Pest Infestation: Identification and Solutions
Because many treatment routines call for toxic and poisonous chemicals, be sure to read the manufacturers instructions carefully and follow the recommended guidelines. For some insect infestations, like ants, there are non-toxic alternatives to try before using toxic methods. For households with pets and children, it’s always best to try the non-toxic remedies first.
Woodworm is actually a broad term for several types of beetles that bore into wood. These bugs have the ability to do major damage to a house’s structure. The furniture beetle, house longhorn beetle and the hardwood-loving deathwatch beetle can pose structural issues for homes—not common—but for older homes where ventilation is poor woodworm can be a foe to contend with. Fast treatment is both an efficient and effective remedy. Treatment kits are available, but for severe infestation, a professional may be required.
Rodents such as rats and mice may cause structural problems, but the real trouble lies in what they chew through—wires, woodwork, plastic—even pipes. If you discover telltale signs such as nests in attic insulation, chewed woodwork and rodent droppings, you likely have an infestation. Rodents, especially rats, carry disease so it is best to rid your home of them fast. Use traps and poisons and be sure to keep food covered. Be sure not to keep any garbage indoors. Peanut butter is a good bait choice for mousetraps. Cheap mousetraps should do the trick, but it is usually necessary to jimmy them a bit to get fast spring action.
Woodlice are indicative of a moisture problem in the home. Woodlice are drawn to damp wood. They will also kill both indoor and outdoor plants. To get rid of them use insecticide on your plants and at doorway thresholds. Treat your damp wood and try to repair the root of your moisture problem.
Similarly, silverfish also signify a problem with moisture. These creatures are most destructive to wall coverings. They tend to creep around the house at night searching for moisture and will devour both paper and adhesive. Locate areas of infestation and treat with insecticide. Of course, getting to the root of the moisture problem will keep such infestations from recurring.
Ants can be difficult to get rid of once they set up nests. Food and crumbs attract them indoors. To ward them away organically, sprinkle (lots of) ground cloves and cinnamon. Black pepper also detracts them. For more serious issues, insecticide may be necessary. Some homeowners have had success by placing laundry detergent at thresholds. The ants carry it home and they dine on the toxic feast to their demise.
Bats can pose a serious issue that should ideally be handled by a bat professional. They will frequently find their way into a basement or attic. They may not pose structural issues, but they are potential disease carriers and their flapping may keep one up at night.
Fly infestations are often caused by negligent hygiene. Flies and maggots indicate an infestation. While their presence is not serious for the house structure, their bodily fluids can damage decorative finishes. Also, flies spread bacteria—and their presence is a most annoying nuisance. Insecticides may be required to rid them from the premises; be sure to keep food covered and remove any garage from the house. Cockroaches are also a hygiene problem; while poison can be used, professionals have a better track record of removing them.
Pests around the house are extremely annoying, but they can pose serious issues for the house structure and their presence is unhealthy. If you cannot get rid of infestation problems with treatment kits or insecticides, it may be necessary to call in the professionals. Bees, wasps and birds can also pose serious problems. Critter infestations mean problems for any house—pests should be removed to the outdoors where they belong.