Eliminating Pests Without Poisons

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

As I was getting ready to go to work, I was listening to the gardening segment
on the local news radio station. The announcer was giving advice on how to eliminate those unwanted critters that might invade the home to escape from the winter cold without having to use toxic substances. He recommended using mouse traps, for example, instead of fumigating or using rat poison.

As I listened to his useful tips, I realized that he was basically advocating for Integrated Pest Management,
a practice that here at EPA we highly recommend,

Without having to use toxic chemicals, you can prevent pests from seeking refuge in your home if you create an environment that is not pleasing to them. How, you may ask? Well, basically, be a very inhospitable host. What do I mean by that? Well, don’t give them any food to eat, nothing to drink, and no shelter! I know we wouldn’t welcome these pests knowingly, but frankly, when we leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight, or leave water for our pets overnight, or even let water accumulate under our plant pots or around the home, or we have a cluttered home, we are extending an open invitation to the unwanted critters!!! Why do I mention clutter like newspapers, bags, boxes, etc., because you don’t want to create the perfect hiding place for them nor their relatives….

So, even if you follow these steps and you get a visit from an unwanted guest like these pests, consider using baits and traps so you can keep toxics out of your home. Keep a healthy home for you, your family, as well as your pets.