Mosquitos! Cockroaches! Aphids! Weeds! Rodents!

Nobody wants to share their homes and gardens with these pests, but using chemical pesticides to manage them can be unhealthy and is often ineffective. If used or disposed of improperly, pesticides currently approved for use in your home and garden can harm people, pets, beneficial garden insects such as bees and ladybugs, beneficial soil organisms such as earthworms, and aquatic life in our local creeks, lakes and oceanwaters. The rain can transport harmful chemical pesticides directly to our receiving waters through the local storm drain systems.

Fortunately, there are many effective sustainable pest management techniques that don’t include use of chemical pesticides.


Prevent Pests in Your Home & Garden

Prevention is the key to sustainable pest management. Just like us, pests need food, water, and shelter to survive and thrive, so eliminating access to those items in your home and garden will help prevent unwanted guests.

Check out these EPA tips for preventing pests at home, which include:

• Removing sources of food.
• Sealing openings, cracks, and crevices.
• Preventing water accumulation.

Get to know your common household and garden pests and how to prevent them from invading your space. Regular monitoring for pests can nip infestations in the bud.

Choose native, climate appropriate plants that are resilient to pests, disease and fungus. With proper care (seasonal water, sunlight, and nutrients) these plants require little or no pesticides.

Better yet, choose plants that attract beneficial insects that will prey on pests, which combined with proper care will help prevent pests.

Reduce mosquito breeding around your home by eliminating common sources of water.

Remove Pests Sustainably

If pests do become a problem around your home, there are sustainable methods you can deploy to control them without resorting to chemical pesticides.

Physical or mechanical removal of pests includes use of force, barriers, or traps. Examples include hosing them off a plant, applying mulch to kill weeds, setting a sticky trap for insects, and more.

Keep your pests in check with beneficial predators like birds and ladybugs. This is called Biological Control and you can read more about it here.

Place a ring of sticky barrier (such as Tanglefoot®) over tree-wrap around the trunk of citrus trees to control ants that cultivate honeydew excreting scale insects.

Soil solarization uses the sun’s energy to control soilborne pests such as weeds and nematodes.

Safe Pesticide Use & Disposal

If using a chemical pesticide does become necessary, make sure to follow the best practices below to protect human health and the environment.

Get to know the ingredients in commonly used pesticides and understand their impact on our environment.

Download this fact sheet on effective pesticide use and disposal.

Identify the pest(s) causing the problem and choose the least toxic pesticide available for managing the problem.

Make sure you choose a USEPA registered product and apply it only as directed. Consult this safe and effective use of pesticides in the home and landscape guide for more information.

Check the weather forecast in your area and do not apply pesticides outdoors the day before irrigation is programmed to occur or if rain is in the forecast.

Use spot treatment to target pesticides where needed vs. spraying large areas.

Rinse empty pesticide containers and re-use rinse water as you would use the product. Do not allow rinse water to runoff your property into storm drains.

Take unused or partially used pesticide containers to a County of Los Angeles S.A.F.E. Collection Center to be recycled or attend a local Household Hazardous
Waste drop off event. Check the South Bay Environmental Services Center Events Page for more information on local events.

Additional Resources