Tips for Homeowners
Common-Sense Pest Control Product Guidelines
Most of us are in charge of our own home pest-control program. Even so, it’s important to follow the same safe and responsible practices followed by professionals when using pest control products.
Here are some recommended practices for proper use of pest control products:
- Prevention is the first step in pest control, and that translates into good housekeeping.
- Eliminate wet areas that provide pests with water, such as leaky pipes, damp basement areas and standing water.
- Keep food containers closed, including those containing pet food.
- Dispose of garbage regularly.
- Seal cracks and crevices to keep pests outside the house.
- Remove crumbs and food residues from counter tops and furniture.
- Clean floors of food and liquid spills.
- Prevention works in lawn and garden pest control too. Healthy, vigorous plants and lawns have the upper hand in the fight against disease, insects and weeds. Water these areas as needed and follow a recommended fertilization program.
- Home and garden pest control products are an essential part of pest management.
- Always read and follow label directions. Be sure the pest control product is the right one for the pest to be controlled, then use only the amount needed and no more.
- Some pest control products require use of protective clothing, such as long sleeves and long pants, or gloves. In any case, always wash your hands after any pest control application.
- Before applying pest control products in the kitchen area, cover or remove any food or open food packages. If a product is going to be applied to kitchen shelving, remove pots, pans, glassware and dishes.
- Inside or out, keep children and pets away during applications. Keep them away until the application has dried or as long as stated on the label. Never place rodent or insect baits where small children or pets can get them.
- Clean up pest control product spills quickly with absorbent cloths or other material, and then place the material in a plastic bag and dispose with trash.
Pest control products serve a useful purpose, protecting us from pests that spread disease, cause injury, and damage plants. To protect the environment, your property, your health and that of your children, pets, neighbours and community, carefully follow label instructions on all pest control products.
Use pest control products wisely. Use only what you need. Rinse sprayers and containers and apply the rinse water to the target site. Throw only triple rinsed containers in the trash.
Be a smart shopper. Buy and use only what you need. You won’t only save money; you’ll protect the environment too!
- Identify the pest you need to control. For assistance, ask your retailer.
- Find a product that will control the problem pest. Read the instructions carefully.
- Calculate the amount of product you’ll need to purchase. Then apply the proper amount, and don’t overuse.
- Store any leftover pest control product in the original container for future use. Never transfer the contents to another container. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
- Keep all containers tightly sealed and stored in a secure, well-ventilated area. Pay attention to the symbols illustrating the risk of flammability, explosiveness or toxicity before storing or using. For example, containers with the “flammable” symbol should be stored away from any sources of heat.
- Store pest control products away from food, medicine, housekeeping supplies and other gardening supplies such as seeds and fertilizer. Do not leave containers in direct sunlight and keep them from freezing.
Many products are Ready-to-Use or Ready-to-Spray which means you don’t have to measure any product and mix it with water. Some products are concentrated and require diluting and mixing with water. If you are using concentrated products, follow these safety recommendations:
- Dilute or mix the product in a well-ventilated area (like outdoors). Do not mix on a hard surface or concrete.
- Do not mix in the kitchen or laundry room area. Use specific measuring equipment for garden use only, and do not measure with kitchen utensils.
- Keep children and pets away from mixing areas.
- Always read the label before you begin to measure.
- Put on the proper equipment, like protective gloves, before opening the package.
- Measure the proper amount of product required. Do not overuse!
- Add the product to a sprayer filled with 2/3 of the amount of water needed. Rinse measuring device, capturing rinse water in the sprayer. Fill to required amount and spray.
Careful application can prevent pest control products from entering our waterways. Remember to read the directions carefully before you begin. Always keep children and pets out of any area during application and until the area is thoroughly dry.
- Apply to the target areas or plants only. Do not apply to sidewalks, driveways or other hard surfaced areas. Do not spray on windy days or when the temperature is over 27 degrees C. Remove toys, water bowls for pets, birdbaths or lawn furniture from the area to be treated.
- Take care to direct the spray or granules on the lawn or target plant. Clean up any spills on sidewalks or driveways.
- If the product applied must be watered-in, apply enough water to move the pest control product into the ground. Stop watering when puddling occurs.
- Avoid run-off. This is one of the most direct ways pest control products enter our waterways. Do not apply pest control products if heavy rainfall is anticipated. Do not create run-off by over watering.
Empty any closets, cupboards, or countertops you are treating and make sure there is adequate ventilation. Remove or cover any food and cooking utensils before applying any product. Ensure any food preparation and storage areas are washed before re-using.
Keep pest control products out of the dump and drain! Always dispose of the product contents and containers so that no potential harm will be caused to humans, animals, or the environment. Follow the directions below for disposing empty liquid containers:
- Empty and use all the contents of the container. Fill 1/2 full with water and shake to rinse.
- Empty rinse water into sprayer. Rinse three times. Do not insert a hose into the container! Always pour the water in.
- Use the rinse water for your application. Do not pour it down the drain!
- Wrap the container in newspaper and throw in the regular garbage. Do not recycle! Never re-use empty pest control product containers!
Do not put unwanted pest control products in the regular garbage.
- Your municipality is responsible for the disposal of pest control products, paints, solvents and other unwanted household chemicals and containers. Contact your local authorities for information on special waste collection days or for the location of any permanent collection centres.
- Always wear protective gloves when handling damaged, leaking containers. If the container has no label and the contents are not known, handle with great care.
- Place leaking containers in a heavy-duty plastic bag and seal.
- Carefully collect and bring your containers to the municipal collection centre.
Sometimes even when you take precautions, an accident can happen. But quick action is essential to reduce the effect they can have on you and the environment. If a spill does occur, keep people, children and pets away.
- If indoors, ventilate the area by opening windows and doors. Block any floor drains if necessary. If outdoors, block any municipal drains or other waterways if necessary.
- Wear protective clothing, particularly gloves and rubber boots when handling a spill.
- Use soil, cat litter, newspaper, or other absorbent material to absorb the spill. Dispose of the absorbed material in plastic garbage bags.
- Wash the area several times with soap and water and discard the washcloths in plastic garbage bags.
- Continue to keep the area well ventilated until the odour dissipates. Bicarbonate of soda can also be used to help eliminate indoor chemical odours.
- Change clothing and launder separately, and not with other clothing.
- Immediately remove contaminated clothing and wash exposed skin with plenty of soap and water. Refer to the product label for further instructions. If in doubt, contact your local Poison Control Centre.
- If splashed in eyes, flush for 15 minutes and get medical attention immediately.
- If swallowed, call your local Poison Control Centre.
- If you require medical assistance, be sure to take the product label or container with you, as the label outlines information about first aid and helps the physician to correctly identify the correct treatment.
- In the event that a pet has been exposed inadvertently to a pest control product, contact your local veterinarian or animal shelter immediately.