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Discovering bugs in your home can be frustrating. Between actually identifying the pests and researching how to safely remove them, the situation can be overwhelming.
Despite the social stigma that comes from having an infestation, bugs are actually very common in the average household. A recent study on the diversity of household bugs found that the average home has an estimated 32-211 morphospecies, and 24-128 arthropod families present, with flies, spiders, and beetles making up 73% of this population. While many homeowners may never notice these bugs living among them, the populations can multiply and become a more serious nuisance.
If you have a pest problem in your home, these tips and tricks can help you to achieve a quick resolution.
Identify and contain the bugs
The first step in bug removal is identifying the issue. Knowing which type of pest that you’re dealing with is helpful in determining your course of action; not all bugs will respond to the same treatments.
If your bug infestation is localized (for example, mostly appearing on sheets or pieces of furniture), then these items need to be removed. Seal any infested items in plastic bags and apply treatments if you want to keep your belongings; sealing and treating sheets is particularly important for bed bug control. If you can’t treat an item but you wish to keep it, then it should be sealed for up to a year to make sure that no bugs are active when the seal is broken.
Call in the experts
Hiring pest control professionals is a good option for larger infestations, or for people who lack the confidence to remove bugs by themselves; a reputable pest control professional can identify the bugs in your home and provide treatment options for you to choose from.
If you’re aiming to remove the bugs yourself, it’s still important to research which treatment options are appropriate for the type of pest that you’re exterminating. There are reputable online pest specialists who can provide resources to help you manage whatever kind of infestation you’re experiencing, such as this guide for getting rid of crickets. Many people are unaware that the crickets you hear outside can also make their way indoors, drawn to dark and humid areas of your home, including piles of laundry; doing your research will ensure that you have the know-how to banish these pests from your home for good.
Pesticides are a popular method of pest control, and for good reason; they are widely available, and are designed to kill or harm a variety of pests, from cockroaches to spiders.
Targeted space spray pesticides can be applied directly to pests when you see them, and tend to break down quickly to ensure that there are minimal lingering chemicals after application; Surface spray, bug bomb, and termite treatments can leave toxic chemical traces in your home for weeks after use, and should be used sparingly.
If you choose to use pesticides for their fast-acting benefits, make sure to keep the chemicals away from food or drink, and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, including wearing protective clothing where appropriate. However, consider other options for a less cruel solution to the problem.
Try natural solutions
US households spend over $2.5 billion every year on bug and pest treatments; however, new peer-reviewed research has shown that some of the more popular ‘bug bomb’ treatments can leave chemical residue on benches and floors for up to a month, while failing to reduce cockroach populations. Families looking for a more natural solution for pest removal should consider baiting, which has been shown to reduce cockroach populations by up to 75% after only 2 weeks.
Bug baiting refers to the practice of attracting bugs and pests into traps, where they either perish or await release by the homeowner, depending on the type of bait used. A natural baiting option for cockroaches is to place syrup in a wine bottle, and then line the bottle opening with cooking oil; cockroaches will be attracted to the syrup but unable to escape the bottle. Crickets can be baited using molasses; they are drawn to the smell. but unable to escape the sticky texture
Natural options are also available to remove bugs from plants and to prevent pests from gaining access to your home. Coffee grounds are repulsive to many bugs—so much so that you can prevent pests and bugs from invading your home by sprinkling leftover coffee grounds anywhere you think pests could be getting in.
A bug infestation in your home can be inconvenient and embarrassing; however, it is a common and manageable issue, with many possible solutions.
Pest control professionals are always available for advice relating to your specific issues. By following these tips and taking steps to prevent future infestations, you can ensure that your home remains bug free and safe for your family to enjoy.
Miles Perrine, Miles is an expert in pest control and has owned several pest control businesses in the past. Nearly every weekend you’ll find him up in the mountains, in a neighborhood, or somewhere else helping someone get rid of their pesky pests – either actively or through consulting. But when he’s not, he writes about pest control tactics to help others