How to control insects in domestic environments?
There are two types of products for insect control, insect repellents and insecticides. Insect repellents are less hazardous to the environment than insecticides, which kill insects. Insecticides and insect repellents require an authorisation before they can be placed on the market. Products authorised in Finland in accordance with the Finnish Chemicals Act and the Biocidal Products Regulation are listed in the Biocidal Products Register (currently only in Finnish and Swedish). Insecticides are under product-type 18 and insect repellents under product-type 19.
Use of insect repellents
The best protection against insects is to use clothing that covers most of the body. On your home yard, you can also reduce mosquitoes by removing any reservoirs of standing water, where mosquitoes breed. Open yards do not attract that many mosquitoes either.
- Read the product's instructions for use and follow the dosage and application instructions provided.
- Only apply repellent on places that cannot be covered by clothes.
- It is not recommended to apply the product on your face. Do not apply the product on young children's skin.
- Keep the product out of the reach of children and in a separate place from foodstuffs and animal foods.
- Please note that certain products (e.g. those containing the active substance DEET) may damage clothing materials.
Controlling insects indoors
You may sometimes have flying and crawling insects, such as flies and ants, indoors. You may also find insects in your kitchen cupboards. Control insects primarily by clearing any scraps of food and, for example, by using sticky insect traps. A clean and tidy house does not attract insects.
If you use insecticides
- follow the product’s instructions for use.
- select the insecticide according to the species of insect you intend to control.
- do not use the product with children present or do not let children use it.
- take pets out of the space being treated and cover any aquariums.
- if necessary, air the rooms after treatment.
Travelling has increased bed bug and cockroach infestations in Finland. Controlling them at home is challenging, and it usually only prolongs the problem and, in the worst case, spreads insects in your neighbourhood. If you notice any bed bugs in your house, do not hesitate to contact a pest control professional. If you live in a terraced house or multi-storey building, also contact your building manager directly, because bed bugs and cockroaches also spread from one apartment to the next.
How to prevent bed bugs from ending up in your home
- In your accommodation location, check the bed or sofa for any signs of bed bugs: small black dots on the mattress or the frame of the bed or sofa.
- Do not keep your luggage close to the bed or underneath it. Place any clothes to be washed into a plastic bag and empty its contents directly into a washing machine at home.
- If you have any itching bitemarks on your skin when you wake up, you may have come into contact with bed bugs.
When returning home
- If you suspect that you have stayed the night in a location infested with bed bugs, wash all your clothes or place all the items you carried with you inside a freezer.
- If possible, place the clothes and luggage you carried with you into a plastic bag before entering your home and place the bag inside a freezer. Do not spread your items around your home.
When buying second-hand furniture or clothes
- Before buying, check furniture for any signs of bed bugs.
- Heat- or cold-treat any second-hand furniture, if possible.
- Wash second-hand clothes at a sufficiently high temperature (60 °C).
Controlling insects outdoors
Many kinds of insects are flying and crawling outdoors. Without exception, almost all of these are harmless to people. Insects are an important part of biodiversity and an integral part of the functioning of our ecosystem. The impacts of insecticides are not limited to the species being controlled. If applied outdoors, they affect all insects in the area. Think carefully before controlling insects outdoors because they
- are pollinators
- are decomposers
- prevent the spread of invasive alien species
- are an important source of nutrition for various animals
- improve the soil