Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a way of thinking that combines common sense with scientific knowledge. The basic idea is to use natural and chemical-free solutions when possible in order to limit the use of pesticides. Experts in IPM will use their knowledge of the pests feeding habits, life cycle and needs to determine the most appropriate methods of pest management starting with the least toxic methods and adjusting over time.
Here are a few tips you can implement in your home, yard and garden to help keep pests at a controlled and manageable level without the use of pesticides.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
1. Identify the current pest problem– Look for evidence of pests including damaged goods, droppings, wood shavings or anything out of the ordinary. You can contact the experts at Richland Pest & Bee Control to help you identify what pests may have taken up residence in your home.
2. Seal off any entry points – Close up entry points into your home using steel wool or wire mesh. Some common entry points include cracks along the foundation, areas where wires or pipes enter your home, and gaps around window and door frames.
3. Declutter your home– Clutter around the home provides a hiding place for pests. It’s best to clear out any clutter including attics and storage areas in order to limit their habitat.
4. Remove possible food sources– If you had a nice warm and dry home with limitless food sources, would you want to leave? I don’t think so! So remove any possible food sources by sealing food in airtight containers and getting a garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
5. Keep a vacuum handy – Regularly vacuuming any carpets in your home can clean up crumbs, bugs, and eggs that you can’t even see. This will help keep populations down.
6. Inspect any stray furniture – Thoroughly check any used items coming into your home. Used furniture, rugs and clothing can bring along unwanted pests with them.
7. Use a dryer with a high heat setting – When washing clothing and bedding using the high heat setting can kill eggs, larvae, and bugs that you didn’t even know were present.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
1. Choose native plants – Be sure to choose grasses and plants that will thrive in your location. Take into account your region, climate and the plant’s needs for sun and water. These plants typically require less water and have fewer pest problems because they have evolved to withstand the living conditions of your region.
2. Maintain healthy soil – Remove dead grass patches with a rake and remove dead plant stalks before they begin to rot as they can harbor diseases. Consider testing your soil to determine fertilizing needs based on your minerals and nutrients.
3. Keep your lawn mowed – Mow your lawn often with sharp blades keeping the blades high, generally 2.5-3 inches.
4. Select disease resistant plants – If you have a recurring issue of diseases infesting your plants, switch them out for disease resistant varieties. Inspect your plants regularly to determine any problems as soon as they arise.
5. Water plants below the leaves – Wet leaves are more susceptible to diseases. By watering at the base, below the leaves, you can limit the chances for disease. Proper care and watering will produce healthier plants which will better tolerate pests.
6. Consider asking for help – If you are struggling to keep the pest populations at a manageable level, consult a specialist for recommendations on treatment.