Home, Pets & Garden

Family with dog in yard

We all deal with pests at home, indoors and out. Pesticide companies want us to believe we need powerful chemicals to keep our families, pets and gardens safe. Yet there are common sense solutions that don't require risking the health of our loved ones and the environment.

With a little help we can find alternative solutions to control pests at home. But dealing with the broader problem of pesticides requires that we all work together to change policies and promote safer pest management practices in homes, schools, golf courses, forests and farms across the country. Starting at home is important and makes a difference; taking action is essential to make the real changes needed.

Controlling Pests at Home Safely

Using pesticides inside your home can put your entire family at risk — and it's not necessary. In case after case, chemicals that used to be considered "safe" for home use are taken off the shelves as new evidence shows that it can be harmful. Why risk it?

For protecting your home from ants, cockroaches, flies, meal moths, mold and rodents, a little prevention goes most of the way. Get rid of that can of pesticide spray, and see our Quick Guide below for specific pest management solutions. We also provide links for general solutions to Safe Pest Control at Home to keep your home clean and pest-free without dangerous pesticides.

Protecting Pets Without Pesticides

Like children, pets are particularly vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. They run on lawns laced with chemicals, eat bait put out for snails, ants or mice, and are subjected to flea treatments that are not safe either for them or their families (particulary children, who may be exposed when petting or hugging an animal).

An entertaining yet cautionary video, The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals presents the dangers to pets posed by landscape pesticides and provides information on pesticide-free alternatives. The film's makers provide a companion community action tookit if you'd like to inform your pet-loving friends and neighbors as well.

Healthy Garden & Lawn Care

The numbers will surprise you. On a per acre basis, American homeowners use 10 times more pesticides than what is used on U.S. farms. Every year, U.S. homeowners apply 80 million tons of synthetic fertilizers to their lawns. This "cosmetic" use provides pesticide corporations their fastest sales gowth. It also presents growing environmental and health dangers, especially for children and pets.

A Chemical Reaction is a moving documentary tracing the rise of the natural lawn care movement in Canada and the U.S., and the success Canadians — and a few U.S. communities — have had in reducing and eliminating cosmetic pesticide use. The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns, led by PAN Partner Beyond Pesticides, provides information on pesticides, safe pest-control how to's, links to local groups and organizing tools to help you get dangerous pesticides off your lawn and help others do the same.

 

 

Many gardeners are happily raising vegetables, flowers and creating sustainable landscapes without hazardous pesticides, and the organic lawn movement is taking hold as well. A good resource is Landscape and Plant Solutions from our friends at Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides.

Quick Guide: Specific Home Pest Solutions

Ants

Solving Ant Problems Nonchemically  from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Least Toxic Control of Carpenter Ants  from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Controlling Ants in Your House from the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District

Aphids

Aphids 101 from Our Water Our World

Bedbugs

Got Bed Bugs? Don't Panic from Beyond Pesticides

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite! from Scientific American

 

Cockroaches

Cockroaches from University of California's "Pest Notes"

Fleas

How To Control Fleas Without Chemicals from Natural Resources Defense Council

Keeping Fleas Off Your Pets and Out of Your Yard from the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District

Fleas from University of California IPM Online

Flies

Flies from University of California IPM Online

Fruit flies from Iowa State University

Lice

When Lice Attack: How to Nip Nits in the Bud PAN North America Magazine, Summer 2007

Beating Lice Without Lindane Success stories from U.S. parents

Mice & Rats

Mice from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Keeping Rats and Mice Away from Our Water Our World

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes from Our Water Our World

Mosquito repellants from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Moths & Carpet Beetles

Alternatives to Moth Balls from 'Bugs

Spiders

Spiders: The Helpful Hunters from the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District

Slugs & Snails

Pull the Plug on Slugs PAN North America Magazine, Summer 2007

Snails and Slugs 101 from Our Water Our World

Ugh! Slugs! from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Termites

Termites from UC IPM Online provides an overview: controlling termites without resort to insecticides is challenging, and prevention is key - requiring an understanding of termite biology and building construction. Among chemical approaches to avoid, fumigation is perhaps most dangerous (and ultimately ineffective).

Dampwood Termites from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides 

Ticks

Avoiding Tick Problems Without Using Pesticides from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Weeds

Weed Solutions - factsheets from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (includes bindweed, blackberries, dandelions, knapweed, moss in lawns, noxious weeds, poison oak and ivy, and roadside spray alternatives)

How to Control Weeds from Our Water Our World

AnchorYellowjackets

Yellowjackets from Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; and

Yellowjackets 101 from Our Water Our World

 

Safe Pest Control at Home 

Pest Solutions In-depth factsheets from PAN Partner group Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Our Water - Our World Website by Bay Area water agencies to assist consumers in managing home and garden pests without releasing hazardous materials

Living with Bugs: Least-toxic Solutions to Everyday Bug Problems by Jack DeAngelis, Ohio State University, 2009, companion book to ‘Bugs website, covering 50+ most common household pests with drawings and photographs to help with identification

Ask the Bugman! Environmentally Safe Ways to Control Household Pests Book by entomologist and syndicated columnist Richard Fagerlund

SafeLawns.org Resources for natural lawn care and landscaping from PAN ally Paul Tukey, with a blog about the latest developments and links to businesses providing organic solutions.