You are you cleaning out the backs of your cupboards when you spot it—a shiny back, long legs, longer antennae—a cockroach. It flits out of view before you can discover where it came from or where it went.
Big deal, you think, and go on cleaning. But later that week, you spot another. And another.
Before you know it, you scrubbing constantly and you get that feeling that you just can’t get the house clean enough.
Pest infestation is a major problem in homes throughout the US. We typically associate pests with states like Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, but cockroaches, bedbugs, mosquitoes, rats, mice, termites, ants, and other unwanted critters make life hard on homeowners in all 50 states.
Pest problems usually start small and seem innocuous.
But they can spiral out of control as they reproduce hidden in our carpet and quiet corners of the house.
Pests aren’t just annoying either. They can cause serious damage. Consider the following statistics:
- Over half of Americans had a problem with ants last year.
- It is estimated that termites cause more than $5 billion in structural damage each year in the USA.
- Rodents and mice carry more than 200 pathogens which can infect humans.
That is why it is so vital to get your pest problems under control. It isn’t just about getting rid of the creepy-crawlies. It’s about protecting your home and the health of your whole family.
Home Insect Control
So what can you do about ants, cockroaches, fleas, and other pests inside your home? Here are a few of the most popular methods which you can use to combat them yourself:
Zapping insects at the source is the quickest way to get control of the problem.
Finding the source is key, so they don’t keep coming back.
- Try to hunt down the source of the infestation. This may mean locating a nest or a hive, and may also involve identifying the attractant—the habitat or food which is drawing these critters into your home. If you can eliminate both the attractant and the nest, you may be able to eliminate the infestation.
- Bug barrier spray. Spray these products in areas where bugs like to congregate, and you will find dead insects the next day. Many of these products will work for a surprisingly long time—up to 12 months. Of course, you don’t want to use products like these in your kitchen as they would pose a health hazard.
- Traps and bug zappers. These can prevent insects from gathering around your home or getting inside in the first place.
- Clean house. If you regularly get into the backs of cabinets and under hidden surfaces, you make it a lot harder or pests to settle in or hide a nest.
If you want to see results, you need to be diligent with these methods. There is usually some trial and error involved in finding the right products and approaches, but once you do, you can seize the upper hand.
Getting Rid of Mice and Rats
As far as pests go, few are as obnoxious as mice and rats. They keep you up all night with their incessant scurrying, get into your food, and chew through clothing, wood, and wiring. They also carry diseases, so pose a health hazard to your family.
A single mouse can have anywhere from five to ten litters of three to fourteen mice per year. They multiply at an insane speed, so you have to be aggressive to get them out of your house. Here are some methods homeowners use to prevent and remove mice and rats:
If you see mice outside, sooner or later they may venture in for a snack
Tip#1: Clean up your yard, garage, and outdoor storage areas.
Cut back tall plants and try to leave some space around the perimeter of your home. Make sure that birdseed and dog food are put away in mouse-proof containers.
Tip#2: Check for structural weaknesses around your home.
Pay special attention to window and door sills and ledges, weep holes, water vents and conduits, eaves, and plumbing. If you find any gaps which mice can squeeze through, close them. Rodent-proofing materials that work well include steel wool hardware cloth, sheet metal, perforated metal, and cement mortar.
Tip#3: Take the offensive to get rid of problems quickly.
Consider investing in ultrasonic repellant technology along with a combination of eco-friendly traps which you can use in and around your home.
You should always take action at the very first sign of a mouse or rat infestation. Remember, a single pregnant female can quickly breed up a storm of rodents!
Organic Pest Control
Common household products like vinegar can be used as an alternative to getting rid of pests.
These days, more and more homeowners are going organic with pest control. Why? Because bug sprays and traps contain poisonous chemicals.
Used occasionally in some parts of the home, they may not pose a problem for humans, but if you need to protect your home from bugs on a regular basis, they can cause issues.
Some people experience allergic reactions or problems breathing around bug sprays. You cannot use products containing DEET safely in your kitchen either, because you don’t want to contaminate your food. And then there are concerns about pets, birds, and other wildlife, and the environment.
What are some of the best organic alternatives?
1. Organic barriers. You can for example plant spearmint or peppermint to deter ants and aphids. Cinnamon and vinegar are also excellent deterrents for many insects.
2. Set organic traps. For example, cover a jar with a funnel and put a piece of fruit at the bottom. Fruit flies will get in but have a hard time getting out. You can release them outside (away from your house).
3. Kill cockroaches by mixing boric acid and sugar in a 3:1 ratio. The sugar attracts the roaches, but the boric acid is lethal to them.
4. Dish soap is effective against both cockroaches and stink bugs.
5. Mice are deterred by peppermint oil and mothballs.
6. There are a number of commercial organic products you can purchase as well to get rid of mice, cockroaches, fleas, and other pests.
7. Some “pests” can control others. While you obviously don’t want black widows scurrying around your house, keeping some innocuous spiders in your home and garden can help remove other insects.
Organic methods are safer and more environmentally friendly than toxic chemicals, so they may make a better long-term solution, especially when it comes to preventing future infestations.
Learn More about Household Pests
Keeping a few spiders around can help control the insect population
While many methods work well for tackling a variety of pest control problems, there are specific tips and tricks which work best for each.
Ready to learn more about each of these pests in your home? We have compiled detailed guides to help you out with every pest problem under the sun.
- Mice and rats
Easiest Way to Get Rid of Pests at Home
In many cases, you can get rid of mice and rodents, cockroaches, bedbugs, mosquitoes, and other pests on your own. But once these unwanted critters get a foothold, it can be very hard to shake them loose.
When pests are breeding faster than you can kill them, it may be time to call in a professional. An exterminator can do a thorough sweep of your house and make sure that no uninvited guests remain. After that, you can breathe easy. The exterminator can also give you more great tips and tricks for preventing future infestations!