When it comes to pest control, most experts agree that prevention is the first step. In fact, if you follow some simple DIY pest control methods, you may never need to call in the professionals. Just removing their sources of food, water and shelter will prevent ants, roaches, mice and rats from taking up abode inside and around your house.
This handy guide will help you to figure out how to keep your home free of some common pests. Another big advantage of DIY pest control, especially for people with chemical sensitivities and allergies, is that it doesn't use harsh chemicals and pesticides. Of course there are some extreme situations and some kinds of pests, like silverfish, termites and bedbugs, that may need professional treatment.
WHAT IS DIY PEST CONTROL
There are many methods of DIY pest control, from prevention to simple remedies you can put together using basic household ingredients. They are mostly centered around keeping your home and yard free of anything that might provide food, water, or shelter to pests of different kinds. Here are some basic features of DIY pest control:
Cheap and Safe
You don't need to spend a lot of money or use highly toxic chemicals to get results.
Some simple preventative measures, like keeping your home clean indoors and out, and removing all food sources that allow pests to thrive, can produce real results.
Keeps Out Vermin
Some DIY pest control methods include making repairs that seal up cracks in walls, floors, basements and attics. This will keep out a wide variety of pests from creepy-crawlies to rats.
Getting rid of standing, stagnant water also helps to reduce the number of bugs and mosquitos.
If you do need to use some kind of pest repellent products, you can make your own using simple ingredients like borax, peppermint, lemon and cinnamon, depending on the kind of pest you're dealing with. If you do need commercial pest control products, use small amounts and make sure you take all precautions. You can also create a pest-free environment around your house by planting certain plants that repel bugs of all kinds. Finally, it's important to realize that there are some problems you can't tackle by yourself and for which you need professional help.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO DIY PEST CONTROL?
If you've ever used store-bought roach traps or sonic pest repellents, you know that they can be pretty chancy. They work in some settings and not in others. DIY pest control methods have a better chance of success, especially in the long term, because they start with basic steps like cleaning and repairs, and work by depriving pests of the things that sustain them.
People who have kids or pets, or those with chemical sensitivities and allergies may be hesitant to invite professional pest controllers into their homes. With DIY pest control, even if you use chemicals or other solutions to keep pests away, they are likely to be common household ingredients like borax or boric acid, lemon, vinegar, lavender and peppermint.
Of course, even if you keep your own home and yard clean and pest-free, you may have neighbors who are not as careful. Pests may migrate from their homes to yours, so any kind of pest control, including DIY pest control, is an ongoing process rather than a one-time operation.
BEST DIY PEST CONTROL METHODS
When using DIY pest control measures, it's best to start with some basic measures. If you need specific remedies, there are natural pest repellents you can make yourself at home. If you need to use chemical store-bought products, make sure you follow directions carefully and take all precautions. You can also choose plants for your garden that will help to make it a naturally pest-free zone.
GENERAL DIY PEST CONTROL
Pest control begins with keeping your house and yard clean and in good repair.
TIPS FOR CLEANING
- 1In the kitchen, keep all dry goods in airtight plastic or glass containers, and wipe down all counters with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. This will get rid of the food odors and particles that attract ants and roaches.
- 2Insects need water to survive and will live off drips and leaks. Fix leaks immediately in all faucets in the kitchen and bathroom.
- 3Use a covered trash can, and rinse food and drink containers before putting them in the recycling bin.
- 4Vacuum your home frequently.
- 5Wash clothes, bed linens and other furnishings frequently and dry them at high heat. This will kill off the bugs.
- 6Don't leave unwashed dishes in the sink.
- 7Dry drains give roaches and other bugs a way into your home, so make sure that all drains, even in less-frequently used areas like spare bathrooms and galley kitchens, don't go dry. You can do this by running water in them occasionally even if they are not being used.
TIPS FOR REPAIRING
Next, consider what home repairs are necessary to block all means of access to your home for pests. This could mean fixing the roof, closing gaps and holes in walls and floors to keep out mice, and fixing cracks in pipes to prevent cockroaches from finding a way in. Even spaces and gaps around plumbing and electrical fixtures should be closed.
Next, take a look at the surroundings of your home. Remove all sources of food, and also anything that might collect water. Standing water, heaps of dry leaves, debris and even stacks of firewood can attract insects and mosquitos. Make sure the gutters are clear.
Both inside and outside the home, whether it's the basement, attic, garage or shed, use plastic containers for storage instead of cardboard boxes. Avoid using too much mulch next to the outside walls, since it can become a home for mosquitos.
MAKE YOUR OWN PEST REPELLENT SOLUTIONS
By now you're starting to get the picture: bugs and pest of all kinds hate clean homes. Even more, they hate nice smells like lemon, peppermint, cinnamon and lavender. You can make your own bug sprays with these ingredients in a solution with water,to get rid of ants and other creepy crawlies. Just spray or wipe across all door thresholds, window sills and other possible entry points.
You can also use coffee grounds to repel ants. For fire ants, you can wipe a soapy cloth or paper towel across their line of march at the point where it enters the house. This will cause them to lose the scent and change their direction.
If you have to use store-bought chemical sprays and pest repellents, read and follow all directions carefully. Make sure you're using the right product for the kind of pest you're dealing with and use only the recommended amount. Make sure that it's stored safely and keep kids and pets away from any treated area. Ventilate treated areas thoroughly before returning to normal use.
PLANTING A PEST CONTROL GARDEN
Sometimes natural pest control works best, and you can begin by planting flowers and shrubs that keep mosquitos and bugs away. Citronella, marigold, lemongrass, lavender and catnip can be planted close to the house. Basil and rosemary can be grown indoors in small pots. You'll have a herb garden as well as protection from bugs and roaches.
Some animals like possums and even moles are actually natural pest controllers. They eat vast amounts of bugs, fleas, and mosquitoes. So you may want to encourage them if they are in your area. Many gardeners consider moles to be pests themselves, but they do more good than harm.
WHEN TO CALL THE PROFESSIONALS
There are cases where DIY pest control doesn't work and your only choice is to call in the professionals. For certain types of pests, like termites, silverfish, bedbugs, moths and woodworm, there are no good DIY methods and they can do serious structural damage to your house.
Outdoors, if you have a wasps nest, again you need to call the professional pest controllers. You could get some nasty stings if you try and remove it yourself. For bees you will also have to call in a professional. Bees are a protected species and an unwanted beehive can only be removed by a beekeeper.
If you happen to have a squirrel that has decided to make its home in your attic or within the walls, it's best to call in humane animal control. They will trap the creature instead of killing it and release it in a suitable habitat at a distance. They will also block up all paths into the house to prevent a repeat.
If you keep seeing traces of roaches in your kitchen or mosquitos are making your life a misery when you go outdoors, it's good to know that there are DIY pest control methods that can help. These are mostly common sense rules about keeping your house and yard clean and free of anything that might sustain pests. However, in certain cases, and for some kinds of bugs, there are no good do-it-yourself solutions and you will need to call for professional help.