Got Critters?

No roach is cute—not ever. Neither is that mouse family roaming your kitchen. And what if you go visit mom and dad and realize they have a pest problem? Failing eyesight, lack of energy to clean or make repairs, aging homes, there are lots of reasons. So what do you do to help?

Just like us, most critters are looking for food, water and shelter. Once you know what you are dealing with, roll up your sleeves and:

Remove sources of food, water and shelter.
Store food in sealed plastic or glass containers. Garbage containing food scraps should be placed in tightly covered trash cans. Remove garbage regularly from your home.
Fix leaky plumbing and don’t let water accumulate anywhere in the home. Don’t let water collect in trays under your house plants or refrigerator. Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight.
Clutter provides places for pests to breed and hide and makes it hard to get rid of them. Get rid of things like stacks of newspapers, magazines, or cardboard.
Close off places where pests can enter and hide. For example, caulk cracks and crevices around cabinets or baseboards. Use steel wool to fill spaces around pipes. Cover any holes with wire mesh.

You’ve taken steps to keep out the critters, but before you reach for the chemicals, there are a few things you should know. For a variety of reasons, older people may be more sensitive to pesticides!

While you always need to be careful with pesticides, it is even more important to follow these easy tips.

First figure out what the pest is and use the right pest control for that pest.
Read the label, read the label, read the label…and then follow it.
Don’t try to kill it deader than dead by using more than the label says! Too much pesticide can be harmful to humans and pets.
Don’t use outdoor chemicals indoors. Those chemicals will stay toxic longer indoors than they would outdoors. Make the trip to the store to get the right product.
Use bait traps or target spraying…don’t spray or fog an entire room if not absolutely necessary.
Keep children, pets, food (people and pet), toys and clothing away from areas where pesticides are applied.
Follow instructions for safely and correctly disposing of pesticides.

As an additional side note, if you are checking out an assisted living community, remember you can ask anything, including how they handle pest control!

To learn more about pests and pesticides, including natural and biological pesticides:

US Environmental Production Agency
National Pesticide Information Center
Purdue Extension Service or your county extension office.
Older Adults and Pesticides