The modern pest control industry employs integrated pest management (IPM) tactics in order to prevent arthropod pests from causing problems within residential and commercial structures and urban landscapes. IPM stresses the importance of preventing insect pest infestations by means of multiple non-toxic and practical strategies. For example, sealing cracks, crevices and other potential entry points on the exterior walls of structures, and eliminating moisture, clutter, food scraps, garbage and other conditions that lure pests into homes are just two common sense IPM tactics that will go a long way to both prevent and remedy indoor pest problems.

In accordance with IPM, insecticides should always be used as a last resort and applications should be as minimal as possible. There does not exist any type of pest or circumstance in which insecticides are used as a first-line treatment, but insecticides are sometimes used minimally to maximize the efficacy of pest control programs. For instance, while high heat treatments have become the primary method of bed bug control, a minimal amount of insecticide is often applied to sensitive areas where a small number of bed bugs may find protection from external heat.

Insecticides play a similar role in German cockroach control programs, and in many infestation cases, the application of insecticide is unnecessary. It is also important to remember that the insecticides used today have been deemed safe for use as long as the directions on the label are strictly followed.The most widely used insecticide formulations today contain pyrethroids, which are organic compounds that are similar to natural compounds found in a number of flower species. Pyrethroid compounds are used as a supplementary tactic in pest control programs that are designed to prevent spiders, termites, ants, and a number of overwintering pests from invading homes.

Have you ever applied over-the-counter insecticides within or around your home?