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Are Pests taking over your home?

July 4, 2016

House breaker

There’s nothing worse than walking into the kitchen to grab a snack and catching a little brown flash scurrying across the kitchen floor. What was that?? Or worse, you find “remnants” of rodents or insects in, on, or under your furniture and in your cabinets.  Gross.

Pests are a very common problem in many homes. It’s a big world and we have to share it with all of earth’s creatures, but we don’t have to share it under our own roof.

There are a couple of different options when pest proofing your home. You can take the non-toxic route to ward off your creepy little friends or you can go with an all out chemical assault in a mission to eradicate your unwanted visitors.

Pest Control Services and Store Bought Chemicals

A pest control service like Orkin or Terminix can be very simple and effective in removing most of the creepy, the crawly, and the furry. Pest control companies have a variety of services including regular inspections and treatments. They typically use chemicals that are toxic to humans and pets so when using a pest control service be sure to ask about the chemicals they use and any potentially harmful effects those chemicals may cause.

There are also many over the counter chemicals that you can purchase and apply yourself. When purchasing pest control chemicals, thoroughly read the labels and warnings on the containers. These chemicals can be hazardous to your health as well as the health and well being of children and pets so follow the directions strictly and heed the warnings outlined by the manufacturer.

If you’re worried about the potentially harmful effects of chemicals, there are alternative non-toxic means by which to rid your home of the uninvited.

Non-Toxic Solutions for Common Household Pests

Ants and Cockroaches:  We appreciate your dedication to teamwork ants, just go do it somewhere else. Cockroaches, you’re gross and just not welcome. Here’s how to handle these insects:

  • Remove attractants: Keep counters and floors free from crumbs and sticky spots. Cover food containers and don’t leave food encrusted dishes in the sink. Seal your trash, secure water leaks, and don’t leave standing water around like dishes soaking in the sink (ants and roaches love a pool party)
  • Ants: Trace the ants to their point of entry into your home. Place any of the following at that point; Sliced cucumber (yes, ants hate them), bags of mint tea, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, citrus oil, cinnamon, or coffee grounds. All will act as a natural deterrent to the ant army
  • Cockroaches: Use natural deterrents in affected areas such as; Sliced cucumber (yep, roaches hate ‘em too), bay leaves, or garlic cloves. Catnip is also a safe natural roach repellent. Place satchels of catnip in affected areas or simmer some catnip in water, place in a spray bottle and spray around affected areas. Don’t do this if you have a cat, unless you want a perpetually drunk feline staggering around the house
  • Place non-toxic traps in affected areas
  • Keep a spray bottle with soapy water handy and spray the stragglers that get by the deterrents
  • Use Diatomaceous Earth: Say what? Tough to say but even tougher on insects and safe for humans. Check out Diatomaceous Earth and other non-toxic insect control products here

Mice and Rats: Great subjects for a Disney feature film, but you don’t want them starring in a movie that takes place under your kitchen sink. Here’s how to evict, and keep out the rodents:

  • Remove attractants: Keep your kitchen, bathroom, and floors clean and free from food crumbs. Seal your trash, secure water leaks, and don’t leave standing water around like dishes soaking in the sink (A few drops of water are an oasis to rodents)
  • Seal up cracks and holes in walls, baseboards, under cabinets and anywhere else in the home. Mice especially can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps and if they don’t fit, they will chew their way in, so shut them down. You can stuff steel wool in any gaps that you find to act as a blockade (rodents can’t chew through steel wool)
  • Clear wood piles and trim the grass around the house. Wood piles and tall grass are a great place for rodents to hang out and conspire
  • Place traps near baseboards and suspected points of entry. Frankly, some traps are more humane than others so if that’s a concern for you, do the research on rodent traps

Raccoons and other small mammals: So cute in videos on YouTube, but not so cute when they move into your attic and chew through everything in sight. Here’s how to manage:

  • Trim back tree limbs near the house: Raccoons and other mammals will use branches as a bridge to your roof and will shimmy through open gaps or come down your chimney like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  • Keep outdoor trash cans sealed so as not to provide an open buffet for mammals. Use Bungee cords to hold down the lids if need be
  • Seal any openings around the house, especially on the roof
  • Deploy a motion activated high frequency sound wave device to deter mammals. Sounds high tech, but it’s really not, and it’s rather affordable and super effective. The cost is anywhere from $30 to $100 and well worth the money. Check out a popular one of these animal deterrent devices at The Home Depot
  • If raccoons or other small mammals have already taken up residence in your home. It can be difficult and dangerous to remove them. In that case, it’s best to call a professional trapper or pest control company to handle the extraction.

When choosing a pest control solution keep in mind that all of earth’s creatures are beautiful and amazing in their own right. Fight the good fight, respect that they do what they do, but keep them off the couch and out of the kitchen. Good luck.


Laurie Fisher
Personal Lines Account Manager

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