By M J Miller Smith
1. Get rid of their food–keep food put away in sealed packages or the refrigerator; remove debris, crumbs & grease especially from cracks & crevices. Don’t forget pet food left out or opened bags left in the laundry room or garage. For a persistent pet food infestation place pet food bowl in a larger shallow pan fill with water to create a natural barrier. Eliminating as much as possible removes the pest’s food source.
2.Get rid of their water–look for areas of excess moisture such as under sinks, shower/bath areas, hot water heaters, over-irrigating at exterior perimeter, & air-conditioning units re-direct or eliminate to remove pest’s water source. Gutters holding decomposing organic leaf matter should be cleaned regularly.
3.Get rid of their homes-inspect storage areas at interior & exterior & either place away from the structure such as firewood or place in plastic airtight bins to eliminate pest’s harbor-age areas. Remember this includes the garage & attic especially if cardboard storage boxes are being used. Plastic is recommended as cardboard is the perfect home since it can be a food source & a “nursery” for pests.
4.Get rid of branches & trim plants too close to structure. Keep trimmed about 2 feet away to remove easy traveling from plant/tree to structure entry points.
5.Get rid of entry points-inspect structure exterior & seal up obvious entry points around electrical conduits, pipes, windows & doors. Foam sealant in a can is a quick as well as inexpensive fix. Weather stripping at windows & doors will not only keep out pests but improve energy efficiency.
6.Get rid of over the counter pesticides if you are not seeing results. Use pesticides wisely – understand how they work & why. Know how to use them & what pests they affect. Ineffective use of pesticide is not just a waste of money but an environmental hazard for your family & pets. It is important to know how to use the pesticide, where it can be used, how much & how often to use it. Over application is as bad as under application. Applying the wrong products at the wrong areas will only cause the pests to scatter & multiply.
7.Get rid of unlicensed applicator’s who are “doing it on the side” the liability is ultimately not worth the savings if any. The consumer has no recourse – what if the applicator is injured on your property? What if misapplication of pesticide causes injury/damage to you or your neighbors or pets? Or worse yet is applying pesticide you cannot see incorrectly in your home? A licensed, insured & bonded state regulated Pest Control provider must meet rigorous criteria to obtain & maintain their licenses. This is to protect the consumer. Know your pest control provider & make sure they are indeed state licensed & insured. See if they belong to industry related organizations & consumer protection organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
3 Most Common Pest Control Mistakes
1.Purchasing over the counter sprays & self- treating. Many grocery store products simply do not provide lasting benefits & ultimately cause more trouble than they are worth. If you currently have a pest control provider many times the spray you purchase is a contact repellant that kills the pests you see but has no lasting residual & actually contaminates the professional products in place. Using repellant sprays cause a phenomenon called “budding” with many species of ants. The workers are killed & do not return to the colony. The colony will then create more queens & they will “bud” creating more colonies! Roaches infestations may temporarily reduce but the larvae will soon hatch. Sprays for Bed Bug infestations end up spreading the infestation as they will avoid the sprayed areas for a short time. Our suggestion would be if you have an occasional invading pest spritz it with window cleaning spray-same result less expensive & definitely less toxic! On-going pest problems need professional treatment.
2.Starting a pest control service while you see pests & stopping when you don’t see pest. The pest you don’t see are not necessarily gone – they are under control. Pest will remain in the environment & will always be looking for food, water & harborage. The pest control provider’s goal is to control them in your environment. Stopping service because you don’t see pest will lead to pest populations getting out of control again. Consistent & regular pest control service will break that cycle.
3.Not knowing & understanding the Pest Control provider’s treatment plan. Make sure you know & understand what your provider is doing for your service. Ask questions, check licenses, ask what they are treating your property with & why. Your Pest Control provider should be able to provide answers & suggestions for your pest control needs. “Green” products are regularly used in the industry today to reduce environmental impact. Find out what products will work for your home. If your Pest control provider seems to be just looking around your property find out why-better technicians will ALWAYS inspect before ever applying product. Learn more about IPM practices from your provider. If they don’t provide information & treatment plans incorporating IPM Practices & “Green” products call a company that can!