Integrated Pest Management

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1 Integrated Pest Management Many people do not mind encountering bugs outdoors. However, bugs indoors are usually considered pests. Even one insect may be considered too many. People use pesticides to control household pests, but often fail to consider long-term solutions to avoid pest problems. Keep in mind that pesticides are poisons. If pesticides are not used carefully, you and your family and pets may be exposed to unnecessary risks. The risks are greatest for infants and toddlers because of their small size and greater tendency to put things in their mouths. We recommend Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM includes a variety of nonchemical and chemical tactics to control pests and minimize human/pet exposure to pesticides. IPM can include pesticide used judiciously as part of your overall pest management plan. Following the guidelines in this bulletin for household IPM and you will learn how to avoid pest problems, use fewer pesticides, and apply pesticides safely. Pests include bugs (roaches, ants, etc known as arthropods) and rodents (mice, rats, bats, etc known as vertebrates). The IPM procedures described here work for all structural pests (bugs and rodents indoors). The Basics of IPM Every pest needs food, water, and a place to stay. To make your home less attractive to pests, remove food, water, and shelter for pests. 1. Don t provide food for pests Clean up. Never leave food in the sink, on the table, or on the floor overnight. Even a small amount of food can support a large population of roaches or ants. Food particles can be found in cracks in the floor or the wall, behind refrigerators, in kitchen drawers, or under mats. Pick up food, vacuum frequently, and wash exposed surfaces to prevent many pest problems. Keep appliances clean. Clean up after pets. Pets often scatter bits of food, and their droppings also attract pests, such as flies. Clean litter boxes and pet cages frequently. Feed pets in a limited area that you can easily clean. Don t leave pet food out overnight. Roaches and other pests also eat pet food. When your pet has finished eating, store the remaining food in a sealed container or in the refrigerator. Tightly close bags of pet food when you are not using them. Dispose of garbage. Food, lint, fabric, and even paper can be attractive to pests. Cover indoor garbage cans tightly, or take the garbage out every night. Plastic liners will help you keep garbage cans clean. Store garbage outside in heavy

2 plastic or metal containers with tight fitting lids. Clean garbage containers when necessary. Keep food in protective containers. Store all food in tightly sealed bags or containers, or place food in the refrigerator or freezer. 2. Don t provide water for pests Properly repair dripping pipes. Leaky or sweating pipes under the cabinet are a good water source for pests. During periods of drought, more pests may enter your home seeking water. Never leave water standing in the sink or other containers overnight. Do not leave water standing under flowerpots. You may need to remove your pet s water bowl at night or change to a system that dispenses water as your pet needs it. Your local pet shop can advise you about available pet watering systems. 3. Don t provide shelter for pests Debris of all kinds will attract pests because it provides good places to hide. Avoid clutter. Never allow old newspapers, boxes, or other materials to accumulate inside or near the home. Many pests prefer to live in small, dark cracks or other protected areas. Seal up crevices and holes with caulk. Pay special attention to the kitchen area because pests prefer to stay near food. 4. Keep pests out Prevent hitchhikers. We often bring pests such as roaches, silverfish, and spiders into the home with packaging. These pests hide in the crevices and in the bottom of packages. Inspect bags and boxes before you bring them into the house. If you buy an appliance (e.g., refrigerator), check it carefully for roaches before you bring it into the house. Used appliances are more likely to be infested if they have been out of service for some time. Look for dead insects and fecal spots. Seal up cracks and holes where pests can enter your home. Check outside walls, window ledges, doors, and floorboards for openings; seal them with caulk. Be sure that all window screens fit tightly. Attic and chimney screens can prevent problems with bats, squirrels, and birds. Check for holes around water pipes, wiring, and other openings from the outside. If you have plumbing or wiring work done on your home, make sure the workmen properly seal all openings. Following these basic guidelines will help you to prevent many pest problems and to control problems when they occur.

3 If you discover a pest problem, be sure to properly identify the pest. Many people immediately reach for a pesticide when they see any pest. Insects and other animals often enter your home by accident and will do not harm. Your county extension office will help you identify pests. If you recognize on any of the following common pests, these recommendations will help you control them. Try to answer these questions. 1. Why is the pest in my house? 2. What non-chemical methods can use to control the pest? 3. If necessary, what pesticide should I use to safely control this pest? What steps should I take to protect my family and pets from pesticide exposure? Pests can also be a problem in the workplace. Following the basics of IPM in your office and common areas will help reduce pest problems. The two main methods that work well in workplaces are: 1. Don t provide food for pests; and 2. Don t provide water for pests. If you use appliances in a breakroom, clean up after yourself in consideration to others as well as denying pests a food source. Mice and Rats Rodents possess a more difficult problem then the arthropods. Both mice and rats invade homes for food and shelter. Drought may also drive them inside to find water. Should I worry about mice and rats in the house? Rats and mice will destroy and contaminate large amounts of food or items in storage, and they carry a number of diseases that can be passed to humans. Their droppings contain a large number of disease causing bacteria. Additionally, mice/rat infestations can lead to problems with other pests, such as fleas. If you discover droppings or see signs that rodents have chewed into food containers, you should take quick action. Both mice and rats reproduce rapidly under favorable conditions. Mice and rats prefer to move about during the dark, quiet hours. If you see a mouse or rat out in the open during the day, you might have a large population. How can I control mice and rats in the house without pesticides? Good sanitation is essential to prevent and control mice and rats. Review the basic IPM principles. Improperly stored garbage often leads to problems with rodents. Keep garbage in sealed cans; mice and rats readily chew through bags. Rats and mice eat a wide variety of foods in the kitchen, and they can chew through many materials. Seed falling from bird feeders will also attract rodents. Keep appliances clean.

4 Outside, keep grass mowed and do not allow clutter to build up. Rodents look for secure places to hide. If you make the outside of your home unattractive to rodents, you will minimize problems indoors as well. Keep storage places clean. In basements and storerooms, store lumber, boxes, cartons, and other objects on racks at least one foot above the floor and away from walls. If your home has double walls with spaces between ceilings and floors, make sure the spaces are tightly sealed. Rats and mice will nest in these places. An easy way rats and mice enter structures is through penetrations through walls, both exterior and interior. They normally enter through space left for openings when pipes or wires enter the house via the exterior walls. Rats can be excluded from most structures, and exclusion will help to control mice. Seal all entry points around the foundation of your house. Look for cracks in the foundation, spaces around pipes, or other openings. Keep in mind that a rat can squeeze through a space only ½ inch wide; a mouse will fit through a hole as small as a dime. Also look for burrows around the foundation. Some rats are excellent diggers. Use sheet metal, heavy hardware cloth, or concrete to seal openings. Rats may chew through softer materials. Caulk can be used to fill mouse entry points. Snap traps and glue boards are very effective against mice. They are less effective against rats because rats are stronger and more suspicious. Place traps or glue boards along walls near where mice or rats have been detected. Place the traps at a right angle to the wall with the trigger mechanism near the wall. You may also want to enlarge the trigger area with cardboard or metal. Placing unbaited traps out for a few days can help overcome the rats suspicion. Secure rat traps to a heavy object to keep rats from dragging them away. Peanut butter is a good bait. Replace baits frequently; stale baits are less attractive. Cats and dogs will kill some mice and young rats, but they usually cannot control a large population of mice or rats. The rodents will quickly learn to move about inside walls or cabinets out of reach of the cat/dog, and many cats and dogs will not attack a large rat. Mouse and rat control is often a community issue. If your neighbors do not use good sanitation practices, it may be impossible for you to control rats and mice in your home. Contact your local health department or animal control office to establish a community program to control mice or rats. Many health departments will help to control rats in a neighborhood. How can I use pesticides safely to control mice and rats? Mice can usually be controlled without poisons if you act before the population becomes too large, but rats can be difficult to control without rodenticide baits. Be sure that children and pets do not have access to poison baits. A professional will use tamperproof bait stations. Additionally, the box should be secured to prevent anyone from

5 removing the box or shaking the poison bait out. Many products (e.g. DeCon) are sold in ready-to-use boxes. Rodenticides should only be used as part of an overall control program that includes sanitation. If rodents have access to ample food and shelter, it will be impossible to control the population with poison baits alone. Professional Extermination Service If you have a large population of pests (insects and/or rodents), you may not be able to control them by yourself. Likewise, if the problem is a community issue, you might need to hire a professional exterminator (examples are Orkin, Western, Cooks). Contacting Animal Control (if in Fulton County) at , or your Health Department (if in Fulton County) at for advice can be helpful. The University of Georgia s Department of Entomology web page (http://entomology.ent.uga.edu/index.html) is a valuable resource. Georgia Institute of Technology does not endorse any product, company, or services. Where products, companies, or service were identified, their identification was for illustrative purposes only.

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