Keeping Your Home Free of Pests and Harmful Pesticides Steps to a Healthy Home Series Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating
Are You Bugged by Pests? • Cockroaches, flies, rats, mice • Dust mites • Fleas and ticks • Spiders • Ants • Mosquitoes
Water Pest Problems Food Harborage Keeping Your Home Free of Pests • Easier to prevent pest problems than to control infestations once they have become established. • Pests need water, food, and habitat to flourish inside a home.
Why Do You Have Pests? • Broken, loose, or torn screens • Gaps or holes in home, especially around plumbing • Dirty floors, counters, and dishes • Spilled foods • Storing garbage where pests can reach • Roof or plumbing leaks • Storing food in containers without lids
Keeping Your Home Free of Pests • Sanitation – remove what attracts pests • Exclusion – keep pests out of house • Elimination of hiding places – get rid of places where they can hide • Extermination – kill the pests
Sanitation • Regularly clean floors, windowsills, and other surfaces • Wipe up spills and crumbs right away • Eat at the table or at least in the kitchen • Clean up dirty dishes right after eating • Clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces • Keep a tight lid on trash cans and empty often • Store food and pet food in sealed containers
Exclusion • Seal cracks and crevices around pipes & electrical wiring • Check bags and boxes for pests before bringing them inside • Keep window screens in good repair • Keep pets either inside or outside • Place screen wire over vents and other points where pests could enter
Elimination of Hiding Places • Get rid of clutter • Store clothing in chests or covered plastic containers • Wash bedding weekly • Dispose of old newspapers, magazines, and plastic bags
Extermination - Control • Control can be with non-chemical methods • Control can be with chemical methods • Control can be with pesticides
Non-chemical Control • Trapping devices such as fly paper, mouse traps, or roach prisons • Use a vacuum cleaner to help control pests such as fleas, moths, or beetles and to remove food sources
Chemical Control • Baits are safe and effective • Use gel formulations along cracks & crevices • Insecticide sprays may be used in cracks & crevices and along baseboards
Control with Pesticides • Buy only pesticides labeled for the pest and area you are treating • Read & follow all label instructions; use only the amount listed – more is not better • Keep children & pets out of treated area until the product is dry • Never apply pesticides to food • Protect your skin, eyes, and lungs while using pesticides • Wash hands with soap and water
Storing and Disposing of Pesticides • Store where children and pets cannot reach them • Store only in the container they came in • Follow the label directions for disposal • Never reuse a pesticide container • Never pour a pesticide down a drain or toilet
Tips for Controlling Household Pests • Clean food and grease from stove daily. If possible, clean under and behind stove. • Clean up food spills, crumbs, and liquids on countertops and floors immediately. • Empty trash daily. Clean and disinfect garbage cans and recycling bins weekly. Let the cans dry out before you put in a new garbage bag. • Keep the cabinet under your sink dry and clean. Have leaks repaired. • Clean the outside and inside of the refrigerator. If possible, vacuum underneath. • Wash and dry dishes as soon as possible after eating. • Wash floors at least weekly.
Tips for Controlling Household Pests • Cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture • Remove or tightly cover all food • Clean up spills on floors and counters • Don’t leave water sitting in open containers • Use baits or gel products to get rid of cockroaches. • Seal any cracks around the walls or cabinets where cockroaches can get in. • Throw away paper grocery bags and stacks of newspaper. Roaches like to live in them.