How Pests Affect Our Health

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All pests have harmful effects on our health either directly or indirectly. This is why it is essential that we completely understand the dangers pests may have. The most common household pests – ants, cockroaches and rodents, all carry dangerous health risks which we are unfortunately exposed to. This article offers information about the health risks these common household pests and other pests are associated with.




These pests can enter any structure through any type of crack. The best way to determine if you have a rodent problem is by inspecting undisturbed areas along walls, under baseboards and even in pantries where their droppings may be found.

Unfortunately, it is through these droppings and urine that people are infected with diseases such as the deadly Hantavirus. They can also contaminate kitchen surfaces, utensils, equipment and food sources that come into contact with their bodies. Rodents are very difficult to eradicate from a home, so professionals are more suited to eliminate pests and protect your health.


Cockroaches are disgusting and annoying pests and they happen to carry bacteria on the bodies that can contaminate food surfaces, equipment, and food sources. Many children and older adults have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens that can lead to severe asthma – respiratory symptoms. The fatal allergens are spread in homes through the droppings and saliva of cockroaches, including their decomposing bodies.


Since ants are actually social insects, you must be certain that when you find one in your home, there are already hundreds or maybe thousands hiding. It may seem that ants are small and harmless, but the fact is, they can contaminate food.

It is because of the danger of ants easily contaminating food undetected that makes it essential for us to eradicate ants from our homes. If you do have a severe ant infestation problem in your home, it will be wise to hire a professional to treat your home.


Mosquitoes are both a nuisance and a major threat to our health. They can inflict itchy red marks that cause severe allergic reactions and they can also spread dangerous infections such as the West Nile Virus and Dengue.

Infections brought about by mosquitoes have been reported throughout the country in recent years and many of these infections have been deadly. In order to control and prevent mosquitoes from breeding, families are always encouraged to remove standing or stagnant water around their homes.


If you think that fleas only poses a threat to your pet dog or cat, then you will be surprised to find that fleas will feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. Fleas do bite humans and they can inflict itchy marks with severe allergic reactions.

Since fleas feed on the blood of any warm-blooded animal, they will also feed on the blood of rodents if you have a rodent problem as well. Fleas must never be tolerated, so when you have your pet treated, have your house treated as well.

Our health and safety must always be a priority. If you suspect a pest problem at home, look out for the signs and consult with a professional. Never wait for the problem to get out of hand.

Read also: Top 10 Green Insects

Could Your Health Be at Risk from Using Insect Repellents?

Various types of insects are vectors. This means that they carry disease-causing microorganisms. For instance, mosquitoes are known carriers of malaria, dengue, encephalitis viruses, and other pathologic organisms. Some species of mosquitoes also transmit parasites.

insect repellent

There are also ticks that pass on viruses, such as those that cause Lyme disease, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and typhus, to name a few. Because of the dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites that insects bring, we cannot avoid using repellents, especially when we’re outdoors.

More importantly, we need to protect our children from these creatures when we’re having picnics outside, when they’re playing in the garden, or when hiking or camping.

Hazards of Insect Repellents

Although it’s better to stay protected from harmful insects, we must also be aware of the chemicals in insect repellents and how these could affect health. Here are some examples.


DEET or diethyl-meta-toluamide is a common substance found in many insect repellents. Even though the use of DEET in several products is approved, we should still use such items with caution. Why? Experiments on rodents show that DEET affects certain parts of the brain, and it even causes brain cell death.

We need to be cautious because products containing DEET can affect brain function, which means that these may also have an effect on other parts of the body. For instance, some experts state that DEET-based products could affect memory and muscle function.


Permethrin is commonly used as an insect repellent. Many products containing permethrin are also used in treating lice and scabies. However, extreme caution must be observed when using permethrin because it is a highly toxic chemical. Permethrin poisoning can occur, particularly if instructions for use are not exactly followed.

Early signs include rashes and other forms of skin irritation. More serious indications of permethrin poisoning include dizziness, diarrhea, numbness, extreme sensitivity to touch and sound, muscle spasms, and seizures. In case of poisoning, contact Poison Control or 9-1-1. Make sure that the person gets immediate medical help.

P-menthane 3.8 diol

P-menthane 3.8 diol can be used to repel mosquitoes, black flies and other irritating pests. It has a cooling effect on the skin, and its odor is similar to that of menthol. Although it is a registered ingredient, there are some health risks when using products containing P-menthane 3.8 diol.

To illustrate, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that prolonged use causes skin irritation and kidney lesion formation. Products containing p-menthane 3.8 diols should not be used on children below 3 years of age.

There are still many other dangerous chemicals used in insect repellents, including metofluthrin, solvents, and other substances derived from alcohol. Due to this, it’s important to always follow the recommended use for insect repellents.

More importantly, if you are using insect repellents on your children, consider age and weight. In general, insect repellents should not be used on infants. But there are specific types of products that can be used on kids, depending on the concentration of the chemicals used. The best option here is to ask your pediatrician before using or applying insect repellents on very young kids.

Practicing Pesticide Safety At Home

Insect pests can pose numerous problems to a family and their personal property and rodent damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair.  It’s no wonder that pesticides are some of the most common household products.

They are used to kill any populations of pest insects currently present and to deter the establishment of any future insect communities.  These products are effective because they contain powerful chemicals capable of killing a population of pests within a matter of days; poison bait traps, sprays, and other deterrents go to work immediately by killing any pest within the vicinity.

Pesticides are very useful but they can also be dangerous to people and pets.  Safe pesticide use and storage will help keep you and your family safe.

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Storage Considerations

  • Always store pesticide chemicals and traps in their factory-issued containers.  Never repackage a pesticide into an unlabeled container or in a container with an unrelated label, especially any container with a food label.
  • Keep pesticide containers stored on high shelves above the reach of children and pets.  If you plan to store your pesticides in a cabinet, make sure that cabinet can be locked or otherwise fully secured.  Many pesticide baits are intended to smell appealing to pest animals and may attract family pets that will pry open loose cabinet doors.
  • Store all pesticides and other household poisons far away from kitchens, dining rooms, and other parts of the house where food is stored, prepared, and eaten.  With proper storage considerations, the chance of cross-contamination is significantly decreased though can be all but eliminated by removing all poisons from cooking and dining areas.

Safe Pesticide Use

  • Read the use instructions on the insecticide packaging before opening the product. Read all of the manufacturer’s cautions and warnings and follow all recommendation.
  • Wear protective gear when using a spray, powder, and granule pesticide products. Leather or rubber gloves, protective face masks, and goggles will protect your body from accidental splashes and spills. If a spill does occur, dispose of damaged items and replace with new ones. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions for clean up.
  • Don’t use pesticide while children, the elderly, pregnant women, or pets are in the area. Minimize inadvertent pesticide contact by applying products during a still, windless day when no rain is expected.
  • Do not use pesticides intended for household or yard use in your garden. If you are experiencing a pest problem in your garden, use only those pesticides rated for garden use. Speak with an associate at a home and garden center or a plant nursery if you have questions.

Read also: Pest Control Going Green


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