Health & Safety

September 7, 2012

Ounce of pest prevention worth pound of bug killer

There are many positive aspects of living in Arizona like sunshine and beautiful scenery, but the one thing not many enjoy is the surprise visits from pests such as cockroaches, ants and scorpions.

Although most people don’t want pests in their homes, the pests have reasons to want to be there.

“Pests want food, water and shelter, and they aren’t picky about how they get them either,” said Tech. Sgt. Lorie Simpson, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management NCO in-charge.

Sometimes pests enter the home in ways not expected.

“Bugs can accidently be carried into the home from another location,” said Tech. Sgt. Pamela Zavatkay, 56th CES training manager. “They crawl under weather stripping or go through cracks around the home.”

For residents of Arizona there are many pests for which to watch out.

“In Arizona there are carpenter ants, field ants, fire ants, American cockroaches, German cockroaches, scorpions, black widow and brown recluse spiders, brown dog ticks, and more,” Simpson said.

To help avoid leaving an open invitation for unwanted visitors, there are ways to prevent them from coming in or infesting a home.

“First thing is sanitation. That’s the key to keeping them out of the home,” Simpson said. “If there isn’t anything lying around that they want, the pests will go elsewhere.”

And if there are already pests in the home, Simpson said, first try and do a little research on the type of pest before taking any measures.

“In general, I like to use cleaning products to kill the pests I see in my home, and it’s great since you clean at the same time,” she said. “I personally, don’t like to use bug bombs in the home due to the fact that after they’re used you have to wipe down every surface in the home. I only use them as a last resort if all household cleaners fail.”

While keeping the home clean is important, it is also essential to not save paper bags or newspapers.

“Paper bags provide nourishment and great harborage for roaches, because they like to live between seams and flaps,” she said. “Sometimes you will not see an actual roach, but an egg capsule from the roach. Roaches are resilient and can live up to a week with their heads cut off and will finally die from dehydration.”

One of the most common pests is the ant. While there is temptation to kill them right away there is a better way to get rid of them.

“Using an ant bait station or gel is the best way to eliminate them, because it will kill the entire colony,” Zavatkay said. “The ant will ingest the bait then go back to their nest where they will feed it to the queen, and it will eventually kill the whole colony.”

Despite there being many ways to prevent bugs from entering the home the best way is to ensure the house is sealed.

“Other than keeping the home clean, it also should be well sealed,” Simpson said. “Check the home for crevices where pests can enter, and seal them up.”

Simpson also recommends these additional tips to keep pests at bay:

  • Clean right after cooking a meal.
  • Take out the garbage often; sweep and vacuum once a day.
  • Keep outdoor leaves, brush and wood a good distance from the home since these can be breeding areas.
  • Call the exterminator for bed bugs and termites right away.



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