"Pests" are plants or animals found some place that you don't want them. They may simply be annoying, carriers of diseases, or even damage property. When you spot or suspect a pest is around, before you grab the nearest can of bug-killer, try the following methods:
- Starve the bugs by keeping things clean: Insects need to eat. Dry foods in a cupboard, garbage in a trashcan, crumbs on the floor or even residues from spills can all attract bugs. Keep storage containers sealed and clean up messes quickly and thoroughly.
- Block off bug highways: Caulking and sealing around baseboards, moldings, cupboards, pipes, ducts, sinks, toilets and electrical outlets, as well as weather-stripping doors and windows may help reduce routes of entry for pests.
- Identify the specific pest: You may need to take a picture, or even capture one when possible, and have a professional identify it. Then you’ll know how to fight it.
- Target the specific pest: If you decide to use a pesticide, select one designed for that specific pest. It’ll work better and do less harm to beneficial insects.
- Use bait stations or traps: These can help control pests without chemical sprays. But don’t skimp: Not using enough traps is a common mistake.
- Fight the resistance: Instead of spraying more of the same chemical, try switching to something with a different active ingredient and/or mode of action.
- Control rather than eliminate: In some cases, such as outdoor settings, it may be impossible to eradicate a pest. Work to achieve a tolerable level.
- Sticky situation: Try sticky flypaper, double-sided tape or even petroleum jelly to catch bugs.
All pesticides sold or used in the United States must be registered by the EPA. Even natural or organic pesticides can be dangerous or toxic to humans and pets and should be properly used. Read more about some natural or less-toxic pesticides and ingredients.
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