There are so many great things about living in the country, and great things about having pets indoors… However, there are some draw backs as well. Pest control is an ongoing issue! For us, it is a pesky mouse who loves to take dog food from the dog bowls and hide it in the bottom of our gas oven. *Note the reference to this problem in the Fire Safety post from last week!
Given that I teach basic household pest control as part of my job, this is very frustrating for me. Made even more frustrating by the fact that I am a busy, working mother trying to get a meal on the table quickly only to turn on the oven, have it fill the house with smoke and the smell of burning dog food – and once it catches fire the only thing to do is open the doors and windows, turn the vent on high and let it burn out!!
With all that said – here are a few tips to keep in mind as you tackle these issues in your own home this fall. With cooler temperatures pests will be seeking warm, homey places to to stay through the winter, so these tips can help you keep your house from becoming theirs.
The first being, it is better to take preventative steps, then it is to start treatments for a problem.
Control pests instead by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is all about putting several pieces together to take a holistic approach to pest management. IPM is concerned with making home environments inhospitable to pests and if necessary, using the least toxic method to remove pests
- Use the least toxic method first!
All pests are looking for food, water and shelter. Make sure you are not providing any of these!
- Make sure all food is properly stored in sealed containers and never left out on counter-tops or stored on the floor.
- Clutter = Housing. Make sure your pantries, closets and cabinets are free from excess goods. Pay close attention to storing plastic or paper bags.
- Seal up cracks, gaps and holes around doors, windows and pipes.
If pesticide is necessary be sure to pick a product labeled for the pest you need to control. Use it according to label directions; don’t use the “if a little works more will be better” mentality. Safety relies on you using products correctly. If using Boric Acid remember it is a toxic substance and can be harmful, even though it is a natural product. Be sure to use it with care by dusting it in places that won’t be touched by others.
Information provided by Dr. Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Housing Specialist – 7 Principles of a Healthy Home Workshop Series.