National Pesticide Information Center



Pest Control Tips

Many people don't think about pests or pest control until they are forced to do so. When pests enter the home, affect the garden or cause damage, some quick tips may be helpful.

  • Identify the Pest
     This is the first step of pest control. Proper identification will help you develop appropriate control measures.
  • Decide How Much Pest Activity You Can Tolerate
     You may be able to tolerate an insect that will only be in your garden for a few weeks, or an occasional ant in the kitchen, but most people have zero tolerance for fleas and ticks.
  • Learn About Your Pest
     By learning about the pest, you can identify the most vulnerable stage in the pest's life cycle, identify needs and dislikes, and use your knowledge to zero-in on your target. Learn about how the pest is gaining access. A pet could bring fleas into the house, a gap in your window could invite spiders into your office, or a humid bathroom could provide enough moisture for mold to grow.
  • Consider an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Approach
     Many pest problems can be controlled without pesticides. IPM emphasizes non-chemical and low-toxicity pest controls whenever possible.
  • If Using a Pesticide, Select the Right One
     Pesticide labels describe the locations where a product can be used. When selecting a pesticide for a specific pest, look for that pest on the product label.
  • Read the Entire Label
     Read the entire product label before you buy, mix, apply, store, and dispose of a pesticide. If you have questions, contact the manufacturer or NPIC.
  • Protect Yourself
     Make sure you use all of the protective gear specified on the label. To reduce your risk further, you can wear additional protective gear. Wash your hands before eating, drinking, smoking, or using the restroom.
  • Protect People, Pets and the Environment
     Ensure the application site is free of people, pets, toys, and food dishes. Be careful when using pesticides around streams, wells, schools or edible garden plants.
  • Prevent Drift
     To avoid drift, read the label directions, and only apply the product under the conditions specified on the label. Most pesticides cannot be applied when the temperature is high, when conditions are windy, or when it is raining.
  • Store and Dispose of Pesticides Properly
     Buy only what you need this season; mix only what you need today. Store pesticides in areas inaccessible to children and pets, and consider locking the area. Follow the label directions for disposal.
  • Find Ways to Prevent Pests
     Tactics may include eliminating food or shelter, sealing cracks and crevices that allow access, or including pest-resistant plants in your garden and keeping plants healthy.
  • Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help
     Call NPIC to speak with a Pesticide Specialist or use your zip code to find local contacts.

Additional Resources:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated July 15, 2016