Pest Prevention and Control

There are many ways to prevent and control pests—indoors and outdoors—without using toxic chemical pesticides or insecticides. Integrated pest management (IPM) programs emphasize the use of physical barriers, biological controls, and other natural forms of pest control to minimize the use of pesticides to the greatest possible degree. IPM can be used to deal with a variety of pests, including cockroaches, ants, rodents, flies, fruit flies, fleas, pigeons, and so forth. Studies have linked some pesticides to cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders, and immune system disorders, as well as allergies. If a pesticide must be used, select one from a list of low-toxic pesticides, such as the San Francisco Reduced-Risk Pesticide List.


• Clean up any unsealed food, crumbs, and liquid/spills from all floors and surfaces.

• Sweep floors and vacuum regularly, with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum if possible.

• Rinse bottles, cans, and containers before putting them in the recycling bins.

• Clean out the recycling bins periodically to remove sticky residues.

• Seal all door cracks or other openings in trash rooms.

• Minimize clutter, paper files, and storage supplies that can provide hiding places for pests.

• Make sure that penetrations around kitchen cabinets, plumbing, and electrical lines are fully sealed.

• Repair all water leaks and dry any moisture-damaged materials.

• Do not overwater indoor plants, as wet soil and standing water in overflow dishes provide drinking areas.

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