Household pests, like roaches or mice, are not only scary and gross, they leave disease and bacteria behind that can be detrimental to your health. Here are some tips to help you rid your home of typical household pests. And whether you take an organic, homemade or commercial approach, always take precautions to keep any insecticide or bait away from children and pets.
Roaches Roaches can be carried into your home from paper grocery bags and cardboard boxes; they are attracted to paper and glue and often lay their eggs in paper products. Once the bags or boxes are in your home, the eggs can hatch. First, get rid of any paper bags or boxes immediately. If you see a lot of roaches, you should call a professional exterminator. But if there are only a few roaches, try a commercial cockroach bait or spray or make a homemade bait of one part boric acid, two parts flour and one part cocoa. Sprinkle the bait wherever you see the roaches.
Moths Moths are attracted to woolens like blankets and sweaters and can cause damage to these items by chewing on them. Always thoroughly wash or dry clean woolens before storing them at the end of the season. You can naturally deter moths with cedar blocks or dried lavender sachets in your closets and drawers. Moth balls are great at deterring moths, but they leave a telltale odor and you will have to wash blankets and sweaters again before using them.
Termites These wood eating pests are most prevalent in southern climates and they can cause extensive damage to wood structures, sills, thresholds and beams. If you find termites in or around your home, it is best to consult with a professional exterminator.
Ants If you see ants in your house or see them coming and going around a window or exterior door, you can try a commercial trap or insecticide to kill them. There are some homemade remedies, such as cinnamon, black pepper, talcum power or salt, that will deter ants. However, if you believe that ants have made a nest in your home, you should call an exterminator. Carpenter ants, in particular, can cause extensive damage if left unchecked.
Spiders An occasional spider is more of a nuisance than a problem and itís easy enough to kill them or pick them up with a paper towel and turn them loose outdoors. Spiders are actually beneficial in the garden because they prey on other harmful insects. Of course, poisonous spiders are another matter and you do not want to expose yourself to a potentially dangerous bite. If you see a great number of spiders in your home you can use insecticidal sprays or vacuum them up with a vacuum cleaner, and then dispose of the bag.
Aphids Aphids can be a problem on indoor or outdoor plants; they are small soft bodied insects that can be white, black, green or red in color. Outdoors, you can rinse off the plant with a strong spray from the garden hose. You can also mix ordinary dish soap or insecticidal soap and water in a spray bottle to spray indoor plants or treat small outdoor infestations. After an hour or so, rinse away the soap. Continue this treatment as often as needed.
Mice A mouse trap is still an effective way to catch an occasional mouse that gets into the house. If you are seeing evidence of an infestation however, you may have to resort to poisonous bait or a professional exterminator. Examine the outside of your home to see if you can determine where they may be getting in; typically they will squeeze in through cracks in the foundation or through openings around pipes or conduit. Repair any foundation cracks with mortar and caulk any other openings.
Raccoons Raccoons love to raid your trash cans looking for a free meal. Adding a small amount of ammonia to the trash bag or spraying ammonia on the trashcan will help deter them.
Chipmunks and Squirrels Chipmunks and squirrels sometimes end up getting into your chimney and a little bit of ammonia can help you drive them away. Pour a small amount of ammonia into a shallow pan and place it in your hearth and then open the chimney flue so the fumes can waft up the chimney. Once you are sure they are no longer inhabiting your chimney, install a metal mesh screen at the top of the chimney.
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