Summer’s officially here. And with summer comes bugs. Big bugs, little bugs, all sorts of bugs, all of which are most likely not welcome in your home. If you’re facing an insect invasion and are at your wit’s end with squishing your new friends, you might be thinking about using a pesticide. But pesticides are designed to kill things, so they can be dangerous if not used properly. To keep your family safe from accidental poisonings, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Try being proactive and preventative before resorting to chemicals.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you don’t need scary chemicals to get rid of six or eight-legged beasts. You might be able to fortify your home’s defenses and solve your problem without pesticides.
Try these steps before spraying…
- Take care of your garbage. Seal it up well by placing it in a secure trash bin outside. And take out the trash often.
- Declutter your home. Bugs love hidey-holes, and newspapers, magazines, and papers are prime bug hideouts.
- Cut off any likely entry points. Caulk any cracks in your home’s baseboards and around your cupboards and try steel wool if there are any open spaces around your pipes. Use wire mesh on any holes in your home.
- Check any boxes, packages, and groceries you take into the home. We don’t want to think that we’ve got hitchhikers, but you might. Better safe than sorry.
- Don’t let water build up anywhere.
2. Figure out who your enemy is.
Creating a battle plan is difficult if you don’t know who you’re battling. Find out what kind of pest is tromping around in your home and proceed accordingly. That way you can choose a bait or pesticide that will actually work against your buggy intruders.
3. Try baits.
Insect or pest baits have a lower chance of causing an accidental pesticide exposure as long as they’re kept out of the inquisitive reach of children (both two and four-legged.) Baits might cure your home of its pest problem.
4. Read the pesticide label carefully.
Labels have lots of important information on them, and if you’re going to be applying a pesticide to your home it’s essential that you’re doing it correctly so that no one gets hurt or poisoned. Another note is to use a pesticide that’s ready to go and doesn’t require mixing. Mixing is more dangerous, plus it’s more work. Try to pick one that’s easy to use.
When you’re investigating the label of the pesticide that you’re thinking about buying, look at the following…
- Any warnings or precautions. Listen to the warning. Heed the advice given.
- The EPA registration number. This can help you find additional information that you might want about the product. If you have a pest-control expert come to spray and battle the bugs on your behalf, ask them to write down the names and EPA numbers of the products they’re using.
- Active ingredients.
- Signal words. The signal word – Danger, Hazard, or Caution – tells you how dangerous the product is. “Danger” is the most perilous and “Caution” is the least.
- Broad-spectrum versus selective classification. If the pesticide is broad-spectrum, it works against many creepy-crawlies. If it’s selective, it works against a specific type of many-legged beast. Make sure the product does what you need it to.
5. Never store a pesticide in anything other than its original container and don’t reuse the bottle.
You don’t want anyone to get a rude surprise when they go to get a refreshing drink or a snack. To avoid any pesticide-related mishaps, keep pesticides stored in a safe place and keep them in their original bottles. The label is very important, so make sure that you keep that on the bottle, too.
Don’t rinse and reuse the bottle, either. Chemical remnants are very hardy, so it’s dangerous to eat, drink, or use anything that’s been in contact with a pesticide bottle.
6. Keep the kids and pets away.
Make sure that your kids and pets don’t stumble upon a pesticide-sprayed area. It’s important to keep them safe by keeping them away from areas that have been treated. You don’t want them to be exposed to the chemicals.
You also need to make sure to store the pesticide in a safe place that the kids can’t get into. Properly storing chemicals is an essential part of childproofing your home.
7. Don’t go crazy with your pesticide.
Remember that pesticides should only be applied to specific problem areas, not everywhere. No need to spray willy-nilly.
8. Choose the least toxic pesticide possible.
Once you figure out your goal, choose the least-toxic pesticide possible to get the job done. There’s no need to expose everyone to harsher chemicals than necessary to get the cursed creepy-crawlies out of your home.
9. Only use home-approved pesticides.
The label will tell you where the pesticide is intended to be used. Outside is a different ballgame than inside, so make sure to choose one that’s okay to use in the house. If you use an outdoor chemical inside, it’ll stay toxic for far longer than if you use it outside.
10. Ask your pest-control person the right questions.
If you have a pest-control expert that helps you oust your unwelcome guests, you need to ask them to find the source of the problem before they start to spray stuff. They need to put on their detective hat before they start using pesticides. Once they figure out where the beasts are coming from and why, you’ve already fought half the battle.
And, like we said, ask them to write down the name and EPA number of any pesticides they use. That way you’ll be able to find out more about the chemicals that they’re using if you so desire.
11. Dispose of unwanted extra pesticides and empty containers properly.
Don’t be lazy. Read the label and figure out how to properly and safely dispose of the bottle. If you have any questions, call your waste disposal service and ask them for instructions.
Again, we remind you not to reuse pesticide bottles. Not a good plan – that stuff is toxic, remember?
Hopefully, these tips will help you win the struggle against the bugs or other pests that have broken through your defenses. Follow the above steps to keep your home safe as you rid your home of bugs and other nuisances. Bugs are gross. Don’t put up with them.
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