Pest ControlBy Center for Environmental Health
Don’t use pesticide sprays because they contaminate the air and coat surfaces such as kitchen counters, children’s toys, and rugs where children play. Spraying also doesn’t address the cause of the problem, so the pests will often return.
To get rid of ants in your house, spray the ants with a soap solution. Fill a 16 oz. spray bottle with water, then add either 3 tablespoons of liquid soap or 1 tablespoon liquid detergent, and mix. Spray the solution right on the ants, and they will dry up quickly. Also spray your window sills and door sills if that’s how they’re getting in.
Spray, and then wipe off, the soap solution along the path the ants were traveling- it will remove the chemical trail they follow.
Follow the line of ants to find out where they get in, and caulk the opening (for a temporary seal you can use petroleum jelly).
Store sweet foods in the refrigerator, or in a sealed container in a cupboard. Clean up food crumbs, and take out the garbage frequently.
Keep things clean and dry and fix leaking faucets and pipes (ants need food and water).
Don’t leave pet food out all day, or put pet dishes in a soapy moat. Partially fill a wide, shallow container with soapy water and place pet dishes in the water.
Use nontoxic sticky traps to locate roach habitats. Roaches like to travel by touching the edges of objects. Place traps along the edges of walls, appliances, cupboards, etc, and not in the middle of the room. Sticky traps with a nontoxic “pheromone” attractant will catch more roaches. Roaches are mainly active at night and usually remain hidden during the day in cracks and crevices near their food source. When you find out where roaches are hiding, you’ll know where to concentrate your efforts.
Caulk and seal their entry points. Cockroaches often come in through gaps along pipes, cracks around baseboards, cupboards, sinks, etc. Most prefer warm, moist areas such as kitchens and bathrooms or near washing machines, sinks, and hot water heaters.
Remove food sources. Pay particular attention to areas where grease accumulates, such as drains, vents, and stoves. Make sure all sweet, starchy, and fatty foods are sealed tight. Fix dripping faucets and any other leaks, and make sure your dish rack drains properly. Damp, dirty mops can also attract roaches. Thoroughly clean counters and vacuum or sweep floor daily in eating and food preparation areas. Don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight, even in the dishwasher. Any garbage containing food scraps should be removed from the house nightly. Thoroughly clean recyclables before storing them.
Don’t leave water sitting out in pots, pans, glasses, or plant saucers. Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
Avoid using flea collars, or flea treatment applied to a pet’s skin. They contain harmful pesticides. Flea control in pill form that works by preventing flea larvae and pupae (eggs) from developing is safer.
Comb your pet with a metal flea comb, available at pet stores. Focus around the neck and base of the tail. Keep a wide container of soapy water nearby to drown captured fleas.
Bathe dogs to drown fleas. Use a dog shampoo and increase effectiveness by using a flea comb while the pet is lathered. It is not necessary to use shampoo with insecticide.
Vacuum carpets, floors, and upholstered furniture daily if you have a flea infestation. After you vacuum, remove the bag and seal it tightly with masking tape.
Do not try to get rid of fleas by spraying around the outside of your house or spraying your entire yard. Spot-treat only the areas where you find large populations of fleas. Fleas will more likely be on an animal or inside your home. Concentrate your efforts there.
Make sure your window and door screens are intact and closed.
Keep your kitchen clean and free of food scraps or overripe fruit. Wash dishes as soon after eating as possible.
Keep garbage cans covered indoors and outdoors.
Sticky flypaper strips catch and kill flies without using poisons. Hang the strips from the ceiling in a place where no one will walk into it.
Mice and Rats
First, seal off entry points. Look for cracks in the walls, and inspect the entry points for pipes, wires, and where the roof and walls meet. Mice and rats can squeeze through tiny openings, and both can gnaw entry holes to enlarge them. You can dust suspected entry points with a light coating of white flour. The next morning look for rodent footprints. Seal entry holes with metal mesh or cement
Remove their food and nesting areas. Do not stack firewood close to the house. Store pet food and birdseed in metal containers with tight lids. Don’t leave pet food out overnight. Use metal or glass airtight containers for storing dry goods in the kitchen and a metal garbage can with a lid.
Mothballs often contain harmful naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene, or p-dichlorobenzene. Furthermore, children often mistake mothballs for candy and ingest them. We recommend storing woolen clothes in sealed containers or making your own moth repelling sachets out of two handfuls each of dried lavender and rosemary with one tablespoon each of fresh cloves and dried lemon peel (all in a gauze bag).Tags: product tips and resources