This is the most comprehensive list of pest control tips on the web. Knowing that small steps taken by homeowners can dramatically reduce or eliminate many pest problems, we reached out to over 100 experts and asked them to weigh in with simple, actionable pest control tips.
To ensure this is a top-notch resource you can come back to again and again, we personally contacted insiders you can trust.
The experts are truly renowned and represent many sides of the pest control/DIY/entomology/gardening/organic/natural living spectrum. Naturally, there are a few differences of opinion, which we feel contribute to the authenticity of this resource. To round out a few topics, helpful tips already found on the web were curated from reliable sources and noted as such.
Blue tips are indoor, green tips are outdoor, and gray tips are indoor/outdoor.
Insight Pest Solutions neither endorses nor takes liability for results of following these tips. We advise you to consult with an expert if you have questions or concerns.
This mark denotes tips that were curated from the web. Company logos: the author didn’t want to provide a headshot, the tip was curated from the web, or the company preferred not to attribute their tip to one person, though it was vetted by an expert.
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A simple technique called soil solarization captures the suns heat to eradicate pests, weeds and diseases present in the soil now, waiting to attack vegetables later. Solarizing works by raising the temperature, baking the soil and killing what might otherwise plague your vegetable garden. As an added benefit, it increases nutrients as the soil cooks.
Anytime you entrust a service provider to come to your home or business, you run the risk of potentially dealing with someone who may not have your best interest or well-being at heart. Anyone can put a magnet sign on their truck and call themselves a service provider. Ask your neighbors, friends and family. They will be honest with you about a company they have had experience with at their home or business. Dont let the lowest price be your only deciding factor in choosing a pest management company. It could truly cost you thousands later.
The main source of attraction for flies are smells. The ideal action you can make in removing flies inside your kitchen is definitely to keep them outside altogether. Mend all tears in your window and door screens. At the same time, always make sure there are no breaks in the padding strip around the entry doors. This will also assist in keeping away other creatures and pesky insects just as well. Now that you are aware how you can care for the inside, the time has come to get to the cause of the issue. Ive found that the quickest and most efficient way to do this is to use a fly trap. Theyre really cheap and very efficient.
To prevent a plague of pests, avoid growing large areas of one type of plant. It is more difficult for pests to home in on their target when confronted by a variety of different plants, such as perennials, annuals, and shrubs, as well as herbs, vegetables, and fruit. The abundant nectar also draws in beneficial insects. Dont overfeed plants because aphids love the resulting soft growth.
Chinch bugs, one of the most common pests found in home lawns, can really do a number on your lawn despite their size. Irrigating the lawn to bring the chinch bugs to the surface before hitting it with insecticide is probably the most effective control method.
Whenever food and water are easy to find, roaches will invite themselves to dinner. Meticulously clean your kitchen, including crumbs near the stove, microwave, and refrigerator. Vacuum scraps of food from corners and around the cabinet bases. To paralyze and eventually kill roaches, mix boric acid with water and flour, and place in jar lids in the back of cupboards and underneath stoves. (Caution! Keep out of reach of pets and children.) The flour will attract the roaches; the boric acid will eat away at their exoskeleton.
Stinkbugs have become a huge problem in my area. I was flushing between five and ten a day down the toilet. We tried traps, but they didn’t work and instead attracted more! I finally figured out where they were coming frommy attic. It looked like a breeding ground…they were everywhere! I got on my ladder and caulked every gap or opening around my house. I’m proud to say weve had zero stinkbugs since. Sometimes the best solution is to completely prevent those critters from getting in rather than catching them after the fact.
I spray a mixture of cedar oil and water on my lawn and shrubs. It’s organic and safe for kids and pets in low concentrations. It repels biting insects and it also suffocates their eggs. Apply it at night, and in the morning the yard is ready for pets and kids. You can find cedar oil at local farm co-ops, pet stores, online retailers and landscape supply companies.
Install plants and landscaping elements that repel pests and encourage biodiversity. A yard that is dominated by one plant species, such as turf grass, is more susceptible to becoming a haven for a single type of insect. Biodiversity in a yard encourages a healthy, balanced ecosystem and lessens the risk of infestation.
Doug Smeath Green Home Guide U.S. Green Building Council
Commonly found in most homes and gardens, geraniums are known to repel cabbage worms, leafhoppers and red spider mites. However, a special variety of geranium known as the citronella geranium or mosquito plant has been known to repel mosquitoes. This plant contains citronella oil, the same oil that is contained in citronella candles, that can be released when the leaves are rubbed or crushed.
Microscopic dust mites are everywhere in the home – in our beds, clothing, furniture, book shelves and stuffed animals. For people with allergies or asthma, dust mites are a problem. Vacuum mattresses and pillows. For people with sensitivities to dust mite allergens, dust mite bedding is available with zippered, allergen-impermeable encasings designed to block dust mites. Wash bedding at 130F or higher. Detergents and commercial laundry products have no effect on mites unless the water temperature is high. Keep books, stuffed animals, throw rugs and laundry hampers out of the bedroom of allergy sufferers. Wash stuffed animals occasionally in hot water. Cover heating ducts with a filter which can trap tiny dust particles smaller than 10 microns. Avoid using humidifiers. Dust mites thrive on warmth and humidity.
Tags: cockroaches ,general pest tips ,rodents ,miscellaneous pest tips
Predators: old-school pest control
Japanese beetle traps tend to attract more beetles than they trap. A better solution for these beetles is beneficial nematodes, which can kill up to 80 percent of the Japanese beetle larvae in lawns where they are applied.
The cure for aphids is sharp streams of water use a pressurized sprayer, spray all the aphids off until you cant see any aphids anymore, wait twenty minutes, and then do it again. Do that 4 times in a row.
Caterpillars and worms will feed on plants, chewing holes in leaves and stems. Larvae that develop into butterflies are a nuisance, but since butterflies themselves generally don’t damage plants, they can be left alone or picked off if necessary. Caterpillars can be controlled in several different ways. Natural predators such as birds might help; install a birdbath to draw winged visitors to the garden. Discourage moths from laying eggs by using floating row covers over plants, but make sure to remove row covers when food plants need to be pollinated. Biological material Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a garden pest control method that is harmless to people, animals, and beneficial insects.
Make a homemade spray repellent for spiders using a couple of ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. Combine one quart of distilled white vinegar and a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil in a spray bottle. Tighten the lid and shake the bottle to mix it thoroughly. Use this spray in pantry or closet corners, along baseboards and along the corners where the walls and cieling meet to repel spiders and make cleaning up existing webs simple. This remedy will even discourage spiders from coming back and spinning webs in the places that have been treated in the past. The mixture will not damage paint, walls or ceilings.
Tree limbs act like bridges, creating a passageway for squirrels, rats, snakes and raccoons to enter attic vents. Plant trees about 20 feet from your house. If trees are already planted, cut limbs off at least 10 feet from the roof line.
If you are a tenant (renter), please find out the laws in your area about the responsibility of landlords vs. renters to eliminate a bedbug problem. A local tenants rights organization probably exists in your city, and theyre probably the best free source of information regarding landlords responsibility to pay for treatment. Remember that you, the tenant, also have responsibilities, like reporting infestations promptly (doing so in writing protects you legally), and complying with treatment.
Did you know you can get rid of slugs and snails with eggs shells? Spread crushed shells underneath and around your plants. Add more shells every week. Snails and slugs hate anything that is sharp or rough, so they will slink away when they get to the shells. Plus, there is a lot of calcium in eggshells, so youre adding natural fertilizer to the garden as well! Other textures that work include coffee grounds, coarse sand, sheeps wool, and Diatomaceous Earth.
Though deer look innocent, home gardeners know they can be a menace to plants and trees. Because deer are not fond of hot spices, you can bring safety to your plants by treating them with a homemade chili spray. Simmer a pinch of red pepper flakes in a pan of water, then strain the liquid into a spray bottle.
To help keep birds out of your vegetables, use bird screening. To cover most any young vegetables you need to place stakes about 3 feet apart around the perimeter of your plants. Then stretch string from corner to corner and around the perimeter attaching the string to the stakes. Place the netting over the string and pull the netting tight, and secure it to the ground. A good way to secure the netting is with sod staples. With the bird screen in place it will protect your plants.
Theres plenty to worry about when youre ready to purchase a home. But you cant let these little buggers get a pass. Pests and rodents leave different telltale signs behind. Be on the lookout for these leftovers: Rust color stains on mattress any other soft furniture, which is a sign of bedbugs. Empty brown egg sacks along baseboards and in corners, which indicate cockroaches. Cockroach droppingsblack spots typically along the back of countertops, near cracks in the walls or around electrical outlets. Dirt or grease marks along baseboards and walls, which are signs of a rat infestation.
Before you pack up winter clothing for storage, wash or dry-clean garments that have been worn. This rids them of moth and beetle eggs and also eliminates perspiration remnants and food spills, which attract and nourish pests. Moths and beetles don’t eat items made of synthetic or cotton fabrics, but you should clean those, too, if you store them with woolens.
Ticks need to be removed ASAP because some carry Lyme disease. Using a fine-point tweezer, grasp the tick as close as possible to where it is attached to the skin and pull it out. Try to pull off the entire tick. Then wipe the area with alcohol and wash hands with soap and water. Put the tick in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer. If you should develop a bull’s-eye mark on your skin, a fever, muscle aches or joint pain, take the saved tick to your doctor so that it can be used in the diagnosis.
You can’t effectively spray for spiders in the same way that you can spray for other bugs. Due to their long legs, spiders can crawl over pesticide-covered areas and avoid getting any poison on their bodies unless they drag their abdomen through it. However, insecticides can still be beneficial because the more of the regular insects you kill, the less fresh food your spider inhabitants have to munch on.
Before you embark on a killing spree, here are a couple tips for eliminating ants without killing the earth too. Before any other measures are taken, work for the peaceful resolution: Dump the trash, wipe down counters, tape up entrances, and make sure all caps are tightly on. Before you know it, the ants will move on to tastier neighbors.
Little tiny ants have been spotted in our new home, and many people are suffering the same fate across the country. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) works well use food-grade not swimming pool DE. It should be sprinkled around the perimeter of your new home and you can also safely sprinkle it inside where you see them. Do not wet the DE or it will not work. DE isnt an instant kill but should resolve the problem within a week or so.
Solar powered pest control products are a relatively new green product on the market. Solar panels on the top of the unit collect energy from the sun while the spike is buried underground. The device periodically shakes, sending vibrations through the ground to disturb and frighten animals. Models are available to repel moles and other vermin and at least one company makes a solar powered snake repellent. However, many gardeners are happy to see snakes in the garden, as they are natural predators of the smaller mammals that cause the most damage.
If you have trees, tall grass, or open space in your yard, you could have a bunch of hungry ticks lurking there. They lie in wait for a passing deer, pet, or person. If you have tall grass or weeds, cut them back. Cutting it down takes away one of their favorite hiding places. Put away any food that deer like to eat, and they’ll come by less often.
If you want to avoid bedbugs, reduce clutter. The fewer places bedbugs have to hide, the better your chances of catching an infestation before it can get established. Take steps to make your sleeping quarters inhospitable to bedbugs. This can include buying mattress encasements, using a steel bed frame, and caulking all cracks and crevices to reduce hiding places.
Even if a Wood Destroying Insect Inspection isnt required [when purchasing a home], it can save you money in the long run, because if you uncover a termite infestation after purchasing the home, youll be responsible for the treatment and repair costs.
Before asking a pest management company to use the “green and organic stuff”, consumers should take a moment to understand what they are asking for. There are three questions that consumers should ask themselves. 1. How are green and organic defined? 2. Why do I desire green and organic pest management? 3. Am I willing to partner with a pest management provider towards green and organic goals? A true green and organic pest program begins with a thorough understanding of the environment, pest pressures and client tolerances. Before any pesticides; even green, organic or exempt products, are selected, all reasonable and sustainable non-chemical pest removal and avoidance measures should be taken. Even without declaring a pest program green and organic, these principles should still be applied.
Termites feed all year long and cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. Its a good idea to get your home inspected regularly. Protect your largest investment by having a licensed pest control operator perform an inspection. For peace of mind, monitor your home 24/7/365 with an active termite baiting system.
Reducing moisture around the home will help reduce the presence of pests in the home. Since most pests thrive in areas where moisture is present, the homeowner would be well served to inspect the property and make necessary corrections. Changes may include but are not limited to cleaning out gutters, grading soil properly so that water moves away from the foundation, ventilating crawl spaces, and sealing cracks in the foundation. Not only will such measures aid in pest prevention, but they will improve the health of the home in general.
When it comes to pest control, the old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure could not be more accurate. I have a few suggestions that might help you avoid pest problems in the future. Keep bird feeders at least 25 feet from the house, rodents will be attracted to the seed that falls to the ground when birds feed. If you store pet food outside make sure it is in a container that cannot be chewed through, one that closes tightly. In warm weather do not allow water to collect in the gutters, toys that stay in the yard, or any other item that might hold water, this will help to prevent mosquito breeding. Do not stack wood against the house, this practice will create a home for all kinds of pests, among them rodents, snakes, and ants including carpenter ants (wood destroying).
Plant early. To help rid your garden of uninvited pests, try planting early in the season. Many of the worst pests arent out until early summer, and by then, many of your plants will be past their most vulnerable stages and will be tough enough to withstand some moderate invasions. Some pests have a preference for the young, tender plants, so by the time they get into your garden, the plants are well past this stage.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a popular herb gardeners use to fight off insects, such as ants, and it can help deter the pests from your home when planted near the entrances of your homes and in flower and herb borders. Plant rosemary in pots scattered about porches and patios or in borders.
An easy way to check for termites is to tap wood along the wall every few inches with a screwdriver handle. Damaged wood will sound hollow and, if the area is extremely damaged, the handle may break the woods surface. If the area is still active, you may see worker termites inside. Dark areas or blisters in wood flooring are an indicator of subterranean termite infestation. Because subterranean termites are preventable, it is a good idea to have your property regularly inspected by a trained specialist.
Termites are active year round and cause more annual damage than all natural disasters combined. Its important to have your home thoroughly inspected each year. To help avoid termite infestations, be sure to eliminate any wood to ground contact around your home, drain water away from the foundation and store firewood at least 20 ft. away from your home.
Before you sign a contract for pest control services, it is important to do your research and make sure you are enlisting the help of a qualified and trustworthy pest control specialist. Find out if the company has sufficient certifications and trainings, and ask about liability insurance. Find out how the company is covered and how you will be reimbursed if they happen to break any of your belongings or damage your home. When signing a contract, always read the fine print carefully. Pay close attention to any warrantees or termination fees if entering into an extended contract for monitoring or future services. BBB maintains reports on exterminators across North America. You can visit bbb.org to search BBBs Accredited Business Directory to quickly find local companies that uphold BBBs standards for ethical business practices.
Snakes enter the home through cracks like those under doorways. Additionally, firewood, shrubbery and bodies of water all attract snakes. Even if theyre not poisonous, some snakes carry deadly bacteria in their mouths that can get into your bloodstream and cause serious illness. Even though most snake bites are harmless, have them checked immediately by a doctor, to be safe.
Dr. Oz TV Host, Author, doctoroz.com Vice-chairman and professor, Department of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
If you are seeing snakes around or under your home there is a good chance that you may have a rodent population in the area as well. It is highly recommended that you deploy tamper resistant bait stations loaded with a high quality rodenticide bait around the exterior of your home to help eliminate the rodent population. By eliminating the rodents, you will turn your property into a poor food source for snakes causing them to move on. To further discourage snakes from inhabiting areas around your home you should keep grass mowed short and remove piles of wood or other debris that would allow snakes to harbor. If a snake happens to get inside your home you can use a snake glue board placed up against the wall near entry points such as doors or low windows.
If your home is protected with a soil applied termiticide, (1) don’t dig or remove soil next to foundations (within 12 inches from the foundation wall) for homeowner projects (i.e. cable/other wiring, irrigation, etc.) and (2) don’t plant gardens (e.g. tomato plants, herbs, etc) next to foundations (within 18 inches from the foundation wall). Soil disturbance next to a foundation wall can reduce the effectiveness and longevity of soil applied termiticides. If disturbance is necessary, contact a Pest Management Professional to inspect that area and provide treatment options for you.
Consider doing a nighttime light leak audit: Turn on all the lights in your home, step outside, inspect your home, and see if there are openings in the walls, masonry or elsewhere that are letting light through, then seal these with the right sealant for the surface it will be applied to.
To control mites and other insects in a garden, Mix two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Let stand overnight, then stir and pour into a spray bottle and spray plant from above down, and from below up to get the underside of the leaves. Shake container frequently during application. Spray plants with soap spray in early morning or late afternoon or on an overcast day, because the solution may scorch leaves on hot, sunny days. Wet the foliage thoroughly, covering the tops and bottoms of the leaves, because the solution only works when it coats the pests. Because the spray kills on contact, it has little residual effect and must be reapplied every week until the pests are controlled.
Jan Johnsen Author, Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection” Blogger, Serenity in the Garden Co-principal, Johnsen Landscapes and Pools
If you see more than just a very few ants, it is best to not use over the counter sprays. These only kill the worker ants you see, while the other 95% are alive in the nest. Baits act slower but are the most effective for killing the colony. Moist gel baits are best. Never use spray and bait in the same area. The spray will repel the ants from the bait.
Insect infestations are often an indicator of plant health. A stressed or weak plant is more susceptible. So, in a way, bad bugs can often be a useful indicator of conditions in your garden. While, on the flip side, if your plants and soil are healthy, good bugs can often be counted on to prey on insects you dont want in your garden. Nature has an amazing way of balancing things out and it is our job to create a healthy environment so this symbiosis can occur.
What many people dont realize is mosquitoes breed in standing water, and they dont need much. A bottle cap full of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes. Use these tips (even in colder months, melted snow becomes water!) to make sure your yard stays swat free.
Homeowners and other consumers purchasing pest control services should only employ companies the state pest control regulatory agency has authorized to do such work. They shouldnt be afraid to ask to see the company and/or the technicians license, registration or other relevant credentials.
To me, pest control is another form of hunting, just not (deer, pheasant, ducks, etc.), but insects. You have to know your target, i.e. were they live, what they eat, what are their habits, etc. Once that is established, you can move forward and devise a treatment plan with products available. Remember to always read and follow label instructions.
Follow integrated pest management guidelines. Before you reach for a chemical in a bottle to kill that pest, consider alternative solutions that do not involve harmful chemicals and that might be longer-lasting or permanent. For example, with a pest on your garden vegetables, consider removing them by hand or trapping with an attract-and-kill device.
When the temperatures begin to increase each spring its a good time to start cleaning leaf debris from its winter resting place around your house and in your flower beds. These areas give the oriental cockroach a nesting place and harborage next to your home making it easy for them to enter.
I believe Step # 1 in household pest control is to know the enemy. Rational, effective and practical pest control starts with an accurate identification of the pest problem. When the pest is correctly identified, a wealth of information about life cycle, habits, habitats and management alternatives comes into view. For example, wandering stored food pests such as drugstore beetles cannot be controlled with a well-intentioned insecticide spray. When cigarette beetles are properly identified, the solution is obvious: Locate and eliminate infested stored food/feed items.
If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em. Finding larvae in your larder? Pests in your pantry? They might just be edible. Those mealworms in your cornmeal share your taste in food, so why not enjoy the extra protein? Most bugs taste like a combination of nuts and mushrooms. You could add them to a stir fry or toast them up crispy in your oven. Bug appetite!
Do your research before calling in a professional. For instance, know what to expect from a good termite company and about how much their services may cost. Being an educated homeowner will help you avoid being ripped off in a case where you encounter a dishonest “bug expert.”
Dont overlook the obvious. Is there a way you can modify your landscape to reduce rodent harborage around your home? Can you prevent rodents from accessing your roof by trimming back the trees? Proper habitat modification can greatly reduce pests ability to enter your home
Ladybugs are part of a gardeners arsenal during the growing season, and can help you fight off aphids and other pests on at-risk plants such as tomatoes. If your garden isnt a natural habitat for ladybugs, you can buy them via mail-order and they will arrive in a chilled dormant state; you can then release them into your garden. In the fall, your ladybugs will try to find a warm spot to overwinter, which can include your indoor living spaces. If you encounter a ladybug invasion, the easiest way to deal with them is to use a vacuum to scoop them up and place them back outdoors where they will overwinter in leaves and other garden debris.
Every year I get many homeowners calling or coming to my office with questions on critters in or around their home. Often I end up telling them that there is no problem. Just because something is present or is causing minor injury to a plant doesnt mean that it will cause serious damage over the long term. Nature has a funny way of taking care of itself.
Chimneys are frequented by squirrels, raccoon, bats and birds, and represent the single largest opening to your home. The installation of an inexpensive chimney cap can save you from having an animal loose in your home, causing damage and a possible face-to-face confrontation.
All critters (no matter how many legs they have) need the same survival tools we need – Food, Water and Shelter. My advice is to exclude pests by reducing any opportunity for these needs. Reduce moisture by maintaining your home properly (possibly install a dehumidifier, clean gutters frequently). Have all dry food products and pet food in sealed containers. Do not store grocery store boxes or bags – this has always been an ideal transport for roaches. Seal up areas of your home that pest and other wildlife may have easy access to (door sweeps, dryer vents and settlement cracks for example). There are some pests that are best handled by a professional – like termites and bed bugs.
Whether you are a seasoned pest control expert, or an average homeowner with little pest control expertise, you need to learn the basics of the pest you are dealing with. Many times, we find an overabundance of information online concerning the handling of drain flies, or cockroaches for example.
Most homeowners are totally unaware of this and it’s such an easy thing to prevent pests from entering the home. Make sure your flower beds and mulch are at least 6″ below the sill plate of your home. Many homeowners have the mulch all the way up to the sill plate of the home and this creates a great entry way for all sorts of pests! (Follow) this tip with continued maintenance and you’ll rid yourself of those pesky pests.
When purchasing flour or grains, store them in the freezer for one week to kill any eggs (Yup! Flour and grains often enter the house with eggs already laid, gross as that is.) After the week in the freezer, the grains/flour can be safely stored on a pantry shelf.
Do you even have bed bugs? Look at pictures of bed bugs and all of their life stages on reliable internet sources. They are NOT too small to see. Pest Management Professionals still get calls on a vast amount of incorrectly identified “bed bugs”. If you find or suspect bed bugs in your home, call a pest management professional you trust and that is trained in bed bug treatments to conduct the treatment. Bed bugs are difficult to control and usually “do it yourself” efforts are unsuccessful and may actually make infestations worse.
Dealing with Honey Bees almost always requires professional intervention. Never attempt to control them yourself. Do not plug or cover any exterior holes you see the bees entering and exiting from. This may lead to the bees looking for another exit which may lead them to the interior of your home. Unless safety is a concern it may be best to leave the bees alone. Removal usually requires the dismantling of the wall in which the bees have chosen to build the hive. Removal can be costly and should be done by a professional.
When you get a termite swarm inside your home, you panic! You spray some fly spray and they go away. You may have killed a few swarmers but the colony is still hard at work. When you see swarmers inside your home you need some form of termite treatment. It’s funny to me, just how many people repeat this process year after year.
Bed bugs are exceptional hitchhikers. For travelers, avoid bringing them home from trips; Thoroughly inspect hotel rooms, select the proper hard-shell suitcase, keep your luggage above ground – not on the floor, and wash and dry clothes as soon as you get home.
Termites are a pain; take a few precautions to try and avoid them. Limit food and habitat as much as possible. Store your wood pile away from your home. Wood stacked against your house is an open invitation to termites. Make sure the ground level is a few inches lower than the slab, dont let leaves, your lawn or flowerbed mulch cover up the slab. This will give you a better chance at quickly spotting termite tubes.
When you spend time outdoors, you dont want to worry about the possibility of mosquitoes biting you or your family. In order to effectively reduce mosquito populations, it is important to identify and eliminate mosquito breeding sites around homes and neighborhoods.
Everyone wants a silver bullet, no one wants to have to invest elbow grease; but thats the underlying trick to long-term pest suppression making the environment inhospitable to the pest. Clean up whatever is attracting them, and seal them out. Prevent their access to food and theyll starve. Get rid of clutter and they wont have a place to hide. Just about any pest we mention can be significantly reduced by these two measures cleaning up and keeping them out.
Accurate problem diagnosis is difficult, but misdiagnosis is easy. The causes of pest-related problems arent always easy to determine, but correct diagnosis often is critical for remediation. Many homeowners arent familiar with some of the odd-looking insects like scale insects and mealybugs.
To deter bald-faced hornets [in addition to bees and wasps], I would suggest planting Feverfew (Chrysanthemum or Tanacetum parthenium) nearby. I had a seasonal challenge in late summer with wasps congregating around and under the shutters on the front of my house, but planted one Feverfew in the adjacent garden and they have since found other living quarters. Im sorry that I no longer see green halictid bees nesting in the front lawn but I dont have to wait until after sunset to mow. Feverfew is so potent that you would want to keep it away from your vegetable garden to preserve pollination.
If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, performing an inspection is the next step for DIY-minded homeowners. Here are some tips for doing an inspection on your own: Realize that most likely you will never see the opossum, raccoon, etc., but you should be able to tell he/she has been there.
Mice far prefer foods with high protein and fat content over cheese. That’s why the best mouse trap baits include peanut butter, hazelnut spread, chocolate, and meats like bacon or beef jerky. When using a snap trap, place a small amount of bait on the trigger. Be wary of large portions, which rodents can nibble without tripping the trap.
Add fresh basil and mint leaves to a glass jar along with a sliced lime and split vanilla bean. Cover with white vinegar and steep for two weeks, shaking every few days. Strain into a spray bottle and use as a natural fly repellent for yourself, your horses, your chicken coop or anywhere else the flies are congregating.
In our service area of NYC, bed bugs are becoming a big problem with homeowners. At one time, termites were pulling in all the revenue. Now it’s bed bugs everywhere you look. We suggest, when buying or selling a home, the homeowners should have a bed bug inspection performed. Your prospective buyers will be happy to know the place is bug-free. If youre moving in, you can get a good nights sleep knowing there are no critters.
If you see a spider in your house, don’t freak out. They are not out to get you. They do not hunt or eat people. Spiders use their venom to catch, kill and pre-digest their food. They have little fangs and can’t chew so the venom turns their catch into an insect smoothie, that they slurp up into their little mouths. Take a deep breath, give it a name and put it outside. No need to spray everything in your house.
Not all bees are pests! In fact, one in three bites of food is reliant on honey bee pollination. However, with wide-scale population declines, honey bees and wild pollinators desperately need a refuge to protect themselves from pesticide contamination. To develop a pollinator and bee-friendly habitat in your own backyard, consider their three basic needs:
The key to knowing if you have an active bed bug infestation is to produce a live sample of a bed bug or see black, fecal spotting. Do not automatically assume that any bite-like mark is a bed bug bite.
Wash out all food containers before placing in the recycling. Also, if you have a stove with a lower drawer either for pots and pans or a warming drawer, make sure this is kept clean. More often than not, when this is pulled out there are food crumbs in the drawer which roaches, ants etc. love to feed on. A little prevention goes a long way.
Termites put your home at risk for serious and expensive damage that could turn your biggest investment into your biggest expense. Whats worse, termites may have been quietly eating your house from the inside out without your knowledge. Termites live in soil and forage for food and water. If they encounter your homes foundation while foraging, theyll follow any crack, crevice or plumbing line into your house. (They only need an opening 1/32-inch wide.) They may enter through wood in direct contact with soil or by building pencil-sized mud tunnels from ground level to where the houses wood frame begins. Termites also can enter through expansion joints in the foundation and utility and plumbing openings.
What are crack and crevice (C&C) treatments and why should I care? Control of pests increases and pesticide use is reduced when crack-and-crevice straws are used and inserted 1/4 inch into a crack during application. Moving the straw along the length of a crack as part of a C&C treatment improves the coverage of liquid insecticide on surfaces contacted by cockroaches and other pests. Crack-and-crevice treatments are usually made with a tip extension on the nozzle. The most common is a 6-inch, flexible-plastic tip. These tips, or straws, are more effective than fan sprays in treating cracks infested with German cockroaches and other pests that live in hidden areas.
For the homeowner interested in creating their own genetically-modified assassin bugs for a green approach to household pest problems, I suggest you keep in mind the cost of a new ceramic electrophoresis cooling tank, an array of scalable process chromatography columns, and a quality helium pulse regulator. If thats in your budget: Go for it! Just start sequencing the DNA of various members of the Reduviidae family and off you go! Theres nothing to it. On the other hand, if you have other uses for several million dollars, Id just call a pest control professional.
Bill Fitzhugh Author of Pest Control and The Exterminators: An Assassin Bug Thriller, fictional tales of a pest exterminator
Homeowners can very easily reduce the spider populations in and around their home by making a few small changes. Exterior clutter like leaf piles, firewood, and construction debris should be kept to a minimum to eliminate harborage areas. Keeping gutters and other areas free of standing water will also help in the reduction of breeding areas for the insects that spiders feed upon.
Wasps, including, paper wasps, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets, are beneficial and generally do not sting unless disturbed, threatened, or harmed. To prevent unwanted wasps: remove fallen fruits, spilled food and drinks, soft drink cans, and garbage; avoid scents and brightly colored materials; and keep your house, dumpster, garage, and attic clean. Over-the-counter pesticides labeled for wasp control generally only kill the wasps you actually spray.
Cluttered storage areas are prime real estate for mice, spiders, cockroaches and other pests. You can keep pests away by regularly cleaning and reorganizing your basement, garage and other storage areas. Replace flimsy cardboard boxes with durable plastic totes that are less likely to disintegrate and be chewed up by pests.
Tags: cockroaches ,general pest tips ,spiders ,rodents
Evaluate your pest concern
The fact that an insect is eating your plants doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get rid of it. Spend some time observing it and reading up on it before you rush to judgment. More often than not, you’ll find that insects are not causing significant damage. Leafminers, for instance, often cause concern because they leave conspicuous trails, but with a few exceptions the problem is entirely aesthetic. Learn to appreciate these trails as harmless–and often fascinating–signs of tiny animals living their lives, and you will find that suddenly they aren’t pests anymore!
Charley Eiseman Ecological Consultant Author, “Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates” Owner, BugTracks Contributing Editor, BugGuide
If you suspect ants (other than carpenter ants) are coming into the structure from the outside, place honey smears at the base of the foundation and soil every 10 ft. Inspect the smears within 15-20 min. to determine where ants are coming from. Follow worker ants feeding on the honey as they travel back to their nest/colony. Then, either contact a pest management professional with this information or if it is a “do it yourself” project, spot treat the nest sites with a product labeled specifically for that use. If applying store bought products, read the label and adhere to it. If not applied correctly, the application can become a hazard or environmental issue.
When you see a mouse, cockroach, winged ant, or any other pest in your home, you want it out NOW! Most cities have numerous pest control companies, but how do you select the right one? Three steps can help:
Most people do not realize flies carry more disease-causing pathogens than cockroaches. By simply cleaning up animal feces and closing trash cans we can reduce the number of places that filth flies can breed.
Finding a lizard in your garage or home might be frightening to many homeowners. Before you panic, remember that these lizards, typically geckos, are great at hunting insects and do not pose a threat to you or your family. To prevent them from getting inside, try lowering the thermostat and taking steps to reduce humidity indoors, in addition to sealing entry points (around doors and windows) and getting rid of their food source. You didnt really want insects inside anyway, did you?
Granular baits are one of the best treatments for controlling fire ants in southern lawns. When used properly, baits are quick and easy to apply; reasonably safe to people, pets and wildlife; affordable; and effective. The key to using baits successfully is to spread them over the whole yard rather than treating individual mounds, and to apply them preventively, about three times per year: spring, summer, and fall.
To help keep the marmorated stink bug and other insects from entering your house in the fall be sure to seal voids around doors and windows roof vents and place screening over attic vents, etc… If you use window or wall air conditioners, covering or removing them in the fall will help prevent stink bugs and other insects from entering.
Do not use dish soaps or detergents to control insect or mite pests. Dishwashing liquids and laundry detergents such Palmolive, Dawn, Ivory, Joy, Tide, and Dove are primarily designed to dissolve grease from dishes and clean clothes; not kill insect and mite pests. Furthermore, these materials contain coloring agents, perfumes, and degreasers that may cause plant injury (=phytotoxicity) by dissolving the waxy cuticle on leaf surfaces. What is most important, is that these materials are not registered pesticides as they do not have an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) number. So, it is illegal to use them as pesticides.
When it comes to insects, we’re missing the boat by NOT eating them. They say that 80 percent of our world’s cultures eat insects. Insects are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals and other micronutrients. And they are plentiful. What’s not to like? Many of our most common pantry pests rice weevils, for example, or mealy moths or ants are perfectly edible. I’ll go one step further: if they are properly prepared, they can be downright delicious.
As a pest control company in North Carolina, we find that many of our customers have moved to the area seeking new job opportunities in Research Triangle Park. Since many people living in the northern United States aren’t accustomed to dealing with pests, they seem particularly surprised to hear about how common termite damage is in the South. Unfortunately, termite damage typically isn’t covered by homeowners’ insurance and all too many people discover the problem only after it’s too late. We advocate regular inspections from a professional and prompt treatment should any problems arise.
Homeowners who are interested in pest management within and around their homes must first determine the type of pest that they are dealing with. In many cases, the pest insect or other arthropod will be small and difficult to see. I therefore recommend the purchase of a binocular magnifier, preferably one that will be able to create a digital image. This image can be magnified and compared with pest images on the internet and in most cases provide information on potential damage and control options. Most of these “little guys” will be beetles, flies, springtails, and spiders.
This time of year, mice are moving indoors. Try using mouse glue boards you can get from about any hardware store. Put a few bacon bits in the middle of the trap as a food attractant. Mice tend to run along walls so put the traps up against walls, under all sinks, and pull the bottom drawers out in the kitchen and bathrooms and put a glue board against the wall and then replace the drawer. Dont just use 2 or 3 traps, use a bunch (20-30) and overwhelm them.
Far too often people confuse simple skin lesions with “bug bites” and then look for ways to control the “bugs” rather than searching for the real causes of their distress. By not focussing their efforts in the right direction much time is wasted. Allergies (food/respiratory/contact) should be the prime suspect when no insects or mites are found but there can be many other causes of “mysterious bug bites” as well. The bottom line – don’t assume that an insect or mite is the cause of the skin problem unless you can actually capture and identify a culprit.
Slam the door on unwanted guests. Many of the same cold-weather preparations and preventive actions can be used to secure and seal off our homes from potential pests. Here are seven ways you can protect your house: 1. Caulk and seal all holes, cracks and crevices of your foundation, windows and doors. 2. Clean, organize and declutter cupboards, closets, and storage units. 3. Discard paper and cardboard boxes, as these attract pests. 4. Seal storage and food items in tight, secure plastic containers. 5. Check pipes and plumbing for leakage. 6. Leave firewood outside away from the house. 7. Place mesh screens on foundation or attic vents.
After being in the pest control industry for nearly 30 years, the biggest insiders tip I would give a homeowner is to understand when to DIY and when to call a pro. Homeowners always want to take care of every problem themselves, but when it comes to pest control, think twice. By improperly treating (misapplication) you could be worsening the problem. Homeowners think they are just killing the ants, when they are only repelling them. Then they are dumbfounded when they are infested the very next day.What homeowners must understand is that improperly treating a pest problem could lead to making the problem much worse, and doubling the professional treatment price. Hire a pro! Good work ain’t cheap and cheap work ain’t good.
You can use two effective methods to win back your yard from fire ants. One is the mound treatment, and the other is the broadcast granule method. Each method uses a different strategy to attack the ants. However, applying both at the same time will optimize results.
My personal favorite solution for cockroaches lies in your kitchen cabinet. In fact, in my case, it is in my spice drawer, and in my back yard. Bay leaves, from a bay tree, is commonly used in cooking due to its pungent and nice smell and flavor. When crushed, these leaves produce a strong fragrance due to the essential oils in the leaves. Leaves can be crushed and sprinkled along baseboards of cabinets, in drawers, or whole leaves can be tied together with string and tied inside closets, cabinets, and drawers.
Raccoons can be pesky, tenacious animals that make homeowners desperate for a solution to the problem of nuisance raccoons. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as clearing the area of any possible food sources. Other times, the answer may be more complex. Here are some non-lethal options for dealing with nuisance raccoons:
Changing your exterior lights from mercury vapor bulbs to sodium vapor bulbs will reduce the attractiveness of your home to insects. This will also impact the number of predators that feed on insects such as spiders and bats that will no longer be attracted to your home as well.
Roach allergies are a legitimate concern. Some studies show inner city children range from 17-59% sensitivity to roach allergens. Allergies can be created from roach frass (excrement) and caste skins. If cockroaches are a problem indoors, inspect suspected infested rooms 2 hours after normal lights out time. This may provide you with harborage area clues to improve treatment success. Reduce hiding places, especially with German roach infestations. Cleanliness will help tremendously, and reduce the population.
National Wildlife Federation encourages people to plant native plants that offer habitat to birds, butterflies, and other backyard wildlife.? But we don’t want wildlife moving into our homes. Here are some tips to prevent trouble with wildlife. ?Feeding birds in moderation is ok, but if other wildlife such as bears, raccoons or deer are using bird feeders, take them down for a few weeks. Birds only use feeders to supplement the natural foods (seeds, berries, insects) in the landscape so you don’t have to worry about them starving if you take your feeders down. Never feed mammals such as raccoons, foxes or bears or if you live in the deep south, alligators. These animals have a natural fear of people, but if you feed them they can lose that fear of people and associate us with food, which can create dangerous situations. Don’t feed pets outside, or store pet food or bird seed outside unless it’s in secure, metal containers. Critter-proof your house. Check for and seal off any access points to your attic, basement or crawlspace. Put screens in your window and doors.
Image Courtesy of Marcus Balcher Intro by Adam We are pleased to bring you an exclusive post by our friend Robin Mountjoy, General Manager and President of Connor’s Termite and Pest Control. Robin is not only an experienced executive, but a wonderful woman. In fact, we made sure we spotlighted Robin in our recent page […]
The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by […]
The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by […]