Natural Choices for Pest Management
PUBLISHED ON March 22nd, 2012
In the old days, a pest management provider would spray pesticides periodically to keep pest populations at bay. Then, as the dangers of pesticides became more and more apparent, many pest management companies began looking for more natural, eco-friendly methods of pest control. Today, green pest management companies use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods to deter pests.
IPM techniques focus on minimizing the resources pests need to survive. Like all creatures, insects and rodents need shelter, food and water. By removing pest food sources and habitat, pest management professionals can prevent pest problems.
The most progressive pest management experts take IPM one step further by implementing a natural choice pest program. Basically, this means they avoid spraying non-organic substances. To clarify, IPM programs are generally successful at altering a home to be less conducive to pests. However, removing current pest populations can be a challenge, and IPM followers must occasionally return to older methods of spraying pesticides. Pest management companies that offer a natural choice option use non-toxic chemicals only; their anti-pest sprays are entirely organic.
Below, we list natural ways to make your home unappealing to pests. Following these tips is akin to establishing your own IPM program. If you’re already suffering a pest infestation, you may need to contact a pest management company that has implemented a natural choice program to spray non-toxic solutions.
Minimize Pest Habitats and Food Sources
- Pest-proof your trash bins by ensuring they have a tight-fitting lid. Clean out trash cans and dumpsters regularly – the muck that builds up in the bottom of trash receptacles is like candy for many pests.
- Remove pest-friendly debris from your yard. Clear gutters and window wells of leaves and other organic material. Take a tour of your home’s exterior, looking for any vines, shrubs or trees that are touching the home. Prune such plants back to eliminate easy entry access for pets. Insects are flexible – they’re as capable of thriving in organic detritus as they are of surviving indoors. Getting rid of weeds, leaves and other debris near your home’s foundation will decrease opportunities for pests to enter your home.
- Composting can attract pests, if done improperly. To keep your compost bin free of pestiferous creatures, add new food scraps to the middle of the pile – bury them into an inner layer. Never throw fish, meat, bones, pet waste or dairy products in your compost pile, as these materials will soon become nesting grounds for maggots and other nasty pests. Do your best to keep each layer of your compost pile moist, and turn it every week or so to prevent nesting. The easiest composting setup from an anti-pest perspective is a bin that’s elevated on a stand. These bins are designed to be flipped upside down, making turning your compost a snap.
- Stack firewood away from your home, and off the ground. This will decrease the chance that your woodpile will turn into a home for termites, carpenter ants or other pulp-loving pests.
- Pet food often attracts pests such as ants. To prevent this, either serve pet food on an elevated bench, or create a “moat” to bar ant entry. This “moat” can be simple to create – just place your pet’s food dish in a deeper, larger container, and fill the space between the food dish and the outside container with water. (Most insects are incapable of crossing water.)
Block Pets from Entering Your Home
- All windows and other openings should have screens.
- Install sweeps on the bottom of doors, to block cracks at and around the threshold. Your goal is to have no light shining through around the outline of the door. To seal garage doors, use a rubber seal – rubber stands up to cold better than vinyl. Foam weather stripping may be used to seal sliding doors.
- Fill small cracks and holes in the exterior with acrylic or silicone caulk. Larger openings can be filled with a matching exterior material, such as cement, wood, mortar or sheet rock. Don’t forget to seal utility openings, such as laundry vents, gas meters and outside faucets.
- Repair all plumbing leaks, which increase pest activity in two ways: They provide a much-needed water source for pests, and they cause deterioration in nearby walls, making it easier for pests to enter your home.
- All food storage containers should have an airtight seal to prevent pests from raiding your pantry.
- Sweep up crumbs, and don’t let dishes sit overnight. Keeping a clean kitchen will reduce the amount of food available for pests.
You can find tips for taking a green approach to other aspects of home life at http://www.easyecoblog.com/.