When you see a creepy crawly in your home, you grab the nearest aerosol can and let loose, right? Not such a good idea, say the pest control experts. You need to know what to spray and how, before attempting to be a DIY pest exterminator.
Ants, cockroaches, fish moths, fleas, flies, mosquitoes and rodents often find their way into human homes and there are a number of products available to help you get rid of them. These include aerosols, residual sprays, dusting powders, baits, traps and contact gel to name a few.
Over-the-counter insect sprays are generally safe for home use, says Deena Govender of Rentokil, but only if they are used correctly. It is very important to read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer's instructions meticulously. Manufacturers spend millions of Rands researching, developing and producing their products for good reason.
Before using any product, familiarise yourself with the toxicity of the chemicals it contains by looking at the colour bands and symbols on the labels and take the necessary precautions stated on the label. According to the new South African classification system, products must be labelled with different coloured bands. Green banded products are the safest, followed by blue and then yellow. Red banded products are dangerous and require a lot of care in application.
The skull and crossbones symbol is used to indicate that the product contains extremely toxic chemicals. The St Andrew's cross (X) is used to denote moderately hazardous chemicals. The label will also state the product is "HARMFUL". Some sprays may be flammable and should not be used near fire sources. Remember to always ensure adequate ventilation in the treated areas.
There are instances where Govender would not recommend or would even advise against the use of pesticide sprays. “If there are elderly, asthmatic or sickly persons in a home, it may be advisable to avoid using pesticide sprays. Fish, birds and other pets may be also be adversely affected by some pesticide sprays.” He said. “If there is a very heavy infestation, people should contact a professional pest controller for advice and assistance. If you suffer from recurring instances of pest infestations, a good pest control company would be able to help you find the root of the problem and effectively treat or prevent the source of infestations.”
Sprays are not always effective in getting rid of all household pests. Sometimes a combination of different products and methods are required. The type of pest, environmental conditions and level of infestation will determine which product is needed. Baits for different types of pests are far more effective, specific and also more environmentally friendly than sprays.
There are simple, more environmentally friendly solutions to prevent pest infestations than trying to get rid of them using toxic sprays. “Prevention is better than cure”, says Deena Govender, “By denying pests food, undisturbed shelter and warmth you will prevent them from settling in or returning to your home. Keeping your home clean and tidy also helps to minimise infestations.”
Treating pests as soon as they are spotted will help to control the infestation levels and limit the amount of chemicals needed to eradicate the problem. For more information, visit www.rentokil.co.za