Topics:Garden Pests Pest Identification Pest Control Products Pest Salesmen Pest Companies Pest Prevention DIY Pest Control Pest Elimination pest control
Guest Post by Alexandra Arcand It’s a new year, and that means you're hearing about resolutions left and right. One resolution that probably doesn’t pop up on your New Year’s resolution radar is getting rid of pests. It’s not the first thing to cross your mind, but as soon as the weather gets nice and those bugs start coming around, it definitely becomes something you wish you had done sooner. On top of that, we’re all looking to save some cash any chance we can. We all want to make the best financial decisions for our home, and taking care of pests can be a pricey job. You can save money and reclaim your home from pesky pests by taking charge of your pest problems with these DIY hacks: Inside your home Keep plants around This sounds easy enough, right? There are many plants you can keep in your home to help keep pests away. Plants like mint, lavender, and basil work wonders at keeping annoying bugs clear of your house. Mint is great for keeping bugs such as flies, fleas, moths, and ants out. Lavender repels moths, flies, fleas, and mosquitoes. Basil is great for keeping flies away. Having one or all these plants around can ensure those pests find someone else to bother. Spread coffee grounds Coffee is great. It gives you a nice energy burst first thing in the morning, it smells wonderful brewing in your home, and it can also keep ants away. You heard that right, coffee is not a friend to ants. They can’t stand the smell of it. If you happen to find a few little ants making their way into your home, take some coffee grounds and place them in the spots they are coming from. This will ensure those ants hit the road and don’t come back. Head online or over to your local market and stock up on coffee so you can stay awake and keep those pests away. Use apple cider vinegar Fresh fruit is great to have around the house, especially in the summer. The only downfall from fresh fruit comes with the friends it seems to bring along, those pesky fruit flies. They’re tiny, annoying, and seem to multiply before your eyes. If you want an answer on how to get rid of them, look no further than your nearest grocery store for a bottle of apple cider vinegar. Pour a little of the vinegar in a small cup or jar, then add a drop of dish soap. Place some plastic wrap over the jar. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight and secure over the mouth of the container, then take a toothpick and poke small holes in the plastic. Leave this out in your home where the fruit flies gather for a few days and you’ll see it work its magic. The flies are drawn to the vinegar, causing them to nosedive right for it. Once they enter the plastic wrap, they’re trapped. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but in this case, reach for the vinegar. Spray peppermint oil Peppermint oil has a ton of benefits, and now you can add another to the list. Much like keeping a mint plant in your home, using peppermint oil will help keep spiders, roaches, stink bugs, and even mice away. These pests don’t like the smell of mint, so they will steer clear of your home. To make peppermint spray, mix water and peppermint oil together in a spray bottle. Depending on the size of your batch, use the ratio of 8–10 drops of oil for every half cup of water. Shake well and spray at entry points in your home such as window sills, door frames, and any cracks you may see. You can easily find peppermint oil on sites like Amazon and other online retailers. Dry lemon peels If you can’t stand the thought of moths in your home eating away at your belongings, your answer may be lemon peels. Peel a lemon and let it dry. Then place that peel wherever you wish to keep moths away from. Places like dresser drawers, chests, or closets will be sure to stay moth free. Sprinkle cornmeal If you seem to have ants and want an easy, natural way to get rid of them, use cornmeal. Ants enjoy eating cornmeal, but cannot digest it; it will kill them. Simply place some cornmeal in spots around your home where you noticed ants and in a little time, it will work its magic and your ant problem will be solved. Grab your dish soap Stink bugs are a nuisance no one wants to deal with. Use this hack to get rid of those pests without getting your hands dirty. Grab a pan, probably one you’re willing to throw away, and fill it with water. Add some dish soap and place it under a light in your home. The light will attract the stink bugs and then once they are in the water, the dish soap will stop them from getting out and bothering you any longer. Outside your home Get some bird feeders If you enjoy your time outside relaxing, grilling, or tending to your garden, annoying bugs can put a real damper on your day. An easy and natural way to control the bug population around your home is to get some bird feeders or even a bird bath. Birds naturally eat insects, so having them around your yard is a built-in insect control system. Plant away Much like keeping helpful plants inside your home, you can also benefit from planting some outside your home. Plants like chrysanthemums, marigolds, and citronella are great to have around for their bug repelling abilities. eBay and other online retailers are great places to find seeds so you can get planting. Reuse a plastic bottle Who doesn’t like a hack that helps keep pests away and lets you recycle? With this simple hack, you can keep wasps away from your home and enjoy your time outside without fear of being stung. Take an empty plastic bottle and cut it about a fourth of the way down. Remove the cap, flip the top portion upside down, and put it inside the bottom portion, making sure the mouth of the bottle is facing down. Pour a mixture of salt, sugar, and vinegar in the bottom. This mixture will attract wasps, but bees will steer clear. Leave this out on your back patio or deck and watch your wasp problems quite literally fall into it. Mow your grass You probably already try to keep your grass under control, but if you’re noticing mosquitos have been a bother and your grass is a little long, try mowing it. Mosquitos enjoy hiding in tall grass so, if you’ve gone a few weeks without a trim, you’re essentially inviting those mosquitoes to your home. Get rid of them by mowing and cleaning up the clippings afterward so the pests no longer have a hang out spot. Switch your outdoor lights to LED It’s a pretty well known fact that bugs seem to all linger around light sources. They don't, however, seem to be as fond of warm LED lights. Switching your outdoor bulbs to LED could cut down your bug problem significantly as your home won’t seem like such an invitation. Use coffee grounds, again Coffee grounds aren’t just good against ants. If you have stagnant water around your backyard, this could be a perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Sprinkling some coffee grounds in the water will cause the eggs to come to the surface, cut off the oxygen supply, and the mosquitos will die before they are able to hatch. Take these hacks into your 2020, and you’ll be sure to be living your best life, no pests included. Alexandra Arcand writes for HomeInsuranceRates.com and considers her best life to be a no pest life.
When to hire pest control services If you are one of those people who thinks it is too early in the year to worry about pest control, you may want to think again. Depending on the temperature you could have visitors in your home earlier than you would expect. Recent projections suggest that you have your home sprayed, or spray yourself, starting in March. The ideal window will come and go before we know it. If you are looking for ideas for pest control services in your area, check out these pest control providers. You may also want to read some of the recent customer reviews provided to ensure you get all of the services you need. “Pest control products or services should be health-conscious, safe, effective, and convenient.” — Stephanie Boone, Founder of Wondercide How to choose a pest control service Are pest control companies that come door-to-door worth it? It is always advisable to research the companies you do business with. Yes, research can take time and effort, but in the end, it will help you get the best bang for your buck as you work to eradicate pests from your home. Mike Duncan, Eastern Region Trainer and Entomologist with Truly Nolen, suggests considering the following things as you research pest control services: Do they perform background checks on their employees? Are they trained and registered with the regulatory agencies to perform services? Do they carry Workers Comp Insurance? Asking these questions will help you avoid paying excessive fees for poor services. Duncan adds, “If it is too good to be true, it probably is not a good deal.” Pest control on a budget Though some pest control services are not outlandishly expensive, you can take some steps on your own to protect your home. For example, you could look into investing in an electronic pest repeller. Stephen Hochman, Owner and Founder of Trusty Joe shares that these small devices, which can be plugged into standard wall outlets, are able to scatter bugs in two different ways: By emitting ultrasonic sounds which irritate pests and cause them to leave the house By sending electronic vibrations through the wiring behind the walls which also causes pests to panic and flee the home DIY solutions Who doesn’t like a good DIY project? There are many DIY options to help you get rid of pests in and around your home. Let’s start by identifying what you will need to have on hand in order to effectively get rid of your pesky pests. Safety equipment Though there are ways to DIY pest control, you should take extra precautions to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your pets. Nikki Anca, Customer Consultant with Topbest suggests investing in the following safety gear to keep you safe: Mask Disposable nitrile gloves Goggles Disposable coveralls Basic pest control products If you are planning to research all of the pest control products on the market, you will have your hands full. To help you get some ideas, Anca has provided this list of products that you may want to keep on hand: Insecticide — long residual activity to kill insects and bugs Rodenticide — long residual activity to poison mice, rats, or other rodents that attempt to enter your home Traps — Non-toxic insect glue traps, mice glue traps, and rat glue traps Insect baits — an effective solution to have a low environmental impact for eliminating ants and roaches, particularly the German Roach Organic products — non-repellent insecticides/termiticides are the most effective means of structure protection for ants and termites “Plants that naturally repel insects are Marigolds, Citronella grass, Petunias, Lavender and one of the best is Chrysanthemums. Some herbs that can be planted that will help are Mint, Basil, Chives, Bay leaves, Garlic, and Rosemary.”— Mike Duncan, Eastern Region Trainer and Entomologist with Truly Nolen Plants to the rescue There are a number of plants that act as natural repellents. If you have noticed that you have a lot of mosquitos, spiders, cockroaches, beetles, ants, or other bugs in your yard or home, a simple solution could be planting some well-known plants. Lavender — Anca suggests that you plant this in sunny areas of the garden or near entryways to your home to help keep them pest-free. Mint — Mint is known for helping reduce the number of mosquitos in your yard. Eucalyptus — Kari Warberg Block, Founder and CEO of EarthKind suggests bringing sprigs of eucalyptus into your home to repel spiders. Other — Duncan also recommends trying chrysanthemums, marigolds, citronella grass, and petunias. Indoor pest eradication One of the biggest challenges that you may face as you work to decrease the number of insects, bugs, and vermin that end up in your home, is finding out where they are getting in. At times, even when you hire a company to come in and bug-proof your home, the process can be exhaustive. Some basic solutions recommended by Matteo Grader, Pest Control Technician with Panther Pest Control, include installing or repairing screen doors, filling holes and/or cracks with caulk, and keeping your spaces clean. Warberg Block adds, “Arguably the most important thing you can do yourself is keep a clean home environment. Pests and rodents come in for food and shelter – and not taking out the trash, leaving out dirty dishes and food, and keeping clothes on the floor is one way to create an inviting environment for them.” “The point of pest control is to protect the ones you love, so using products that have harmful ingredients and toxins in them like permethrin, pyrethroids imidacloprid or fipronil is counter-intuitive.” — Boone Natural alternatives: Better for you and your pets Traditional flea and tick products contain chemicals known to be toxic for people, pets, and the environment. “These synthetic chemicals include permethrin, pyrethroids imidacloprid, fipronil and DEET,” said Boone. She adds, “most people don't realize pest control products are inhaled, absorbed through the skin, and ingested without visibility or awareness because you can’t see it, taste it, or smell it.” Just because synthetic pest control solutions are common does not mean that they are safe when accidentally ingested or inhaled. To counter this issue, products like Wondercide have been created from high-quality, food-grade ingredients that help keep you and your pets healthy. Another solution that was launched as recently as 2018 is First Saturday Lime. Similar to Wondercide, it is eco-friendly and keeps you away from pesticides. Jana McDaniels, CEO of First Saturday Lime recommends using it for the following: Creating a pest barrier around your home Controlling ticks, mites, and fleas around outdoor dogs, chickens, and horses Repelling unwanted pests in your garden Repelling pests and controlling moisture and odors in crawl spaces If you end up using a product like these, it is likely that a monthly application will help keep your home pest free year-round. Bonus tips If you have spiders, ants, or moths in your house, this is just for you. These tips are provided courtesy of Warberg Block. Tips to keep spiders out: Remove spiderwebs and use a spray made of half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of water, two tablespoons of liquid dish soap and twenty drops of thyme oil to keep them from creating new webs. The scented mixture prevents them from attaching their silk to sprayed surfaces. Spiders rely on vibrations they feel in their web to detect an insect that could be their next meal. Turn music on in an area where you’ve spotted spiders and the vibrations will interfere with their ability to pick the perfect time to feast. They’ll quickly leave in search of a quieter spot. Spiders prefer to hang out in dark places. Notice an area of your home where spiders are weaving their webs? Leave the lights on and they’ll be looking for a new hideaway. Tips to keep ants out: To deter ants, sprinkle coffee grounds outside to keep them away from your gatherings. The smell repels them and they’ll be looking for a less caffeinated place to hang out. Cinnamon acts as a natural repellent and is a dermal irritant to ants. Sprinkling cinnamon on surfaces where you’ve seen ants congregate will leave them traveling toward sweeter surroundings. Ants see citrus as the enemy. Citrus peels are toxic to the fungi that ants feed on, so save your lemon, lime and orange peels and spread them around the areas they usually invade! Talcum powder is another great natural ant repellent. Use chalk or baby powder to Warberg Block their entryway by drawing a thin line; they won’t cross it! Tips to keep moths out: Washing or dry-cleaning items that moths are attracted to, such as natural fibers, before storing them can reduce the likelihood of moth infestations. This will remove any existing moth eggs or larvae as well as remove any biological residue such as sweat, hair, or body oils which moths find attractive. Store items in air-tight storage bags or totes rather than cardboard boxes to protect against moths. Moths may like your pretty sweaters, but they’re not crazy about certain pretty scents. To naturally repel moths, try this DIY solution. Place cloves, lavender, or dried orange peels in a sachet bag. Then place it in your closet or dresser drawers.The scent will send them looking for a more welcoming home. It’s not just your cozy sweaters they’re after. Moths are just as likely to snuggle up on your sofa, armchair, or carpet. If you see signs of an infestation, use a hair dryer on the highest heat setting and slowly move it over the fabric. The hot air will quickly take care of unseen eggs. How to avoid pests while traveling Have you ever arrived at a hotel, unpacked, and headed to bed to find that your bed is infested with bed bugs. I know. It sounds like it should be a crime, but it happens every so often. Before sleeping in a bed or unpacking your belongings, Leah Hazelwood, Vice President and Marketing with Go-Forth Pest Control, advises that you check the mattress, bed sheets, and headboard for signs of bed bugs like blood spots. If you find any of these signs, you should certainly alert the hotel (and hopefully get some reimbursement out of it). Once you are back home, vacuum your suitcases and throw away the vacuum bag or clean the canister well. Make sure that you wash all of the clothing that was inside your suitcases in hot water to kill any bugs that might have hitched a ride home. Pest control is not a one-time event; it is an on-going process. Every little thing that you do should help it become less prevalent in your life. If you wait until tomorrow to start, imagine how many more pests may be eagerly waiting to join your family.