Pest Control: Tips and Secrets from 117 Experts

This is the most comprehensive list of pest control tips and information 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. Below are some of our favorite pest control tips:

  • Keep your gutters clean
  • Ensure food is covered
  • Leave the lights on
  • Eliminate standing water
  • Reduce pest hiding spots
  • Don’t store wood near your home
  • Keep deer away
  • Clean up cluttered storage areas
  • Cap your chimney

 
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.

Sort tips by topic

  • View All
  • wildlife
  • cockroaches
  • general pest tips
  • spiders
  • ants
  • choosing a company
  • Identification
  • bed bugs
  • miscellaneous
  • rodents
  • termites
  • plant and turf pests
  • miscellaneous pests
  • flies
  • mosquitoes
  • bees/wasps
  • bees / wasps
  • pantry pests
  • ants mosquitoes rodents
  • miscellaneous pest tips
  • General Tips

Loading content...

Soil solarization

A simple technique called soil solarization captures the sun’s 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. 

Keep food covered

Tightly seal all garbage cans and cover all food when outdoors. Avoid excessive use of fragrances outdoors, which can attract stinging insects.

Get pest company referrals

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. Don’t let the lowest price be your only deciding factor in choosing a pest management company. It could truly cost you thousands later.

A smelly situation

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. I’ve found that the quickest and most efficient way to do this is to use a fly trap. They’re really cheap and very efficient.

Don’t overfeed plants

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. Don’t overfeed plants because aphids love the resulting soft growth.

Control chinch bugs

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.

Vaccuum up crumbs

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.

Caulking success

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 from—my 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 we’ve had zero stinkbugs since. Sometimes the best solution is to completely prevent those critters from getting in rather than catching them after the fact.

Try cedar oil

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.

Plant diversity assists pest control

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

Natural mosquito control

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.

Darcy Logan
eHow Contributor

Control dust mites

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.

Outdoor pest control prep

– Keep tree limbs trimmed and from coming into contact with the roof; tree limbs make an ideal expressway to your house for ants and other pests.  

Fred Speer
Manager, Clark Pest Control
Lodi, CA

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.

Spray the aphids

The cure for aphids is sharp streams of water…use a pressurized sprayer, spray all the aphids off until you can’t see any aphids anymore, wait twenty minutes, and then do it again. Do that 4 times in a row.

Use proper storage

Invest in some small plastic containers that not only make your pantry look organized, but also keep your food safe from any rodents that might be looking for an extra meal.

Missy Henriksen
Executive Director
Professional Pest Management Alliance 
Vice President of Public Affairs
National Pest Management Association

Controlling caterpillars

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.

Do-it-yourself spider spray

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.

Lee Morgan
Contributor
eHow

Simple takeaways for rodents

The moral of the story is A. Don’t have rats. B. Avoid them by getting rid of the clutter. C. Don’t leave open food.

Plant trees away from home

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.

Learn the law

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 they’re 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.

Save those egg shells

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 you’re adding natural fertilizer to the garden as well! Other textures that work include coffee grounds, coarse sand, sheep’s wool, and Diatomaceous Earth.

Remedy for pantry moths

If you have pantry moths, here’s what you have to do, step by step: 

Keep deer away

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.

Install a bird screen

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.

Pest control for crickets

Cricket Control Solution: Place a strip of duct tape, sticky side up, on the floor near where you hear crickets. The bugs will be attracted and get stuck.

Pest control when buying a home

There’s plenty to worry about when you’re ready to purchase a home. But you can’t 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 droppings—black 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.

Wash clothes before storing

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.

Freeze the tick that bit you

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.

Heloise
Hints from Heloise
Good Housekeeping

Spider Control: Secure the perimeter

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. 

Aim for peace

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.

Use DE for pest control

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 isn’t an instant kill but should resolve the problem within a week or so.

Give solar pest control a shot

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.

Gerri Elder
WebEcoist

Tips for tick control

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.

Reduce pest hiding spots

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.

Flea control: comb your pets

If you have a pet, comb it regularly with a flea comb and wash its bedding frequently. Be sure to vacuum floors, rugs and upholstery your pet comes in contact with regularly.

Invest in termite inspections

Even if a Wood Destroying Insect Inspection isn’t 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, you’ll be responsible for the treatment and repair costs.

Understand green/organic pest control

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.


Alan Feuer


Technical Director,
Preventive Pest Control,
Albuquerque, NM
Secretary/Treasurer,
New Mexico Pest Management Association

Monitor for termites

Termites feed all year long and cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. It’s 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.


Peter Scala


President and owner
Parkway Pest Services New Hyde Park, NY

Seal cracks in foundation

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.


Paul Redwine


Redwine Pest Control
Cincinnati, OH

Prevention is best

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).

Pest protection: plant early

Plant early. To help rid your garden of uninvited pests, try planting early in the season. Many of the worst pests aren’t 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.

Joe Lamp’l
Host and executive producer
“Growing a Greener World,” PBS
Author, columnist

Herbs can deter insects

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.

Bobbie Brewer
Contributor
eHow 

Check for termites yourself

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 wood’s 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.

The mint method of flea control

Mint leaves are natural flea repellents. Soak one part mint leaves in three parts water in a spray bottle for three to five days and spray on dog beds. Any variety of the mint plant can be used.

Reduce moisture to deter termites

Termites are active year round and cause more annual damage than all natural disasters combined.  It’s 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.

Read the fine print

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 BBB’s Accredited Business Directory to quickly find local companies that uphold BBB’s standards for ethical business practices.

Seek medical attention

Snakes enter the home through cracks like those under doorways. Additionally, firewood, shrubbery and bodies of water all attract snakes. Even if they’re 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

Solve snake issues

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.

Don’t disturb protected soil

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.

Termite prevention best practices

Leave the lights on

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.

Another use for cayenne pepper

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

Gel baits are the best ant control

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.

Know when to call the pros

Get help from professionals to control termites or carpenter ants and bed bugs!  Over-the-counter products rarely control these pests, even when used correctly!

Dr. David Shetlar
“The BugDoc”
Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology
Department of Entomology
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Consider plant health

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 don’t 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.

LaManda Joy
The Yarden
Founder/President
The Peterson Garden Project

Eliminate standing water

What many people don’t realize is mosquitoes breed in standing water, and they don’t 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. 

Denise Morris
Director of Local Operations, Mosquito Joe Norfolk, VA

Ask for credentials

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 shouldn’t be afraid to ask to see the company and/or the technician’s license, registration or other relevant credentials.

Gene Harrington
Vice President of Government Affairs
National Pest Management Association

Be familiar with your target pest

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.

Ed Doyle
Service Manager, Western Exterminating
Haltom City, TX
Director
Texas Pest Control Association

Try natural pest solutions

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.

Lose the leaves for roach control

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.

Buddy Jasper
Co-owner, J.C’s TERMINIX INC.
Lubbock Texas
Immediate past-president
Texas Pest Control Association

Know your pests

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.

Dr. Donald Lewis
Professor and Extension Entomologist
Department of Entomology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA

Pest control up close and personal

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!

Daniella Martin
Owner, Girl Meets Bug
Author, “Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet”

Education is key

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.”

Know your moths for proper control

Occasionally homeowners may find small moths, flying about indoors, in the evening. There are three possible sources for these moths.

Jeffrey Tucker
Entomology Associates, Inc.
Houston, TX
Contributing editor, Mallis Handbook of Pest Control

Take a look at your landscape

Don’t 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 pest’s ability to enter your home

Drew Moran
Service Manager, Eastside Exterminators
Woodinville, WA

Leave space for landscaping

Always be sure that the foundation of your home is visible for inspection of termite activity, keeping landscaping back six inches is recommended.

Love the ladybugs

Ladybugs are part of a gardener’s 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 isn’t 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.

Terry Lea
Managing editor
Davesgarden.com

Wait it out: no worries

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 doesn’t mean that it will cause serious damage over the long term. Nature has a funny way of taking care of itself.

Dr. Chris Cutler
Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences

Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Cap your chimney

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.

Sean Carruth
Vice President, Critter Control, Inc
Traverse City, MI

Air leaks = bug problems

If lady beetles, stink bugs and flies are getting into your house, heat and/or air-conditioned air is getting out!

Dr. David Shetlar
“The BugDoc”
Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology
Department of Entomology
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Think about the pests’ perspective

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.

Robin Mountjoy
General manager and president, Connor’s Pest Control
Richmond, VA

Knowledge = pest control

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. 

Andrew Taylor
Technical Director, Clegg’s Termite and Pest Control
Durham, NC

Don’t overdo the mulch

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.

Alan Luxmore
TV host, “Fix this Yard,” A&E
Contractor, “Picker Sisters,” Lifetime

DIY pest control: freeze your flour

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.

Compare pictures

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.

Smart bee control: ask for help

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.

Sam Smith
Director of Operations, Insight Pest Solutions

Don’t fall for the fly spray

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.

Mike Dukes
Editor-in-chief
TermiteMD.com

Avoid pest souvenirs

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.

Scott Svenheim
Associate Certified Entomologist, Truly Nolen
Tucson, AZ

Don’t store wood near your 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, don’t let leaves, your lawn or flowerbed mulch cover up the slab. This will give you a better chance at quickly spotting termite tubes.

Keld Ewart
Marketing Coordinator, The Bug Master Exterminating
Austin, TX

Try mosquito-eating fish

When you spend time outdoors, you don’t 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. 

Boric acid for pest control

Powdered ~99-100% boric acid is probably one of the safest crack-and-crevice treatments for household pests, such as silverfish and cockroaches.

Dr. Matthew T. Messenger
Program Manager and Staff Entomologist
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
USDA
Riverdale, MD
Editor
Journal of Integrated Pest Management
Entomological Society of America

Be inhospitable to bugs

Everyone wants a silver bullet, no one wants to have to invest elbow grease; but that’s 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 they’ll starve.  Get rid of clutter and they won’t 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.

Dr. Nancy Hinkle
Professor
Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA
Contributing editor
Mallis Handbook of Pest Control

Diagnose pests correctly

Accurate problem diagnosis is difficult, but misdiagnosis is easy. The causes of pest-related problems aren’t always easy to determine, but correct diagnosis often is critical for remediation. Many homeowners aren’t familiar with some of the odd-looking insects like scale insects and mealybugs. 

Dr. John L. Capinera
Emeritus Professor
Entomology & Nematology Department
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

Back to pest control basics

Tip for residents: Clean-up, clear-up, seal-up, repeat.  Still have challenges?  Call the experts, and ask how you can partner with your pest management company to maintain your home pest-free.”

Dr. Dawn. H. Gouge
Associate Professor and Associate Specialist
Department of Entomology
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Plant feverfew

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. I’m sorry that I no longer see green halictid bees nesting in the front lawn…but I don’t 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.

Laurie DiCesare
Freelance Naturalist Member
Vermont Entomological Society

Check for unwanted visitors

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.  

Todd Axten
Service Manager, Wildlife Expert, Insight Pest Solutions

The cheesy truth about rodent control

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.

Boris Bajlovic
Senior Category Development Manager, Victor Pest

Keep gutters clean

Regularly clean your gutters to prevent mosquito breeding and potential subterranean termite activity, especially Formosan subterranean termites.

Dr. Matthew T. Messenger
Program Manager and Staff Entomologist
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
USDA
Riverdale, MD
Subject editor
Journal of Integrated Pest Management
Entomological Society of America

A natural fly repellant

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.

Have a new home inspected

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 you’re moving in, you can get a good night’s sleep knowing there are no critters.

Buyer beware

Monthly treatments for common insects are rarely needed.  Avoid companies that insist that this is the only way they can control pests!

Dr. David Shetlar
“The BugDoc”
Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology
Department of Entomology
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Relax, don’t do it

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.

Protect honey bees

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: 

Nikita Naik
Program Associate
Beyond Pesticides
Washington, DC

Look for pest evidence

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.

Jeff White
Director of Innovation and Technical Content
BedBug Central
Lawrenceville, NJ

Simple pest control: keep it clean

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.

Host a bug-free outdoor event

Tips for a bug-free event: 

Joe Fryer
Director of Operations, JP McHale Pest Management Inc.
Buchanan, NY

Understand the risk

Termites put your home at risk for serious and expensive damage that could turn your biggest investment into your biggest expense. What’s 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 home’s foundation while foraging, they’ll 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 house’s wood frame begins. Termites also can enter through expansion joints in the foundation and utility and plumbing openings.

Joe Barile
Technical Service Lead, PPM/Vector, Bayer Environmental Science

Control pests in the right spots

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.

Bill Robinson
Technical Director, B&G Equipment Co.
Director
Urban Pest Control Research Center

Training assassin bugs

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 that’s in your budget: Go for it!  Just start sequencing the DNA of various members of the Reduviidae family and off you go!  There’s nothing to it. On the other hand, if you have other uses for several million dollars, I’d 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

The best control: exclude the pests

The best pest proofing tip is exclusion – find out how pests are entering your home and take the proper steps to seal it to prevent further infestations.

Reduce spider incentives

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.

Jeff Patton
Commercial Service Manager, Western Exterminator Company
Vancouver, WA

Prevent and combat wasps

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.  

Todd Leyse
President, Adam’s Pest Control
Medina, MN

Reduce clutter to reduce pests

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.

Chris Quinn
Operations Director
Catseye Pest Control
Castleton, NY

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

Protect your suitcase

Purchase and use 20 gallon Zip-Lock bags to contain your suit case and personal items when staying at a hotel to avoid bringing bed bug hitch-hikers home!

Dr. David Shetlar
“The BugDoc”
Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology
Department of Entomology
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Honey – pest control for ants

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.

Compare pest control companies

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: 

Not just for babies

Johnson’s Baby Powder on exposed skin will help control mosquito bites. The powder dries up pores, reducing the carbon dioxide emissions that attract mosquitos to human skin.

Thomas Gray
General Manager, Forshaw
Charlotte, NC

Flies and filth

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.

David Moore
Manager of Technical Services, Dodson Bros. Exterminating Co
Lynchburg, VA

Don’t fear the lizards

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 didn’t really want insects inside anyway, did you?

Bait to control fire ants

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.

Dr. Blake Layton
Extension Entomology Specialist
Mississippi State University Extension Service
Starkville, MS

Seal for stink bug control

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.

Dr. George Hamilton
Professor and chair
Department of Entomology
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ

Skip the detergent

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.

Dr. Raymond A. Cloyd
Professor and Extension Specialist in Horticultural Entomology/Plant Protection
Department of Entomology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Organic pest control – snack on bugs

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.

David George Gordon
Author, The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook
“The Bug Chef”

Termites: stay ahead of the curve

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.

Donnie Shelton
Owner, Triangle Pest Control
Holly Springs, NC
At-Large Director
North Carolina Pest Management Association

Magnify what’s bugging you

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.

Dr. Steven R. Sims
Blue Imago LLC
Maryland Heights, MO
Contributing Editor
Mallis Handbook of Pest Control

Mouse control via sheer numbers

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.  Don’t just use 2 or 3 traps, use a bunch (20-30) and overwhelm them.

J Brad Parker
President, Parker Pest Control
Ponca City, OK
President
Oklahoma Pest Control Association

Mysterious bug bites: allergies?

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.

Jack DeAngelis
Associate Professor of Entomology (retired)
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR
Owner
LivingWithBugs

Pest protection: seal off your home

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.

Analyze pest clues

When you know you have a pest that needs solved, begin by gathering the information at hand: 

Rob Greer
COO, Rove Pest Control
Minneapolis, MN

Simple pest control tactics

The most effective pest control includes eliminating harboring areas, and regular Pest Control services. 

Juliea Huffaker
Juliea Huffaker, Responsible Pest Control
Mesa, AZ

Don’t make pest problems worse

After being in the pest control industry for nearly 30 years, the biggest insider’s 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.

Two strategies are better than one

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.

Pest control with essential oils

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. 

Dr. Danesha Seth Carley
NC Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordinator
Assistant professor
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC

Skip the bug bombs

Don’t use over-the-counter total release aerosols (aka, Bug Bombs)!  EPA refuses to ban them because EPA doesn’t require efficacy to be proven, just that the products don’t harm people and their pets!

Dr. David Shetlar
“The BugDoc”
Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology
Department of Entomology
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Keep raccoons away

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: 

Russell Wong
Public Information Biologist
NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Switch your light bulbs

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.

David Moore
Manager of Technical Services, Dodson Bros. Exterminating Co
Lynchburg, VA

Reduce pest hiding places

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.

Watch for wildlife

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.

David Mizejewski
Lifelong naturalist, animal lover and self-professed “nature geek”
National Wildlife Federation
Reston, VA

If this page was helpful for you, please share it with your friends!

Did we miss any tips?
Have you tried one of them before?

Leave us a comment below or send an email to sean at insightpest dot com

Looking for more Pest Control and bug-related info? Here are a few of our favorite resources:

Featured Creatures bug guide, University of Florida

Pest Control Library, National Gardening Association

(Fresh) Pest Control Blog Posts

Most Common Insect-Borne Diseases in the U.S. (Map)

With the heat and summertime in full swing, that means more time outside enjoying nature or being near the water. But, the downside is that this time of year brings the increased risk of mosquitoes and ticks. Outside of the aggravation of itchy bites or having to pull off a parasite, there are a number […]

Read More »

What Are The Most Common Insects in Boston?

It seems that warmer weather is finally here to stay. The days keep getting longer as the first official day of summer is right around the corner. Summer can often be a busy time for pest control folks as the warm weather brings more bugs. We were interested in taking a look at some of […]

Read More »

Termites: Friend or Foe?

By: Randy Pope Mankind needs termites.  Mankind hates termites. Whether these little creatures are our “friend” or “foe” will depend on whether these guys are eating on your home or helping clear out underbrush in your natural wooded areas.  In everything there is always a line between beneficial and destructive.  This holds true with termites.  […]

Read More »