Ants, roaches, termites, raccoons, squirrels and other insects or animals all have one thing in common; they can quickly become unwanted pests. Of course, most insects are unwanted anyway, but an abundance of wildlife can also be a problem. Raccoons, with their quick little paws, dig into trash and make a mess. Birds can eat the seeds and plants from your garden or destroy flowers. Squirrels may look cute and cuddly, but they love to break into houses and build their nests or cache nuts inside. The list goes on.
So, how do you get rid of them and make sure they don't come back? Here are ten tips to get you started:
Tip #1 - Squirrels, Raccoons and Other Attic Nesters
Squirrels and other attic nesters make their way into the house through a gnawed hole. Getting rid of this pest infestation calls for three steps:
1. Finding how they got in
2. Trapping those that are already there
3. Sealing the entry areas
When you catch the pests and then seal the areas, it's best to use steel. Those sharp teeth can chew through a lot of material, but steel isn't one of them. Exclusion will keep them out of your hard won areas!
Tip #2 -Raccoons and Trash Diggers
Raccoons are another type of attic nester, and it takes just about the same steps to get rid of the cute, cuddly, pesky pests as it does for squirrels. However, sealing your attic and any holes around your house will keep them outside, but it won't keep them out of the trash. It also won't keep them from ripping holes in your screen or any number of irritants. This is why there is a need for prevention as well as exclusion.
For prevention, it's mostly common sense. For example, if they're getting into pet food, put the food elsewhere. For trash, get a metal trashcan and then use bungee cords to keep the lid on. Although raccoons have quick, clever paws, they won't have enough strength to raise the lid.
Tip #3 - Rats and Mice
If you can hear scratching in your walls and your electricity starts acting funny, you may just have mice or rats. Jaws so powerful they can chew concrete, these nasty rodents seem to show up everywhere in your house without warning. Again, follow the three steps from Tip #1.
It's important to have a professional kill and remove poisoned rodents. Poison can create a lot of problems much worse than the original pest infestation. If you'd rather not hire a professional, use snap traps. The last step for permanent rodent pest removal is to vacuum up the rat waste. During all steps, use protective covering and masks!
Tip #4 - Bird Pests
Pests are for the birds, but what if the birds are the pests? The most important thing to remember when it comes to birds is that poison - or anything that kills them indiscriminately - isn't a good thing to use. Most birds are protected by state and federal laws, and poison can kill more than just pigeons and house sparrows.
For some birds, not feeding them and scaring them away whenever they land will force them to find other nesting grounds. However, it doesn't work with most species. One thing that does work is a bird repellent - a strip with sharp metal wires. Attach the strip where your pest birds are most likely to roost and then leave them there. It's humane and a fairly quick way to rid yourself of them.
Tip #5 - Roaches
Roaches are the bane of man's existence - the roommates you never quite seem to get rid of, no matter how hard you try. You can get rid of them for good, though. It just takes a little know-how.
The first thing to remember is that cockroaches are there to eat, and they'll eat anything. They also love moisture. Make sure you always clean up food from your counter tops and other areas, get rid of any clutter such as bags, papers, envelopes, etc. Insulate your pipes, clean up water spills, caulk pip moldings and make sure you have a good moisture control program.
While a professional pest control company will have several options for removing the roaches, you can use half baking soda and half powdered sugar in a plate and leave it out for them to eat. It will kill them off and is non-toxic, but it may not get rid of your entire problem. If you aren't worried about toxicity, sprinkle boric acid wherever you've seen them.
Tip # 6 - Termites
Termites nibble at your house until it falls down around your ears. If you do have a termite infestation, your best bet would be to hire a professional pest controller. However, if you want to take care of some of the problem yourself, fix any outside faucets so they don't leave moisture and weaken the wood. Keep guttering cleaned out and, if you have any, remove any woodpiles from around the house.
Tip #7 - Ants
Ants are fairly easy pests to get rid of. They love easy food, so if you see them in your house it means you have some edible crumbs and leftovers they can reach. Follow their route, find out where they're coming in and seal the area. Clean up the area and make sure there's no food left out. Spray it with vinegar, black pepper, cinnamon or bay leaves; ants hate the hot and spicy stuff!
Tip #8 - Bedbugs
Unlike ants, bedbugs are hard to get rid of. They're the stowaways on your luggage, clothes and blankets from staying in infected places. If you know you have bedbugs, bag your bedding and anything else that can be laundered and put it in the dryer. Wrap everything else in plastic and put them in a hot area for a few days. Even larger items can be vacuumed, and then the vacuum bag thrown out. You can also steam clean the room, but in the end, it's time to hire the professionals.
Tip #9 - Cleaning Up After
The biggest part of getting rid of pests for good is the cleanup. Cockroaches, for example, will come back if you don't clean up the area and keep it clean. The same can be said for ants, bedbugs, rats and mice. If you leave out what drew them in the first place, it will just draw them again.
Tip # 10 - Pests, Pests and More Pests
A few types of pests definitely require a professional, such a termites, bedbugs and rats. However, although there are some things you can take care of yourself, professional pest controllers are prepared to deal with any number of pests, recognize signs of other pests you may not be aware of and remove the pests from the scene. If you aren't confident that you can do it yourself, hire a professional!
No matter what type of pest you have, there is a method for getting rid of them for good. Talk with a professional pest controller to see what you can do for your specific situation!
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