Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle is a memoir about the author’s troubled childhood with a pair of parents more committed to their personal quirks than the well-being of their poverty-stricken children. In one particularly painful scene, a young Jeannette tells her mother about how a friend lives in a home that seems magically free of flies thanks to a No-Pest Strip. But her mother refuses to get one, saying, “If it kills the flies, it can’t be very good for us.”
Many seem to share the same concern, worrying about the potential health effects of pest control sprays and what they should or shouldn’t do after a visit from a Smithereen technician. The most important things to do after a visit from pest control are waiting to clean, repair any possible entry points for pests, removing contaminated products or food, and monitoring your family’s (including pets!) health. Fortunately, you can safeguard yourself, your pets, and your home itself by following a few simple steps. If pest control hasn’t visited your home or business yet, read our guide on what to do before pest control arrives at your location.
Wait to Clean after the Application of Pest Control Spray
Pest control comes in all sorts of varieties, and the way in which you can clean depends on the type. For example, dealing with rodents often involves mechanical traps or solid, poisonous bait. But managing insects typically calls for liquids, gels, fogs, or sprays — treatments that depend on adhering to a particular surface to work.
The good news is that you can clean after a Smithereen technician has sprayed your property. However, you should always wait for the spray to dry first. Also, try to avoid mopping or wiping down the perimeter areas of rooms (e.g., baseboards). Our technicians keep out and kill bugs by creating an invisible chemical barrier around your property’s edge. Cleaning that section could let in more pests.
As a general rule of thumb, light cleanings are perfectly fine three to five days after a treatment. Hold off on more vigorous cleaning until approximately two weeks have passed.
Check Your Food wasn’t Contaminated
Smithereen technician won’t generally spray in areas that would contaminate your food. In order to make sure that breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tea-time grub stays safe, make sure to put it away in a cabinet or cupboard prior to a treatment. Afterward, wipe down any place where your food might touch with soap and water or your preferred cleaning product. If you follow these steps, your food should stay safe.
Monitor your (and your pet’s) health
Most of us will know if we’ve come into contact with a pesticide or similarly caustic chemical. Symptoms may include:
- Burning eyes
- A persistent cough
- Breathing difficulties
- Changes in heart rate
The above symptoms are rare, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Most in-home pesticides aren’t particularly dangerous for humans. Unfortunately, the same isn’t always true for pets. Some residential pest control companies may use chemicals or solutions that could potentially be dangerous to pets. However, at Smithereen we go the extra mile to ensure all our pest control solutions are non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and pet safe! We don’t use harmful chemicals in our solutions, so your pets can remain in the home during treatment.
For more information about the pesticides we use, visit our Labels/SDS page or consult the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticides fact sheet.
Check Your Clothing & Furniture
The good news is that most pest treatments don’t require you to do anything special in terms of cleaning your clothing and furniture. Few treatments will leave lingering pesticide residue on either. After the allotted two weeks have passed (see the “Wait to Clean after the Application of Pest Control Spray” section above), feel free to clean your cabinets, couches, sofas, and armchairs just as you always would. If you want to feel extra safe, running a load of laundry or taking clothes to the drycleaner would be fine.
However, there’s one very important exception to this rule: You’ll want to avoid moving any clothing or furniture after a treatment for bed bugs. Depending on the type of treatment used, moving clothes or cleaning furniture may end up spreading bed bugs around your property. If you’re trying to eliminate these irritating pests, always check with your technician prior to taking any action.
Discard Wet Paper Products & Trash
Most business managers and homeowners know the pest-related dangers of leaving untended to trash around their properties. Such carelessness can quickly lead to an infestation of rodents, insects, or both. That’s why professional pest control services urge clients to promptly dispose of waste, place tight-fitting lids on trash receptacles, and to carefully clean any recyclable materials.
Fewer, though, are aware of the risk posed by damp paper products, mulch, and other moisture-holding materials. Insects in general — and cockroaches in particular — need water just as much as they need food. If you’re struggling to manage invasive pests, remove wet paper products and similar matter as soon as possible following a treatment.
Repair Cracks, Leaks, and Openings that Pests can Enter
One of the most important things you can do after a pest control treatment is to eliminate the easy ingresses that bugs, mice, and other irritants use to gain access to your property. To start with, pay particular attention to any:
- Openings around pipes
- Vent openings
- Spaces between floors and doors (which includes garage doors)
- Broken screen drains
- Openings between the roof and attic
You can fix most of these problems using caulk, grout, mortar, wire mesh, expanding-foam sealant, metal door kickplates, or door transitions.
In addition, pay special attention to non-permanent risk factors around your property, such as:
- Wood piles
- Overgrown trees and bushes
- Clogged gutters
- Leaf piles
Allowing such landscaping issues to go unaddressed after a treatment can lead to the reintroduction of pests.
Follow-up & check for continuing signs of pests
One of the advantages of current-generation pesticides is that they’re less potent, meaning they put you and your pets at less risk. The flip side is that they can take longer to work. After a spray, expect anywhere from four to six weeks to pass before your pest problem vanishes. You may also find more dead bugs, but take heart! This is a sign that the treatment is working.
At Smithereen, we’ve dealt with pests since 1888. Not only do we know how to eliminate bugs, rodents, and all other undesirable kinds of wildlife, we can keep you safe while doing so. Call us at (800) 336-3500 to learn more about our services.