“When people find pests in their homes and gardens, all they want to do is get rid of them as soon as possible,” said Chuck Payton, owner of A-Pro Pest Control. “And the easiest way to do that is to reach for a spray and start zapping. But with some patience and planning, there are ways to keep pests out before they ever become a problem.”
The method Payton refers to is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a technique designed to use chemical pesticides as a last resort. Rather than wait for the pests to come to you, IPM suggests you take preventive measures to keep pests away in the first place. Not only is this organic method of pest control better for the environment; it’s better for you.
Chemicals found in common over-the-counter pesticides can be harmful to humans, pets and plants while contaminating the air, water and soil, so opting for a defensive and natural approach will benefit you and your home and garden.
As autumn is on the horizon, Payton said insects will soon take a backseat to rodents as the most annoying pest of the season. Rather than setting out poison pellets, a standard snap trap is most effective, as it provides an instant kill, said Payton. Glue traps also work, but don’t try to peel the rodent off the trap and release it outside. It’ll just try to come back inside – or you might detach its tail in the process of removing it from the trap.
But you shouldn’t wait for rodents to enter your home before taking action. Utilizing the IPM method, make sure that all the weather stripping on your doors is secure. Also, trim bushes near your home so that rodents don’t use your landscaping as a command post before entering your home.
“Keeping pests out of your home has a lot to do with habitat management,” Payton said. “Make sure to check the weather stripping on your house. Plug any holes or cracks so that pests can’t use those as entry points. Also, move the trash cans away from your house. Don’t give pests a reason to come near your house in the first place.”
If insects are your problem, Payton said a compound of soap and water is just as powerful as a chemical, but regular hand soap is a lot safer than what’s found in pesticides.
If your garden is under attack, there are organic ways to rid your garden of unwanted guests. Instead of spraying chemicals, rely on other insects, such as ladybugs, nematodes and praying mantises, which pray on garden pests such as mites. Household products such as cinnamon, canola oil and baking soda can also be used to keep pests away. The important thing to know is what you’re fighting before you attack.
“When people find pests in their gardens or lawns, they often spray the entire yard, but you need to find out what you’re dealing with and what the pests are after before you spray anything,” Payton said. “Even if you buy a product that claims to be natural, the ingredients are still toxic to some degree, so you don’t want to spread it everywhere.”
Payton said customers are often open to the IPM method, but ultimately they just want to be rid of the pests. A-Pro Pest Control, which services Brentwood, Discovery Bay and Oakley, offers preventive maintenance programs to help you keep your home and garden pest-free this coming winter. For more information, call A-Pro Pest Control at 925-634-3811.