Basic steps to check your home for pests and reducing the risk of infestation. Checking for tell tale signs such as gnawing, access holes and discouraging pests.
Prepare for the possible arrival of unwelcome guests as temperatures rise
While the arrival of spring with longer days and hopefully higher temperatures is welcomed by most of us there’s a downside; the increase in the numbers of certain pests and the first signs of others. Once spring arrives it’s not a bad idea to look for possible ‘pest vulnerabilities’ in and around your home and check if any have already taken up residence.
Spring heralds the arrival of new pest threats
Along with year-round nuisances such as mice, rats and cockroaches, spring can herald the arrival of other undesirable pests such as ants, fleas, flies and wasps. Warmer than usual early springtimes or milder late winters can see them appear in especially high numbers.
Along with being highly unpleasant to have in the home, pests can prove expensive; they can cause considerable damage and many home insurers won’t entertain claims for pest damage.
Attend to the following:
Line up pest control experts – it pays to have the number of a suitable companies covering your area to hand, whether or not you currently have a pest infestation; for example Essex Pest Control Ltd covers Essex and East London.
Gnaw marks – mice and rats will chew through wood, wiring and even metal so if you spot any damage like this you could have mice or rats. Also check food packaging such as cereal boxes for gnaw marks.
Holes – any vulnerable areas such as holes or cracks in flooring, doors, walls, panelling or crumbling brickwork anywhere is a possible entry point for pests especially rodents. Even small openings are a vulnerability; a mouse only needs a 6mm gap to gain access.
Fill these in if you find any although if you do have a suspected pest problem best wait until it’s dealt with so as to avoid sealing them in.
Scratching and other sounds – if you can hear scratching or a ‘scrambling’ noise at times this could be a sign of pest presence such as rodents or possibly insects.
Untidy areas inside and out – food left in the open is a huge invitation for pests of all types from ants to rats to pay you a visit.
Clutter – areas full of clutter are other major attractions; for example cockroaches are attracted to paper so a pile of old books or magazines left in a cubbyhole – especially if there’s some dampness into the bargain – could spell trouble. Keep gardens and yard areas clean and clear and avoid a build up of clutter; a perfect home for pests such as mice and rats.
Food storage and disposal – if bin bags and perhaps animal food bags stored outside appear damaged through tears you could have a rat problem. Keep bin bags and stored food secure and empty bins as frequently as possible.
Ideally food of all types should be stored in plastic or glass containers, even in cupboards; loose bags and paper or cardboard packaging can be broken into by a hungry pest.
Heating temperature – pests are attracted to sources of warmth, food and water so don’t have the heating on too high. While you may still require your central heating during spring, it might be possible to turn it down a degree or two to help deter pests.
Cleanliness – general cleanliness is a major step in discouraging pests and making it difficult for them to thrive. Keep on top of the following:
- Kitchen – because they’re a typical environment where food, moisture and warmth is to be found, kitchens should be kept clean and disinfected regularly to discourage pests
- Vacuuming – give your home a thorough vacuuming to discourage carpet mites and remove any accumulated dust or debris that may attract other pests
- Beds and wardrobes – bedbugs are difficult to spot so start by washing the bed clothes at a high temperature and vacuum on and around the stripped bed. Ensure wardrobes and other cupboards and fabric storage areas are free of dust so as to help discourage moths
Damage to plants and greenery – holes in leaves and chunks removed from your garden greenery indicate a slug problem.
To remove slugs or prevent them from becoming established in the first place, a natural remedy is to encourage birds – who eat slugs – to frequent your garden. Putting up a bird feeder or birdbath may help.
Prevention is better than cure
A spring check of the pest risks to your property and a ‘review’ of practices such as food storage can help prevent any unwanted visitors. In a nutshell making your home inhospitable to any potential or actual pests is key, so deny them access to warmth, water and food.
If you do suspect a pest infestation or know you have one, call in professional pest controllers. Along with ridding you of your present pest problem they can help advise on how to prevent any more.