Keeping your home pest-free

Pesticide selection

Here are some suggestions:

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  • Consider the appropriateness of your pesticide use. You might not be able to completely eradicate pests from your property, for example. Using pesticides repeatedly may be more harmful over time than the pests themselves.
  • It is possible to control pests without using chemicals.
  • Before buying a pesticide, identify the pest. Your roof may be infested with possums rather than rats. Museums Victoria offers an identification service if you need help identifying a pest. Online enquiries are available. Alternatively, you can hire a licensed pest control operator who is trained in identifying and managing pests.
  • Make sure the pesticide you choose is designed for the pest you intend to use, and that it is effective against your pest problem.
  • Select a household pesticide with the lowest schedule (or least toxic).
  • If used incorrectly, pesticides can cause harm, so use the least amount possible.
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Safety of pesticides in general

Home pesticide use suggestions include:

  • Pesticides shouldn’t be stocked up. Don’t buy more than you need.
  • Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and use the product as directed. Follow all safety precautions and do not exceed the recommended amount.
  • Pesticides should never be mixed. A chemical reaction may occur unexpectedly and could be dangerous.
  • Make sure the pesticide is stored in its original container with the lid firmly sealed and out of reach of children, for example in a high garage cupboard. Do not transfer pesticides into containers that might be mistaken for food or beverages by children.
  • Children, pets, and native animals should not be able to access traps or baits.
  • Whenever you handle or use a pesticide, wear protective clothing suggested by the manufacturer, such as rubber gloves.
  • A pesticide should not be consumed, smoked, or drunk while it is being applied.
  • Use soap and water after using.
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Use of pesticides indoors: safety tips

It is always a good idea to follow these guidelines when using pesticides indoors:

  • Before using aerosol (spray) pesticides, cover or remove bird cages and fish tanks. Fish and birds are extremely poisoned by many pesticides.
  • The area to be treated should be free of food, cooking utensils, and other personal items. Make sure kitchen benches are thoroughly cleaned before preparing food.
  • Surface sprays shouldn’t be applied to furniture or other areas commonly touched by family members. Spray surface areas like skirting boards out of the way only.
  • During the duration of the pesticide’s activity (like fly spray), leave the room. You can clear the air when you return by opening the windows.
  • Use pesticides appropriately. Mice, for instance, prefer to run along skirting boards and under floors. You may not be able to attract the pest if you put traps or baits out in the open, and your family or pets may be at risk.
  • Make sure you clear away any food debris or scraps before using baits, so pests will only be attracted to them. The result will be fewer baits needed.
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Use of pesticides outdoors: safety tips

It is always a good idea to follow the following guidelines when using pesticides outdoors:

  • Before using a pesticide, close all doors and windows
  • On rainy or windy days, do not use pesticides outdoors. Pesticides can be affected by the weather, causing damage to animals, people, and the environment
  • Be sure to cover fish ponds, barbeque pits, and vegetable gardens before applying pesticides
  • Make sure pets are relocated and their bedding, food, and water bowls are removed
  • After using a pesticide, do not water your garden. To find out how long you should wait, check the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Verify that the pesticide isn’t harming plants or birds after application
  • Whenever you use pesticides externally, inform your neighbours
  • Take care not to overspray rainwater onto gutters and roof areas if you have a rainwater tank. The collection pipe should be diverted away from the rainwater tank until after the next rain if there is any risk of pesticide residue washing into the tank.


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