Keeping Pests Out Of Your Home

The first thing that comes to mind when any of us think of “pest control” is pesticides. These chemicals are purpose-built to eliminate specific groups or types of pest, and to do it with deadly efficiency. But the thing that a lot of people tend to downplay or overlook completely is that these chemicals may end up killing more than just the bugs. Pesticides have been known to cause health problems and damage character, but what alternatives do we have?

To understand the solutions, its important to understand the beginning. During World War II, a “miracle pesticide” known as DDt was developed. It was used to control Malaria and Yellow Fever outbreaks among soldiers and it was very effective. Following the war it became widely used by commercial farmers and local governments, and was already chosen to be the weapon-of-choice in a worldwide campaign to eliminate malaria.

DDT use was extensive for more than 40 years, and during its time it was credited for allowing a meaningful increase in crop yields, the complete elimination of the bedbug, and a drastically reduced amount of Malaria and Yellow Fever situations worldwide in places it was used. But as time went on, people began to speculate a darker side to the miracle pesticide, and in the 1960s, a conservationist named Rachel Carson published a book on the subject, titled Silent Spring.

In her book, she explored the effects of the extensive use of DDT and criticized government and the public for not taking into account the effects it would have on the ecosystem before promoting its use. She made the case against DDT, and provided evidence that connected it to environmental issues, claims which would be later be proven by scientists. But by far the most shocking claims in her book were the ones linking DDT to human health problems.

The evidence presented in her book brought many these issues to the attention of the general public, and as a consequence they began to need greater safeguards and checks on the types of pesticides used. This marked the beginning of the environmentalist movement of the 60’s, which ultimately led US Congress to outright ban the use of DDT. Other countries followed suit, and as a consequence, pesticides became more expensive and difficult to use.

People began to develop alternatives to pesticides, and one method that became popular was preventive maintenance. The idea behind this was to make the home or building as unattractive as possible to pests so that they would be forced to find food and shelter in other places. This has a number of benefits, in addition to being effective against multiple different kinds of pests, it is also very easy for individuals to implement without the assistance of a specialized.

Things as simple as keeping the trash bins covered, and generally keeping your house free of any dirt, food scraps, trash heap, residue or grease is enough to keep all but the most damaging household pests away. More complicate methods include sealing up the fractures and holes in and around your home, either with the help of a contractor or on your own, to ensure that pests have no way into your home.

Thanks to the environmental movement, the many countries have begun to move away from unhealthy pesticides like DDT and have begun to adopt Integrated Pest Management, a combination of pest control methods that are more environmentally sound, however effective. Today, only a single country produces DDT, and its use is limited to small, secluded areas where it would be more expensive to implement IPM.

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