Indoor Pest Management

Nearly one out of five people who reported work-related pesticide illnesses were exposed to pesticides in indoor air according to data collected over 12 years by the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common-sense way of managing pests with the least possible hazard to people and the environment. When pests invade, you, your employees or your tenants may be tempted to spray them yourselves or bring in a pest control company to spray, but there are safer and more effective options than spraying pesticides indoors.

  • Key practices for building management:
  • Exclude pests from the building: plug holes and caulk cracks.
  • Prevent conditions that attract pests: quickly address spills, areas that need cleaning, and plumbing leaks.
  • Identify specific pests that have infested your building: better solutions than pesticides can then be used for the problem at hand such as physical controls like sticky traps and strong vacuums to remove cockroaches.
  • Use products with the least potential for human exposures: gels, baits and traps are preferred over spraying or fogging.
  • Discontinue Routine Spraying: pest management experts now agree that routine spraying whether or not pests are present doesn't work and creates health and environmental risks.
  • Hire a Licensed Pest Control Company trained in Integrated Pest Management: When the problem is too big, or you need expert assistance, use a licensed pest control company (PCC). Increasingly, PCCs in California are trained and certified to perform IPM services.
Preventing worker illness from indoor pesticide exposure - new web page from the California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch.
Managing pests and pesticides in your office (PDF) - fact sheet for employers and building managers (co-produced by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation).
Keep pests and pesticides out of your office! (PDF) - fact sheet for workers (co-produced by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation).
This Green Tip was submitted by Rachel Balsley, member of the BOMA OEB Environment Committee.