How to Control and Prevent Pests at Home

Pest control tips to stop pests invading your home or garden

Pests can be attracted to a number of areas in our homes and gardens, we’ve got a few tips to stop them invading and creating an infestation. Whilst we do recommend professional pest control to get rid of the problem, there are certainly a number of ways to prevent pests and control others.

In this blog we’ll be covering some common household pests:

  1. Rats & Mice
  2. Ants
  3. Fleas
  4. Flies
  5. Bedbugs

How to prevent rats and mice

Rodents are attracted to areas where there is a food source, and where they can shelter somewhere warm and relatively undisturbed. Rats and mice are nocturnal creatures, so if they are spotted in the day they have been disturbed or are searching for food.

If you think you have rodents in your house or garden you will need to keep an eye out for the signs:

  • Scratching sounds
  • Droppings
  • Gnaw marks
  • Rub marks along walls and skirting boards
  • Holes in the ground

Rodents are an unpleasant pest to have invading your home, and can unfortunately pose a threat to human health and safety. They can carry a number of bacteria and diseases. Due to their teeth constantly growing, they need to gnaw in order to keep them down. This may result in structural damage or a fire risk if they chew through cables.

There are a number of steps you can take yourself to prevent rats and mice. Make your house and garden less appealing to rodents:

  • Block up any obvious access points
  • Store all food in airtight containers
  • Waste should be secured at all times
  • Keep kitchen surfaces and floors clean
  • Remove clutter – this provides the perfect nesting spot for them, particularly in loft spaces, gardens and garages, minimise it as much as possible
  • Trim back plants and shrubs that are close to the house
  • Remove bird food for several weeks if rodents are a problem in your garden, if there is a food source they will keep returning

If you have a recurring rodent problem, it may be due to an available food source nearby, in a neighbours property for example, particularly in a semi detached or terraced house. If you can, speak to your neighbours and see if you can both identify the source of the problem.

In older drainage systems rats can gain access through the pipes, the only solution to this is fitting a drain guard. This is a quick and easy fix that can be done by our drain care team, we can also carry out a CCTV survey to check for any damage in the drains.

How to prevent ants

Ants aren’t thought to carry disease, however they do nest and forage outside and are still an unpleasant pest to have in the house. Preventing ants inside your home can be as simple as securing food and cleaning surfaces as they are attracted to sweet substances.

Preventing ants outside is more difficult, as they have large complex nests, products available to the general public are not strong enough to get to the heart of the nest.

If you see the odd ant in your house this likely to be a ‘scout’ ant in search of food. If it finds a food source it will go back to the nest and lead more ants to the food.

The easiest ways to prevent ants are to:

  • Keep surfaces clean, free from food and sugary substances
  • Ensure all food is secured in airtight containers
  • Clean cupboards out regularly to get rid of any signs of food
  • Sweep up and vacuum regularly
  • Seal up any obvious entrance points around the perimeter of the house
  • Use powders or sprays – these will kill any visible ants, and possibly a few in the nest to provide a temporary reduction in numbers. These products are not strong enough to affect the heart of the nest, but will do a decent job until you can call in the professionals (professional use product has a higher percentage of pesticide and is more effective)

Ants are generally harmless, but an annoying problem nonetheless, especially in large commercial kitchens where there is constant food preparation.

Our most common ant, the black garden ant, does not sting, but we also have red ants that do. This will cause mild irritation and  you’ll feel a small sting. The effects should be short lived as ants have less toxin than bees and wasps.

How to prevent fleas

Fleas are most likely to come from pets or birds nesting in the property. Preventing fleas involves making sure your pets are treated regularly, bird proofing your home and removing old nests (all birds are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to interfere or remove nests whilst in use).

Prevent fleas by:

  • Treating your pets regularly
  • Keeping dogs well groomed so it’s easier to spot fleas
  • Cleaning regularly, fleas often live in carpets or rugs, so vacuum once a week or more if you spot fleas
  • Removing any pet food left outside, this could encourage other animals carrying fleas onto your property
  • Removing any UNUSED birds nests (interfering with birds nests whilst in use is illegal)
  • Washing pet bedding regularly on a hot wash to get rid of flea eggs

By keeping areas clean, regularly treating pets, and washing high risk materials on a hot wash, you are using the best methods to prevent fleas.

Vacuuming and washing pet beds and blankets will get rid of small infestations, however larger and out of control flea problems will need professional treatment.

How to prevent flies

Flies can carry bacteria and spread disease as they feed on decaying organic matter. Flies can reproduce quickly so prevention is key.

Flies are bad news for restaurants, cafes and other food preparation sites as the presence of flies can create a very bad image for the business.

The common house fly can be prevented by:

  • Keeping food preparation areas clean
  • Securing all waste
  • Removing and securing all decaying meat, vegetables and fruit

Fruit flies can be prevented by cleaning up sugary spillages including juice and alcohol, and removing overripe fruit from the garden.

Drain flies thrive in moist areas, keeping your drains running cleanly and smoothly will prevent them from reproducing as quickly.

Most flies will be attracted to food in some shape or form, treating them will only temporarily solve the problem and will be very short lived. Removing the food sources and keeping surfaces clean is the best way to prevent flies.

How to prevent bed bugs

Preventing bed bugs can be achieved by being considerate with cleaning and travelling. Bed bugs can easily be brought into your property without your knowledge.

You can help prevent an infestation by:

  • Washing and drying clothes at a high temperature when you return from staying elsewhere (put clothes straight in the washing machine when you get back)
  • Reducing clutter as much as possible to give them less places to hide
  • Vacuuming regularly and thoroughly, this can reduce bed bug numbers but will not eliminate a problem completely
  • Emptying and cleaning the vacuum immediately to avoid the spread to other rooms
  • Using DIY products to help reduce numbers of bed bugs, however this may not get rid of the infestation entirely

Bed bugs can be a distressing and irritating pest to have. If you have bed bugs you may have bites on your back, shoulders or legs, or be able to see small dark spots on your bedding. There may also be a musty smell in the room of the infestation.

This can be a hard pest to spot and they don’t just hide in beds. Bed bugs can also be found in furniture, luggage, flooring and wallpaper cracks.

Following these methods if nothing has completely eradicated the problem please get in touch.

Pest Control and Prevention

Preventing pests at home can mostly be achieved by keeping a high level of cleanliness, reducing clutter and blocking up access points.

If you would like more advice or a price for treatments please get in touch on 01270 619 147, mail@suddenstrike.co.uk or fill in our contact form.

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