Pest Control: Practice Prevention First continued...
• Try to keep your home free of clutter. Piles of magazines, newspapers, and boxes can attract pests and provide a place for them to hide.
• Vacuum carpets and cracks and crevices regularly.
• Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
• Fix any screens that have holes to prevent pests from entering.
• Check for any openings or cracks where pests may enter your house, such as behind sinks, along baseboards, and around windows. Seal them.
• If carpenter ants are a problem, look for damaged or wet wood and replace it. Carpenter ants are often attracted to damaged wood.
Check the foundation of your home for openings larger than one-quarter of an inch and seal them.
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: