repair since you are protecting against rats, mice, cockroaches and the smallest of insects. So plan a pattern of direction and check every square foot.
Time To Begin Your Search
Your target attention is cracks, crevices, and voids around anything that enters the home, restaurant or building such as pipes, conduit, vents and poor construction workmanship that has left gaps and openings that permit pests to enter from the outside. When the outside is done, repeat the same process inside.
Roofs and Eaves
There many places and ways insect pests, spiders, scorpions and mice can enter your home from rooftops and bad joints under eaves and roof overhangs. Look for tree branches that touch your roof. Not only could limbs cause roof damage, but can provide pests a way around ground level pesticide barriers. Things to check include the following:
- Caulking around exhaust vents. Put fine mesh screens on outlets of vents. Roof rats and mice can get through open exhaust vents.
- Check for openings around fireplace chimneys and roof mounted air conditioning units. Evaporative coolers are particularly vulnerable due to moist pads and large opening to cooling ducts.
- Look for missing shingles, wood rot or evidence of termite tubes.
- Look for exhaust holes under roof overhangs that are open to attic space. Those may require fine mesh screens covers to prevent entry.
Walls and Foundation
Inspect walls from the foundation to the roof line. Pay close attention to where walls meet foundations and areas under roof overhangs. While searching for pest entry points, check for evidence of wood-rot, loose siding and evidence of termite tubes.
- Caulk or fill voids around electrical conduit. plumbing pipes, vents, phone lines, cabling, air conditioning or condensation lines dripping from rooftop units.
- Inspect for gaps around windows, doors and garage doors. These may need new molding and door sweeps.
- Make sure garage doors are sealed best they can be.
- Check all vents including “breathing” vents from basements and crawl spaces. Cover them with fine mesh screens.
- Look for cracks in plaster, bricks, stonework and mortar joints.
- Check for foundation cracks and openings where walls meet the foundation.
- Repair torn window screens.
During your search for openings, consider taking a squeeze bottle of Boric Acid Dust. It is a very safe insecticide in powder form. It is not much more toxic than regular table salt, yet is a slow-acting, proven killer of cockroaches and other insects.
As you discover cracks and crevices, “puff” a light coating inside the crack or crevice. Insects will take the powder back to nests where all their buddies will be infected. Know About Boric Acid.
Seal Inside To Prevent Entry. Lock Pests Out.
Pests make their way into homes because they can. Although some are transported there, most come inside from your yard through exterior gaps and openings. They are enticed by food, water and secure hiding places. So, the best way to keep cockroaches, spiders, mice, centipedes, scorpions, and other bugs out of your home is closing gaps, eliminating moisture, keeping food items secure, and practicing cleanliness.
When people find pests, typically their first reaction is to grab toxic pesticides but they should always be the last resort. Although toxic chemicals will usually kill pests, they will simply keep reloading if you do not take preventative measures.
A crucial component of a pest management plan is sealing the inside of your home so they can’t get back in. Preventative pest control is all about eliminating their food supply, preventing access to water, and closing entry points.
Sealing The Inside of The House
See “Sealing The Exterior Gaps” and “Preventing Pests Outside”. Those preventive pest control measures should be done first since most interior pest infestations will source from the outside.
INTERNAL CRACKS and GAPS
If you can see daylight through a gap or crack, it absolutely must be sealed. Even if you do not see light, they should be sealed because a pest could enter via another larger gap and make its way through a the smaller opening. Check every square foot including baseboards, ceilings, and walls in every room including the garage and attic space. Particular attention should be given to kitchens and bathrooms.
So, grab a flashlight, a caulking gun, some putty, hammer and nails and fine mesh steel wool to seal larger openings. Sealing putty can cover steel wool. Your local hardware store can help with any items you may need. Although at his stage, you should avoid chemical pesticides, “puff”some boric acid on the steel wool before squeezing it into any large openings.
- Electrical, cable and phone plates.Remove them and puff a light coat of boric acid into the voids behind the plates. Reinstall tightly back on making sure there are no gaps along the edges.
- All plumbing pipes where they enter the home.Pipes come through wall voids. Puff boric acid powder into the voids before tightly sealing the gaps. Roaches will usually use those voids under kitchen and bathroom cabinets as nesting spots. Make sure there are no leaky sinks, pipes or faucets.
- Caulk gaps around floor molding.Include molding where it meets the drywall and floor because those gaps usually lead to wall voids.
- Check cover caps on plumbing clean-outs.
- Repair any holes in drywall.Caulk cracks around bathtubs, sinks, and shower stalls.
- Exhaust vent and air conditioning registers.If there are no mesh screens covering internal vents, registers, and ducts, install them. Pests including insects, spiders and scorpions will enter homes via exterior open vents including those on roofs. They also will enter through air conditioning and heating ducts. This includes attic and basement vents for “home breathing”.
WINDOWS, DOORS and SCREENS
- Caulk any gaps around windows.
- Look for torn window or door screens.Check to be sure window screens fit tightly. Local hardware stores will usually remake them to fit accurately. They are fairly affordable.
- Close doors leading outside and look for penetrating light.It may be time to replace door molding and weather-stripping, Make sure door sweeps extend tightly to the floor.
- Don’t overlook garage doors.Because of the wide expanse, they are a crucial point of pest entry.
- Doors into food pantry areas should also be weather-stripped.Install protective molding at the bottom of the door to help prevent pest entry.
Food sources are the biggest attraction to cockroaches, ants and mice. If you have insects, they are a primary food source of spiders and scorpions
Filth and food scraps are the number one attraction.
- Dirty dishes should never set all night.Wipe down all counters. stove tops and refrigerators with all-purpose cleaners that are likely to harbor food residue. Check kitchen floors, particularly under dining tables for food scraps and residue.
- Never leave standing water in sinks overnight.This will entice roaches who need water to survive.
- Secure open boxes of food in sealed containers that prevent pest entry.This includes pet food. Empty and clean all pet food bowls every night.
- Wipe down bottles and jars after each use before returning to the pantry.The outside containers of syrup, honey, cooking oil, and jams are targets of pests.
- Never leave dirty dishes, food scraps or open food containers in bedrooms.In fact it is best to limit eating to the kitchen and dining areas.
- Keep all trash in bags and empty it every night.Garbage containers should be thoroughly washed and applied with a disinfectant at least once per week and sooner if residue is obvious.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter.It gives pests places to hide. Includes cardboard boxes, old newspapers and etc.
- Dirty clothes attract bugs.Keep laundry current and keep dirty clothes hampers tightly covered. Out of season clothing should be washed or dry-cleaned, and sealed in containers before storing.
The concept of Integrated Pest Control Management is achieving the best results by applying methods and approaches that accomplishes prevention and control with the least hazard to people, pets and the environment. The goal is eliminating pests with minimum use of toxic pesticides. It is easier and less costly to “prevent pests” versus “controlling them”.
- Eliminate places where pests breed, feed or find comfort.
- Build barriers that help prevent pests from entering your home.
- Maintain cleanliness both inside and outside.
Only use toxic pesticides when preventive measures do not work or when infestation has reached a point that pesticides are the only choice. A team effort between the homeowner and a qualified, licensed pest control service where both parties are commonly aligned to creating effective prevention and eliminating pests based upon using the safest pesticide options. Pest control management also employs natural, biological products to repel pests.
A Pest Can Be Both Friend and Foe
All animals provide some benefit to balancing nature. But they become pests when they damage property, become a threat to health, kill crops and garden plants or otherwise become a nuisance. Being a friend or foe really depends on where insects, spiders, and other animals decide to live. If they live in your garden, most often they are friends. When they decide to move in with you and your family, they are pests.
Some pests can be dangerous threat to people, pets and structures.Mosquitoes carry and transmit life-threatening disease like West Nile Virus. Scorpions deliver a nasty sting, particularly the Bark Scorpion. The bite of black widow spiders can cause serious harm. Cockroaches spread bacteria whatever they touch.
Expand Knowledge About Pests and Control Methods
When you know about a wide-range of pests and their characteristics and habits, you will be more-informed about preventive pest control options. Knowledge of pesticides, both biological and chemical will help you make smarter decisions on using the safest options which limits exposure to potentially harmful toxic chemical pesticides.
- Know the habits and characteristics of typical pests.
- Identify the pest(s) that need prevention and control.
- Educate yourself on non-toxic pesticides
- Use free resources to help identify pests and learn the most effective prevention methods to control pest and the safest pesticides that have the ability to kill certain specific pests.
- Weigh the benefits of short-term chemical controls versus the benefits of other treatments including non-chemical methods.
It is equally important to know the affects of using chemical pesticides as it is to prevent and control pests. Misuse of toxic pesticides has been linked to causing cancer birth defects and immune disorders. Dangers will continue to exist until we learn how to safely use pesticides.
Pest Control Management is a free source of pest control information and best practices. We offer information about habits and characteristics of insects, spiders, termites, cockroaches, scorpions and other types of animals that are most likely to become pests.
We also provide a Pest Control and discussions on chemical and non-chemical pesticides and insecticides. We will make you aware of natural products including things you may even find in your kitchen that will repel some pests.
This Pest Control website will continue to expand pest control content. Bookmark us for future reference.
Find valuable sources of information about pesticides and pest control. It intends to help you make well-informed decisions whether you do your own pest control or use a licensed pest control company. Safety is the utmost focus. The objective is helping you control pests with the least risk to health and our environment.
National Pesticide Information Center
The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) provides objective, science-based information. It is a cooperative agreement between the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Oregon State University.
50 Ways To Treat Your Pesticide
A great online PDF Brochure. Although our government provides regulations and guidelines to promote judicious use of pesticides and good stewardship, ultimately it’s contingent on knowledge and diligence of how we handle pesticides.
When applying a pesticide outdoors, the product label will usually project its contained volume to cover a number of square feet or square yards for a specific target area which will be a rectangular area.
Converting Area To Square Feet or Square Yards
A pesticide barrier around a home will generally extend about 3 feet from the foundation around the home’s entire perimeter. For an example, assuming the total perimeter is 210 feet, the total square feet of the area would be 630 feet (210′ x 3′ = 630 sq/ft. There are 9 square feet to 1 square yard. Therefore 630 square feet would equal 70 square yards (630 divided by 9).
As another example. If you are spraying your garden which is 9 feet by 27 feet, the area would be 243 square feet (9′ x 27′ = 243) or 27 square yards (243′ divided by 9′).
Buy Only The Amount of Pesticide Needed
Purchase the least toxic pesticide that will sufficiently control the targeted pests. Follow the distribution instructions on the product label. Spraying or distributing more than recommended will not necessarily make it more effective. Storing any unused pesticide or insecticide can be a safety concern, therefore buy only the amount needed if possible.
Measurement Conversion Chart
- Square Feet.Multiple width by length of an area.
- Square Yards.Divide square feet by 9.
- A gallon.Equal to 16 cups, 8 pints, 4 quarts, or 128 ounces.
- A Quart.Equal to 4 cups, 2 pints or 32 ounces.
- A Pint.Equal to 2 cups or 16 fluid ounces.
- A Cup.Equal to 8 fluid ounces.
- A Tablespoon.Equal to 3 teaspoons or 1/2 ounce.
- A Teaspoon.Equal to 1/4 fluid ounce.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and each state has the authority to review, approve, register and license pesticides. The EPA sets the minimum regulations and the states can adopt even more restrictive requirements than the Federal EPA standards. Pesticides must be registered by the state and the EPA before distribution is permitted.
Before registering a new pesticide or new use for a previously registered pesticide, the EPA must first ensure that a pesticide, when used according to its label directions, can be used with a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health and without posing unreasonable risks to the environment.
Always Read A Pesticide Label
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict guidelines on what’s required to be included on a pesticide label. Therefore it is the best guide to using a particular pesticide safely and effectively. The purpose of pesticide product label is to help achieve maximum pest control results with the least health risk and hazard to people, pets and the environment.
If you’re doing your own pest control and using pesticides, always read the label carefully before buying or using the pesticide. This is for your own safety. When using a professional pest control service, always request a copy of the pesticide labels it intends to suggest or use. It is illegal to use a pesticide in a manner that is not consistent with label precautions and directions.
Various pesticide products are intended to control specific kinds of pests. When used against pests not defined, they may not only be ineffective but using it in a manner contrary to label instruction can be very dangerous. Following are label inclusion requirements of the EPA:
- EPA Registration Number.This number advises that the EPA has reviewed the product and determined it can be used and applied with minimal and low risk provided the directions of use on the label are followed accurately and properly. It is not a stamp of approval or guarantee of product effectiveness.
- Read Signal Words. CAUTIONmeans the least harmful. WARNINGmeans more poisonous and toxic than a caution. DANGER means very poisonous and should be used with extreme care. They can also severely burn your eyes.
- Label also includes the following.Precautionary statements; the hazards to wildlife and the environment; directions of use; storage and disposal; and first-aid instructions.
Animals and any living organism play some beneficial role in nature. They have a purpose but that purpose has a place. Bugs, insects, spiders and similar critters become pests when they become health hazards, destroy property or infest our space. View pests as animals out of place that must be controlled. We either prevent them from invading our domains, repel them back into nature or kill them when the first two options fail.
However you choose to control pests, we all have an obligation to do it in the most efficient manner with the least possible potential harm to people, pets, friendly creatures, and our environment.
Effective Pest Control Management
Implementing effective pest control management is mostly about logic and common sense re-enforced by knowledge which permits one to pursue solutions based upon well-informed information. It involves three primary factors. One. An adequate understanding of a pest’s characteristics and habits. Two. Prevention by removing breeding places and building a barrier around homes or structures. And Three. Choosing pesticide treatment that controls or eliminates a pest with the least harm to humans.
Our purpose is providing insight, opinion, information, tips, advice and links to resources that permit well-informed actions. It is important to note that determining what are pests and how they should be controlled is somewhat subjective. This website does not intend to be a substitute for professional pest control, medical or health advice. It is the user’s sole responsibility to consult with experts and arrive at his or own conclusion of how best to approach and administer a pest control strategy.
When shopping for pesticides, look closely at the product label. On the front panel, you will find what’s called “signal words” describing the short-term toxicity (acute toxicity) of the formulated pesticide on most pesticide products. The signal words are required by the EPA to be printed in all capital letters alerting users to the health hazards of a particular pesticide.
These signal words represent the determined toxicity (poisonous) levels of pesticides. The order of least to the highest levels include “Caution”, “Warning” and “Danger”. The only pesticide products not required to display the operative signal word are those that fall into the lowest toxicity category by all routes of exposure which includes oral, dermal, inhalation, and other effects like eye and skin irritation.
A goal of Pest Control Management is choosing a pesticide with the least toxicity to people that is still efficient in controlling a targeted pest. Regardless of the signal word on the label, it is crucial to know that every pesticide, regardless of how low the toxicity. has the potential to poison people and pets depending upon the exposed dosage.
Signal Word Descriptions
CAUTION. means the pesticide product is slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes slight eye or skin irritation.
WARNING. Indicates the pesticide product is moderately toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes moderate eye or skin irritation.
DANGER. Means that the pesticide product is highly toxic by at least one route of exposure. It may be corrosive, causing irreversible damage to the skin or eyes. Alternatively, it may be highly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. If this is the case, the word “POISON” must also be included in red letters on the front panel of the pesticide product label.
How Signal Words Are Determined
The manufacturer of a pesticide performs research on laboratory animals to determine the toxicity of the formulation. The required research and studies by the EPA include oral exposure, dermal exposure, inhalation and exposure to eyes and skin for irritation.
Based on various studies, the EPA requires that the highest toxicity be used as the signal word. As an example, if the pesticide product demonstrated low toxicity when eaten, moderate toxicity when inhaled, and high toxicity when applied to skin, the EPA would assign the signal word DANGER, based on the most sensitive route of entry since the highest toxicity level was the skin study.
Toxicity Category Chart
Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP’s)
Some pesticides are ‘Restricted Use Pesticides” (RUP) and can only be purchased by certified pesticide applicators and must be marked on the product label. Certified applicators are required to undergo specialized training, testing and continuing education.
Safest Approach To Using Pesticides
If you decide to use pesticides, always use the least toxic choice that will be the most productive in controlling pests. Do not use a more toxic pesticide until all other options have failed. If you use a pest control service, always discuss safety options and ask to see the product label or product material data sheet.