Indiana State Dept. of Health (ISDH)

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) provides Hoosiers a wide range of up-to-date information about pest control and related topics, in its section of the state web portal.

Here are a few links you may find useful in your efforts to control pests and deal with related health issues.

Toxic and Poisonous Substances; Pest ControlISDH Toxic and Poisonous Substances; Pest Control (opens in new window)

Bed BugsISDH Bed Bugs (opens in new window)

Roaches and Asthma

Asthma HomeISDH Asthma Home (opens in new window)

Asthma and the FluISDH Asthma and the Flu (opens in new window)


What pests can affect people with asthma?

Cockroaches, mice and rats produce allergens that can affect people with asthma.

Cockroaches, a common trigger, can cause an asthma attack for people with asthma who are allergic to cockroaches. Cockroaches can also cause the development of asthma in young children, when at least one parent has asthma and/or allergies. Mice and rats can cause asthma attacks for people with asthma who are allergic to them.

Where are pests found indoors?

Pests need food, water and shelter to live, just like people. Pests usually live in dark and/or damp areas. Pests are commonly found under sinks, stoves and refrigerators; in cardboard boxes, and walls. Homes and other buildings may have others areas where pests can be found like attics, basements, and tunnels.

How can problems with pests be prevented?

  • Pests are reduced when the home or building is clean and dry  
  • Use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program instead of chemicals to get rid of pests.   
  • Do not leave food containers open. Put food in sealed plastic or glass containers.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in any sink or room.
  • Do not leave pet food and water dishes out overnight.
  • Pick-up garbage, food crumbs and clean liquid spills around the trash can and kitchen floor daily. Sweep and mop often.
  • Take out the trash daily. Do not allow trash to overflow.
  • Use trash bags that resist breaking and a trash can with a lid to seal out pests.
  • Check for plumbing leaks and moisture problems. Fix any problems right away.
  • Use plastic tubs for storage instead of cardboard boxes.
  • Seal cracks and openings around doors, windows and foundation.
  • Use monitor (sticky) traps or baits. Pellet or granular baits are not recommended.
  • Do not use pesticides to prevent pests.
  • If the above measures are not working to prevent pests, use low-impact pesticides.

Integrated Pest ManagementIDEM Integrated Pest Management (opens in new window)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an alternative way of getting rid of pests and keeping them away. Exposure to pesticides can worsen asthma for some people, though uncommon. IPM uses non-chemical and low-impact chemical methods to control pests through exclusion, sanitation, monitoring, treatment and evaluation.

Prevent pests by excluding them from your home. Pests can enter the home in many different ways, such as in groceries, cardboard boxes, or through an open door. However, the majority of the time pests enter through cracks and crevices around doors and windows, or through holes in window screens. Look for these little spaces and seal them with caulking putty. Close off gaps under outer doors with weather strips.

Prevent pests by taking away food sources. Pests, such as cockroaches and mice, need food and water to survive. One drop of water can satisfy a thirsty cockroach. Pests live in dark unused spaces and are attracted to clutter. Clean out cluttered areas. Kitchens are a prime source of food and water. Clean crumbs and spilled liquids immediately. Check under sinks for leaks. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or in other rooms of the house overnight. If you have pets, pick up the food and water dish at night.

Monitor your home to be aware of whether or not pests are present. Again, pests live in dark and damp places, under heavy things like refrigerators. Sticky monitor boxes, found at local hardware stores, placed in dark corners, under sinks, behind large items, basements and attics can alert you to pests in the home.

The three above methods should be enough to rid your home of pests. However, if more help is needed select a treatment method for the type pest in your home. Never indiscriminately spray pesticides for a wide range of pests, these chemicals are more potent. Try using cockroach traps, boric acid, and gel baits to get rid of the bugs. Do not use granular baits if there are small children in the home. Mice can move these pellets and may be mistaken as candy by small children. Only adults should use chemicals at home.

Finally, evaluate how well treatment worked. Keep records of cleaning methods, traps or baits used, and any other chemical intervention.

Indiana Pesticide Review Board

The Indiana Pesticide Review Board has developed pest control policies for child care facilities and schools that follow IPM methods. Select a link below for each recommended pest control policy.

Model Pest Control Policy for Indiana Child Care Facilities

Model Pest Control in Indiana Schools Policy