American Home Inspector Directory
Pest Control




Pest Control

Controlling Pests

Houses and apartments are often hosts to common pests such as cockroaches, fleas, termites, ants, mice, and rats. Pests can be a health hazard to you, your family, and your pets. It’s easy to understand why you may need and want to control them. Nowadays,you can choose from many different methods as you plan your strategy for controlling pests. Sometimes a non-chemical method of control is as effective and convenient as a chemical alternative. For many pests, total elimination is almost impossible, but it is possible to control them. Knowing your options is the key to pest control. Methods available to you include pest prevention, non-chemical pest controls, and chemical pesticides. The most effective strategy for controlling pests maybe to combine methods in an approach known as integrated pest management (IPM) that emphasizes preventing pest damage. In IPM,information about pests and available pest control methods is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. (The IPM approach is presented more fully in EPA's Citizens Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety.)

[note:  The IAQ Tools for Schools Kit's "IAQ Coordinator's Guide" outlines how to implement an Integrated Pest Management program.]

Preventing Pest Problems

Pests seek places to live that satisfy basic needs for air,moisture, food, and shelter. The best way to control pests is to try to prevent them from entering your home or garden in the first place. You can do this by removing the elements that they need to survive. Remodeling and renovation offer opportunities to take the following preventive actions to prevent indoor pest problems:

  • Remove water. All living things, including pests, need water for survival. Fix leaky plumbing, and do not let water accumulate anywhere in or around your home. Remove or dry out water-damaged and wet materials. Even dampness or high humidity can attract pests.
  • Remove or block off indoor pest hiding places. Caulk crack sand crevices to control pest access. Avoid storing newspapers,paper bags, and boxes for long periods of time. Also, check for pests in packages or boxes before carrying them into your home.
  • Block pest entry ways. Install screens on all floor drains,windows, and doors to discourage crawling and flying pests from entering your home. Make sure any passageways through the floor are blocked. Place weather stripping on doors and windows. Caulk and seal openings in walls. Keep doors shut when not in use.
  • Remove food. Consider pest-proof food and waste containers. You may use this as a criterion when evaluating cabinetry or designing space.

For more information see EPA's Citizens Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety

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