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When people think of residential pest control, they often think of exterminators and their toxins. What some don’t realize is that many natural pest control options are available that are safer and more effective than the point-and-spray methods that promise quick fixes (but no long-term results). As you work through your spring and summer cleaning list, incorporate the organic pest control tips that you learn.
What is Organic Pest Control?
Residential pest control that’s considered organic or green uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. Instead of using dangerous chemicals to repel pests or a generic pesticide to kill them, natural pest control experts:
- Learn about the behaviors of the pests.
- Locate nests, remove them and/or block a pest’s access to them.
- Change the habitat in which the pests live to make them more unfriendly.
- Use preventive techniques to prevent an infestation or re-infestation.
- Educate others about pests and prevention.
In lieu of harsh chemicals, IPM is all about using the most-effective techniques that pose the least risks to humans, animals and the environment. If an expert ever does need to use a chemical application, it’s only as a last resort. He chooses the chemical based on the type of pest and makes sure that
it’s the least toxic option available.
it’s the least toxic option available.
The Benefits of Natural Pest Control
- Chemical control: Natural pest control doesn’t need dangerous chemicals to be effective.
- Environmentally friendly: The use of fewer chemicals prevents toxic runoff that can affect your property, the groundwater and the local watershed.
- Safer for the family: When you use organic pest control, it’s safer for the kids to play outside. Pesticides with toxins can pose numerous health hazards to children, like developmental delays or conditions like attention deficit disorder.
- Safer for pets: Every year, thousands of pets die from accidental poisonings (like after eating slug bait, for example). Because natural pest control calls for the use of chemicals as a last resort, it’s safer for your pets to be outside.
- Effective prevention: One of the big goals of IPM is prevention. It’s simpler and less expensive to prevent an infestation than it is to control one. When there is an infestation, implementing preventive techniques will prevent a re-infestation.
Natural Residential Pest Control Tips
During the summer, fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitoes, ants and flies tend to make an appearance. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to practice pest control at your house. Keep following your spring cleaning and regular cleaning checklist, and add the following tips:
Messes look like heaven to pests because they offer food, materials for a nest or a place to call home. Tackle the piles that you’ve put off for months. Recycle the stacks of paper that you don’t need. Store your seasonal clothes inside plastic boxes with lids instead of cardboard boxes.
Regularly dust, vacuum and clean non-carpeted floors. Pests, like cockroaches, can live off dust particles and crumbs, so this basic cleaning task eliminates a source of food.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to wash your pets. Bathing and/or brushing your pet can help knock off pests that have hitched a ride in its fur.
Eliminate Sources of Food
Homes offer pests a variety of food sources and knowing what they are can help you restrict a pest’s access to them. The following is a list of food sources and solutions:
- Tables and counter tops: Don’t leave food out in the open.
- Kitchen sink: Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Floors, tables and counter tops: Immediately clean crumbs and spills.
- Garbage cans: Dispose of food waste in outdoor garbage cans instead of under the kitchen sink. Always use the lid on the outdoor trash cans.
- Pantry and cupboards: Store food that comes with wrappers made of paper or thin plastic, like chips, in hard plastic or glass containers with lids. The same goes for food items in thin cardboard boxes, like cereal.
- The garden: Don’t let produce over-ripen or rot.
- Pet food: Put away pet food after your animal companion eats.
Normal landscape care goes a long way toward preventing pests, so weed, mow the lawn and clean debris regularly. Trim back bushes around your home and cut back tree limbs that overhang the roof. Keep your gutters clean and eliminate all sources of standing water. If you have a pool or spa, keep it covered when it’s not in use. Keep the water in a birdbath fresh.
Immediately fix leaky pipes. Regularly inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and holes so you can fill them with caulk or putty. If you like to have the windows or doors open during the summer, replace or repair any torn or broken window and door screens.
Residential pest control is a task that’s simple to incorporate into your regular cleaning routine. If you have a pest infestation in your home, or think that you do, don’t hesitate to call a pest control expert that uses natural techniques.
Looking to prevent pests during the winter? Watch this.
Author Bio: This post was contributed by Jen McCauley, the marketing director of Western Exterminator. Western Exterminator is a leading integrated pest management company in Western Washington and Oregon that offers green pest control solutions and advice for both residential and commercial customers.