Don’t Discount Pests When It Comes to Spring Allergies

National Pest Management Association shares tips to reduce pest allergens in the home

When May rolls in, so does pollen and allergy symptoms, from itchy eyes to runny noses, and more. As this time fittingly marks Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is working to educate the public on lesser known culprits triggering allergic reactions during the springtime – household pests, including cockroaches, rodents and dust mites.

“Rodents and cockroaches are typically associated with food contamination, which is certainly accurate, but what people may not realize is that these pests are also affecting their health in other negative ways by serving as sources of allergens around the home,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Cockroaches, for example, have allergen proteins within their saliva, droppings, and even decomposing bodies that can exacerbate symptoms. Rodent droppings and hair can affect breathing and cause itchiness, too.”

Dust mites are another allergy trigger, with 20 million Americans having a dust mite allergy, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Fortunately, by pest-proofing the home, it is possible to reduce exposure to allergens and avoid uncomfortable symptoms,” said Mannes.

The NPMA recommends the following tips to reduce pest allergens around the house:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home with caulk, steel wool, or both, paying attention to areas where utilities and pipes enter the structure.
  • Keep basements and attics clear, storing boxes off of the floor.
  • Eliminate moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Keep food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Wash blankets, throw rugs and bedding in hot water, preferably at 130 degrees F, or take them to be dry-cleaned.
  • Vacuum and dust frequently.
  • Maintain a clean kitchen, free of crumbs and spills.
  • Keep pet food sealed in a tight container and wash food bowls.

For more information on pest allergens or to learn more about protecting against common household pests, visit

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit or follow @PestWorld on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube.