This article was previously published August 5, 2014, and was updated on June 21, 2022
Pest control can be a challenge.
Keeping your home and yard pest free can be an uphill battle. It can be difficult to determine what pesticides are safe for you, your pet and the environment. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a recent study found one or more pesticides in 90 percent of sampled water, 80 percent of sampled fish and 33 percent of large aquifers. Harmful chemicals in pesticides can pose a danger to humans and animals. But, as USFWS also points out, they can also be beneficial in controlling disease-carrying pests and organisms as well as harmful weeds and insects.
Luckily, there are natural and safe pest-control solutions that won’t harm your pets or have other significant environmental impacts. Follow these tips to keep your home pest free while protecting your pets and wildlife from harmful chemicals.
Seal Cracks and Crevices
Your first line of defense against pests should be to stop them from coming into your home in the first place. Seal off cracks in entryways and windows. The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests using silicone caulk to seal any cracks you might find in baseboards, electrical outlets, sinks and tubs, cupboards and anywhere else you might suspect pests are getting in. Even the tiniest crack can be an inviting entry for bugs and rodents.
MSN Money recommends keeping your home dry because pests love dampness. Check for leaks in pipes and appliances and seal them with caulk. Watch for water spots on the ceiling as this can mean there is a hole or damage in the roof that can let bugs in.
Keep Your Home (And Your Pet) Clean
The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences explains how important it is to keep a clean home to deter bugs and pests. Avoid using old cardboard boxes to store food and supplies. Instead, use airtight containers and store them on shelves off the ground. Clean under appliances often and use pest-resistant trash and compost bins.
Make sure pet food is stored tightly in bins and clean up any that spills. It is a good idea to use a raised feeder or feeding mat to keep your pet’s food off the floor where it will attract pests. Keep your pet’s area tidy and wash their bed and toys regularly. You should also bathe your pets often, especially if they spend a lot of time outside.
Homemade Pest Control Methods
Some natural materials are pest deterrents and may help keep unwanted critters at bay. Natural Living Ideas recommends using some common items you might find in your kitchen or around the house to keep bugs and rodents awa y. Here’s another great article; 14 Great Ways to Keep Spiders Out of Your House Naturally.
Placing blocks of natural cedar in your closet and attic will naturally deter moths and other insects. Citrus like orange and lemon peels repel spiders and mosquitoes that can be dangerous for your pet. Vinegar is a very effective natural cleaning agent and will also keep ants away. Some other natural bug deterrents include cinnamon, vanilla extract, and soybean oil.
Calling the Professionals
Sometimes natural remedies just aren’t enough and you’ll need a stronger method. If you have to call a service for serious pest problems, choose a company that only uses environmentally safe chemicals, and ask if they have a pet-safe procedure. For example, Waltham Services is well known for consulting entomologists to distinguish harmful and beneficial insects, and for using both non-chemical and Earth-friendly chemicals to make sure you are getting treatment that is safe for you and your pet.
Do your research before buying a bottle of pest spray or calling the big-name exterminators so you can rid your home of pests safely and naturally.
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