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Is Pest Control Safe?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Pest Control - Is it Safe?Let’s face it – bugs and other pests have a way of getting into just about any area of the home. Whether you’re dealing with spiders, have noticed a roach or two here and there, or think that you might have mice in your home, it’s important to understand the realities of pest control. One of those is that professional pest control is usually necessary for pretty much every home. The second is that some types are not safe, and you need to consider a few things before hiring a pest control professional.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Before we talk about the potential safety issues of pest control, let’s discuss something more important – prevention. It’s far easier to prevent pests from invading your home in the first place than it is to eradicate them once they’ve established themselves.

There are quite a few steps to adequate prevention, but really, it boils down to keeping your home as clean as possible, not leaving food out or open, decluttering on a regular basis and closing off access from the outside that pests could use to get into the home.

Pest control safety concerns

First things first – no pest control method is completely safe and nontoxic. Even “green” pest control methods are still designed to kill pests, and there is some level of toxicity to humans and their pets. Again, preventative measures are always safer than eradication.

Second, over the counter, consumer-grade pest control options are usually less toxic than professional-grade options. They’re also less effective, so you may not see a complete eradication of pests with the first application. If you do choose to go the DIY route, make sure to read the warning and use labels very, very carefully. Manufacturers usually spell out exactly how their product is designed to be used in order to prevent harm to adults, children or pets in the household.

Traps and baits are usually the safest of consumer-grade pest control methods because the poison is contained within an enclosed space or otherwise limited and unable to be accessed or spread around the home. Sprays are less safe, and foggers are the least safe of all. If you decide that your pest problem is severe enough to warrant the use of foggers, be careful to read all the usage instructions and cautions on the packaging, and follow the instructions to the letter. Note that it is never safe to use foggers in a home with people or pets present, and you need to be very sure that you cover exposed objects like furniture, and seal cabinets to prevent contamination.

Working with a professional pest control company

If you have a serious pest problem and prevention hasn’t helped, you should work with a pest control professional. Ideally, this professional will use “nontoxic” pest control methods (note that these are actually low-toxicity, not completely nontoxic), and provide you with a customized pest control plan based on an expert inspection and evaluation of your property and the problem in question.

Talk with the pest control company about the products they use and how safe they are for you, your family and your pets. In some cases, you may be able to opt for less-toxic substances if you’re concerned about safety and health.

You also need to understand that even professional pest control methods will not always prevent insects and rodents from returning. You need to ensure that you’re practicing adequate prevention methods – you need to eliminate the factors that attracted the pests in the first place if you want to prevent them from returning.