In a small study, investigators at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health tested IPM in 25 homes of healthy pregnant women living in northern Manhattan or the South Bronx. IPM reduced cockroaches by almost half and eliminated toxic pesticides measured in blood samples from mothers and their babies at birth.
The Center used professional cleaning and pesticide services in this study. However, you can use these same IPM methods at home. It’s safe, it works, and you can do it — you just need to know which low-toxicity cleaning and pesticide products to buy, and get a little help from your building superintendent and family members.
Some effective general household cleaners are: soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice mixed with Borax—use a coarse sponge and scrub hard.
Low-toxicity pest control
- Apply low-toxicity pest control products
- Use a hair dryer to blow small amounts of boric acid powder directly under floor moldings and into cracks and holes before sealing with caulking compound.
- Place glue traps, gels and bait stations for cockroaches and sticky traps for mice throughout the kitchen, bathroom, and any problem areas.
Make minor apartment repairs
- Seal pest entry points with caulking compounds and/or metal screens. Ask for caulk and screens at your local hardware store.
- Ask your landlord or building superintendent to help make repairs. The law requires landlords to help keep apartments in good condition.
- Talk to household members about the importance of everyone pitching in to help remove garbage from the home each day, eat meals and snacks in the kitchen only, and clean up dishes and food spills as quickly as possible.
- Inform household members about which pest control products are best to use at home and get everyone to agree not to use pesticide sprays or let exterminators into the apartment.