Pests come in all shapes and sizes and can cause all kinds of damage to your home, costing you time and money, while presenting a risk to you and your family. Keeping on top of pest control is an important part of homeownership and something that shouldn’t be neglected. But, it can be difficult to know what you should do.
Getting pest control wrong can at best result in pests entering your home, while at worst, it can present a fatal risk. It’s good to know the dos and don’ts of pest control to ensure your home is protected from infestations, and that you and your family stay out of harm’s way.
Do take preventative measures
The most effective form of pest control is to take preventative measures to ensure a small problem can never escalate into a major disaster. Unfortunately, many people wait until the last minute to take action, by which time it’s normally too late, and any remedy will be complicated and expensive. Prevention is relatively easy but requires constant care.
Ensure any food or water sources for pests are removed from inside and outside your home. Check your plumbing for leaks, and ensure water spouts displace water away from your home.
Block off any entry points, such as gaps in the foundations, holes around ventilation pipes, and exposed wood.
Take care when you bring new items into your home, especially wood (termites) and fabrics (fleas, bed bugs, etc.).
Keep garbage cans tightly closed and don’t let garbage pile up.
Store food away in sealed jars, boxes, or bags that prevent pests from sniffing it out.
Keep your home and yard clean and tidy, clearing up anything that could attract unwanted guests, such as spilled food or drinks.
Don’t leave dangerous chemicals or traps where kids can find them
Pest control products can be extremely toxic to pests but also to humans and pets. Traps and chemicals should be strategically placed so that pests will run into them, but your kids and pets won’t. Hide traps under or behind cabinets, and if you need to lay or spray chemicals inside the home, be sure you block any affected areas off from both pets and kids.
Do properly identify the problem first
There are many types of pests that you might encounter, and each needs its own special treatment. A product that is extremely effective against cockroaches might not necessarily work against rats or against termites. Simply put, there’s no single miracle solution that works against every type of pest. As such, it’s essential that you identify the type of pest that is plaguing your home before laying down any type of trap or chemical.
Don’t use outdoor products indoors
You might be loath to purchase separate chemicals for both indoors and outdoors, especially if you’re fighting the same type of pest inside and out. However, indoor and outdoor chemicals are designed differently in order to be as effective as possible in their different environments. Outdoor chemicals are typically stronger than indoor ones and normally remain toxic for much longer than is safe if used indoors. This can be dangerous to you, your family, and any pets, so it’s much better to use indoor products, which will safely break down much faster.
Do call in the experts
If you have a continuous problem with pests, it’s time to call in the pros. DIY solutions can work for small issues, but infestations and nests really need a more permanent solution. A professional is far more experienced than the typical homeowner and has access to more effective pest control methods. For really pest prone areas, it’s worth arranging monthly checks.
Don’t mix up pest control products
Think your pest control chemicals need a little oomph? Don’t ever mix up different chemicals in the hope of making a more powerful and effective solution. It’ll seldom work, and can be extremely dangerous to your health. In the same vein, don’t put your pest control products in containers other than the original, which will have all the essential information on it. Doing so can quickly cause accidents, which can sometimes be fatal. Finally, follow the instructions — twice as much doesn’t mean twice as effective!
Do let your neighbors know
If your home is infested with one pest or other, it is common courtesy to let your neighbors know so that they can take steps to mitigate the risk to their own properties. It’s also best for you, because if an infestation spreads across the entire neighborhood, it’ll be far harder to treat, and you’ll find that your home is under constant attack from pests.
Don’t leave it too late
Don’t leave it to the last minute to tackle pests in your home. Speed is key when confronting an infestation, and if you wait too long it can soon spread and become almost impossible to manage. You should take action as soon as you see a trace of pests, whether you call in the pros, or take care of it yourself.
Do dispose of leftovers safely
Most pest control products are labeled as hazardous waste, and as such they must be disposed of properly. Check the label for the best, and safest way to dispose of any leftovers or containers. You can also check to see if your community has a hazard waste collection system that will pick up leftover pesticides.
Don’t assume that all methods are eco-friendly
Spraying or laying down toxic chemicals in and around your home isn’t always the best way to deal with pests. This can be dangerous for you and your family’s health, as well as other wildlife and plant life that you probably don’t want to poison. There are also many eco-friendly pest control methods, but don’t assume that all professionals employ them. Be sure to ask about the methods used before proceeding.