Pest Control: Pesticides

A pesticide is any substance used to prevent, control, repel, or kill living pests like insects, plants and rodents. This includes insect repellants, flea collars, and routine or spot applications of lawn chemicals or pest sprays to deal with insects, weeds, rodents, mold and mildew. Pesticide exposure can happen indoors as well as outdoors, even when pesticides are not applied indoors. Pest problems are often treatable with methods that don’t require toxic chemicals or that limit exposure to those chemicals.

  •  Try physical controls like vacuuming and trapping. If you add corn starch to your vacuum bag, it will suffocate ants and fleas.
  •  Flea and tick controls are pesticides and can be harmful. Ask the Humane Society to recommend alternatives.
  •  Ask your pest control or lawn care company to use Integrated Pest Management. Ask them to inspect before they treat and use least-toxic methods.

If you must use chemical pesticides

  •  Choose spot applications like baits, traps, gels and pastes; place them out of the way of people and out of the reach of children and pets.
  •  Choose the right chemical for the pest, follow all safety precautions, and buy only as much as you need. Do not store leftovers at home.
  •  Choose a time of day for application that will allow the most time to pass (at least 24 hours) before people spend time in the treated area.
  •  Keep people informed: Keep track of what pesticides you use and in what amounts. Post warning signs before you apply the pesticide.

The way you maintain your home can make a big difference to your family’s health. Get a healthy homes checkup with our guide and tips.