As the weather starts to warm up, insects are starting to emerge from their burrows and hiding places. While some varieties like butterflies are very beautiful, others, like ants and cockroaches, take up unwelcome residence in your home. So how can you manage a pest problem?
How you handle a pest infestation depends in part on what type of critter you need to eliminate. You also want to protect your family and pets from potential toxins. Don’t let insects bug you this year — take these measures instead.
1. Check for Points of Entry
The first step in how you should handle a pest infestation involves determining how they got inside. You might think your home is an impenetrable fortress, but the smallest crack can allow entry. Start by inspecting your doors and windows.
If you see any light shining through or feel any drafts, get out the caulk gun and weatherstripping. Check your screens, too. A tiny tear may not seem like much to you, but it looks like a welcome mat to hungry critters.
Another common entry point is your plumbing. Many insects, like cockroaches, thrive in wet areas. Leaks waste utility dollars, but they also welcome pests. Checking your water meter or bill is one way to identify leaks.
Toilets make up approximately 30% of your home water use, and they can also serve as an entrance for pests. Place a few drops of food coloring in your tank and wait for 30 minutes — if the color shows up in the bowl, contact a plumber.
2. Be Consistent in Your Methods
Many homeowners have recurrent pest problems year after year, but this may be due to inconsistent treatments. You should maintain insect control methods year-round for several reasons. By the time you call for service when you see a cockroach, his friends have already set up housekeeping. They are busy decorating their nurseries for the next generation of bugs.
Another reason to keep up consistency is that you will strengthen the barrier around your home. Every time you spray or powder, you reinforce this invisible moat. Neglecting it for months over the winter lets the efficacy dissipate, leaving you with invaders in the spring.
3. Choose the Right Pesticides
When managing a pest problem, you need to choose the right supplies. Boric acid makes an effective treatment for ants and cockroaches, but the proper application methods matter, too. This substance kills roaches by attaching to them when they walk through it and then ingest it as they groom.
However, much like humans avoid snowdrifts, these critters won’t walk through huge piles, so invest in a bellows-style sprayer, available at hardware stores. You can also find gel applications, which offer considerable flexibility. Do avoid bug bombs — the insecticide rarely gets in crevices where bugs hide, and all you get is a house full of toxins.
If you can’t clear up the infestation with store-bought products, you might need to call a professional. When hiring, make sure the company you choose performs a thorough inspection of your property. A quick spray of the exterior can leave you with less-than-satisfactory results.
4. Consider Natural Remedies
If you are sensitive to pesticides or have small children or pets, you might turn to natural remedies for pest control. Many companies make sonic pest control devices that prevent bugs and even rats from nesting in your walls. They won’t work if you have pet hamsters, but they are safe for other pets.
Some plants — or their essential oils — also repel insects. Many people turn to citronella for mosquito control, and blends like catmint and eucalyptus also help. Do proceed cautiously, as many of these oils can also be toxic to household pets.
5. Keep Your Home Clean
The bottom line — pests come in because they’re looking for a meal. Like people, they need food and water to survive, and they’ll move on if the cupboard is bare. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Clean out your cabinets and toss that box of cereal you left sitting there for months.
You might need to move your refrigerator and clean behind it. Before you return it to its normal position, treat the area with gel or boric acid. If you have a full house, you have to get the entire family on board.
Washing dishes after dinner doesn’t help if your teenagers leave open bags of chips lying around their bedrooms. If you have a severe infestation, you may need to restrict dining to the kitchen until you eradicate the pests.
Manage a Pest Infestation With These Tips
When it comes to how to handle a pest infestation, the solution involves a combination of common-sense maintenance and effective bug-killing methods. With this approach, you can manage your pest problem without a ton of effort or money.
– This is a guest post not written by this websites’ owner.