Creating a Healthy Home Step 5: Get Rid of Pests

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Household pests like insects and rodents sometimes find their way into our homes. Common insect pests are cockroaches, flies and fleas. Recently bedbugs have been finding their way into more and more homes. Mice and rats are the most common rodents that invade our homes. If uncontrolled these pests can threaten our health. They are especially threatening to children’s health.

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control pests 
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a method for controlling pests that focuses Image of roacheson learning about pest behavior and their preferred environments. Once this information is obtained it can be used to eliminate the conditions that attract pests to your home. One of the primary goals of IPM is to eliminate pests as safely as possible. This means using chemical pesticides only as a last resort. The basic steps to safely eliminating pests with IPM methods are:

  • Find out exactly what pests are in your home and try to find out where they are coming from.
  • All pests need food, water, and shelter. Eliminate those basic requirements and you also often eliminate the pest problem.
  • If you cannot eliminate the pest problem with the above environmental controls, then use the least toxic method for eliminating the pests.
  • Start by using traps and bait first. The bait should be in a container designed to allow entry of only the pest you are targeting.
  • If you must use pesticides, read and follow directions on the label, and do so with extreme care.

To learn more about integrated pest management see the Cornell Cooperative Extension flyer:
IPM for Homes:  How to use integrated pest management to uninvite residential pests


Mites (including Dust Mites)


Written By

Sarah Kirby, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Sarah KirbyState Program Leader for Family & Consumer Sciences & Professor Call Dr. Sarah E-mail Dr. Sarah Agricultural & Human Sciences
NC State Extension, NC State University
Updated on Jun 24, 2019
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