There are lots of preventative measures you can take to avoid an infestation of unwanted pests. The main thing to do is to keep clean and tidy. Ensure food is stored in airtight containers, take the trash out regularly and make sure your garbage bins are not too near the doors of your house; store them a distance away if possible. The same applies to your shed or outbuildings; keep birdseed or wildlife food in containers and avoid storing cushions in there which may be used as bedding for rats, for example. Recycle cardboard and newspapers when you have finished with them; don’t leave them as nesting material! If you spill anything, clean it up right away. Wash up dishes when a meal is finished or put the dishwasher on so there is no build-up of dirty plates. Clean up pet dishes too; never leave their food out overnight. Fix any holes and cracks so there is nothing for a pest to snuggle up in! Keep firewood supplies away from the house too; they’re another invitation for pests.

Here are some ways to keep certain pests at bay.

Pest free home

Creepy Crawlies

There are lots of ways to keep ants away from your home.  The best of way is to sprinkle a natural deterrent at all entrances to your house.  Some examples are cinnamon, chilli pepper, cloves, coffee grounds, cream of tartar, dried peppermint, garlic, lemon juice and peel or paprika.

As well as knowing how to get rid of spiders, it is useful to know which ones are dangerous and which are harmless.  There are a variety of treatments you can use to get rid of a spider infestation, including natural products and sprays.

In order to keep cockroaches and mosquitos away, keep your house as dry as possible.  Don’t leave washing up water in the sink and make sure there are no leaky pipes in your house that could create puddles.

Termites love mulch piles, woodpiles and wooden structures, so ensure they are well away from the house’s foundation (at least thirty feet away) and keep plant material away too.  Try non-toxic treatments such as orange oil, neem tree oil or Borax.  You could also try using nematodes in your back yard to help keep termites to a minimum.

Attic Pests

There are lot of animals that could make their way to your attic, including bats, squirrels and even racoons!  It is always best to call a professional pest control company to remove them. Here are some ways to prevent them making their way to your attic in the first place: keep your attic as tidy as possible and store items in sealable containers; check for cracks or holes on the inside and outside of the attic and seal them with steel wool or a silicone-based caulk; use sealable trash cans and keep them away from the house; cover any vents or roof openings with high quality, rust-proof wire mesh; ensure any tree branches or plants are cut back to stop animals getting to your roof; if you have a chimney, put a cap on it.

Invisible or Difficult to See

Bed bugs are not so easy to keep out of your bed!  You can wash your sheets, pillows and towels but they also reside in clothing and curtains, which should be washed and dried on the hottest setting for at least half an hour. If you know you have an infestation of bed bugs, you would be better off contacting a pest control company who can deal with them much more effectively. It is a good idea to use pure essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree, clove or thyme to repel bed bugs; as they like travelling, use one in your suitcase before you go on holiday and before you travel home to avoid bringing them with you.

Fleas can pass on nasty diseases such as tapeworms and typhus. Pets can be treated for fleas but if they get in the house, they can be hard to get rid of.  Vacuum regularly, wash pets often and use traps to attract them. Try citronella, lemon, rosemary and wormwood to get rid of fleas.

Mites cannot be seen, so the best ways to get rid of them are to invest in a dehumidifier, vacuum and more sleeping areas regularly and wash bedding and curtains.

Flying Pests

Bees and wasps are useful so don’t remove them unless they are in your home or someone in your home has a severe allergy. If you need to get rid of a nest, wait until the queen leaves and then fill the nest with dirt.

Don’t let birds roost in the first place!  You could install metal bird spikes or nets with plastic or metal bird slides on ledges to discourage birds from congregating.  Don’t feed birds or they will come back for more and then you could end up with a problem.

Not so Cute and Cuddly

You will know if rabbits are on your territory if you see rabbit droppings on the ground, but if there is a family of rabbits nearby there will be a lot of damage.  Plants will be eaten, particularly vegetables, and maybe fruit trees too.  They may even have destroyed your trees and shrubs.  The best way to keep rabbits away is to use fencing such as chicken wire above and below ground.  You could also try trapping them, although there are laws about live trapping which must be adhered to and the same applies to shooting rabbits.  Make sure you understand the legislation in place.

As you are aware, rats can spread infection and diseases easily.  The best way of getting rid of them is to not let them in the first place.  Remember to keep clean and tidy.  You could also try natural remedies such as cayenne pepper, garlic or horseradish.  Some ways to tell if you have rats include dark, pellet-shaped droppings or gnawing marks on woodwork, electric cables and pipes.  You might hear scratching, gnawing or scuttling sounds too.

Published in: Home advice | Author: Pete


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