Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system that makes the homeowner an active participant in long-term pest control. Most IPM programs include some combination of education, proper waste management, structural repair, maintenance, biological and mechanical control techniques and use of pesticides.
Prevention is very important. Take out the trash. Eliminate moisture accumulation. Improve drainage and ventilation. Clean up food and water spills immediately. Repair plumbing leaks. Seal cracks and crevices in walls and floors. Seal cracks in driveways and sidewalks. Repair torn window/door screens.
There are many safe and effective “bug bombs,” pesticide sprays and other treatments available. Electronic devices using ultrasonic sound waves and “bug zappers” can also be used. If all else fails, you’ll need to call in the professionals.
The following are pest-specific tips on bug control:
Ants: Eliminate trails between the nest and food and water sources. Get rid of piles of wood, bricks, or other debris that could be used as a nest. Make sure that your sprinkler system doesn’t spray directly onto the foundation. Seal all cracks in your house’s exterior. Trim tree and shrub branches to prevent them from make contact with the house.
Cockroaches: The key to control is to find and treat the roaches’ microhabitat directly. Usually, the services of a professional exterminator will be required for long-term control.
Crickets: Avoid using heavy ground cover in landscaping within 10 feet of the house. Firewood and lumber piles should be stored away from the house and off the ground. Clean up leaf piles that could provide shelter. Seal exterior cracks and holes in the outside walls. Install yellow bug lights in outdoor fixtures.
Mice: As with other varmints, seal off and clean up any potential habitat. Store firewood off the ground and away from the house. Seal holes and cracks 1/4 of an inch and larger – if a pencil can fit into the hole or crack, so can a mouse. Install thick weatherstripping on the bottom of all doors. Use mousetraps in the garage where most mice gain entrance to houses.
Spiders: Seal cracks around windows and doors. Remove spider webs regularly; use pesticide to ensure that the spider has been killed. Use yellow bug lights outdoors to attract fewer flying insects on which spiders feed.
What are your best practices for pest control?