One of the most common questions we get before treating a home for ants is, “Will this be safe for my pets?”
As pet parents, we know all too well the concern that comes with caring for our furry loved ones. So when a pest problem presents itself and treatment is needed, it’s important to understand the safety implications for pets.
Often for small problems, homeowners will treat for pests themselves while for bigger or persisting problems, professionals may be called. In either situation, here are some things that you need to know:
For the Do It Yourselfer or capable homeowner, self-treatment is often the first choice for carpenter ant treatment. We find that many homeowners begin with organic or non-toxic solutions first. In fact, prevention is the first step and doesn’t require anything other than normal household cleaner! But when the problem persists and the homeowner turns to store-bought chemicals, baits and traps, there is a surprising amount of information that you need to know.
The most common form of home treatment are baits and traps. Baits and traps, are for the most, safe for use around pets and great for dealing with small ant issues. It is still important however to read all instruction and warning information and to follow directions accordingly. Additionally, be sure to monitor pets (especially curious ones) when you put baits and traps down. Curious pets who have an affinity for sniffing, licking or eating new things may be biting off more than they can chew.
When baits and traps don’t work, store bought chemical sprays may be the next step in treatment. And while not as potent as commercial grade products, they still pose a risk to pets if improperly applied. Most often, sprayed chemicals like Ortho Home Defense Max, remain toxic to pets while wet. So if you’re spraying inside, it’s important to remove pets from any area with wet chemicals until they completely dry. Additionally, spraying according to the manufacturer’s guidelines is imperative. Spraying too much won’t increase the likelihood of successful treatment, but may leave behind a harmful amount of chemical which your pet may come into contact with.
In addition to sprays, foggers are another common store-bought solution. Like sprays, foggers can be dangerous to pets (and humans!) if improperly handled. First, foggers by their nature create a fog or mist of pesticide which remain airborne for hours, resulting in the need for the home to be vacated for a period of time indicated by the manufacturer. This includes your pets! In addition, foggers require a number of other steps, including extinguishing any pilot lights in your home and properly ventilating the home after treatment. If you’re not comfortable with this, it’s best to call a professional.
Pest Control Expert Treatment
While a pest problem may be handled by a homeowner, bringing in a licensed pest control expert is often recommended when pets are present. Pest control experts are educated and licensed in the use of pesticides, chemicals and other pest control methods. They know exactly how to treat your pest issue and can strategize their treatment approach to account for pets in the home. If you have a dog or a cat, a quality pest control expert can begin treatments with the least toxic products and keep treatments out of reach of pets and children. Further, they have access to baits and gels that, when consumed by worker ants, can be brought back to the nest and abate the entire colony.
When calling an expert, be sure to speak up regarding pets in your homes and don’t be afraid to ask for a pet friendly course of treatment!
If you have any questions regarding pest control pet safety, please feel free to contact us.