cleaning

7 Common House Pests and How to Avoid Them

Pests inside our homes can be a very upsetting problem. We expect the house to be our sanctuary from the worries of the outside world, so uninvited wildlife of any size is not the kind of company we want.

There are lots of ways to control pests, many of which are very effective. But it takes that blood-curdling surprise of finding them to know that treatment is necessary. There is no doubt that when it comes to pests, prevention is far preferable to treatment. So with that in mind, here are some solutions for preventing an infestation of seven common household pests.

Termites

The scariest thing about these pests is how much money they can cost you by silently boring away at the wood in your home. Many times, the damage has already run into the thousands before you see the first insect. They operate out of sight in damp, sheltered areas, slowly eating your wood from the inside out.

Preventing termites typically requires preventive sprays, but you can help by keeping wood from touching the soil near your house. That includes wood that is part of the structure as well as wood stored near the house, such as firewood or unused lumber. These refuge areas provide a place for the colony to expand its ranks before invading.

Ants

Famous for more ruining more than just picnics, ants are a notorious household pest. They find their way into the home and feed on any kind of food they can find, forming long chains of specimens who march soldier-like between the outdoor colony and the food source inside your house.

Cleanup and exclusion are essential with ants. Make sure door sweeps are tight and gaps are caulked. Clean up any spilled food, especially sugary materials like sodas and fruit juices.

Cockroaches

These are perhaps the most unpleasant of all the insect pests. Not only are they creepy to look at, they carry a huge stigma of telling the world that your house is not clean. They are also notoriously difficult to eliminate.

Once again, cleanup and exclusion are key. Check thoroughly inside cabinets and cupboards for any spilled food, and make sure that containers are airtight canisters or bags that cockroaches can’t chew through. Various treatments can eliminate an infestation and also limit its growth in the early days.

Mice

If there is a pest more widely reviled than a cockroach, it’s a mouse. They have a terrible habit of invading your home and surprising you when you turn on the lights. They can often be heard scampering inside your walls, and they leave their droppings and chewed-up nest messes randomly throughout the house.

Because mice are bigger than insects, they are obviously much easier to exclude from the house. With that said, though, mice can make entry through surprisingly small openings. Thoroughly inspect all doors, windows, walls, dryer vents, and other points of entry to make sure that even the tiniest opportunity is taken away. And don’t forget organic control–which is to say, a nice hungry cat.

Fleas

Speaking of pets, our furry friends can work against our attempts to control pests inside the home. Cats and dogs who spend time both indoors and out can function as a sort of taxicab for fleas, picking them up outdoors and then depositing them inside the house.

The ideal arrangement is to have your pets either inside or out and not both, but many people don’t want to do that. In addition to treating your pet directly for fleas, you can also apply products to your yard to reduce their population. On the inside, good cleaning is essential to limiting egg development. Brisbane Carpestology steam cleaning can provide the deep cleaning necessary to get fleas out of the home when your pets have brought them in. If you want more information on how to remove fleas naturally for your pet I recommend this article which covers the top 10 ways to prevent and get rid of fleas.

Fruit Flies

There has never been a more prolific pest than the fruit fly. Their generations turn over so rapidly that they quickly became a favorite test subject for scientists, and that same multiplication skill makes them a true pest inside the home. It doesn’t take long for a few fruit flies to turn into a fluttering infestation around your kitchen.

Like many pests, fruit flies are easier to control when they lose their food source. Store fruit inside closed containers, or better yet in the refrigerator. Clean food preparation areas thoroughly–very thoroughly. Even a few drops of juice can provide a nourishing meal for a few fruit flies, so clean countertops, gaps around sinks, drawer fronts, floors, and anywhere else where you may have splattered a little juice, soda, or other form of sugar.

Spiders

Perhaps this is the granddaddy of them all. Nobody likes to see a spider scampering across their floor, nor is there any love for their webs strung around the dark corners of the house.

The location of those webs is a good lead on how to control spiders. Because they feed on other insects, spiders string their webs in the less-disturbed areas of the home where their prey is most likely to feel safe. Guest rooms, basements, and other rarely-used rooms are the ideal place for spiders to hunt, so pay attention to those areas. Turn the lights on for a while each day. Vacuum up spider webs as they accumulate along baseboards and ceilings. And remember that the more you can do to eliminate other insects, the more you’ve done to eliminate spiders.

Some common themes are obvious in our tips. Reducing movement into the house and removing food sources are at the top of the list, and preventive chemical treatments can have a big impact as well. The important thing to remember about reducing pest problems is that you must be alert at all times. Never let wood accumulate around the house. Seal all doors and windows tightly. Clean up food spills. The basics are the same no matter what creepy critter you are dealing with, so developing a good plan for prevention will reduce the need for treatment.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen.com and Ways2GoGreenBlog.com. I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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