Get rid of pests w/o sickening employees
Pests can include ants in your kitchen, aphids on your plants or weeds in your landscape. Integrated pest management involves managing these pests with prevention and benign methods first, and only using synthetic pesticides as a last resort.
According to the EPA,
[E]very IPM program is designed based on the pest prevention goals and eradication needs of the situation. Successful IPM programs use this four-tiered implementation approach:
First, you have to know what pest you’re dealing with. If it’s not obvious, your local extension agent can usually help. Then you determine what’s an acceptable level of infestation and at what point you have to act. A few ants on your patio are no big deal; the same ants in your restaurant kitchen is a different matter.
Once you know what you’re dealing with, prevention often involves finding where the critters are coming from and either sealing those areas or removing what’s attracting them (trash, clutter, food scraps, standing water). It’s usually more effective to us traps and baits instead of spraying. Sprays use a lot more of the pesticide and only affect the pests that are in the area; they also can lead to resistance. Baits get carried back to the nests.
Here’s a link to the EPA Integrated Pest Management page of instructions with links to resources. If you use a pest service, ask them about their IPM practices including how they monitor and prevent pests and what products they usually use (and then look them up). The Safer Choice booklet includes tips for the most common pests (ants, cockroaches, and rodents). Beyond Pesticides has a wealth of resources including a database of pesticides called the Gateway where you can search by product or ingredient and ManageSafe™, instructions for how to safely deal with a wide array of pests from dandelions to deer. If you want a simple starter guide, this Safer Choice booklet includes tips for the most common pests (ants, cockroaches, and rodents).
If you use a pesticide, follow the instructions to the letter! Measure accurately, wear all recommended protective gear, wash clothing and/or shower afterward if recommended on the label.