Ants in the entryway or earwigs in the closet? If these common pests are making you squirm, you’re not alone. It’s normal for bugs to make their way into your home in the summer, but you don’t have to let them stay!
Common Bugs That Pose a Problem
- Fleas (especially if you have four-legged friends)
If your space is currently home to more than its fair share of any of these pests, here are a few tips for ridding your house of common insects and pest-proofing your home for the future.
Handling an Infestation
You have several options for handling an infestation, ranging from mechanical to chemical. The first step is always to identify what type of pest you’re dealing with and where they’re coming from.
Then, follow up with one of these pest control strategies.
- Traps: Store-bought traps can be very effective for difficult pests like cockroaches. Most traps involve bait and a glue or sticking agents to hold the insects on the trap. Some traps, especially for winged bugs, use containers with bait, so once the insect flies inside, it can’t get back out.
- Household Products:
- Dish Soap: Spray diluted dish soap on ant-infested areas to get rid of these pests. It helps eliminate the scent of their trails.
- Lavender: Flies, moths, and mosquitos hate the scent of lavender. You can hang dried bouquets of lavender in entryways, or dab a small amount of essential oil in problem spots.
- Lemon: Rubbing a lemon peel around entryways, windows, and baseboards can help deter spiders and other insects.
- Vinegar: A squirt of dish soap with your vinegar will attract and then trap any fruit flies or standard flies that may be swarming around your kitchen fruit bowl. A cocktail of vinegar, lemon juice, and witch hazel is also effective for ridding your home of fleas.
- Chemical Insecticides: If you have a stubborn pest or an infestation larger than the pointed interventions above can address, consider using one of the pesticides available commercially. Pesticide Environmental Stewardship offers a guide to Using Pesticides Safely and Correctly, and here are some of the key highlights:
- Choose the pesticide that will target your pest (an insecticide specifically for spiders or mites, for example).
- Wear protective clothing and safety gear (including goggles and gloves).
- Apply only as much as the label instructs.
- Do not apply in windy or rainy weather.
Photo: chee gin tan via gettyimages.com
When to Call the Pros
If you’ve tried traps, natural, and chemical strategies, and you still have unwanted houseguests, it’s definitely time to call in the pros. (Although, there’s no shame in bringing in the pros after even one unsuccessful DIY pest control option, especially if you’ve got a phobia of your pest.)
Make sure to read up on the pesticide they will be using around your home and how long you should keep children or animals out of the area.
Pest-Proofing Your Home
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep your home pest-free with some simple daily guidelines.
Start by removing the things that make your home inviting to bugs, like cluttered places to hide, scraps of food (or trash), and standing water. You may even want to cover pet water bowls at night and tightly cover any garbage cans in your house.
Here are several additional measures you can take to pest-proof your home:
- Seal cracks with caulk.
- Seal around windows and doors with weather stripping or door sweeps.
- Fill holes with steel wool.
- Store food only in the kitchen and only in sealed containers (even dry goods like pasta, flour, crackers, etc.).
- Sweep up any spills and crumbs.
- Take out the garbage frequently.
- Vacuum and sweep regularly.
- Remove any standing water (around houseplants, leaky faucets, etc.).
- Keep the perimeter of the house free of clutter and yard debris.
- Stack firewood away from the house.
- Remove weeds and old leaves, anything that’s a good hiding place for pests.
This summer, don’t let those bugs get the better of you. Target your pests, eliminate any already in your space, and use our tips to maintain a clean, pest-free, and pest-proof home.
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