Wondering about pest control? If you’re like most people, you don’t give pest control issues a single thought until something unwanted scurries by on tiny feet, and that moment changes everything. With your home invaded by insects or rodents, you may feel scared, unsafe or angry. Pest control suddenly becomes an important concern.
The kind of pest you have partly determines the control method used; whether it’s inside your living space, underneath or in the structure of the house or in the attic also determines the type of pest control you will need to eliminate the pest without impacting the health of your own family or pets.
No one likes to see bugs in the house, but pest control is more than an aesthetic concern: pests can carry other creatures and disease into our lives. The classic case of pests causing disease is the bubonic plague: infected fleas that live on rats carry the disease, a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. The fleas leave the rats’ bodies and can bite human beings or animals, transmitting a disease which in Medieval times killed a third of Europe’s population and is still with us (fortunately in much smaller numbers than the Black Plague pandemic), today.
Even when fleas do not carry the plague, flea bites can cause pain and swelling, resulting in angry red lumps on the skin. Fleas, spiders, mosquitos, and even ants can be harmful to adults, children and pets. Aside from the usual annoyance of suffering insect bites or stings, around five per cent of the population may risk death by anaphylactic shock, an extreme physical reaction to insect bites that causes swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing and unconsciousness.
There are as many kinds of pest control as there are pests. Some are for use in or around the structure of a home, some are sprayed or sprinkled around foundations, some can be used in the rooms where you live. Depending on the type and location of infestation and the number of animals involved, pest control measures may be more or less drastic.
Anyone who has lived in a dormitory, apartment complex or military or public housing is probably familiar with “bug bombs” or insect foggers, multipurpose poison gas containers that can be set inside a temporarily evacuated building which is then sealed for a number of hours. Foggers are somewhat effective and do kill insect pests; however, they tend to be placed in the center of a room. The aerosol drops spray out of the top of the can, stay in the air for awhile, then settle to the ground.
Other Pest Control Methods
Foggers are not as effective in killing bugs in walls and cracks, and that is a problem, since roaches, silverfish and many other insects prefer the edges of moldings and cracks, and in out-of-the-way closets. Another primary drawback of using foggers is that to prepare your house for a bug bomb, you often must empty any cupboards of food, remove toys, move the family and pets out for hours, and thoroughly wash all usable surfaces and bedding when you return. Finally, sometimes people use too many foggers for their space: the gases given off by a fogger are flammable, and houses have exploded when pilot lights ignited the gases.
You don’t have to use foggers: pest control comes in many forms. You can buy sprays, rat and mouse traps, ant and roach “motels”, pellets and powders, and liquids. There are highly toxic pesticides available on the market, or you might try non-toxic herbal remedies that act as repellents rather than insecticides. There are electrical devices that prevent rodents and sonic pest control machines that drive all sorts of pests (rodents and insects) away by emitting a sound only they can hear, and that they abhor.
When you’re facing an infestation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed even as all your instincts are telling you to move quickly to resolve the problem. If you’re not sure what to do, you can start with non-toxic pest control methods, which are usually enough to solve your pest control concerns. But beware, “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “safe”. Some natural pest control products are also very toxic!