Thank you for thinking about your kids and pets; the steps you take in eliminating pests can go a long way towards limiting their exposure to the more toxic chemicals. To help you move forward in the best way possible, here are three links to different organizations dedicated to the least-toxic, most effective ways in dealing with pests:
Our Water Our World provides a great resource for people looking for quick fixes and pest prevention without putting kids and pets in harm’s way. They can help you deal with getting rid of specific pests and have the most comprehensive list around when it comes to checking out which commercially available products are the least toxic.
Here is a link to their breakdown of solutions for dealing with different pests.
And here is a link to their list of less toxic products.
Below is a great checklist from Our Water Our World for a quick fix in dealing with our most common issue, an ant emergency:
Find what ants are after (usually left-over food) and where they are entering the room (usually through a crack in the wall). Mark it so you can find it again. If you can’t find an entry point, see Step 5.
Don’t remove the food until after Step 3 because ants will scatter. They are easier to kill in a line.
Clean up lines of ants with a vacuum, or spray ants with soapy water and wipe up with a sponge. Soap washes away the chemical trail ants follow.
Next, block entry point temporarily with a smear of petroleum jelly or a piece of tape. Use silicone caulk to permanently close cracks in walls, along moldings and baseboards, and in gaps around pipes and ducts.
If you can’t find an entry point, clean up the ants (Step 3) to a convenient (preferably out-of-the-way) spot. Place the bait station on the line the ants had been following. Always remove the bait station when the line of ants has disappeared so you don’t attract more ants into the house (see “Tips for Using Ant Baits”).
If ants are nesting in a potted plant, move it outdoors. Water it thoroughly and place it in a bucket filled with water that comes an inch below the rim of the pot. Using a stick, make a bridge for the ants to get out of pot and bucket without getting in the water. The ants will soon begin carrying their white-colored young to safety. When no more ants emerge, drain the pot and return it to the house.
The UC Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is a comprehensive, robust look at pest control and management in California. It incorporates some of the latest in scientific research combined with many of the natural solutions previous generations used to deal with their pests. This is a great resource for people looking to implement a holistic, long-term solution to dealing with pests in California.