Integrated Pest Management

November/December 2004
A version of this article appears in the November/December 2004 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 01, 2004
Reducing the populations of cockroaches, mice, and rats by using the right pest control method can reduce the concentration of allergens in the home, delivering real health benefits to homeowners and renters.
        Cockroaches. Mice. Rats. These are just three of the pests that can invade a home or apartment. Homeowners and renters detest them because they’re messy, leaving behind droppings, fur, and other shed body parts. They eat and contaminate our food, and they can do serious damage to walls,woodwork, wiring, furniture, and carpeting. These pests also pose significant threats to human health.         Mice and rats carry fleas and ticks, which can spread disease, and both rodents produce persistent allergens that can cause health problems (see “Mouse Allergen in Homes”). Cockroaches also produce potent allergens; their wastes and dead roaches can trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. Getting rid of these pests can deliver real health benefits to homeowners and renters, but using the wrong pest control methods can counteract these benefits and can cause more health problems than it solves. A Return to Proven Methods         Beginning post–World War II, pesticides were aggressively marketed to eliminate indoor pest problems. These pesticides did the job they were intended to do—kill pests. But research now shows that ...

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