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Where You Live

The Challenge
No matter where you live pests such as insects, rodents, fungi, and weeds can enter your home, lawn, or garden. These pests can cause human health problems, structural damage, and plant damage.

family of four running through their yard on a clear sunny day

People often use pesticides to prevent or correct these problems. Although pest control may be necessary where you live, it also means that you may be exposed to pesticides from:

  • Chemicals applied inside and outside of homes
  • The food you eat
  • The water you drink
  • Engaging in gardening and landscaping activities
  • Second-hand exposure from spray applications

Reduced-risk pest management practices are available that can soften the impact to human health and the environment, and PestWise programs and initiatives are working to increase use of these practices.

The Solution
Whether you manage pests on your own or you hire a professional, you can reduce risks by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (print version, 2 pp, 1MB, About PDF) techniques. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Examples of IPM practices include:

  • a landscaper or landscaping supply store helping residential customers select plants that are resistant to pest problems so as to decrease the potential need for pest control treatments
  • a pest management professional applying pesticides in and around your home in a targeted manner rather than broad application
  • a residential gardening club advising members on how to increase populations of natural pest controls such as lady bugs and spiders

Managers of apartments and other buildings seeking to understand how to implement and verify IPM services should review EPA's brochure on Integrated Pest Management In Buildings (20 pp, 773KB, About PDF).

Quick Facts about IPM
  1. Based on information regarding the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment
  2. Uses this information in combination with available pest control technologies to manage pests economically and with reduced risk
  3. Takes advantage of all appropriate pest management strategies, including the careful use of pesticides when necessary

The Results
PestWise program partners are expanding the use of IPM in communities across the United States. For example:

The Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) Exit EPA disclaimer, a Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) member, is a consortium of over 100 agencies representing the San Francisco Bay watershed. BASMAA's Our Waters, Our World program utilizes IPM to reduce pesticide risk and ensures that consumers have options to choose pest prevention, rather than only pest control. The program is a collaborative effort between water pollution prevention agencies, nurseries and hardware stores. Learn More about PESP >>

With technical assistance from the Biopesticide Demonstration Program (BDP) and PESP, American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA)Exit EPA disclaimer treated nearly 6000 unattended swimming pools and ponds in New Orleans with the biopesticide Vectolex®, a relatively short-term pest control technique which is effective as long as mosquito larvae are present. AMCA also introduced mosquito fish minnows, a more long-term and environmentally friendly control, which feed on mosquito larvae and pupae, interrupting the mosquito life cycle. Learn More about BDP >>

The Landscaping Initiative, together with its partners, educates the public and landscaping professionals about using sustainable and cost-effective lawn management methods. For example, the Initiative reached thousands of people through its "Mow Right, Feed Right, Water Right" posters that were displayed on 250 buses in Montgomery County, Maryland as well as through its "Green Lawn" series of materials providing information and tips on lawn management. Learn More about the Landscaping Initiative >>

Related Resources
The following resources can help you learn more about implementing IPM where you live:

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