Several types of pests can invade your home, from rodents such as mice and rats to insects such as moths, mosquitoes, and ants, to other creepy crawlies like spiders – very few homes are completely safe from invasion. Pests can infiltrate your kitchen, pantry, closets, bathrooms, basements, attics, and just about anywhere else they can access.
Many come into homes and buildings through cracks and crevices in the building’s foundation or structure. Others enter through windows and doors that aren’t properly sealed. Some come in to find shelter from the cold weather, while others come inside searching for food. Some come in for both reasons.
Regardless of why they enter your home, pests can be a nuisance. Most are unattractive to look at and can be annoying, especially when you find droppings or hear certain pest-related sounds. More severely, some can destroy your home, and others can pose certain health risks.
As a homeowner, you must recognize the type of pests your home is susceptible to and methods for pest controlling, eliminating and preventing these pests from occurring.
Types of Household Pests
An important part of home pest control is first identifying the type of pests in your home. There are several kinds: flying, jumping, crawling, and more. Some can destroy wood or fabrics or infest your food items. Others can bite or sting you. Some may feed on your blood. Others may leave droppings behind that, when breathed in, can cause illness. No matter what type of pest you have, it’s crucial to identify and learn the steps needed to eliminate them from your home.
Common types of pests can be categorized into four main categories:
- Flying pests: Flying pests include various winged insects, including moths, flies, bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, mosquitoes, certain types of beetles, flying ants, and termite swarmers. Flying insects come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some sting, others bite, and some are harmless. Certain flying insects can transmit certain viruses. For example, mosquitoes can transmit the West Nile Virus, the Zika virus, and Malaria. Depending on where you live, you may occasionally see a bat enter your home.
- Jumping pests: The most common jumping pests that can invade your home include fleas, crickets, springtails, and certain spiders. These pests are mostly harmless, though fleas can transmit diseases between household pets and sometimes even humans.
- Crawling or walking pests: There is a variety of crawling and walking pests, including rodents such as mice and rats, arachnoids like spiders, and then insects like millipedes, centipedes, beetles, cockroaches, ants, and various mites. Some of these pests can produce venom or be poisonous – especially for certain spiders and insects such as centipedes. Other walking insects, such as rats and mice, can leave behind droppings that can contaminate food and may transmit diseases to humans.
- Wood-destroying pests: Wood-destroying pets can damage your home’s structure and other possessions. These pests can be difficult to get rid of and often require the help of a professional pest control company. Wood-destroying pests include termites, carpenter ants, old house borers, powderpost beetles, and carpenter bees.
Some pests are easy to identify. However, identifying the right species can be difficult. For example, there are many species of beetles, and if you see a beetle in your home, it can be hard to distinguish one from another. The same goes for spiders. It can even be challenging to distinguish a millipede from a centipede. Luckily, there are many resources you can use to help identify potential pests, including:
- Phone apps and other internet-based systems
- Books on insects
- Professional opinions
How To Control Pests at Home
There are several ways to control pests at home, either in an attempt to rid your home of a current infestation problem or to prevent one from occurring.
Many people choose not to deal with pests on their own and instead opt for outside help from a professional pest control company or exterminator. In some cases, bringing in a professional is the best option, especially if you’re dealing with a larger-than-average infestation problem or if you’re dealing with something you can’t quite see yourself, such as bed bugs or termites. Another reason to call a professional might be when you’re dealing with bats since bats can often carry diseases, such as rabies and external parasites.
You may also experiment with pesticides and insecticides on your own. However, many of these products can and do contain harsh chemicals, so you must follow their instructions carefully and wear protective gear when handling these products. You must also understand the risks associated with such products. Pesticides, for example, can carry a risk of certain cancers from exposure. They may also be dangerous to household pets.
Besides enlisting help from a professional, using pesticides on your own, or purchasing various pest-specific traps such as mouse traps and ant traps, there are a few other steps you can take in your pest control journey, including do-it-yourself (DIY) measures.
Pest Control DIY. Many people have successfully used certain home remedies to deter pests from entering their homes. Common pest control DIY solutions include using neem oil, peppermint oil, garlic and onion spray, boric acid and vinegar. These solutions are eco-friendly and will not harm the environment, you, or your household pets. Many of these solutions can be easily found in health food stores or drug marts and work on various pests. You may want to spray these oils and sprays indoors, around cracks and crevices, your windows and doors, and even outside.
There are many DIY pest control solutions. Many contain ingredients you may already have lying around your home, such as soaps and oils. Others shouldn’t be too hard to find at your local grocery or convenience store. Regardless, DIY pest control solutions are safer than using harsh chemicals and pesticides.
Pest Control Tips
There are several pest control tips you can take to ensure that your home remains pest free. For example, ensure that any cracks in your foundation are properly dealt with. Also, you’ll want to ensure that any weather stripping is replaced or repaired and that doors and windows are sealed snugly when closed. Additionally, ensure that you’re practicing good sanitation and organization throughout your home and keep your basements, attics, and crawl spaces dry and well-ventilated.
Other pest control tips include:
- Ensure kitchen counters and pantries are kept clean, and that food is stored in airtight containers.
- Garbage should also be disposed of regularly in snuggly-sealed containers.
- Regularly inspect items, especially those in storage, for any sign of infestations.
- Have a good outdoor drainage system with good gutters to help keep water moving away from your home. Pests love moist areas, so keeping water from leaking inside your home is essential.