Do you really need to use a pesticide?
Like humans, pests need three critical elements to survive: food, water, and shelter. Before using pesticides, try these three simple steps to control or kill pests:
STARVE THEM OUT!
Pests will eat just about anything, but they might leave you alone if they don’t have easy access to food:
- Seal up boxes and bags of food. Roaches love cardboard boxes and can climb into these items with ease.
- Store open food in plastic bags or containers, such as cereal, flour, or sugar. Do you really want to share your sweets with ants?
- Immediately clean up spills and leftover crumbs. Pests love free food left out in the open.
- Don’t walk around the house while eating. Meals and snacks should be eaten at a table.
- Clean dirty dishes right away. Pests want whatever is left of your meals.
- Keep a tight lid on trash, and empty it often. It may be trash to you, but pests see it as dinner. Place trash cans far away from a back door entrance.
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight. Food can stir up pests’ appetites.
DRY THEM OUT!
Although roaches can live up to one month without food, without water roaches can die in a week’s time:
- Always drain dish water from a sink. Because roaches can swim, a sink full of water might become the site of a roach pool party.
- Wipe water and other spilled liquids off the counter as soon as you first see it. Puddles are roach magnets.
- Fix or report leaky faucets, radiators, dishwashers, and washing machines to a building manager.
- Empty excess water in flower pots and plant stands. A drop of water can be all a roach needs to feel satisfied.
KEEP THEM OUT!
By keeping ants, roaches and rodents out of your home, you can prevent them from ever becoming a problem. Rodents spend most of their lives hiding. They love cracks, and can squeeze just about anywhere. Think smart, and they can’t move in on you:
- Seal cracks and openings along baseboards, behind sinks, and around pipes and windows.
- Repair holes in door and window screens to prevent insects and other pests from entering a home.
- Check boxes and bags for roaches before bringing them into a home.
- Clean up clutter, including stacks of newspapers, paper bags, and cardboard boxes. These make good hiding places for pests.
- Set traps to control rats and mice. If you use baits, make sure they are in a tamper-resistant bait station made of durable plastic or metal, and place in an area where children and pets cannot touch them.
- Ants, bed bugs, slugs or weeds? Control them safely in your home or yard
- Home Safe Home poster (PDF) (1 pg, 315k, About PDF)
- En español: Segurida en la Casa (PDF)
- Infestations Vacations Exit
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles
- More on IPM at NPIC Exit
En español: Manejo Integrado de Plagas (MIP) Centro Nacional de Información de Pesticidas
- Search for registered pesticide products