Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a way of fighting pests by understanding what they need and taking it away from them. The idea is to reduce the need for toxic chemicals that can make bugs resistant to pesticides. Instead, IPM seeks to combine natural methods with just the right amount of chemical controls.
Outdoors, it means using predators like bats or ladybugs to kill pests, and only using chemicals in limited ways. Indoors, it means keeping new pests from coming in and making life difficult for the ones who are already there.
Here are some techniques you can use to beat the bugs.
Keep them out.
Roaches live outside, too, but when the cold weather comes they look for a warmer place to stay. Install door sweeps and weatherstripping to keep them out. Inspect the outside of your home for cracks in the wall or foundation. Openings for pipes and utility lines should be sealed with silicone caulk.
Shut down the buffet.
It takes very little food to keep a roach happy. Keep the stove and counters clean. Even a little bit of grease is a banquet for bugs. Wipe up spills right away, and put the leftovers in the fridge right after dinner. Keep dry foods in glass, metal, or heavy plastic containers with lids that seal tightly. Don't use old jars to store grains or pasta unless they are the kind with threads that go all the way around the top. Otherwise, cockroach nymphs will be able to crawl under the lid.
Eliminate hiding places.
Roaches cluster in dark, undisturbed places. Make this hard for them by getting rid of clutter. This includes stacks of paper or neglected laundry. Clean behind furniture, pictures, and curtains every week. If the spare room is used for storage, make time to move and clean everything a few times a year. Roaches may also hide in gaps behind cabinets and woodwork. Fill in any openings with caulk made from non-organic materials.
Hit them where they live.
Roaches go where their friends are. They hide in groups, and leave chemical trails for each other to follow. You can take advantage of this by placing baits and traps where roaches run. If you're planning to winterize your house, look into pest control insulation. This is cellulose insulation treated with a borate compound that is lethal to insects that come into contact with it. Borate is less toxic than other pesticides, and is safe for homes with children and pets when used properly.
For professional pest control, contact a company such as Kirkland's Pest Control.