Hesperian Health Guides

Pest Control at Home

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HealthWiki > A Community Guide to Environmental Health > Chapter 14: Pesticides Are Poison > Pest Control at Home

People everywhere use poisons in their homes to kill mosquitoes, ants, flies, cockroaches, termites, fleas, rats, and other pests. But many of the poisons used on these creatures can also harm people.

Large insects crawl toward a village.

Farm workers often bring field pesticides home to kill pests around the house. But using pesticides in closed areas makes them much more harmful. It is best to leave farm chemicals at work, and to use other methods to control pests at home.

There are many ways to control pests without chemicals. These ways are safer and less costly than pesticides and may work just as well. (For other ways to keep chemicals out of your home, see Chapter 17.)

If you use pesticides at home:

A locked box labelled with skulls, crossbones, and the word "pesticides."
  • Read the label and follow the directions.
  • Do not use pesticides in closed areas. Open windows and doors.
  • Use pesticides only for the pests they are meant to kill.
  • Keep pesticides away from children.
  • Never spray pesticides on a mattress or sleep on a sprayed mattress.
  • Do not spray near dishes or eating utensils.
  • Never put pesticides in unmarked containers.
  • Get rid of unwanted pesticides safely.