Managing unwanted insects or other pests in your home is not something that most of us want to think about. Unfortunately, it is a reality for almost everyone at one time or another, particularly if you live in densely populated or tropical areas. Common occurrence or not, most people are not willing to allow pests to live in their homes along with them.
In order to eliminate the problem, you must first identify the type of pest, research ways to get rid of them and then focus on preventing their return.
Identify the Pest
You may have seen the pest in question, or there may be indicators like droppings letting you know that there is something hiding in the home. Identifying what you are dealing with is most important before choosing your pest control method.
It is easy to tell that there are mice or rats in the home because of the droppings they leave behind and the items they chew. If you notice any droppings in food areas or chew marks on food packaging, dispose of any food that may have been contaminated before proceeding with extermination. Getting rid of mice or rats is a must.
Northerners won’t have to deal with lizards in the house, but those in the south know it is an all too familiar sight.
There are many types of insects that you may find in your home as unwelcome guests. Some of the most common are ants, spiders, centipedes, cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, flies, lice and termites. Each of these bug infestations have different methods of pest control to eradicate them.
Seek Products to Eliminate Pests
Mice, rats and lizards can be caught using live or dead traps, or by hiring a pest control company to remove them. Insects can usually be dealt with by using an insecticide. There are two main types of bug sprays, chemical based and organically based.
Chemically-Based Bug Sprays
Chemically based insect repellents are often considered to be broad spectrum because they work to eliminate a wide variety of insect types. They are generally more effective at pest control than organically based bug sprays, but they also come with a degree of toxicity and the chemicals take time to breakdown in soil. However, most chemical bug sprays are considered safe for home use with some safety precautions. Some popular chemically-based bug sprays are:
- Ortho Home Defense works to kill and prevent further infestations of a variety of insects.
- Raid is an aerosol that comes in several formulas for eliminating many common bugs.
- Real Kill offers a broad-spectrum indoor fogger.
- Spectracide offers formulas for termites, stinging insects and a broad-spectrum formula for in the home.
- Terro are the experts in ant control.
- Hot Shot makes several formulas that are specific to bug types such as spiders and wasps.
Organically based bug sprays contain ingredients that are derived from plants, along with essential oils and vinegar. They are safe to use in the home and around children and animals and can be effective at pest control, although with less success than the chemical brands. Some common organically-based bug sprays are:
- Monterey Horticultural Oil is used for outdoor pest control.
- Nature’s Defense makes many organic bug control products for the home.
- EcoLogic offers pest control for inside and outside.
- Organocide makes pest control for bees.
- Dr. Earth has products for eliminating pests in the garden.
- Purely Organic has formulas for many different types of pests.
DIY Pest Spray
While not the most effective means of eliminating pests, a DIY pest spray can help in the short-term while you look for other options or be effective if used on a regular basis for minor infestations. Some popular home remedies for bug control are vinegar, pepper, peppermint oil, witch hazel, eucalyptus and lavender oils and dish soap.
There are several safety precautions that should be taken before using pest control sprays, even if they are organic since some essential oils are toxic to animals. Always take these steps before proceeding:
- Read the instructions before using.
- Do not use these sprays if you are pregnant.
- Remove animals, including birds from the area.
- After spraying, open windows for ventilation.
- All the sprays to completely dry on surfaces before allowing children and animals in the area.
You may find that hiring someone to take care of the pests is the easiest and most effective method for you, although it will be the more expensive option. Before proceeding, you will want to do your due diligence.
Research Removal Companies
Ask your friends and family if they know of a great pest company to help you with your problem. If you can’t get any personal references, try checking online for Yelp reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings. Once you have created a list of possible companies, contact each one to get a quote on the cost of the job and find out their availability. You may find a great company at a reasonable price, but if they aren’t available for a month, they probably aren’t the right choice for you.
Once you have eliminated all the pests from your home, you will want to look at methods to keep them out.
- Check the outside of your home for cracks in the foundation or in-between bricks. These may be the entry points for pests, so seal any that you find.
- Seal around doors and windows for extra protection.
- Ensure that no food is being left out to attract pests.
- Have a tight seal on garbage and recycling containers.
- Install zappers, citronella candles and/or fly traps outside to keep pests away from the house.
- Check pets for fleas regularly.
- For bed bugs, replacing the mattress or furniture that had the infestation is the best method of control. Mattress covers can also be used to prevent future infestations.
Finding and eliminating pests in the home can be an expensive and lengthy unpleasant process, but once it is complete you will be relieved, and you will know what to do if it happens again.