Finding pests in the home can be an unsettling experience – just ask any householder who’s seen a mouse scurrying towards them! Depending on the pest, you may choose to seek professional help. But here are some useful tips to deal with the most common household pests yourself.
Why pests can be a major problem
Invasive species such as rats, fleas and wasps can be a major problem in any home. From biting through cables to infesting mattresses and swarming in lofts, invading pests can cause damage and disruption that belies their small size.
What are the most common pests?
It’s a good idea to know your enemy! The most common household pests to watch out for are:
- Rodents – Rats and mice
- Flying insects – Wasps, moths and flies
- House bugs – Cockroaches, ants, fleas and bed bugs
Here’s how you can deal with common pests yourself:
Rats and mice
Look out for dark droppings, about the size of a grain of rice for mice and somewhat larger for rats. Also, check for chewed wood and cardboard. Try and find out where they’re ‘living’ – usually in loft spaces, garages, cellars and basements. Then lay traps, with a bit of food to entice them near. A variety of traps (including humane traps) can be bought online.
Block up their entry points as best you can. It can also be a good idea to seal food away in airtight containers until you’ve dealt with the problem.
They’re obviously somewhat angry creatures, but usually cause little damage! Wasps are easy to find as the nest is usually close to where they’re flying in and out, normally around your roof’s eves. Fortunately, due to the danger they pose, if you contact your local council, they should send out a pest control team to get rid of nesting wasps for free.
A moth infestation can cause serious damage to clothes, carpets, curtains and other soft furnishings, potentially munching through thousands of pounds worth of goods. A vigorous cleaning regime will help get rid of the moths’ larvae, as does exposure to sunlight. But essentially the only tried and tested remedy available to householders is the good old mothball. Place the mothballs strategically in affected areas but be careful as they’re poisonous if eaten.
With flies it’s simply a case of trial and error using fly-traps, fly-tape, powders and sprays, which can be bought online. Try and avoid leaving food out and keep surfaces very clean.
Cockroaches and ants
For most of the creepy-crawly types of pests, such as cockroaches and ants, anti-insect powder laid around access and nesting areas works well. Sealing entry points is also important, if possible.
Fleas and bedbugs
Although usually found in mattresses, sofas and chairs, fleas and bugs can infest any part of a home. The key is to vigorously hoover, and wash bed linen, duvets and affected furnishings and areas thoroughly – it’s a good idea to use a steam cleaner if you have one, as heat can kill the bugs.
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