Choosing a Pesticide
If you’ve already tried prevention techniques and you still have a pest problem, you may need to use some kind of pesticide to treat the area. But first, be sure that you know what kind of pest you’re trying to eliminate. For example, if you’re not sure whether you have carpenter ants or termites, get help identifying the pest from your local extension service or exterminator.
Knowing what type of pest you’re dealing with will help you choose the right kind of pesticide for your problem.
The next step is to choose a pesticide that will work against the specific kind of pest you have and pose the least threat to your own health. Bait traps are often a good way to start. These are small plastic cups that attract pests with food mixed with an insecticide.
Using a bait trap allows you to confine the insecticide to a small area, rather than spreading it around. However, you'll still need to take care that kids and pets can't get into the bait traps. Tamper-proof bait traps are available and lower the risk of accidental exposure to the pesticide. You can buy bait traps made specifically for most household pests.
Pest Control: Playing It Safe
If you choose to use another type of pesticide, keep the following safety tips in mind:
• Be sure the pesticide will work on the type of pest you are trying to eliminate.
• Always read the label before use, and follow the directions carefully. Never use more than directed.
• Look for a product that is already mixed, rather than a product you have to mix yourself.
• Never use a pesticide indoors that is meant to be used outside.
• Apply pesticide to the smallest possible area, rather than over an entire room.
• Before applying pesticide, remove children, pets, toys, and food from the area. How long should they stay out? Check the pesticide's label -- it should tell you.
• Open the windows to air out the room after applying pesticides.
• Wear gloves, long pants, and sleeves to protect your skin when using pesticides. Wash your clothes and take a shower after you’re done.
• Only buy the amount of pesticide you need to use right away. If you have leftover pesticide, store it in the original bottle, out of the reach of children and pets.
• Don’t put leftover pesticides down your drain or in the trash. Follow the label instructions to dispose of it correctly.
• Never use an empty container of pesticide for any other purpose.
Pest Control: Keeping It in Perspective
No matter what type of insecticide you use, you may not be able to get rid of pests completely. And even the strongest pesticides won’t continue to work over time if pests find easy access to food and water in your home. But by following basic prevention tips and using pesticides sparingly when needed, you will likely be fine.