IPM for Homes
IPM Inside Your Home
- Be neat. Keep your home clean. Wipe up spills; don't leave pet food exposed for long periods; remove clutter that could be breeding grounds for pests.
- Prevent access. Store dry food, pet food, and bird seed in tightly covered containers; plastic bags don't always exclude pests. Remove enticements, such as sweet and greasy foods (which attract ants).
- Control moisture. Fix leaks and encourage ventilation, as insects often seek wet spots.
- Erect blockades. Exclude pests from your living areas with fencing, caulking, and barriers such as door sweeps, netting, and screens.
Pest-Specific IPM Tips
Bats--Bats eat hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes, each night. Inspect the exterior of your building for openings larger than 1/4" in height and seal them; light your attic; offer a "bat house" away from areas of human activity; avoid direct contact.
Carpenter ants--Carpenter ants often excavate wet or damaged wood. Fix the problem that is causing the moist wood, then replace damaged wood. Baits specific for carpenter ants are available.
Clothes moths--Clean the clothes before storing; place in tightly closed plastic bags. They feed on untreated fibers, food stains, perspiration, and oils. The oil in cedar will repel, but not necessarily kill, clothes moths.
Cockroaches--Eliminate harborages (stacks of cardboard, paper bags, and clutter in warm, moist locations); empty garbage frequently, in the evening (roaches feed at night); keep drawers, counters, stovetops scrupulously clean; store food in refrigerator instead of on the counter; empty refrigerator defrost pan often; use roach traps and replace when full.
Fleas--Vacuum regularly and place contents outdoors in a trash receptacle. Treat the animal, preferably by a veterinarian. Insect growth regulators, available in some flea control formulations, prevent fleas from maturing to adults. Remember that "flea bombs" are specific to fleas, not all pests.
Flies--Fix screens; eliminate breeding areas (garbage, grass piles); hang fly paper.
Indianmeal moth--Keep nuts, dried fruits, flour and other cereal products in glass or plastic containers with tightly closing lids. "Pantry pest" pheromone traps catch only males.
Mice--Close all openings in foundation that are larger than 1/4" in diameter; use a snap trap or glue board; keep an energetic cat as a pet.
Mosquitoes--Prevent water from accumulating in low spots in the yard, old trees, garbage cans, pool covers, gutters, tires, sandbox toys, and potted plant saucers. Replace bird bath water every few days; keep window and door screens tight and in place until winter.
Spiders--Scoop them into a container and escort them outside, or use a fly swatter. Most spiders are beneficial, killing such insects as flies.
Termites--Know the difference between termites and carpenter ants. Termites have thick waists and straight antennae; ants have thin, pinched waists and "bent elbow" antennae. The best controls are designing homes to exclude termites, reducing moisture, and hiring a professional to use baits and other methods; almost no home remedies exist.