College-wide Navigational Links | Go to Local Navigational Links
Local Navigational Links | Go to Main Content
Main Content | Go to Searching Tools

Entomology: Publications

Keeping Pests Out of the Home with Fewer Pesticides & Using Pesticides Safely

Paul Guillebeau, IPM/Pesticide Coordinator
Reid Ipser

PESTICIDE EMERGENCIES

POISON CONTROL (for people or animals)
800-222-1222

CHEMTREC (pesticide spills)
800-262-8200
GA DEPT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (pesticide spills)
800-241-411

Many people do not mind encountering insects, spiders or other arthropods outdoors.  Most people, however, consider these animals pests when they come inside the home.  Even one insect may be considered too many.  People use pesticides to control household pests, but often fail to consider long-term solutions to avoid pest problems.

Keep in mind that pesticides may also be poisonous to people and pets.  If pesticides are not used carefully, you and your family and pets may be exposed to unnecessary risks.  The risks are greatest for infants and toddlers because of their lower weight and greater tendency to place hands/objects in their mouths. 

We recommend Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control household pests.  IPM includes a variety of nonchemical and chemical tactics to control pests and minimize human/pet exposure to pesticides.  IPM often includes pesticides, but they should be used judiciously as part of your overall pest management plan.  Follow the guidelines in this bulletin for household IPM.  You will learn how to avoid pest problems, use fewer pesticides, and apply pesticides safely.

The Basics of IPM

Every pest needs food, water, and a place to stay.  To make your home less attractive to pests, follow these basic IPM principles that remove food, water, and shelter for pests.

Common household pests include arthropods (e.g., roaches, ants, etc.) and vertebrates (e.g., mice, rats, bats, etc.)

1) Don't provide food for pests.

Clean up. Never leave food in the sink, on the table, or on the floor overnight. Even a small amount of food can support a large population of roaches or ants. Food particles can be found in cracks in the floor or the wall, behind refrigerators, in kitchen drawers, or under mats. Pick up food, vacuum frequently, and wash exposed surfaces to prevent many pest problems.

Clean up after pets.  Pets often scatter bits of food, and their droppings also attract pests, such as flies.  Clean litter boxes and pet cages frequently. Feed pets in a limited area that you can easily clean. 

Don't leave pet food out overnight. Roaches and other pests also eat pet food. When your pet has finished eating, store the remaining food in a sealed container or in the refrigerator. Tightly close bags of pet food when you are not using them.

Dispose of garbage.  Food, lint, fabric, and even paper can be attractive to pests.  Cover indoor garbage cans tightly, or take the garbage out every night.  Plastic liners will help you keep garbage cans clean.  Store garbage outside in heavy plastic or metal containers with tight fitting lids.

Keep food in protective containers.  Store all food in tightly sealed bags or containers, or place food in the refrigerator or freezer. 

2) Don't provide water for pests.

Promptly repair dripping pipes.  Leaky or 'sweating' pipes under the cabinet are a good water source for pests.  During periods of drought, more pests may enter your home seeking water.

Never leave water standing in the sink or other containers overnight. Do not leave water standing under flowerpots.  You may need to remove your pet's water bowl at night or change to a system that dispenses water as your pet needs it.  Your local pet shop can advise you about available pet watering systems.

3) Don't provide shelter for pests.

Debris of all kinds will attract pests because it provides good places to hide. Avoid clutter.  Never allow old newspapers, boxes, or other materials to accumulate inside or near the home.

Many pests prefer to live in small, dark cracks or other protected areas.  Seal up crevices and holes with caulk.  Pay special attention to the kitchen area because pests prefer to stay near food. 

4) Keep pests out.

Prevent hitchhikers.  We often bring pests such as roaches, silverfish, and spiders into the home with packaging. These pests hide in the crevices and in the bottom of packages.  Inspect bags and boxes before you bring them into the house.  If you buy an appliance (e.g., refrigerator), check it carefully for roaches before you bring it into the house.  Used appliances are more likely to be infested if they have been in service for some time.  Look for dead insects and fecal spots.

Seal up cracks and holes where pests can enter your home. Check outside walls, window ledges, doors, and floorboards for openings; seal them with caulk.  Be sure that all window screens fit tightly.  Attic and chimney screens can prevent problems with bats, squirrels, and birds.  Check for holes around water pipes, wiring, and other openings from the outside.  If you have plumbing or wiring work done on your home, make sure the workmen properly seal all openings.

Following these basic guidelines will help you to prevent many pest problems and to control problems when they occur.

If you discover a pest problem, be sure to properly identify the pest.  Many people immediately reach for a pesticide when they see any pest.  Insects and other animals often enter your home by accident and will do no harm.  Your county Extension office will help you identify pests.  If you recognize one of the following common pests, these recommendations will help you control them.  Try to answer these questions. 

  1. Why is the pest in my house? 
  2. What nonchemical methods can I use to control the pest? 
  3. If necessary, what pesticide should I use to safely control this pest?
  4. What steps should I take to protect my family and pets from pesticide exposure?

Common Household Pests and How to Control Them



Ants

Why do ants come in the house?

Ants usually invade houses for food or shelter.  During dry weather, ants may come inside seeking water.  Various species of small ants will forage inside, and some of them will nest in the house as well. Carpenter ants are large, black ants that establish nests in moisture-damaged, decaying wood. 

Photo: Carpenter Ant
Carpenter Ant
Clemson CES - USDA

Should I worry about ants in the house?

Carpenter ants inside the house may indicate a structural problem, usually associated with water damage.  If you think you have carpenter ants, take some of the ants to your local county Extension office for identification.

Other kinds of ants are often a minor problem.  Some ants transport bacteria within hospitals, but ants are not usually an important source for human disease.  A few ants will not make food unfit for human consumption. In short, a few ants indoors (other than carpenter ants) are not cause for alarm.  Large numbers of ants can be a tremendous nuisance.

However, few people tolerate ants inside the home, and this guide will help you to avoid ant problems.

 

Photo: Ants
Ants
Dan Suiter, UGA

Photo: Subterranean Termite Workers

Subterranean Termite Workers
Clemson CES - USDA


Some people confuse ants and termites. The presence of termites in your home may indicate a serious problem.  These characters can help you distinguish ants and termites.  The antennae of ants are bent, with a distinct elbow; the antennae of termites are straight.  Ants have a thin 'waist'; termites have a broad 'waist'.; If they have wings, the hind wings of ants are smaller than the front wings.  The front and hind wings of a termite are about the same size. Confusing ants and termites can be a very expensive mistake; always consult a professional.  Contact your local Extension office if you need help identifying ants or termites.

Image: Ants vs Termites

Ants vs Termites
Dan Suiter, UGA

Photo: Termites

Termites
Dan Suiter, UGA

How can I control ants in the house without pesticides?

If you discover ants indoors, ask yourself two questions. What is attracting the ants inside?; How are the ants entering the house?

Do not leave food for ants. Clean up food spills promptly. Thoroughly wipe the countertop, floor, or other surfaces that seem to be attractive to the ants. If ants are eating stored food, place the food in the refrigerator or in tightly sealed containers. Rinse food containers before you place them in the kitchen garbage can. Rinse recyclable food/drink containers and promptly place them in an outdoor receptacle.

Ants often invade homes while foraging for food.  If the ants are coming in from the outside, you may be able to identify their entrance (often a small crack or opening around a pipe). You can then seal these cracks with caulk to keep the ants out. Sometimes ant trails can be difficult to follow and some ants (e.g., pharaoh ant) will nest inside the house.

If you can remove the attractive source for the ants and/or seal up the ants' entrance, you can easily kill the ants remaining inside with vacuum cleaner or soapy sponge or mop. Before you kill the ants, try to determine what attracted the ants into your home and how they entered.  Otherwise, you are likely to find additional ant invaders.

On the outside of the house, look for things that promote ant colonies or help ants enter your home.  Remove leaf piles, old stumps, or other debris near the house; these items provide nesting sites for some types of ants.  Trim branches that touch the house; ants often use these routes to come inside.

Ants will occasionally establish a nest in a potted plant. Take the plant outside and flood the pot with water (you may have to repeat the flooding several times). The ants will usually move the nest out of the pot.  As long as the water can drain out of the pot, repeated flooding will not harm most plants.  Check with your local nursery before flooding plants with great economic or sentimental value!

If ants are a constant problem around pet food bowls, feed your pet only at certain times during the day and remove the food when your pet is finished. Pets quickly learn to eat when the food is served, and no leftovers remain to attract pests.

How can I use pesticides safely to control ants?

Rule #1. Do not to spray insecticide on the ants that you see foraging in a line. You may kill dozens of ants, but you will not destroy the colony. Wipe up or vacuum the ants in the foraging line. If you are using ant baits, do not interfere with foraging trails that lead to the bait.

Rule #2. Never apply pesticide to countertops or other areas where you prepare food.

The most effective way to use pesticide to control ants is to treat the colony directly. If you find an ant colony indoors, use your vacuum (the attachments may help you reach small areas) or apply a pesticide directly to the nest if the ants are in a wall void. If you can locate the colony outside, a drench treatment of insecticide is an effective way to destroy the colony. A drench is an application of an insecticide in a large amount of water that will carry the insecticide through the entire colony. Ask your county agent for current pesticide recommendations. You must kill the queen(s), or the colony is likely to recover. Mounds that are the source of invasion are usually located near the house.

Some people also use boiling water as a drench instead of a pesticide. Boiling water is not a dependable control method, and boiling water can also be very dangerous to handle.

If you cannot locate the colony, use ant baits that contain the active ingredient hydramethylnon, sulfluramid, avermectin, fenoxycarb, or methoprene. Ants share food; in many cases, the ants carry the baits back to the colony and eventually feed it to the queen(s). Baits are very effective against some kinds of ants, and they are very safe for humans, pets, and the environment.

If you experience repeated ant invasions, collect some ants and consult your local county agent.

When should I call a professional?

If you cannot control the ants with these guidelines or if you think you have carpenter ants, collect some of the ants and bring them to your local Extension office. They will help you identify the ants and advise you about consulting a professional pest control operator.

Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas

BATS

Why do bats come in the house?

Bats invade your home because they need a dry, dark place to hide during the day. Bats often colonize dark corners of attics, garages, and carports. Occasionally, bats accidentally find their way into living quarters, but that is not where bats want to be.

Should I worry about bats in the house?

If you discover even one bat roosting in your house, you should take immediate action, because other bats will be attracted to the same location. Do not panic. If you do not handle bats, it is very unlikely that anyone in your family will be bitten.

Bats are an important natural control of insects, but bat excrement and urine produce a foul odor.  Bats will bite and can transmit rabies. NEVER HANDLE A BAT (even if it appears dead) WITH YOUR BARE HANDS. IF YOU ARE BITTEN BY A BAT, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN!

How can I control bats in the house without pesticides?

Before you have bats,
Cover outside openings to the attic or other dark areas. Bats may enter any opening larger than ¼ inch. If the area requires ventilation, cover the openings with screen or hardware cloth.  Staple screen/hardware cloth every ½ inch. Inspect carefully to be sure that you are not trapping any bats inside when you install screens or other coverings.

If you have bats,
Determine where the bats are entering (they are most likely to enter through an unscreened attic vent). Hang a mesh curtain (e.g., cheese cloth, available at any fabric store) from the eave of the house about 1-2 feet from the opening so that it hangs down at least ten feet below the bat entrance. You could hang the cloth from the roof, using bricks or stones to hold it. Leave the curtain up for at least two nights. When the bats exit, they will not be able to fly back under the mesh curtain to the attic and are thereby excluded from your home. The bats are unharmed.  Then, seal up the bat entrance. You may have to clean up the site where the bats were roosting. Do not use this strategy when bats have young that cannot fly away. They will die and produce a very strong odor. In Georgia, baby bats are typically born in May or June. The babies can fly after about five weeks. To be safe, do not use this exclusion strategy from March through July.

Bat guano (feces) can be a source of histoplasmosis, a potentially serious human disease.  Humans usually contract histoplasmosis by breathing in dust from bat guano or other sources.  If you have large amounts of bat guano in your home, you should hire a professional to clean it out. You can find out how to protect yourself from histoplasmosis at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/histoplasmosis_g.htm

How can I use pesticides safely to control bats?

All bat species are protected in Georgia. If you kill bats without a special permit, you risk criminal prosecution. Additionally, bats perform a useful function in controlling insects. Contact the Special Permit Unit of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to inquire about a permit to kill bats. http://www.fws.gov/athens/hot_issues/Hot_Issues_2005/release_
GES_05_16_Bat_laws.htm
or 770-761-3044.

Never place large amounts of unconfined mothballs or other fumigant materials in your attic in an attempt to drive bats out. If the fumes reach the living area of the house, they could cause health problems.

When should I call a professional?

If you are unable to eliminate bats with the methods described above, you will need a professional to help you manage your problem with bats. Employ a company that specializes in the removal of bats. You should also ask if the company will remove any bat guano. 

Centipedes / Millipedes

Photo: Millipede
Millipede
Taft Eaker, UGA


Click here for information about centipedes/millipedes
.

Fabric Pests

Why do fabric pests come into the house?

The most commonly encountered fabric pests are clothes moths and carpet beetles. They come inside and lay eggs on clothes, drapes, upholstery, rugs and other furnishings made of wool, mohair, hair, fur, feathers or down. The larvae of these insects feed on your clothes and other items. The moths and beetles may come into the house from abandoned bird nests, animal carcasses, animal trophies, or insect collections. Fabric pests may also fly from nearby houses. Carpet beetles are commonly found on flowers surrounding the house.

Photo: Webbing Clothes Moth

Webbing Clothes Moth
Clemson CES - USDA

Should I worry about fabric pests in the house?

Photo: Webbing Clothes Moth Damage
Webbing Clothes Moth Damage
Clemson CES - USDA


If you have clothes or other items made from animal products, you should protect your clothes and furnishings from fabric pests before damage occurs. Pay special attention to items that are packed away in a closet or trunk and seldom moved or used. If you discover damaged clothes or other materials, act quickly to prevent damage to other items.


Two species of clothes moths commonly invade homes. The adults of both species are yellowish and have a wingspan of about two inches. You may not notice the moths; they only fly in dim light. You may notice small caterpillars and/or webbing on your clothes. Often, however, an infestation of clothes moths goes undetected until damaged clothes or furnishings are discovered. The damaged items have random, ragged holes. Inspect carefully if you find dead moths in closets or near windows in the rooms with items susceptible to moth damage.

Many times you may see small moths in your house; do not assume they are clothes moths. If you see small moths fluttering about in closets or other dim areas, capture one or more moths and take them to your county Extension office for identification.

Photo: Furniture Carpet Beetle
Furniture Carpet Beetle
Clemson CES - USDA

Several species of carpet beetles may be household pests. The larvae feed on clothing, carpets, or other items made from animal products. The larvae are about 1/8 inch long with many bristles. The adults are oval shaped and ¼ inch long; various species range from black to mottled black and yellow-white. The adults will fly during the day, and you may find them crawling near windows. If you find a number of small oval beetles in the house, take them to your county Extension office for identification.

How can I control fabric pests in the house without pesticides?

Store clothes made from animal products properly. Have clothes or other materials cleaned before storage. Sweat, food, and other stains attract clothes moths. Store clean materials in tightly closed containers (chests, boxes, or bags). You can protect materials in heavy-duty garbage bags if you carefully seal all openings with tape.

For items that are not stored (e.g., rugs), air them regularly and beat/brush them thoroughly.  Clothes moths (larvae and adults) and carpet beetle larvae do not like the light. Additionally, brushing or beating will destroy or dislodge eggs, larvae, and cocoons.

Remove abandoned animal nests and carcasses found near the home. Control infestations of mice and rats.

Vacuum corners and crevices thoroughly to remove accumulations of lint, hair, or other debris that can support fabric pests. Cleaning is especially important in closets or other areas where clothes are stored.

You can kill all stages of fabric pests in any material with heat or cold. Place smaller items in the freezer for at least three days. Heat (above 100° F.) will also kill all life stages if the materials are stored under hot conditions for several days, such as in the attic during the summer or in a car with closed windows. Consider the safety of the material before you expose them to extreme heat or cold. Extreme temperatures may damage some items.

How can I use pesticides safely to control fabric pests?

Pesticides may be needed to control fabric pests in some situations. If you cannot thoroughly clean cracks/crevices in a closet in which you have discovered damage, you may need to apply a pesticide into the cracks/crevices. Take clothes to a dry cleaner. You may need to treat items (e.g., furniture) made of susceptible materials. Pesticides may fade or damage some items; test a small area before applying pesticide to the whole item. Clothes moths and carpet beetle larvae do not like light, so they are unlikely to attack the seats or exposed parts of furniture.  The moths may feed under or behind furniture or underneath rugs where it is dark.

Never apply pesticides where a person will come in contact with them. Do not apply pesticides to materials that are not susceptible to moth attack. Clothes moths only eat wool, mohair, hair, fur, feathers or down. Do not treat cotton or synthetic materials (clothes moths will attack soiled synthetics).

Mothballs or moth flakes are not very effective unless the items are also placed in a tightly sealed container. If clothing comes in contact with pesticide, you should have the items cleaned before you wear them.

Contact your local county Extension office for pesticide recommendations.

When should I call a professional?

If you have clothing or other items susceptible to fabric pests that are of substantial monetary or sentimental value, you should consult a professional. A professional dry-cleaner or a dealer/consultant in antiques may be a good source of advice.

Cockroaches

Why do roaches come into the house?

Photo: American Roach
American Roach
Clemson CES - USDA

Roaches are attracted in the house by food, water, and shelter. Some roaches (e.g., German roach) establish colonies indoors, and some pest species (e.g., American roach and smoky brown roach) prefer to live outside and forage inside.

Should I worry about roaches in the house?

There are thousands of different species of roaches, but only about five or six species are serious pests in the United States. If you see a single roach indoors, it is important to identify the roach before you take serious action. The insect you see may be a roach that is not a pest species or some other kind of insect that resembles a roach. Your county Extension office will help you properly identify pests. If you see many roaches when you turn on the lights or if you find egg cases in the cabinet, you have a substantial population of roaches.

Few people tolerate roaches in the house, and large populations of roaches can contribute to health problems. If roaches come in contact with bacteria, they can spread the germs throughout their foraging area. In addition, roaches may cause allergic reactions like skin irritation or hay fever. Large populations of roaches can initiate or aggravate asthma attacks.

Photo: Roaches on Sandwich

Roaches on Sandwich
Dan Suiter, UGA

 

Photo: German Roaches Photo: German Roach Egg Cases
German Roaches
Dan Suiter, UGA
German Roach Egg Cases
Dan Suiter, UGA

 

If you live in an apartment or condominium, roaches will move among the units. Contact your landlord or homeowners association with concerns about roaches in apartments/condominiums. A community effort will be necessary to control the problem.

How can I control roaches in the house without pesticides?

Photo: German Roach
German Roach
Clemson CES - USDA

Sanitation is the key to preventing or controlling infestations of German roach. It is always easier to prevent a roach problem than to rid your house of roaches. Review the basic IPM principles at the beginning of this bulletin. If you have a large population of roaches, there must be enough food, water, and shelter for many roaches. 

The first step is to establish where the roaches live and forage. Buy sticky roach traps and place them in the rooms where you have seen roaches (your Extension office can help you find sticky traps). Placement of the traps is very important. Roaches prefer to run along walls in dark, protected places. Place the traps in the corners of cabinets or along a wall behind an appliance.  Record the location and numbers of roaches you catch each day for two or three days. Keep in mind that roaches prefer to remain close to sources of food and water. The trap data will show you where to concentrate your control efforts.

If you discover roaches in the house, thoroughly clean all food cabinets and place all food in containers that prevent roaches from reaching the food. Do not overlook pet food as an excellent food source for roaches. Look for leaks, sweating pipes, and other sources of water. 

Roaches prefer to stay in tight, dark crevices. Seal cracks and holes in the trim and edges of cabinets with caulk. Pay special attention to hiding places in cabinets near food sources.

If your vacuum cleaner has an attachment to clean crevices, clean out roaches and their debris from behind cabinets and appliances. If you have allergy problems, prevent the allergens (e.g., particles from dead roaches, shed skin, or feces) from becoming airborne. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or clean the areas with a cleaning solution and cloth.

How can I use pesticides safely to control roaches?

Although proper sanitation is the key to controlling roaches, it is often difficult or impossible to eliminate roach populations without the use of pesticide. However, modern methods of roach control are both effective and safe for humans and pets.

After you establish the location of the roaches, look for roach bait products that contain hydramethylnon, sulfluramid, fipronil, boric acid, or amidinohydrazone in the list of active ingredients. Roach baits are commonly available in two ways: pre-packaged 'hockey pucks' and in tubes that resemble caulk. The pre-packaged material is easier to apply, but it is more economical to buy roach bait in a tube. Following the directions on the pesticide label, place the baits in the areas where the traps indicated the presence of roaches. Do not try to save money by skimping on the traps. FOLLOW the label directions. Place baits in cracks, crevices, and along walls where roaches like to hide or travel. Inspect the bait regularly and replace bait that roaches have consumed. If the roaches are not eating the bait, make sure there are no other sources of food nearby. If you use a bait gel, dispense it small amounts (no larger than a fingernail) instead of large globs.

After several weeks of baiting, monitor roach populations again with sticky traps. You should see a dramatic reduction in the number of roaches caught in the traps.

Many spray pesticides repel roaches. Roach baits will not be effective if you use baits and insecticide sprays in the same location.

When should I call a professional?

If roach populations do not decrease after several weeks of good sanitation and baiting, call a professional pest control operator.

Fleas

Photo: Flea
Flea
Taft Eaker, UGA

Why do fleas come into the house?

Fleas come into the house on your pet or on some other mammal like a mouse, rat, or squirrel. Your pet usually picks up fleas outdoors. The most common flea on pets and in the home is the cat flea, which will live on cats, dogs, and many other mammals. Cat fleas are common on wild animals that frequent the suburbs (e.g., opossum and raccoon); these animals may provide a constant source of reinfestation. Cat fleas will feed on humans, but they prefer other animals.

Fleas are highly evolved parasites, and they cannot survive without an animal host. Adult fleas jump onto an animal host as soon as they leave the pupal stage. They will not intentionally leave the host. Fleas lay their eggs on the animal, and the eggs fall off. The eggs will be found in the areas where the animal spends the most time, typically in the pet's resting areas. The eggs hatch into small larvae that feed upon dried blood in cracks and crevices excreted by adult fleas. The larvae do not bite humans or pets. Under warm conditions, the larvae become pupae in a few weeks. The pupal stage can last up to one year as the fleas inside the pupae wait for a host. The adult fleas emerge from the pupae when they detect warmth, vibration, or carbon dioxide. The adult fleas need a blood meal immediately, and they will feed on the first available host. Usually, the first host is your pet, but it may be you!

Flea problems in homes typically develop for one of three reasons.

  1. The host animal is removed for some reason. The pets are boarded during a vacation, or the owner and pets move away. The flea larvae develop into pupae, and they wait for a host. When a person or animal enters the room, hundreds of starving fleas may emerge simultaneously. 
  2. The flea population becomes so large that there are not enough host animals to support all of the fleas.
  3. If you have a flea problem but no pets, the fleas are probably coming from a wild or stray animal living under or in your house. If the animal leaves or dies, the fleas may enter the house searching for a host.

Should I worry about fleas in the house?

A flea infestation can cause serious problems. Fleas cause serious allergic reactions in some animals and people. For most people, a flea infestation creates an impossible living situation.  Fleas can also transmit disease (e.g., dog tapeworm) to humans.

Take immediate steps to control fleas on your pets and in your home. A serious flea problem is not hard to avoid, but a large flea population can be difficult to eradicate. 

How can I control fleas in the house without pesticides?

Fleas can be very difficult to control. In most situations, you will have to use a pesticide in addition to the following nonchemical steps. These strategies will help you avoid flea infestations and will reduce the amount of pesticide you have to apply.

  1. Wash your dog.  Regular bathing will suppress fleas on your dog, and you will be able to monitor the number of fleas on your pet.  Your veterinarian can tell you how often to bathe your dog.
  2. Use a flea comb on your cat several times a week.  Flea combs are designed with narrow gaps between the teeth that will remove adult fleas.  Cats typically enjoy the attention and stroking.  Inspect the flea comb after each stroke and drop the fleas into a small container of soapy water.  Flea combing a cat only takes about ten minutes.
  3. Vacuum the pets' living area.  Regular vacuuming will remove many flea eggs and emerging adults.  Vacuuming will stimulate adult fleas to emerge from pupae so you can better control them, and vacuuming will straighten the rug nap to allow better penetration of pesticides. Vacuuming will not usually pick up flea larvae, but steam cleaning will kill many of them.  Don't forget the higher areas where cats often choose to sleep.
  4. Wash pet bedding.  An ordinary laundry cycle will kill any flea eggs, larvae, or adults in the bedding.
  5. Keep pets out of areas that are not easily accessible to you.  It can be difficult to control flea populations in a narrow crawl space, under a porch, under a bed, or in a closet.
  6. If you have a flea problem but no pets, you need to identify the source of the problem.  Look for burrows or animal beds under your house, near the foundation, or in the attic/walls.  You will usually find the nest or burrow near the area where you find the fleas.  Seal the burrow or access to your house so no more animals can use the same nesting place. Do not forget to look up; fleas may be coming from the attic if squirrels or other mammals are nesting there.
  7. If fleas are present outside, keep grass mowed short.  Opening the lawn canopy makes the flea larvae more vulnerable to drying out and may expose them to more of their natural enemies.

How can I use pesticides safely to control fleas?

The best way to prevent flea problems in your house is to control fleas on your pets.  There are some remarkable new products that control fleas on dogs and cats.  Your veterinarian or pet shop can provide systemic pesticides that will control fleas for one to three months.  Some products will also control ticks.  Your veterinarian may also recommend a flea shampoo, but it is usually not necessary to use both a systemic flea product and flea shampoo.

If you cannot control a flea population in your home with frequent vacuuming or steam cleaning, you may need to apply pesticide to your home.  You will need to kill both adult fleas and immature fleas.  Your local county Extension office can direct you to effective flea products.  Follow the label directions carefully; flea populations can rebound quickly if they are not completely controlled.

When should I call a professional?

You should be able to control fleas if you follow these guidelines and the advice of your veterinarian and county agent.  If you cannot control fleas in your home in two or three months, contact a professional.  Keep in mind that flea eggs may hatch slowly under cool conditions, and fleas will remain in pupae for a very long time if they do not detect a host.

Mice and Rats

Photo: Mice and Rats
Mice and Rats
Dan Suiter, UGA

Why do mice and rats come into the house?

Both mice and rats invade homes for food and shelter.  Drought may also drive them inside to find water.  

Should I worry about mice and rats in the house?

Rats and mice will destroy and contaminate large amounts of food or items in storage, and they carry a number of diseases that can be passed to humans.  Their droppings contain a large number of disease causing bacteria.  Additionally, mice/rat infestations can lead to problems with other pests, such as fleas.

If you discover droppings or see signs that rodents have chewed into food containers, you should take quick action.  Both mice and rats reproduce rapidly under favorable conditions.  Mice and rats prefer to move about during the dark, quiet hours.  If you see a mouse or rat out in the open during the day, you probably have a large population.

How can I control mice and rats in the house without pesticides?

Good sanitation is essential to prevent and control mice and rats.  Review the basic IPM principles at the beginning of this bulletin.  Improperly stored garbage often leads to problems with rodents. Keep garbage in sealed cans; mice and rats readily chew through bags.  Rats and mice eat a wide variety of foods in the kitchen, and they can chew through many materials.  Seed falling from bird feeders will also attract rodents.

Outside, keep grass mowed and do not allow clutter to build up.  Rodents look for secure places to hide.  If you make the outside of your home unattractive to rodents, you will minimize problems indoors as well.

Keep storage places clean.  In basements and storerooms, store lumber, boxes, cartons, and other objects on racks at least one foot above the floor and away from walls.  If your home has double walls with spaces between ceilings and floors, make sure the spaces are tightly sealed.  Rats and mice will nest in these places.

Rats can be excluded from most structures, and exclusion will help to control mice.  Seal all entry points around the foundation of your house.  Look for cracks in the foundation, spaces around pipes, or other openings.  Keep in mind that a rat can squeeze through a space only ½ inch wide; a mouse will fit through a hole as small as a dime.  Also look for burrows around the foundation.  Some rats are excellent diggers.  Use sheet metal, heavy hardware cloth, or concrete to seal openings.  Rats may chew through softer materials.  Caulk or steel wool can be used to fill mouse entry points.

Snap traps and glue boards are very effective against mice.  They are less effective against rats because rats are stronger and more suspicious.  Place traps or glue boards along walls near where mice or rats have been detected.  Place the traps at a right angle to the wall with the trigger mechanism near the wall.  You may also want to enlarge the trigger area with cardboard or metal.  Placing unbaited traps out for a few days can help overcome the rats' suspicion.  Secure rat traps to a heavy object to keep rats from dragging them away.  Peanut butter is a good bait.  Replace baits frequently; stale baits are less attractive.

Cats and dogs will kill some mice and young rats, but they usually cannot control a large population of mice or rats.  The rodents will quickly learn to move about inside walls or cabinets out of the reach of the cat/dog, and many cats and dogs will not attack a large rat.

Mouse and rat control is often a community issue.  If your neighbors do not use good sanitation practices, it may be impossible for you to control rats and mice in your home.  Contact your local health department or animal control office to establish a community program to control mice or rats.  Many health departments will help to control rats in a neighborhood.

How can I use pesticides safely to control mice and rats?

Mice can usually be controlled without poisons if you act before the population becomes too large, but rats can be difficult to control without rodenticide baits.  Be sure that children and pets do not have access to poison baits.  A professional will use tamper-proof bait stations.  Additionally, the box should be secured to prevent anyone from removing the box or shaking the poison bait out.  Many products (e.g., DeCon) are sold in ready-to-use boxes.

Rodenticides should only be used as part of an overall control program that includes sanitation.  If rodents have access to ample food and shelter, it will be impossible to control the population with poison baits alone.

Contact your local Extension office for advice about choosing and placing rat baits.

When should I call a professional?

If you have a large population of mice or rats, you may not be able to control them by yourself.  Likewise, if the problem is a community issue, you will need to consult a professional.  Contact your local Extension office or health department for advice.

Stored Product Pests

Why do stored product pests come into my house?

Photo: Confused Flour Beetle
Confused Flour Beetle
Clemson CES - USDA

More than a dozen insect pests infest a wide range of foods including nuts, grain products (flour, corn, cereals, and pasta), birdseed, and spices.  Stored product pests include a number of beetles (e.g., flour beetles, sawtooth grain beetle, and weevils) and moths (e.g., Indian meal moth and Angoumois grain moth).  It is usually not important to distinguish between the various species because the control tactics for all of them are very similar.

Usually stored product pests come into the home in products that were already infested when you purchased them.  A few eggs or other life stages of these insects can quickly become hundreds or thousands.  They move from the infested packages into other products stored nearby.

Photo: Sawtooth Grain Beetle
Sawtooth Grain Beetle
Clemson CES - USDA

Should I worry about stored product pests in the house?

Our ancestors ate many insects and insect parts before modern pest control methods were developed.  Stored product pests can introduce bacteria into foods, and their presence and wastes can spoil the taste of food.  If you discover that you have eaten a few insects or insect parts, do not panic.  This inadvertent addition to your diet will probably have no effect on you.  If you become ill or overly anxious, consult a physician. Discard any food that is infested with insects.  You may be able to remove the adult insects, but it will be impossible to remove their wastes or younger life stages.

Photo: Granary Weevil
Granary Weevil
Clemson CES - USDA

Inspect your stored products regularly.  Look for the presence of insects, webbing, or damaged seeds/kernels.  Additionally, the presence of small moths, beetles, cocoons, or webbing in your food storage area may indicate an infestation.  If you see any of these signs, inspect all of your food that is not stored in tightly sealed containers.  Do not forget to check pet food and birdseed.  A small round hole in a seed indicates that an insect has been feeding inside the seed.

 

Take immediate action if you discover an infestation of stored product pests.  The insects can multiply very rapidly.

How can I control stored product pests in the house without pesticides?

Keep food storage cabinets and pantries clean.  Regularly wipe flour or other food from the shelving and floor.  Pay special attention to cracks and crevices where food can lodge; this food will attract these insects and sustain a population of pests in your food storage area.  Special vacuum cleaner attachments can help you clean food from cracks and crevices.  After cleaning, seal the cracks/crevices with caulk.

Photo: Angoumois Grain Moth Adult
Angoumois Grain Moth Adult
Clemson CES - USDA

Photo: Angoumois Grain Moth Larva
Angoumois Grain Moth Larva
Clemson CES - USDA


Store food properly.  Most household pest problems can be avoided by storing all non-refrigerated food in tightly sealed plastic, metal, or glass containers.  High quality plastic bags will keep out most insects.  Pet food and birdseed should be stored outside or in tightly sealed containers.


Inspect food before buying.  Inspect open-bin items for the presence of insects, webbing, or insect damage.  Look for holes or webbing on the packages of sealed products like cake mix, cereals, or flour.  Alert the store manager if you discover any evidence of stored product pests.

Freeze or heat foods to prevent or eliminate an infestation.  If you suspect that a food is infested, place it in the freezer for at least four days or heat the food to at least 120° F. for at least one hour.  Microwaving stored products is not an effective control method.  The freezer is a good option for long-term storage; freezing prevents infestation and preserves flavor/freshness.

Photo: Indian Meal Moth
Indian Meal Moth Adult and Larvae
Clemson CES - USDA

Never buy more stored product than you can consume quickly or store in the freezer.  If you buy large quantities of bagged/boxed food, store most of it in the freezer and keep out a small amount for immediate use. Store birdseed and bagged/boxed pet food away from your stored products. Pests from these items may infest your family's food.

 If you identify infested products, remove them promptly.  If you purchased the infested product recently, place the item in the freezer until you can return it to the store for a replacement.  Dispose of older products outside immediately or place them in the freezer. Infested birdseed will not harm birds, and infestation will not change the quality of your compost.  Infested pet food will not harm pets, although animals may refuse to eat it.

If you have a persistent problem with stored product pests, food is available to sustain the population, or you are not using infested products quickly enough.  Look for small cracks/crevices that you may have missed earlier.  Buy only the amount of stored product that you can consume quickly or store in the freezer.  If you do not find the source of the problem, pesticides will only provide a temporary solution.

How can I use pesticides safely to control stored product pests?

Pesticides are rarely necessary to control stored product pests in the home, and pesticides must be used very carefully around food. You may need to apply pesticides into cracks that cannot be thoroughly cleaned or sealed with caulk.  Never spray cabinet surfaces or other areas where food may come in contact with pesticides.  Capture some of the insects and take them to your local Extension office for identification.  Your Extension agent can help you choose an appropriate pesticide if one is necessary.

When should I call a professional?

Problems with stored product pests can be resolved with improved sanitation and/or food storage.  If you engage a professional, a cleaning service may be more useful than a pest control company.

Spiders

Why do spiders come into my house?

There are thousands of species of spiders, and most of them prefer to live outside.  A few spiders prefer to live indoors; common 'house spiders' or 'cobweb spiders' can be found in the corners of nearly every house.  The webs become apparent as dust collects on them.  Insects found inside the house attract house spiders.  Other types of spiders may wander into the house by mistake.

Photo: Spider
Spider
Dan Suiter, UGA

All spiders eat insects, and the spiders in your house provide some benefit as they consume mosquitoes and other insects.

Should I worry about spiders in the house?

Many people are unnecessarily frightened of spiders.  Spiders are usually quite timid and prefer to be left alone.  Although nearly all spiders have poisonous venom, only two dangerous spiders are commonly encountered in homes in the Southeast: the black widow and the brown recluse. Black widow and brown recluse spiders are common, however, and you should be cautious of all spiders if cannot identify them.  Because there are other spiders that can also endanger human health, consult a physician any time you think you have been bitten by a spider. 

Photo: Black Widow Spider
Black Widow
Clemson CES - USDA

The black widow is easily recognizable by its shiny black, fat abdomen with a red hourglass spot underneath.  Sometimes the red spot will be a different shape or broken into more than one spot, but the black widow will always have the round, shiny black abdomen.  There are also other species of widows that are less common, but they have a similar abdomen and similar markings. 

The black widow usually builds webs in dark corners near the ground.  Around the house, you may find their webs under rocks, in woodpiles, or in a undisturbed electrical/phone box.  If you place your hand in the web, the spider may bite; black widows can be protective if they have an egg sac.  Black widows rarely leave the web, and they will not attack anything outside the web.

The brown recluse is a nondescript, medium-sized brown spider with a dark-brown violin shape on the cephalothorax [a spider is divided into a head region (cephalothorax) and the rear (abdomen)].  The violin shape is sometimes difficult to recognize, and many people see a violin shape on every brown spider they see.  The distinctive feature of a brown recluse is the number of eyes.  Most spiders have eight eyes; a brown recluse has six eyes.  If you cannot (or do not want to) count a spider's eyes, take the spider to your local Extension office for identification.

Photo: Brown Recluse Eyes
Brown Recluse Eyes
Taft Eaker, UGA

Photo: Brown Recluse Hourglass
Brown Recluse Hourglass
Taft Eaker, UGA


The brown recluse is not aggressive, and they prefer to hide in dark undisturbed places.  You may find them around the house in little used areas of the basement, closets, and other storage areas.  Unlike black widows, however, the brown recluse leaves its hiding place to hunt during the night.   The spiders may hide in any small, dark space when the daylight comes.  People are most commonly bitten when a brown recluse hides in clothing that has been lying or hanging undisturbed.

Photo: Brwon Recluse Spider
Brown Recluse
Taft Eaker, UGA

If you are bitten by a spider, kill the spider and submit it for prompt identification.  Your local physician or county Extension agent can help you identify dangerous spiders.  Treat all spider bites seriously!  Dangerous spider bites may not cause immediate or severe pain.

How can I control spiders in the house without pesticides?

In general, spider problems persist because there are live insects upon which the spiders feed.  If you can eliminate the insects, your house will be less attractive to spiders.  The use of an attic fan will often draw small insects into the house. 

Catch spiders and put them outside.  Spiders are usually easy to catch in a jar or with a broom and dustpan.  If you see an egg sac in an indoor spider web, place the egg sac outside promptly.  Dozens of tiny spiders may hatch from the sac.  Do not squeeze the egg sac; you may cause the spiderlings to emerge suddenly.

Use the vacuum cleaner.  You can easily suck the spider and cobwebs down with common vacuum attachments.  Regularly clean under and behind furniture.  The spider will be killed by the vacuum cleaner.

Eliminate clutter.  Undisturbed piles of clothing or other articles may be attractive hiding places for a brown recluse.  Clean out dark closets, sheds, or other areas that are seldom used.  These areas may attract both black widows and brown recluse spiders.

Reduce the food supply.  You can lower your indoor spider population if you can reduce their food supply.  Install yellow 'bug lights' outdoors to attract fewer insects.  Loose fitting windows or screens may allow many small insects to come into the house.  Using an attic fan can also suck small insects into the house.

Squash the spiders.  Spiders are delicate and easy to kill with a shoe, a broom, a newspaper, etc.  Keep in mind, however, that a spider helps to control insect populations.  Do not kill them unnecessarily.  Black widows and brown recluse spiders are dangerous; eliminate them from your home.

Place sticky traps in dark corners.  Sticky traps can be effective in controlling spiders, and you can find out what kind of spiders you have.  Your county Extension office can help you identify spiders.

Teach your children to recognize black widows and show them where black widows or brown recluse spiders like to hide.  Teach your children to leave spiders alone.  Never put your bare hand in dark places where you cannot see.  If you must reach into a dark, undisturbed area, wear gloves.

How can I use pesticides safely to control spiders?

It is not usually necessary to use pesticides to control spider populations, but pesticides may be desirable to eliminate large spider populations under porches, in little-used sheds, or other storage areas.  In general, spiders are very susceptible to pesticides.  Your county Extension office can help you choose an appropriate pesticide.

When should I call a professional?

If you have a large population of black widows or brown recluse spiders, you may need professional help to control them.  Be sure to have the spiders properly identified.  Many nondescript, brown spiders may be mistaken for brown recluse.

More information about black widows and brown recluse spiders

Flies

Photo: Housefly Life Cycle
Housefly Life Cycle
Clemson CES - USDA

Why do flies come into my house?

Household flies come in two basic sizes.  The larger flies are most commonly houseflies or blow flies (bottle flies).  Very small flies are commonly fruit flies, fungus gnats, or drain flies.  Flies enter the house to find food; fruit flies, fungus gnats, and drain flies will also reproduce inside the house.  Houseflies and blow flies will also reproduce in the house if you do not dispose of garbage every few days.

Flies typically enter through open windows and doors.  Flies may also come in around loose-fitting windows or doors even when they are closed.  Fruit flies can be introduced if you buy infested fruit, which is usually in the early/late stages of decay. 

Should I worry about flies in the house?

Houseflies and blow flies are among the filthiest of insects.  They breed in garbage and feces, and they regularly feed on these same materials.  Houseflies and blow flies carry bacteria that cause more than sixty human and animal diseases.

Fruit flies lay eggs in fruits and vegetables, and the resulting fly larvae make the food unpalatable.  Drain flies and fungus gnats are not an important health threat, but they can produce large, annoying populations.

How can I control flies in the house without pesticides?

Handle garbage properly. Houseflies and blow flies breed in garbage.  Place garbage in tightly sealed plastic bags, and place the bags in a can with a tight fitting lid.  It is critical to dispose of garbage at least once a week (twice a week if possible). Flies can reproduce within seven to fourteen days.

Clean your garbage can.  Wash the residual filth from the bottom of your garbage can and let the can dry thoroughly before you place more garbage inside.  Clean cans are less attractive to flies, and fly larvae cannot survive dry conditions.  Regular cleaning of garbage containers will help to control other pests as well.

Make sure screens and doors fit tightly.  Most flies simply come in through open doors or windows.

Dispose of pet feces promptly.  Flush it down the toilet, place it in the garbage, or bury it immediately (at least eight inches deep).

Investigate potential fly problems before you purchase a house.  Sewage treatment plants, chicken farms, and other animal farming operations may produce many flies during certain times of the year.  Since you cannot control the source of the flies, it may be impossible for you to prevent flies from migrating to your property.   Before you purchase a home, talk to the farm owner about potential fly problems.

Use flyswatters and flypaper.  Flyswatters are a very inexpensive and effective way to kill flies in the house.  Be careful not to contaminate food or food preparation areas.  Flypaper is also useful in removing small populations of flies.  Effective flytraps are also available.

Ultraviolet traps (bug zappers) should be used carefully.  They are not effective outdoors and usually kill more beneficial insects than pest insects.  Indoors, the traps should never be placed near or above food or food preparation areas.  The electrocution will create an aerosol of bacteria that may contaminate nearby food.

Consume fresh fruit and vegetables promptly or place them in the refrigerator or a tightly sealed container.  If you save vegetable/fruit scraps for compost, keep the material in a tightly sealed container until you compost it.

Control moisture.  Fix leaks promptly.  Correct problems that allow moisture to condense on household surfaces.  Drain flies can reproduce in small amounts of water anywhere in the house.  Do not water plants more frequently than necessary.  Fungus gnats will frequently infest the soil around houseplants, particularly if the soil remains moist.

If you discover large numbers of tiny flies, determine the source.  Look for decaying fruit or vegetable material (don't forget your compost).  If no fruits or vegetables are accessible to flies, check the drain or other areas where water may collect. Inspect potted plants as the source of infestation for small flies.  You may be able to narrow your search by sealing off individual rooms (close door and seal cracks with towel, etc).  If you cannot discover the source of the flies, take a few flies to your local county Extension office for identification.

How can I use pesticides safely to control flies?

Extension does not recommend spraying pesticide indoors to kill individual flies.  Fogging and bug bombs may provide temporary relief from flies, but they are not recommended.

If the source of the flies cannot be controlled (e.g., a residence near a chicken house), fly baits or pesticide sprays can help you reduce the number of adult flies temporarily.  Talk to the owner of the farm operation to see if he/she can improve fly control on the farm.

Baits and other pesticides can help to control large numbers of flies outdoors.  Contact your local county Extension office for help in choosing and applying the appropriate pesticide.

When should I call a professional?

Call a professional if you have a persistent problem with flies that you cannot control through improved sanitation.

Photo: Honey Bee
Honey Bee
Keith S. Delaplane - UGA

Wasps and Bees   

Why do bees and wasps come into my house?

Bees and wasps are usually outdoor pests, but they occasionally invade homes as well.  Honey bees and yellowjackets may establish nests in wall voids.  Bumblebees will make nests in old cushions if they are stored in an undisturbed shed or barn.  Wasps may invade homes in large numbers when they are searching for hibernation sites.  Food or water can attract both bees and wasps into the house.  Finally, bees and wasps occasionally enter the house by mistake. 

More often, wasps create problems when they establish nests outside the home under the eaves, in bushes, or in the ground (yellowjackets).  Bees or wasps utilize almost any sheltered site for nesting.  Carpenter bees drill individual holes in wood to establish their individual nests.

Should I worry about bees and wasps in the house?

Photo: Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets
Keith S. Delaplane - UGA

The females of almost all bees and wasps can sting, but your risk of being stung depends on the kind of wasp or bee you encounter and the situation.  For most people, a sting means temporary pain and swelling.  For a small number of highly susceptible individuals, a sting can cause a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.  Highly allergic people should be extremely careful around all bees and wasps, and they should contact their physician about emergency procedures in case they are stung. Breathing difficulty, dizziness, headache, or hives are serious symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms after being stung, seek medical help immediately.

Bees or wasps that form large colonies, such as honey bees, bumblebees, yellowjackets, or paper wasps are very aggressive around their nest.  However, individual bees/wasps are rarely aggressive when they are away from the nest.  If there is a bee or wasp nest near an area where children play or close to a doorway, someone may be stung even if they do not disturb the nest.

Photo: Cicada Killer
Cicada Killer
Taft Eaker, UGA

Solitary wasps or bees, such as mud daubers, cicada killers, or carpenter bees are rarely aggressive, even around the nest.  The females can sting, but you are not likely to be stung unless you step on them or trap them in your hand or clothes.  Sometimes a large number of solitary wasps will nest in the same area, but they do not act as a single nest.  Each wasp takes care of its own nest, and they are not a serious threat to sting unless people walk across the area without shoes.  Large numbers of mud daubers may nest in dark areas.  They are never aggressive, but their mud nests can be unsightly.

Most wasps that invade the house during the late fall are looking for hibernation sites.  They will not establish nests inside the house or feed on materials in the house.  They can sting, but they are not aggressive.  In the Spring, most wasps will leave the house to establish nests outdoors.  Yellowjackets and some bees may establish nests in wall voids.

A large number of carpenter bees can be a problem if they are drilling many holes into your structure.  A few carpenter bee holes are no cause for concern.

Individual bees or wasps that occasionally enter the house are no cause for alarm.  The bee or wasp entered by accident.  It will not establish a nest inside the house, and it will not be aggressive in this situation.

How can I control bees and wasps in the house without pesticides?

Make sure screens and doors fit tightly.  If an individual bee or wasp enters the house, release it through an open door or window.  The bee or wasp will fly toward the light, and you will usually see it hovering near a door or window.  Place a cup over the bee/wasp and slide a piece of cardboard over the top of the cup.

If you cannot catch and release the bee or wasp, kill it with a flyswatter or rolled up newspaper.  A vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment can be handy for removing an occasional bee or wasp.  The insect will die in the vacuum cleaner bag.

During the warmer months, do not walk outside without shoes.  Bees will often be foraging in clover or other flowers common in the yard.  Although they are not aggressive, they will sting if you step on them.

During the early spring months, look around your house for newly established wasp nests.  Wasps become much more aggressive as the population of the nest increases.  Nests with only one or two wasps can be sprayed down with a hose or knocked down with little chance of being stung.  If the nest grows, the wasps may become very aggressive.

Unless a nest creates a threat, leave it alone.  Except for honeybees, the insects will die or hibernate when winter comes.  Wasps and hornets will not use the same nest the next year.

Exclude mud daubers from dark areas with tight fitting screens and doors.  Caulk cracks and holes where mud daubers can enter dark places.

A heavy coat of paint or varnish may discourage carpenter bees.  If this strategy does not work, cover the areas with metal, heavy screen, or other hard material.  Individual holes can be filled with steel wool and covered with caulk or wood filler.

Make sure doors and windows fit tightly to keep wasps from invading in the fall.  Screen or otherwise block other openings.  Wasps especially like to hibernate in attics, wall voids, etc.

Professional or amateur beekeepers will often collect wild hives.  Contact your local Extension office for beekeepers that will remove honey bees.

Teach children to identify and stay away from dangerous insects and their nests.  Even a small child can learn to recognize bees and wasps.

Keep sweet foods and soft drinks away from children's outdoor play areas. Move garbage cans away from outdoor play areas, and use garbage cans with tight fitting lids.

Wasps and bees are attracted to soft drinks and beer. The insects will often enter open containers.  Cover the containers when you are not drinking or use a drinking straw. Do not swat or crush yellowjackets.  It will encourage others to attack.

Commercial yellowjacket traps can greatly reduce the number of yellowjackets at a cookout.

Yellowjackets commonly nest in the ground.  A tight-fitting clear bowl placed over the hole will often kill the colony in about a week if the wasps cannot squeeze under the edge of the bowl.

Avoid perfumes or other scented personal items if you plan to spend time outdoors; the scents often attract insects.

Look before you handle or sit on wet areas or objects (like towels).  Bees and wasps often drink from these sources.

How can I use pesticides safely to control bees and wasps?

Bees and wasps are very beneficial groups of insects.  Kill them only when it is absolutely necessary.

Eliminate bee or wasp nests near areas where people are active.  Bees and wasps become more aggressive as the colony grows.

Dusk is the safest time to treat bee or wasp nests.  The insects are less active.  Do not carry a flashlight when spraying or knocking down the nest.  Bees and wasps may be attracted to the light when they are disturbed.  European hornets are commonly attracted to light; you may see them around porch lights or bumping windows.

Insecticidal dusts are very effective against nests in the ground; sprays often agitate ground-nesting species.  Otherwise, look for an insecticide especially made and packaged for killing bees and wasps.  Often they are called 'wasp and hornet spray'.  This type of insecticide will kill the bees or wasps very quickly.  Buy a product that will spray at least 20 feet, so you do not have to approach the nest.  Direct the spray at the opening of the nest and continue to spray until no more bees or wasps emerge.  Spray the nest again the next day if any bees or wasps are active.

We do not recommend spraying pesticide indoors for individual wasps or bees, but you may need to spray if large numbers of wasps are invading to hibernate.  Spray outside around windows or doors where wasps are entering.

If large numbers of carpenter bees are attacking your home, you may need to apply pesticides to the wood.  Your county Extension office can advise you on appropriate pesticides and application techniques.

When should I call a professional?

Bees and wasps are usually easy to eliminate, but you should call a professional if you are extremely allergic or afraid or bees/wasps.

More information about stinging and biting pests

Stinging and Biting Pests of People

Honey Bees and Beekeeping

Honey Bee Swarms and Bees in Walls

Lady Beetles (Lady Bugs)

Click here for information about lady beetles.

Occasional Pests: Crickets, Scorpions, Etc.

Why do these other pests come into the house?

A large variety of insects and other arthropods (like spiders or scorpions) will occasionally come inside.  Often these creatures enter the house by accident.  During periods of drought, many small animals may look inside the house for water.  Sometimes, arthropods will try to hibernate inside homes.  Outdoor flooding may also drive pests indoors.  Finally, open food or debris can attract many kinds of pests.  If you live in a wooded area, you are more likely to find scorpions and other animals inside.

Should I worry about these other pests in the house?

If you find an occasional cricket, scorpion, or other arthropod inside, do not panic. Most arthropods that come inside pose no threat to you, your pets, or your household.

Photo: Scorpion
Scorpion
Clemson CES - USDA

Scorpions can sting, but they are not aggressive. Additionally, the scorpions found in Georgia are not dangerous to man. Their sting is painful, but very few people are highly allergic. Pain and swelling are typical symptoms. If stinging causes a severe reaction (breathing difficulty, dizziness, headache, or hives), seek medical help immediately.

If you see many crickets, scorpions, or other arthropods inside your house, take a few of them to your county Extension office for identification. They can help you determine if you have a problem and an appropriate course of action.

If you build a new house in a wooded area, you may displace many scorpions and other arthropods. It is common for them to invade the house as they seek new places to live. The number of pests you find indoors will decrease after a few months.

How can I control occasional pests in the house without pesticides?

These pests usually enter around loose-fitting doors or screens or through cracks to the outside. Maintain tight screens/doors and seal cracks with caulk.

Keep woodpiles, mulch, and debris away from the house. Many types of arthropods hide in these places.

Photo: Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket
Clemson CES - USDA

If you find an unwanted creature inside, simply scoop it up in a dustpan and toss it outside.  Your vacuum cleaner is also a handy tool for disposing of unwanted arthropods. The pest is almost always killed in the vacuum cleaner bag.

Step on unwanted arthropods or kill them with a rolled up newspaper. Keep in mind, however, that these occasional invaders may be important. Scorpions, for example, help to control insects.

Teach children which arthropods can be dangerous (e.g., scorpion), and tell them not to pick up unknown arthropods. Shake out clothes that have been laying on the floor overnight, and check the bed at night if you are having a problem with scorpions.

Some horticultural practices (e.g., some mulches) can also contribute to indoor pest problems.  Inspect beds near the house as a source of the pests.  Your local Extension office can advise you.

How can I use pesticides safely to control occasional pests?

We do not recommend spraying pesticide indoors to control individual pests.  However, you may need to apply pesticide if many arthropod pests are coming in the house or if the problem persists.

Apply pesticide outside around doors or windows where pests enter.  You may also need to create a pesticide barrier on the ground around your house.  Consult your county Extension office about creating the barrier and choosing an appropriate pesticide.

Mosquitoes

Why do mosquitoes come in the house?

Female mosquitoes come inside to bite you and your pets; male mosquitoes do not bite.  Female mosquitoes must have a blood meal to lay eggs.  Body heat, your breath, and certain colors attract mosquitoes.

Standing water will also attract mosquitoes because mosquitoes lay eggs in water.

Insects that look like very large mosquitoes are crane flies.  They cannot bite.

Should I be concerned about mosquitoes in the house?

Mosquito bites can be very irritating, and mosquitoes can carry a number of serious diseases.  In most cases, a mosquito bite is not cause for alarm, but you should protect your family from mosquito bites as much as possible.

How can I control mosquitoes in the house without pesticides?

Mosquitoes may fly long distances for a blood meal, but most mosquitoes spend their entire life cycle close to where they hatched.  By reducing mosquito breeding sites near your home or in your neighborhood, you may be able to greatly reduce mosquito populations.

Mosquitoes lay eggs in water, and the mosquito larvae develop in water.  Find all of the sources of water around your home.  Some mosquitoes breed in very small pools of water.  Here are some common places to find mosquito-breeding sites around the home.

  • birdbaths
  • clogged gutters
  • old tires
  • watering cans
  • wading pools and other toys
  • stumps and tree holes
  • leaky faucets or drain outlets from air conditioning
  • saucers under flower pots
  • aquariums and ornamental ponds (all fish do not eat mosquito larvae)

Once you have identified the water sources, you have three nonchemical options.

  1. Eliminate the water source.  Fix leaks, fill in tree holes, or dispose of old tires.
  2. Change the water every two or three days.  Mosquitoes need 4-10 days in the water to develop.  The larvae die without water.
  3. Treat the water.  Stock ornamental ponds with fish that will eat mosquitoes; consult your county Extension office.  Treat the pond with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI), a mosquito control agent that will not kill fish or other animals.  Your county Extension office or garden center can help you find BTI products.

Work with your neighbors to establish a community control program.  If you are the only person in your neighborhood to eliminate water sources, it is unlikely that you will reduce mosquito populations.  Your local health department can help develop a neighborhood control program.

If your home is located near a stream, river, pond, or marsh, you may face a constant source of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes do not breed efficiently in running water or deep water, but small, quiet pools often occur along the banks of a pond/lake or stream/river. If you are installing or modifying a pond, design the banks to avoid these small pools that serve as mosquito breeding grounds.

Find and kill mosquitoes in the bedroom.  Night feeding mosquitoes do not like light.  During the day or with the light on, look for mosquitoes under the bed, behind curtains, or in other dark places near the area where you were bitten.  Mosquitoes usually fly only a short distance after taking a blood meal.  Kill the mosquito with your hand, a fly swatter, or a rolled up newspaper.

Avoid the outdoors when mosquitoes or active or use insect repellents.  Products that contain DEET are very effective against mosquitoes, but they should not be used on small children. 

Click here for more information about avoiding stinging/biting insects.

Repellents that contain citrus oils or ingredients are less effective.

Citronella candles provide limited relief around pools and patios, but they may not provide satisfactory control.  An electric fan can keep mosquitoes away from a small area.

Bats and martins eat tremendous numbers of insects; and martins prefer to live in colonies.  However, neither of these animals will provide noticeable relief from mosquitoes. Plans for martin houses are available through your county Extension office.

Ultrasonic devices and ultraviolet (UV) 'bug zappers' are not recommended for mosquito control.  There is no evidence that ultrasonic devices control any outdoor insect pest.  Mosquitoes are not attracted to UV light, and bug zappers used outdoors can kill large numbers of beneficial insects.

How can I use pesticides safely to control mosquitoes?

These low-toxicity products are effective in controlling mosquito larvae.  Mosquito control oils suffocate larvae as they come to the surface to breathe.  Insect growth regulators prevent mosquito larvae from completing development.  Your county agent can advise you on the use of these products.

Foggers can provide temporary relief from adult mosquitoes in the yard.  Foggers have little residual activity, and other adult mosquitoes may quickly replace the ones you kill.  They will provide mosquito control for a scheduled function, like a outdoor wedding or party.  Consult your county Extension office about selecting and using fogging materials.

We do not recommend using pesticides indoors to control mosquitoes.  Exclude mosquitoes with tight-fitting screens and doors, and kill mosquitoes that come inside with a fly swatter.

When should I call a professional?

If mosquito populations are unbearable even after you eliminate all possible breeding sources, contact your local government about their mosquito control program.

Click here for more information about mosquitoes

Unknown Pests 

The first step to pest management is proper identification, and help is as close as your local Extension office.  Collect a few of the specimens and place them in a small container with alcohol.  You should not handle any unidentified arthropod directly.  Use tweezers, tape, or dustpan to safely collect specimens.  Do not crush the specimens.

Call your local Extension office.  They may be able to diagnose your problem over the telephone.  Be prepared to answer these questions.  Where did you find the organism?  When did you find it?  When did the problem start?  How many of the pests did you see? Were they doing any damage?

Pests of Turf, Ornamentals, or Garden

The UGA Cooperative Extension Service has a wide variety of publications to help you control other pests around the house.  Visit http://ipm.ent.uga.edu/ for more information about controlling insects and other arthropod pests in your lawn and garden.  For weeds or plant diseases look at 'Publications' at www.ces.uga.edu. Contact us if there is other pest control information you would like to have. 

Employing a Professional Pest Control Operator

If you cannot control a pest problem, your county Extension office may advise you to hire a professional.  Follow these guidelines from the Georgia Pest Control Association (GPCA) to choose a responsible company.

  1. Talk to your friends and neighbors who have used pest control professionals.
  2. Ask if the company is a member of the National Pest Management Association or GPCA.  Membership is a good sign that the company has access to modern techniques and has pledged to follow a code of ethics.  For a list of GPCA members in your area, call 800-465-9827.
  3. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture for complaints against the company.
  4. Never select a pest control company on prices alone.  Before you sign a contract, discuss your situation thoroughly with the pest control company.  A competent pest control professional should be ready to answer these questions without hesitation.

    ·       What is the pest?  Why is it in my house?
    ·       How will you control this pest?  How long will the treatment last?
    ·       What does my contract include?  What if the pest is not controlled?
    ·       What results can I expect?
    ·       What risks are associated with the pesticides you use?  What do you do to minimize risks?
    ·       What kinds of nonchemical options are available for my situation?  How can I prevent a recurrence of this problem?

  5. If you are unsatisfied, contact the Pesticide Division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the GPCA and/or the Better Business Bureau. 

Using Pesticides Safely

You will not always be able to control pests without pesticides. By following these guidelines, you can use pesticides safely.

Often, you will have to choose among several different pesticide products.  However, some of the choices may not provide satisfactory control of the pest population. Your local Extension office is your best source for pesticide recommendations.

The word 'pesticide' is a broad term that includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, etc.  Cleaning products that control germs are also pesticides.  Anyone can purchase many different pesticide products over the counter; properly licensed professionals can also purchase restricted-use pesticides that are not available to the general public.

Pesticides are often an important component of a pest management program, but you can harm people, pets, and the environment if you use pesticides irresponsibly.  Like medicines, pesticides can provide tremendous benefits, but misuse can have serious consequences. To use pesticides safely, you need to know the right pesticide to use, the proper amount to apply, the correct formulation to choose, and the appropriate method for application.

 Before you purchase a pesticide, answer these questions.

  1. Do you really have a pest problem?
    Discuss your problem with your local Extension office.  Every insect is not a pest, and every pest problem does not require a pesticide.
  2. Are there nonchemical options to control the pest problem?
    This publication and other Extension bulletins will provide information about nonchemical options for many pest problems.  Visit the Extension web page and discuss the situation with your county Extension office.

READ THE PESTICIDE LABEL before you buy the pesticide.  The label will give you all of the information you need to use the pesticide safely and effectively.  Click here for EPA interactive sample pesticide label. Additionally, it is illegal to apply a pesticide unless you follow all of the label directions.  Look for the following items.

1) DIRECTIONS FOR USE is the first section you should read.  Read these directions before you buy the pesticide because this section indicates where the pesticide can be used.  NEVER use a pesticide on a site that is not listed in the DIRECTIONS FOR USE.  It is illegal and dangerous.  Pesticides can also damage plants, paint, siding, floors, and furniture.

Some pesticide labels list very specific sites like 'peas, beans, and carrots'; you cannot use these pesticides on sites that are not named on the label.  Other pesticide labels indicate more generic sites like 'ornamental flowering plants'; you could use this pesticide on any ornamental flowering plant.  You may also see labels that contain both specific and generic language like 'for use on lilies, pansies, and other herbaceous plants'.  In this case, the pesticide manufacturer's tests have shown the pesticide will not harm lilies or pansies.  It is legal to use the pesticide on other herbaceous plants, but the flowers may be injured.

Most pesticides also list the pests that the pesticide is intended to control.  It is legal to use the pesticide against other pests if they are found on a labeled site (e.g., garden vegetables), but control may be unsatisfactory.

The directions also tell you how and when to apply the pesticide.  Follow these directions carefully.  It is illegal and dangerous to use more pesticide than the label indicates.  You can apply pesticide below the labeled rate, but control may be unsatisfactory.

After you determine that the pesticide is appropriate for your pest situation, review the pesticide risks to see if you can use the pesticide safely.

2) DANGER, WARNING, AND CAUTION are signal words that indicate how dangerous a single dose of the pesticide can be to people and other mammals.

DANGER pesticides can kill in very small amounts (less than one teaspoon), cause irreversible eye damage, and/or eat away the skin.  Irresponsible or inexperienced applicators should not use DANGER pesticides.  Children should never come in contact with DANGER pesticides or the containers.

WARNING indicates a pesticide that is moderately toxic.

CAUTION is the least dangerous group of pesticides when used according to the label.

When you shop for a pesticide, look for CAUTION pesticides that will be effective.  If none is available, look for a WARNING pesticide.  In rare occasions, you may have to purchase a DANGER pesticide.

The signal words do not provide information about chronic risks, like cancer.  In many cases, we do not know what chronic effects, if any, might be associated with long-term pesticide exposure.  It is always wise to minimize exposure to all pesticides.

3) PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS provide more detail about the hazards of the pesticide.

'HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS' is the first section of precautionary statements.  You will see phrases like 'Fatal if swallowed', 'Causes substantial but temporary eye damage' or 'Skin irritant'.
This section also indicates any protective clothing that is required, like chemically resistant gloves, goggles, or a respirator. If you do not wish to wear the listed protective equipment, select a product that requires less protective equipment.

STATEMENT OF PRACTICAL TREATMENT or FIRST AID is commonly included in the precautionary statements. Review the first aid procedures before you use the pesticide.  BE PREPARED!

ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS are included in the next section. This part of the label warns the user about risks to the environment, including special concerns for groundwater, fish, birds, bees, etc. Read this section before you buy the pesticide. If you have an ornamental fishpond, you may want to avoid pesticides that are 'highly toxic to fish'.

After reviewing the pesticide risks, determine the FORMULATION of the pesticide. The formulation is a mixture of the active ingredient (the ingredient that controls the pest) and inert ingredients. Inerts make the pesticide safer, more effective, easier to use, etc. The same active ingredient may be available as a dry formulation (e.g., dust or wettable powder) or as a liquid (e.g., emulsifiable concentrate). Each formulation has advantages and disadvantages.

Dry formulations do not splash, and spills are easier to clean up. Liquid formulations are easier to measure, and they stay mixed with water better.

Here are the pros and cons of the more common pesticide formulations.

Formulation
[Abbreviation]

Advantages

Disadvantages

Dust (used dry)
[D]

Ready to use.  No leftover pesticide mix.

Coverage can be difficult.  Airborne particles easy to inhale.

Granular (used dry)
[G]

Ready to use.  Typically the safest formulation.

Will not stick to vertical surfaces.

Bait (used dry)
[B]

Less pesticide needed.  Usually safer.

Nontargets may consume bait.  Dogs will eat slug bait.

Wettable powder
(dry, mixed with water)
[WP]

Safer for plants than emulsifiable concentrates

Spray mix requires constant agitation.

Emulsifiable concentrate
(liquid, mixed with water)
[E or EC]

Stays mixed with water.

May burn some plants.  Most likely to penetrate skin.

Additionally, many pesticides for the homeowner market are premixed and packaged as an aerosol or pump spray.  This type of packaging is safer and more convenient because the applicator does not have to measure, mix, or load concentrated pesticide.  Additionally, disposal is simplified because the entire package can be thrown away when the pesticide is gone.  However, pre-mix products are usually the most expensive way to buy a pesticide.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS are specifically listed on every pesticide.  The active ingredients are usually listed by common name.  For example, glyphosate is the common name for the active ingredient in Round-Upâ, and carbaryl is the common name for the active ingredient in Sevinâ.  In addition to the common name, the percent concentration of every active ingredient will be listed. Inert ingredients are typically not identified.  Many active ingredients will be available in several different products under different brand names.  For example, glyphosate is available in both Round-Upâ and Kleen-Upâ.  The price of different brands may differ considerably.  Compare the active ingredients in different brands before you purchase any pesticide.  Different products with the same active ingredient may not be labeled for the same use sites.  Check the label to be sure the product you buy is labeled for your situation.

Handling Pesticides Safely

  1. Check your application equipment.  Look for leaks and cracks in the hose and the pressure seal.  Test the equipment before you fill it with a pesticide or pesticide mixture.
  2. Determine how much pesticide you will need.
  3. At minimum, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes, socks, and gloves.  Also wear a wide-brimmed hat if you will apply any pesticide overhead. The pesticide label may instruct you to wear additional protective clothing.  You MUST wear any protective clothing indicated on the pesticide label.
  4. The gloves should be plastic or rubber gloves. Cloth or leather gloves do not protect you from pesticide.  You should also wear rubber boots or use plastic/rubber shoe covers.
  5. Open, measure, and mix pesticides outdoors.
  6. Measure pesticides carefully.  Label pesticide measurement tools 'PESTICIDES ONLY'.
  7. Be prepared for spills.  See 'Spill Cleanup' below.
  8. Promptly put away all pesticide materials after mixing or use, out of the reach of children.
  9. Keep children and pets out of the area until sprays have dried or as instructed by the pesticide label.
  10. Remove all toys, pet bowls, pans, dishes, etc. from the area to be treated.  Cover fish tanks.
  11. Close the windows to the house and car if you are applying pesticides outdoors.
  12. If you must apply pesticide to blooming plants, use a non-dust formulation in the early evening after bee activity has ended.
  13. Do not apply pesticides when it is windy or when rainfall is predicted.
  14. After you handle a pesticide, NEVER eat, drink, or smoke before you wash your hands.
  15. Wash your hands after any pesticide activity.
  16. When you finish applying pesticide, take a shower and wash with soap.
  17. Wash your pesticide clothes separately from your other laundry.  Discard any clothes that are soaked with pesticide.  Drying clothes outside will also help break down pesticide residue.

Pesticide Safety for the Homeowner

Pesticide Spills

1)    NEVER hose down a pesticide spill.  Never wash spilled pesticide down into the sewer or storm drain.

2)    BE PREPARED.  Assemble a pesticide spill kit with these components.

  • Pesticide resistant gloves (rubber or plastic).
  • Something to absorb liquids, such as cat litter or sand.
  • Something to scoop up absorbent materials, such as dust pan or fireplace shovel.
  • Something to put the absorbent materials in, such as heavy-duty garbage bag.
  • Keep all of these items together wherever you store or mix pesticides.

3)    Spills on hard surfaces.

  • Put on rubber/plastic gloves.
  • If the pesticide is dry, simply scoop the pesticide back into its original container.  Thoroughly sweep up any remaining dust.  Apply heavy-duty detergent to the spill site in a small amount of water and scrub the area with a brush.
  • If the pesticide is liquid, quickly apply the absorbent material.
  • When all liquid is absorbed, scoop the absorbent material into a heavy-duty garbage bag.  Thoroughly sweep any remaining dust.
  • Apply heavy-duty detergent to the spill site in a small amount of water and scrub the area with a brush.
  • Absorb liquid and add absorbent material to the garbage bag.
  • Wash scoop, brush, and other contaminated supplies outdoors away from the house.

You may safely apply the absorbent material and the pesticide onto a site that is listed on the pesticide label.  If you cannot apply the pesticide, place the garbage bag containing pesticide into your household garbage if allowed on the pesticide label.  Also place your contaminated gloves and the broken pesticide container in with your household trash.

4)    Spills on soil.

  • It is usually not necessary to clean up small spills that occur on soil.  The pesticide will be broken down in the soil.
  • You may wish to remove the contaminated soil with a shovel and spread it on a site listed on the pesticide label.  Do not forget your gloves.

5)    Unusual spills.

You will need special advice about unusual spills, such as when a pesticide spills into a swimming pool. 

  • Call CHEMTREC at 800-262-8200
  • Report pesticide fires or large spills to the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources
    800-241-4113
  • Report spills on public roadways to the Georgia State Patrol at *GSP on cell phone

Pesticide Storage

Many homeowners store pesticides unsafely. An EPA survey indicated that nearly 50% of households with a child under five years of age stored pesticide within reach of the child.   Also keep in mind that many children are poisoned in the home of a relative or friend.

  1. NEVER store any pesticide in a food or drink container.  A small child can be killed with a single sip of some pesticides used around the home.
  2. Remember that pesticides are more than just insecticides and weed killers.  Many cleaners and disinfectants are pesticides and may be very dangerous to children.  Keep them out of the reach of children!
  3. NEVER store pesticides or other household chemicals (e.g., drain opener or bleach) under the sink.  Child-safe cabinet locks are not foolproof.
  4. Store pesticides out of the reach of children (secured with lock and key is best).  You may want to buy a small locker or lock-box to store pesticides.
  5. If your child regularly stays with another caregiver, make sure they store pesticides safely.

Disposing of Pesticides and Containers

Pesticide containers can be placed into household trash if they are properly cleaned.  Promptly rinse empty liquid containers.  Fill the container about 1/3 with water; replace the cap and shake thoroughly.  Pour the liquid into your sprayer.  Repeat this process two more times.  Apply the mix to a site indicated on the pesticide label.  For dry formulations, shake as much pesticide as possible from the empty container.

Never buy more pesticide than you will use in one season.

Small amounts (less than one quart) of unwanted pesticide can be placed in household trash if it permitted on the pesticide label.  Contact your local Extension office for advice about disposing of larger amounts of pesticide.

First Aid for Pesticide Exposure

POISON CONTROL (for people or animals)
1-800-222-1222 

SKIN

Wash the pesticide from the skin as quickly as possible with any available water that does not contain pesticide.

Remove any clothing contaminated with pesticide.

Wash skin with soap and water.  Water alone may not remove all pesticide.

When to seek medical attention:

  • If the skin is burned
  • If the person exhibits symptoms of pesticide poisoning (symptoms listed here).
  • If the person was contaminated with a DANGER pesticide

EYE

Wash the eye gently with clean water for at least 15 minutes.

When to seek medical attention:

  • If vision is blurry
  • If the eye is still irritated after washing with water
  • If the eye was contaminated with a DANGER pesticide

MOUTH

If the victim swallowed pesticide, DO NOT induce vomiting until you read 'Statement of Practical Treatment' or 'First Aid' on the pesticide label.

Give the person plenty of water or milk to drink.  NEVER give an unconscious or convulsing person anything to drink.

When to seek medical attention:

  • Always seek medical attention if a person swallows pesticide

If the person did not swallow the pesticide, rinse the mouth with clean water.

When to seek medical attention:

  • If the mouth is red or irritated
  • If the victim was exposed to a DANGER pesticide.

INHALED PESTICIDE

Move the victim to fresh air immediately.

When to seek medical attention:

  • If the victim exhibits any symptoms of pesticide poisoning
  • If the victim inhaled a DANGER pesticide

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning

Headaches Rapid pulse
Dizziness Fever
Restlessness Vomiting
Skin irritation Pinpoint pupils
Nausea Convulsions
Diarrhea Unconsciousness
Trembling  

If pesticide poisoning is a possibility, take the pesticide label with you to the doctor.

For more information about pesticides,

EXTOXNET

EPA

NPTN

Conclusion

Pesticides are important tools to help us protect our health and homes.  However, pesticides can be dangerous if they are not used properly.  MINIMIZE PESTICIDE EXPOSURE!  USE PESTICIDES ONLY WHEN NECESSARY!


The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State College, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An equal opportunity/affirmative action organization committed to a diverse work force.


May 2001


Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

 Gale A. Buchanan, Dean and Director

top

Searching Tools | Go to Footer Information
Footer Information | Go to College-Wide Navigational Links
University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)