We have always wanted to be a part of nature, but some things of course do not belong in our own homes such as ants, roaches, and gophers. Getting rid of these critters with poison was one way to keep them under control, but research has shown that those same chemicals are harmful to our pets and humans as well. Also, typical pesticides simply treat the symptoms of pests, but not the causes. There are a few tips to keep your home healthy and pest-free.
A little cleanliness and prevention goes a long way when avoiding pests. Many insects and rodents are attracted to sources of food and water in homes. Cleaning spills, especially kitchen spills, with soap and water helps to keep attractants off the floor. The same applies to taking out garbage daily and making sure the cans have no residue on the inside. If ripe fruit is kept in the fridge, it stays fresh and is out of reach of unwanted consumers. Washing dishes daily or just submerging them in soapy water until cleaning can limit stray food particles. Laundry should be done as often as possible to get rid of dust mites or bed bugs. All jars and containers should be tightly sealed, using snap-on lids if possible. Sweeping and vacuuming helps keep micro-pests at bay by getting rid of dust and dirt. Maintaining faucets properly prevents drips, saving water, but also eliminates a water source for pests. If you have pets, comb them with a flea comb and clean them regularly as well as their bedding. Vacuuming the floors, furniture, and rugs is also important as it controls the spread of fleas and other unwanted visitors.
Sealing entryways is another preventative measure that saves money in addition to keeping the home pest-free. Silicone caulk should be used to make sure moldings, baseboards, sinks, toilets, outlets, and other potential entryways, are inaccessible. Screens should be placed in front of windows, and heating or cooling vents. If there are any holes, make sure to get them filled. Mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime. Keep woodpiles, vegetation, compost, and other debris away from the home exterior so that there are no hitchhikers to come into the home through these.
If there are still a few lingering pests, there are chemical-free ways to get rid of them. Keeping herbs such as mint and lemongrass are good since they have smells that do not appeal to many bugs. Laying traps such as light traps, pheromone fly traps, mouse hotels and others will also snare unwanted visitors.
If there are still problems, there are a few low risk methods to overcome this. Boric acid is good to put in cracks and places which ants and similar pests linger. Tamper-free bait boxes are good to use as well for rodents and insects. Insecticidal soaps are good to use for caterpillars and such and are not harmful to pets or humans unless ingested. An unconventional approach is to use bugs such as praying mantis or ladybugs, which prey on ants and other insects. Finally, a quick local search on the internet could help when looking for a trained professional who specializes in low-toxicity products. Pest control largely depends on prevention, but it is still possible to treat invasions and still have a healthy home environment. If a pesticide is used, be sure to read and follow the labels carefully. A call to your local department for environmental affairs can help if there are any other issues with pests in your area as well as how to handle any pest control methods.