Pests in the home are not just a nuisance and visually disturbing, but can also be a health hazard to those in the home. Understanding how pests can get in the home, the dangers they pose, and how to prevent them is essential to protecting your family’s health.
- Dust mites are microscopic spider-like creatures that live in dust, fabric, bedding, furniture, and carpets. Dust mites eat dead skin cells and need food, high moisture levels and warmth for survival.
- Dust mites’ feces are breathed in and can trigger asthma attacks. Some people are allergic to them and develop rashes from too much exposure.
Mice and Rats
- Mice have limited bladder control. As a result, while mice run around your house searching for food, they are constantly leaving behind a stream of urine. Many people are allergic to mouse urine. For people with asthma, it can cause an asthma attack when they are exposed to it. Many people are allergic to mouse dander or dandruff. This can also lead to asthma attacks.
- Rats usually prefer to live outdoors, but if plenty of food is available they will nest close to or inside buildings. Rats can carry multiple infectious diseases such as Salmonella, and occasionally bite sleeping children and babies. These children usually fall asleep with food residues on their hands or faces and get bitten by foraging rats attempting to lick or chew on the food residues on their skin.
- “Waterbugs” or “roaches” are just other names for cockroaches. Cockroaches can live a month without food, but only one week without water. Female cockroaches can lay 15 to 40 eggs enclosed in a capsule and can produce up to 15 capsules over their lifetime. at one time. Cockroaches tend to congregate in tight hiding spaces, available food and moisture, and warm and humid environments. Cockroach frass or waste is dangerous for your family as it can trigger asthma attacks when breathed in.
Pests can have negative effects on the health of people living in the home. The effects can include:
- Contamination of food
- Spreading of illness
- Exacerbation of asthmatic symptoms
Actions You Can Take
How to Keep Pests Out of Your Home:
- Keep pests out with no place to hide
- Change surrounding landscape
- Block pest entries, passages, harborage & clutter
- Seal holes and cracks – use wire mesh
- Reduce food and water availability
- Practice proper food storage & disposal
- Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight
- Clean crumbs, grease, etc.
- Conduct regular cleaning to reduce pest urine and feces
- Use appropriate traps
- Use appropriate pesticides ONLY when needed
How To Rid Your Home From Dust Mites:
- Use allergen blocking mattress and pillow covers
- Wash bed linens weekly in hot water
- Regularly wash, freeze or put in dryer pillows and stuffed animals
- Use a HEPA filter vacuum on all carpeted areas and on furniture and upholstery
- Keep humidity levels down (under 50 percent relative humidity) by using a dehumidifier, ventilation fan or air conditioning
Consider Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Appropriate pest removal uses integrated pest management (IPM) as a common sense approach to reduce pests such as cockroach, mouse, and rat infestations, which can trigger asthma episodes and other health problems. IPM focuses on a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipuation, and modification of cultural practices and minimizing the application of pesticides. For more information, contact GHHI.