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If Pesticide Spraying Is Needed

The actions we have already described may be all that’s needed to solve your cockroach problem. But sometimes, when the problem is severe, even all the steps we went through earlier aren’t enough. That’s when there may be a need for cautious spraying with one of the traditional pesticides. Two common pesticides used for cockroach control are diazinon and propoxur.

If you are a homeowner, there are some types of pesticide sprays you can use yourself. But whether you’re a homeowner or tenant, it’s more likely that a licensed pest control company will be brought in to do the job. Usually, the company applies a liquid form of the pesticide to very specific places in your home, such as in cracks and crevices behind kitchen appliances and along baseboards.

All pesticide containers are labeled with important directions and safety precautions. Be sure that you — or the pest control company you hire — follow the directions when applying pesticides.

If your house is going to be sprayed with pesticides, find out from your pest control company which areas are going to be sprayed. If your apartment is going to be sprayed, find out from your landlord which areas are going to be sprayed.

If you are part of an IPM program, never buy your own can of pesticide spray and use it yourself. If you spray, it will stop the IPM method from working. IPM uses baits that attract cockroaches so that they will eat the poison. Sprays do the opposite – they repel cockroaches and make them hide deeper in cracks and crevices until it is safe for them to come out again and breed.

Precautions you Need to Take If Your Home or Apartmnent is Sprayed

  • Remove food, dishes and utensils from cupboards. Put them in the centre of the kitchen and cover them with a plastic sheet. Discard the plastic afterwards.
  • Empty all linen cupboards and bathroom cabinets and cover their contents. Cover your fish bowl or aquarium.
  • If your windows can open, keep them closed during the pesticide treatment and then open them afterwards for as long as possible, preferably for several days. Turn on exhaust fans in bathrooms and the kitchen.
  • People and pets should leave the home during pesticide spraying. You should not return for at least 8 to 10 hours, to give the spray time to dry completely. If possible, stay away as long as 24 hours, especially if your family includes a pregnant woman and young children.
  • If you are unusually sensitive to pesticides you should consider avoiding any exposure to them. This may mean not having your home sprayed at all. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor or other health care worker.

Getting Involved

Solving cockroach problems the IPM way means people need to co operate and work together. If you own your house, you can take many of the action steps by yourself, but you may also want to consult a pest control company.

If you live in an apartment building or other multi-unit building, it’s a good idea to talk with other tenants (or with your tenant association, if there is one). Find out if they have a cockroach problem too. You can each inspect your own unit to see where and how severe the problem is.

You can then approach your landlord or building manager together and encourage him or her to use the IPM method outlined in this booklet.

Tell your landlord or building manager that you want to avoid spraying pesticides and want to work with him or her on the alternative methods involved in IPM. Say that you will do your part to keep your apartment as clean and tidy as possible. And say that you see a need for spraying pesticides only as a last resort with a severe cockroach problem, after all the other IPM steps have been taken.

As a tenant, you have rights your landlord needs to respect. If you can’t convince your landlord to use the IPM method – in other words, if all that he or she plans to do is spray pesticides – you can refuse to have your own unit sprayed. But, you should then carry out your own IPM program in your apartment unit. Talk to others in the building and encourage them to do the same.

Your Rights and Obligations as a Tenant

If you’re concerned about exposure to the more-toxic pesticides your landlord might want to use for cockroach control, remember that you have rights. Don’t hesitate to make sure your rights are respected! But you have some obligations too.

  • You have the right to be told in advance about a proposed spraying of your apartment with a pesticide. Your landlord or building superintendent must tell you the date and time the spraying is to be done. This gives you a chance to decide whether you want to have your apartment sprayed or not; and if you do, to make the preparations for spraying your landlord or pest control company tell you about. The usual preparations and precautions are outlined earlier in this booklet.
  • You have the right to refuse to allow your apartment to be sprayed. If you refuse, ask the landlord to use a less-toxic product (such as boric acid or hydramethylnon) and to make structural improvements to keep the cockroaches out. But it’s not a good idea to refuse pesticide spraying, unless you are planning to do IPM by yourself in your apartment.
  • You should not interfere in the way your landlord or superintendent handles cockroach problems in the common areas of your building, such as the lobby, the laundry room or the garbage disposal room. He or she has the right to spray these places with pesticides. However, along with other tenants, you can suggest that an IPM approach should be used for the common areas as well.
  • You can not refuse to control cockroaches. If you refuse to have your apartment sprayed, then it’s your obligation to take other steps to reduce cockroaches, such as by using bait stations or doing IPM yourself.

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