Are household pests ruining your home life?
What can start as one or two incidents can quickly turn into a full-blown infestation. Did you see some ants on the kitchen counter yesterday? Maybe you’ve been hearing faint squeaking and scurrying from inside your walls.
If you value your mental and physical health, you need to find out how these pests are making their way into your home. Deal with household pests quickly before you find yourself in a position where you have no choice but to call in professionals.
Don’t know where to start? Below are six common household pests and easy ways to get rid of them without resorting to outside help. Good luck!
If your garden has tree branches that touch the house exterior, particularly near windows and roofing, trim them back. Ants may feed on aphids on trees and find their way into your home via connected branches and stems. Should this happen, make sure that indoor surfaces are always clean.
Food debris and residue shouldn’t stay on your countertops and tables. Use airtight containers for pantry supplies. If you discover a line of ants, sprinkle a thick line of salt, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon across it. You may also draw using chalk to disrupt the ant procession.
Place pots or dried bunches of mint in problem areas, or wipe down with water mixed with a bit of eucalyptus oil. Keep this same solution, or water and vinegar or dish soap, in a spray bottle. Use this to spritz and quickly ward off ants in an area. Should you uncover an ant infestation, you can use over-the-counter ant killing solutions.
Cockroaches may find their way into your home through small cracks and holes, as well as through the pipes. Roaches may also be carried in inadvertently, through bags or cardboard boxes brought in from external storage areas.
Like ants, they invade your home because they are looking for food sources. If you keep a clean house, cockroaches are less likely to stay. However, always check narrow and dark spots indoors—behind the bathroom sink, dark drawers, etc.—to make sure your place is roach-free.
Some home fixes include placing cucumber ends, vanilla beans, or pyrethrum daisies in cupboards and pantries. You may also use a blender to mix one chopped onion with some baking soda and water. The resulting mixture should be applied to problem areas of your home, particularly where cockroaches enter or congregate.
Fruit Flies and House Flies
Flies can definitely be a problem in warmer or more humid climates. There are many varieties that may disturb your home life, but the two most common are fruit flies and house flies.
Prevention is easy and practical: Install screen panels for doors and windows or keep them closed at all times, cover food left on the counter with plastic or mesh domes, and situate your outdoor garbage far from entryways.
Should you still find flies indoors after these tips, don’t worry. It’s easy to make a homemade fly trap. Take a jar and pour an inch or so of balsamic or apple cider vinegar in it, along with some drops of dish soap. Cover with plastic wrap secured with rubber bands over the top. Poke small holes in the plastic for the flies to get in.
Do you have a surplus of fresh fruit in your fridge? You can use some of it for a trap specifically intended for fruit flies. Get a bowl and place some cut fruit in it. Then cover with plastic wrap and poke holes as with the vinegar trap.
Traps for mice are some of the most high profile items available commercially when it comes to DIY pest control. There are many types, too: reusable traps, humane traps, classic spring-loaded traps, and more.
The reason for this is simple: Unlike insects, mice are hard to catch and deal with as pests. Because they’re mammals, some people are also squeamish about killing them. Our advice? If you’re not used to dealing with mice as household pests, you may want to call in the professionals.
DIY-wise? The best offense is a great defense. As with other pests, you’ll want to make sure your home is sealed tight, with no ignored entryways, no matter how small. Seal holes and cracks in all baseboards and walls. Use steel wool so mice won’t be able to chew through the sealant.
Like most flies, mosquitoes thrive in humid environments. These pests also need still water to propagate and breed.
Preventative measures are similar to those you would take for flies: Screens on doors, windows, and entry points should be closed as much as possible. You should also keep your garden free of weeds and your grass cut short so as to avoid unseen water puddles. Drain cans and bottles completely before disposal. Keep gutters, planter saucers, birdbaths, and kiddie pools dry when not in use.
Spread cedar mulch in your garden to repel mosquitoes. You may also keep pots of basil, citronella, lavender, and lemongrass around or inside your home. These plants ward off mosquitoes and keep them from nesting.
Also called paramites, fishmoths, or carpet sharks, these pests are small and wingless. Like flies and mosquitoes, they love humid and moist conditions. As they’re good at hiding, entire infestations can go unnoticed until it’s too late to DIY your pest control measures.
Check your attic, linen closets, dark pantries, baseboards, bathrooms, and basement regularly for silverfish. They may also be in carpet corners, household decorations in storage, and inside book bindings, as they feed on polysaccharides and starch found in these places.
If you see silverfish in your home, spread cedar chips in the affected area right away. These pests dislike the smell of cedar and will keep away.
You may also create a silverfish trap by placing pieces of bread inside a jar and covering the sides completely with textured masking tape. The pests will be able to climb up the tape to reach the bread, but won’t be able to climb out due to the smooth glass.