No matter where you live, there are common pests which seemingly exist for the sole purpose of making life miserable. In some areas it’s ants, in others
it’s silverfish, and some regions are plagued by beetles, spiders or scorpions. So, here comes the need to talk about Pest Control.
How To Get Rid Of Common Pests – Pest Control
There are three household common pests, though, which homeowners find the most annoying, difficult – and sometimes costly – to deal with: cockroaches, bats, possums and termites. Many people discovering any of those creatures in their house simply throw up their hands and call a pest control company. But hiring an
exterminator, of course, can be an expensive way to deal with pest problems.
A more economical and often faster approach is to get rid of the pests yourself. That’s not as difficult as you might think; in many cases it simply
requires patience and knowledge. If you have the patience, we have the knowledge.
One note before we start: when it comes to pest control, there’s an ongoing debate about whether the proper approach is to use organic methods are safe for
the children and pets in your home, or to blast away with time-tested chemical treatments. That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own, but we’ll be
providing both modern “green” methods and traditional “pesticide” solutions for household pest infestations. You can choose which works best for your
All set? Here we go.
How To Kill Cockroaches
Ugh, roaches. They’re not just ugly and disgusting; they smell bad, their discarded skin and waste products can trigger allergies or asthma attacks – and
of course, they carry all sorts of harmful bacteria and disease. What’s worse is that they usually don’t appear singly or in pairs, but move into a house
in full force. Once you see a few cockroaches in your home, you can be sure that you have a roach problem.
Cockroaches are attracted to areas like basements or kitchen cabinets which are dark, warm and wet. To stop them from visiting in the first place, it’s
crucial to eliminate the standing water which can attract them; fixing all water leaks and filling in areas where rainwater can accumulate can make your
home an unwelcome habitat.
However, it’s doubly important to take those steps if you already have roaches in your home, because these pests need water in order to live but will die
in a week without it. If the easily-available water source which attracted the cockroaches in the first place is eliminated, they’ll then drink anything
they can find – including the water in traps that you set, or the poison you thoughtfully provide for them. Roaches also eat anything they can find, which
is a big help when you’re trying to kill them.
How To Kill Cockroaches Organically
Soapy water: Keep a spray bottle filled with soap and water in the area where the cockroaches have set up shop, and spray any which emerge (if you
can find their nest, so much the better – spray the entire nest). The soap will kill most of them, and slow the rest down so you can kill them
Diatomaceous earth: This is a natural soil which has sharp edges; it irritates and eventually cuts cockroaches’ outer skin leaving them dehydrated
and unable to survive. Sprinkle it liberally around areas near the roaches, such as inside or on top of cabinets (roaches like high places) and
behind kitchen appliances, and be patient. The roaches will die within days. You can purchase diatomaceous earth at garden shops.
Baking soda and sugar: Set out a mix of these two ingredients, in the same places you’d put diatomaceous earth. The cockroaches will eat the
mixture because of the sugar, and the baking soda will react with acid in the roaches’ stomachs to kill them.
Bait a trap: You can purchase commercial roach traps, but you can also make your own. Start with baking soda and sugar, but roaches will be more
attracted to your bait if you mix in bacon grease, flour and minced onions, or cocoa and flour. Put the bait into a wide-mouthed jar, slather
petroleum jelly around the inside, and the roaches will be trapped in the jelly trying to get to the bait. Clean out the dead cockroaches each
morning until they’re all gone. An easier, alternate trap can be made from double-sided sticky tape applied to the edges of all counters and
How To Kill Cockroaches By Traditional Methods
Boric acid: This toxic powder can be placed on top of cabinets where roaches will not only eat it, but take it back to their nests for others to
eat. This is an effective method the pros use to kill cockroaches.
Fabric softener and water: This mix is used in the same way as soap and water. The fabric softener suffocates roaches, but can also harm pets.
Insecticides and pesticides: Several insect killers contain the chemicals cyfluthrin or cypermethrin as active ingredients and are effective
against cockroaches; the label will tell you if the poison will kill roaches. Make sure to treat the nest and not just spray the general area.
These substances are hazardous to children and pets.
How To Get Rid Of Bats
Before we get into the details of the best ways to get rid of bats, it’s important to know two things. First, although you probably don’t want them in your
home (who does?) bats do a wonderful job of eating other pests, like mosquitoes. You might want to consider getting them out of your attic but setting up a
bat house for them nearby. Second, in many nations (like the UK) it’s illegal to disturb or move bats, and it’s definitely illegal to kill them in most
developed countries. Check your country, state and local laws before taking action.
How To Get Rid Of Bats Organically
Quite honestly, the only effective way to get rid of bats that have settled inside a home is a natural one: evacuating them from the house and then sealing
up the openings they’ve been using to get inside. There’s a lot more to it than running around the attic with a broom swatting at the bats, though, and
during maternity season it’s unlikely that you’d be able to force a mother bat out of her nest even if you used dynamite. Here’s how to do it safely and
First, you may need some patience. If it’s wintertime, it would be inhumane to evacuate bats because they’d be unable to survive outdoors, and it’s also
not smart because dead bats can’t eat your mosquitoes the next summer. Late spring and early-to-mid summer are also bad times for bat evacuation because
that’s the maternity season. More than a single bat in your home probably means that a nursing colony is roosting there; you’ll have to wait until late
summer, when the pups have grown old enough to survive on their own, to begin evacuation. (In some localities, it’s also illegal to disturb bats when
they’re roosting.) Even if you’re able to get a mom away from her pups while they’re young, the pups will die inside your house – and the carcasses will be
probably difficult to find until they’ve rotted and left a hideous smell.
Whether you’re ready to evict the bats or just practicing your patience while waiting for spring or fall, the first step can be taken at any time during
the year: figuring out where the bats are entering and leaving your home. You can do this in two ways. The first method is to look for small openings all
around the home, particularly under the eaves and around windows, exhaust pipes and chimneys, for telltale bat droppings. They’re easy to find because
they’ll sparkle in the light thanks to insect shells inside the guano – just don’t touch or even smell them, because they can make you sick. The second
method is to conduct a “bat watch” by putting people on each side of the house at dusk or dawn, to see where the bats enter or exit the home. Remember,
bats can often get into your house through a hole as small as a dime.
With that information in hand and when the season is right, you can finally take action. The easiest approach is to install so-called “one-way doors” on
the openings, which let the bats get out but stops them from getting back in. These doors are available at home and garden centers, but they’re easy to
make because they’re not really doors at all; they’re simply a tube made of flexible mesh or netting, fully sealed at the top and open at the bottom. When
bats leave the house at night to feed, they’ll fly out of the opening and make their way down the tube. But since bats use smell and not sight to navigate,
when they come back they’ll try to get in through the sealed mesh at the top of the tube (where they “smell” the entrance). They’ll never find the opening
at the bottom of the tube, so they’ll end up heading somewhere else instead of your attic. After five days or so, all the bats should be gone.
If you want to put in more effort, just seal the openings with screens when the bats leave at night. When they return, they won’t be able to get in. The
next day just before dusk, remove the screens so the bats still inside your home can get out, then seal everything back up again. Do this for a week and
your house should be bat-free.
Once they’re all outside for good, seal all of the openings tightly with screens, caulk or foam insulation; there are also commercial bat repellents you
can spray onto the areas after they’re patched. And seriously consider setting up a bat box outdoors for them; they really are worth having around. If you
really want the bats off your property but they continue to roost outdoors, you can drive them away by repeatedly spraying them with a hose until they get
the idea they’re not welcome. Two final thoughts: don’t try to catch bats, because they bite and are good at evading capture; if you’ve got just one bat,
open a window and he’ll find it, and if you have more than one, evacuate them. And don’t feel that you have to get rid of bats immediately for fear of
rabies; the chances of a rabid bat nesting in your house are incredibly low.
How To Get Rid Of Bats By Traditional Methods
The “tried-and-true” methods of getting rid of bats involve mothballs or pesticides. Both are very bad ideas, however. The number of mothballs you’d need
to drive away or kill bats is so large that it would endanger anyone living inside the house, and the poisons that kill bats can also be dangerous to
humans. Additionally, disposing of contaminated bats or finding dead, decomposing bats hidden in your attic or basement are not pleasant problems to deal
And, as we’ve already mentioned, poisoning or killing bats is illegal in most places. Evacuate them instead.
How To Get Rid Of Termites
Few infestations are scarier to a homeowner than termites. After all, bugs, rodents and other creepy-crawlers, even the ones carrying disease, are just
“surface” problems. Termites can actually destroy an entire home.
Many automatically associate the word “termites” with other words like “tenting,” “fogging” and “bombs.” Don’t panic, though; if you’ve caught an
infestation early enough, there are plenty of alternatives. A word of warning, however: if you have a large, thriving termite colony which has already done
substantial damage to your home (with lots of tunnels built by subterranean termites in compost piles or mud, or large nests built by dry wood termites
inside the structure of your home), it’s time to call in the pros.
How To Get Rid Of Termites Organically
It’s not easy to get rid of termites by yourself, and any one of these approaches will probably not do the job by itself. If you’re going to give organic
do-it-yourself termite control a try, it’s best to try some or all of these measures together rather than individually.
Cardboard traps: These won’t get rid of major infestations, but can help make a dent. Stack several strips of wet cardboard and leave them near the
termite nest. The termites will come out to feed on them (they love eating cardboard). When the trap is full, remove it from the house and burn it.
Rinse and repeat.
Release parasitic nematodes: If you have subterranean termites, releasing these worms will do quite a bit of damage to the colony because nematodes
feed on termites. They won’t help against dry wood termite infestations, though. Nematodes can be purchased at garden or home centers.
Sunlight or cold: A piece of furniture that’s been infested can be “cleaned” by leaving it out in the sun or in a large freezer for several days.
Prolonged exposure to light or cold will kill termites.
Orange oil: More and more professional exterminators are using botanical products made with orange oil because the active ingredient, d-limonene,
is safe and effective against termites and other pests. It’s used by drilling into infested wood and injecting the orange oil, and is best used for
Borax: The use of non-toxic sodium borate, either as a spray or a powder, can destroy a visible termite colony, particularly with repeat
applications. However, it may not infiltrate unseen parts of the colony.
How To Get Rid Of Termites By Traditional Methods
One more time: if you already have a serious termite infestation, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to control it on your own, even with chemical methods.
An active colony can consist of as many as a million termites, with a queen laying thousands of new eggs per day. If your home is in serious danger from
existing colonies, you should always seriously consider calling in professionals.
Here are the methods you can try, though, if you’re willing to deal with pesticides, chemicals or toxic approaches to killing termites.
Termite bait stations: these stations are placed into the ground every 10-15 feet around the house, and have delayed-acting toxic bait inside.
Termites eat some of the bait and bring more back to the colony. This will kill the pests inside their shells. There are also newer-style bait
stations meant to be placed inside a home. Pest control companies often use this approach in conjunction with other treatments.
Pesticides: substances like termiticides, or pesticides containing fipronil will kill any termites exposed to them and can act as a preventative as
well. They’re normally applied after the foundation has been drilled or partially dug out so the colonies can be reached. Unfortunately, the most
effective poisons are strictly regulated and only sold to professionals.
Bombs and foggers: here’s the bad news: the do-it-yourself termite bombs and foggers which are sold to homeowners will only treat exposed areas and
won’t do much to deter colonies deep in the home’s wood, but can be hazardous to humans and pets. Here’s the good news: if you have an infestation
that’s bad enough to require drastic treatment, professionals have access to more effective “nuclear option” treatments which, when used in
conjunction with bait stations and pesticides, can eradicate termites completely.