When you begin to notice evidence of a cockroach, rodent or ant infestation in your home, your first thought may be to grab a trap or the largest can of bug spray you have in your home. These infestations can occur during any time of the year, but most people report home infestations in the spring and summer. However, before you begin spraying your home, take a breath and rethink your options. Although these store-bought pesticides will more than likely kill the uninvited guests who have invaded your home, these products may also cause harm to your family as well.
Your children are more susceptible to harm from these types of pesticides than the safer pest control services offered by companies like Go-Forth Pest Control. Children have a higher chance of becoming sick by exposure to these products because their immune system is still developing. Younger children are at greater risk because they crawl around on the floor while playing and they place objects from the floor directly into their mouths.
On the other hand, left to roam in your home, these pests could pose a danger to your entire family. Mice and rats leave droppings behind that can trigger asthma and allergies, and cockroaches also produce unhealthy allergens that can cause respiratory problems. And, in recent headlines, we have seen that mosquitos living in the southern states are carrying a host of diseases including the Zika and West Nile viruses.
The good news is that you can control pests and protect your family at the same time. You can consider implementing IPM (integrated pest management) to prevent pest infestations. Contacting pest control companies that offer eco-friendly solutions is also an option.
What are Pesticides?
When you take a quick glance around your home, at first you may not see anything that stands out as a pesticide. However, upon closer inspection, there is a chance you may actually have a few of these chemicals in your home and around your children.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), pesticides can also be referred to herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. They can be found in products like:
- Flea shampoo for pets
- Rat poison
- Weed killers
- Bug sprays
- Insect repellent
All of these products are designed to do only one thing: kill pests.
Which Group is at the Highest Risk?
As previously discussed, these products are very strong and the chemicals in them can be also be harmful to people, especially young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. If you or someone you know falls into one of these categories and you have a pest problem in your home, do not attempt to use these products to eliminate the pests. Contact a professional pest control service that can offer you several alternatives that will not place you and your family in danger.
How are You Exposed to Pesticides?
Exposure to these chemicals generally occurs in one of three ways. The three ways are inhalation, skin contact and ingestion. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has stated that pesticide use is such a big problem in the United States that over a billion pounds of the chemical is used every year. This extreme use poses a problem for children who have less natural defenses against chemical exposure than adults.
Theories are still out on whether some of these store-bought pesticides are linked to certain childhood cancers, asthma and even learning disabilities. Because the lasting effects of these products are not known, pest control experts advise that parents limit their children’s exposure to them.
Some parents feel as though they are caught in a catch-22. There are pests in the home they need to get rid of, but the products they need to use can harm their children. Fortunately, parents do have options. One option is if they are going to bring these types of pesticides in the home, the products should be labeled properly and stored out of the reach of their children. These products should be placed in the garage, basement or a locked cabinet.
They should also be stored in their original containers. Sadly, too many parents have had to face the consequences of placing pesticides in soda or juice bottles. Children are naturally curious, and they will sip something out of these bottles because they associate these bottles with a beverage. One small sip of a toxic substance can lead to serious, if not deadly, consequences.
The other option is to hire a professional pest control company to safely eliminate the pests from your home, and also perform regular maintenance services to prevent another infestation of your home.
Prevention is always the best way to avoid a pest infestation in the first place. The number one way to do this is to make your home so unattractive to them, they decide not to stay. Just like humans, pests only need a few things to survive, and those things are shelter, water and food. If they are not able to find all three of these things in your home, they are likely to exit the same way they entered.
So, let us look at what steps you can take to discourage pests from invading your home. The first thing you want to do is immediately clean up all food and drink spills. Food crumbs and drops of water are very appealing to a cockroach or ant, and once there is one in your home, others will soon follow.
The next thing you want to do is keep your kitchen and dining areas clean. After you finish eating or cooking, clean the dishes, counters, sink, tables and floors. Always wash and dry your dishes after every meal and snack.
Never leave open food on the stove or counter. If you have leftovers, place the food in an airtight container and place the container in the refrigerator. Where you have food in an open cardboard box, like cereal, be sure to completely seal the box if you are leaving it in the pantry. Cockroaches eat cardboard, and will eat through the box to get to the food.
Take your trash out every night. Do not allow piles of trash to accumulate anywhere in your home. The trash can serve as food and makes a good nesting area for some pests.
Finally, make sure that you repair all water leaks, and make sure all excess moisture is wiped away. Not only do cockroaches love water, they are excellent swimmers.
How to Choose a Pesticide
If you have tried everything and there is still evidence of pests in your home, you may still be inclined to use a store-bought pesticide before calling a professional pest control company. If so, you will need to know what type of pest is in your home so you can choose the best product that will cause the least amount of harm to your family. For example, if you are not sure whether there are termites or carpenter ants in your home, you should contact a reputable exterminator for further assistance.
The next thing to do is choose a pesticide that will do what it was developed to do without hurting you and your children. One option is a bait trap. These are generally plastic cups that are filled with insecticide and food and placed in areas where the pests have been seen to lure them into the trap. These types of traps will confine the pesticide to one area of the home instead of spreading it throughout the entire home. Choose bait traps that are tamper proof as this will help to reduce your child’s accidental exposure to the pesticide.
Try to choose a product that is already premixed. You want to avoid buying a product that you must mix with another chemical because you want to limit your exposure to the product.
When applying the pesticide to the area, make sure you are properly covered to minimize skin contact. You should wear a pair of gloves, long sleeves and pants, a pair of safety goggles, and a nose mask. After you are finished, wash the clothes you were wearing and shower.
Never pour unused pesticide down the drain, in the toilet or in the trash. Read the instructions on the label so you will know how to properly dispose of the product.
Before applying any pesticide, make sure that your children, food, toys and pets are removed from the area. The label on the packaging should tell you how long it will take before the area is safe for humans and pets to re-enter.
No matter what type of pesticide you choose to use, you may not successfully eradicate the critters from your home. Even the strongest product on the market will not deter them forever if they still have access to water and food. However, by practicing prevention tips and having your home regularly maintained by a professional pest control company, you should start to see results.