Controlling common household pests has been a problem for humans for millenia. What person wants creepy, crawly, and disgusting things living in their house with them? The answer is, nobody. Fortunately, people have developed many useful tricks for controlling common household pests over the years. And the best control methods are ones that keep pests outside your home where they belong in the first place. As they say, an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.
Useful Tricks to Control the 5 Most Common Household Pests
- Cockroaches — These insects range from half an inch to two inches long. They can contaminate food sources, destroy fabric or paper, and, in some cases, spread diseases like hepatitis, staphylococcus, and salmonella. Over-the-counter bug sprays are not an effective method for extended control of cockroaches, which are the number one most-common household pest. What’s more effective is to locate and remove all potential sources of food, water, and hiding places. Using cockroach traps will also help you track when/where they reappear so you can manage them more quickly and effectively.
- Mice –Even if you don’t see mice scurrying through your home, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. Look for their droppings (they look like oversized coffee grounds) to identify a potential mouse infestation. The biggest problem with mice is they leave urine and excrement on household objects, including clothing. They may also nibble on soft objects like pillows, books, and fabric. The best way to control mice is to keep them from getting into your home in the first place. Do this by sealing up all food sources tightly, including any potential food sources like birdseed or pet foods. Store all dry foods like flour in secure glass or plastic containers. Mice can slip through the tiniest cracks, so seal up any cracks coming from outside the house that you can find. Mice can reproduce up to ten times a year, so consider also using glue boards and/or a rondenticide to capture and kill them.
- Rats — If you find burrows in your garden or compost pile, it’s a good bet rats are also in your house. They settle in near food sources. Other indicators of a rat problem are cats dragging them inside, hearing rustling in your attic around dusk, and spotting rats running across fences and electrical lines. As with mice, clean up any spills or sticky spots, and seal all dry goods in tight, non-wooden containers. Seal all cracks from the outside world bigger than one quarter inch with steel wool or sheet metal, because rats can nibble their way through wood. Instead of using a rodenticide, try rat traps instead. This prevents rats creating a stench by dying inside your walls or other inaccessible places.
- Termites — Easily the most destructive of common household pests, a queen termite can lay thousands of eggs in a single day, causing incredible, exponential damage. If you find wood in your home that appears tunneled in, darkened, or blistered, it’s likely you have a termite infestation. You should call a professional to help control them. Prevent future infestations by keeping your house as dry as possible. Mop up puddles of standing water, and don’t let sinks or buckets stand with water in them for too long. Keep wood attached to the house at least 12 inches off the ground, including things like wooden siding.
- Ants — Ants in your home are annoying, but they don’t carry disease and this common household pest is relatively simple to control. Take anything covered in ants outside ASAP. Clean up any remaining ants with warm, soapy water. Then make sure to clean up all crumbs, sticky spots, food stains, etc. Keep ants from returning by calking holes in doors and window trim. Trim all outside plants so they stop at least a foot from your house. This also applies to mulch . Use outdoor ant baits to discourage ants from coming back into the house.
Except for getting rid of termites, all these useful tricks for controlling common household pests are non-toxic and easy to implement and maintain. Household pests are simply a reality, but usually more annoyance than actual danger. Get on top of and keep up with pest infestations to make sure they stay that way.