By Environmental Protection Agency
Special to GUIDON
Like humans, pests need three critical elements to survive: food, water, and shelter. Before using pesticides, try these three simple steps to control or kill pests:
Starve them out
Pests will eat just about anything, but they might leave you alone if they don’t have easy access to food:
— Seal up boxes and bags of food. Roaches love cardboard boxes and can climb into these items with ease.
— Store open food in plastic bags or containers, such as cereal, flour, or sugar.
— Don’t walk around the house while eating. Meals and snacks should be eaten at a table.
— Clean dirty dishes right away. Pests want whatever is left of your meals.
— Don’t leave pet food out overnight. Food can stir up pests’ appetites.
Dry them out
Although roaches can live up to one month without food, without water roaches can die in a week’s time:
— Always drain dish water from a sink. Because roaches can swim, a sink full of water might become the site of a roach pool party.
— Wipe water and other spilled liquids off the counter as soon as you first see it. Puddles are roach magnets.
— Fix or report leaky faucets, radiators, dishwashers, and washing machines to a building manager.
— Empty excess water in flower pots and plant stands. A drop of water can be all a roach needs to feel satisfied.
Keep them out
By keeping ants, roaches and rodents out of your home, you can prevent them from ever becoming a problem:
— Seal cracks and openings along baseboards, behind sinks, and around pipes and windows.
— Repair holes in door and window screens to prevent insects and other pests from entering.
— Check boxes and bags for roaches before bringing them into a home.
— Clean up clutter, including stacks of newspapers, paper bags, and cardboard boxes.
— Set traps to control rats and mice. If you use baits, make sure they are in a tamper-resistant bait station made of durable plastic or metal, and place in an area where children and pets cannot touch them.