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Pest-Proofing Your Home for Your Health

06/19/2017

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June is National Home Safety Month, so we want to take some time today to help families create a safe, healthy and pest-free home. Summer insects are coming out of hibernation and making their way inside to avoid the Oklahoma heat, so it’s likely you may run into a pest or two in your home. Here are some tips on how to pest-proof your home for your health.

Summer insects

Insects, especially scorpions, hate extreme temperatures, so they will find any way to come in your home to avoid the heat. Acenitec, a local lawn and pest control service in the metro area, recommends performing a door sweep by checking any space open to the outside, and replacing the surrounding trim or weather strip to prevent creepy crawlies from entering your home.

Also, ants are common in the summer, and typically found in your kitchen near food. Empty your trashcan often and keep counters clean and dishes out of the sink to help prevent ants. “Ticks and mosquitos carry bacteria and diseases that can be harmful to your family and pets and can often result in a trip to the hospital or veterinarian,” Gary Roberts, president of Acenitec Pest and Lawn Services, said. “Cockroaches are also known to leave behind bacteria and pathogens that can increase your risk of developing severe allergies and asthma.”

Ticks

Those of us in central Oklahoma may have noticed ticks are especially bad this year. Ticks can pose a serious risk to your family and your pets. Harmful diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and even tick paralysis can be transmitted through the saliva of a tick. Here’s how you can help reduce the number of ticks your pets or family may bring inside.

  • Regularly remove tall grass and brush piles around your home.
  • Use a tick repellent with DEET when spending time outdoors, especially in the yard or wooded areas.
  • If you have been in areas where ticks are common, try leaving your clothes outside for a while or throw them in the wash right away, to reduce the risk of ticks hitching a ride into your home.
  • Use an effective tick medicine for your pets. This is the most common way ticks make it inside your home.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes carrying diseases like West Nile and Zika are on the rise, making it even more important to protect your home and loved ones. Simple actions like wearing repellents containing DEET, protecting your skin with long sleeves or pants and clearing areas where stagnant water is held (like flowerpot saucers and buckets) can help protect your family from harmful deseases carried by mosquitos.

Pest-proofing safely

Prevention is the safest strategy when it comes to pest proofing your home.  Here are some prevention tips to keep your home safe.

  • Keep all food sealed in glass or plastic containers.
  • Keep your kitchen counters and floor clean and free of food crumbs.
  • Take your trash out regularly and, if you can, purchase a trash bin with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Check for cracks around windows, doors and baseboards. Make sure they are sealed properly.
  • Check for any standing water in the home. Be especially mindful of houseplants and even your refrigerator tray.
  • Glue traps or bait houses are a good option when you first see pests around the house. This keeps chemicals to a minimum and confined to one area.

Professional pest removal

If you’re still experiencing pest problems, your best bet is hiring a professional exterminator. Professional exterminators are a much better option for pest control than the sprays you pick up at the store. Why? Professional products typically follow International Pest Management (IPM) standards and are less harmful.

“Regular pest control treatments from a licensed technician can prevent unwanted pests before they become a problem,” Roberts said. “We recommend quarterly insecticide treatments to keep insects and other pests at bay throughout the year.  It’s always easier to prevent pests upfront than eliminating the problem after it’s begun.“

Spraying Indoors

Set up an appointment to have a professional exterminator inspect your home and spray around the interior. Most professionals recommend being proactive  when it comes to pest problems and offer periodic pest prevention services.

Pest control insulation

Many companies offer a unique pest solution that is low on the scale of toxicity to people and pets. They can install pest control insulation for homes and business owners. The insulation is treated with Borate, which is a pest, mold and mildew-resistant product that is safe for your home.

More home safety tips provided by the National Safety Council:

Top Causes of Unintentional Injury and Death in Homes and Communities
Here's What to Keep at Home in an Emergency Supply Kit
Childproofing Your Home: An Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure

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