How safe are "no-pest strips"?

The interior habitat of the house where I live includes several geographically distinct groves of plants and trees; potted oases. There’s a cluster of pots in the kitchen (mostly odd succulents), two separate little stands of green in the living room, and a real microjungle–including lemon and banana trees–beneath the skylight upstairs. There’s a population of bugs (mostly spidermites and scale) that pinball from one clump to another, with me chasing each outbreak with my insecticide pump. Try as I might (mite!), the bugs’ powers of reinfestation far outstrip my efforts.

I have a friend in Chicago who imports reptiles. Wild-caught reptiles always come laden with tiny passengers. He keeps a little chip of “no-pest strip” in a hole-punched babyfood jar in each critter cage, and thus keeps his animals free of pests.

Can I do this in a home with cats and small children? I’m confident I can keep the stuff out of their hands and mouths, but will the mere presences of such substances cause any health problems? What do they release into the air? How harmful is it to humans?

Thanks in advance for the avalanche of information I know I’m about to benefit from.

As long as your kids/pets can’t touch the strip, and no poisoned insects will crawl away and die, only to be consumed by a pet, you should be fine.

There are natural pest killers that pose no danger to animals or humans. I did a quick search on Yahoo! for “non-toxic” and “spidermite” and found loads of info.

I would worry more about the insectiside you spray the plants with currently than I’d worry about a pest strip.

Here’s an MSDS on them:

Here’s a label for DDVP, the active ingredient:

Organophosphates are cholinesterase inhibitors, and not the safest insecticides out there. One ‘dose’ won’t kill you but repeated contact can be nasty. I’d avoid touching with the strip itself (cutting it up, etc) and make damn sure that kids and pets can’t contact it.

In fact, cutting the strip up would be an off-label use and against federal law. <cya>So don’t do it.</cya>

Thanks; very helpful stuff.