Introduction to Home Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
How do you begin to use Integrated Pest Management in your home? We suggest that you begin with exclusion and then move on to the other tasks (methods of IPM) listed below. Each plays an intimate role in aiding in the elimination and prevention of pests.
Keeping Pests Outside By Using Exclusion Methods
- Exclusion refers to blocking entry points for pests such as caulking around windows, making sure door sweeps are tightly in place and patching holes.
Keep Your Yard Tidy, (and a few other tricks.)
- Yard maintenance is important because pests usually come from outdoor populations.
- By keeping your grass mowed and trees and shrubs from becoming overgrown, you can help keep pest populations under control.
- Also, trees, shrubs, and plants should not be touching your home. They give pests a ladder to crawl up and find places to come in. Pine straw and mulch should also be kept away from the exterior of your home. They serve as a place for many pests (such as cockroaches) to live and breed.
- Click on the red revolving dots on the interactive image below to get some more specific tips for your yard.
Keeping Things Clean Inside the Home is Called Using Sanitation Methods
- Sanitation refers to keeping a space clean and tidy. Food that is left out in the open is attractive to pests and can be the reason they come inside.
- Piles of clutter indoors can provide great shelter for pests to live in once they come inside.
Using Pest Traps
- There are a variety of traps for mammals (mouse traps, live traps) and for insects (pheromone traps, sticky traps).
- Traps can be used to determine what kind of problem you have, to monitor for the pest and to help reduce populations.
- Live-trapping for release can help get rid of the problem if you have practiced exclusion by blocking the pest's point of entry. This is especially good for larger mammals that may have found their way into your home.
- Baits are considered a safe chemical management option.
- Qualities of a good bait include: an odor that smells attractive to the pest, a pesticide that is effective against the pest, a holder or “bait station” that will prevent children or pets from being able to access it, and a design that is suited to the pest's behavior.
These are just some of the tactics that can be used, but the main thing to keep in mind is that pests need food, water, and shelter. If you eliminate their food sources and shelter, pests will have to go elsewhere to fulfill their life requirements.
The truth is that we need to understand the behavior of a pest to manage it efficiently. Do a thorough search of your home or set up monitors and find out where the pest is a problem. Part of IPM is targeting the pest location rather than wasting time and money guessing where it may be and covering a larger area that really doesn’t need to be treated. This reduces pesticide use and directs management to the proper site.