Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flea-Fly-Foe-Fume: Uninvited House Guests

This article deals with creeply crawly gate-crashers and exposes their hide-outs in your home sweet home.

Feed the need
Like humans, pests have basic needs and these include food, water and shelter. We may be tempting the critters with five star digs and bountiful banquets without even realizing it. There’s probably a pest for every nook and cranny in an average home, and some sort of food suited to the pickiest pest palate. Fabric moths snack on your clothes, pantry pests such as flour beetles love flour, silverfish munch on books, and blood-sucking mosquitoes, fleas and bedbugs have a taste for warm human blood. Roaches, ants and flies are the least fussy eaters and would be more than happy to polish off your scraps and garbage.

Pests, problem ‘pets’

Pests aren’t big eaters, individually, because they are small. A stale breadcrumb is a scrumptious supper for a cockroach and a grain of sugar is a delightful dessert for an ant. The problem arises when Mrs Roach makes 150 new baby mouths to feed, or when Missy Ant crawls
back to her nest and recruits her 100,000 sisters to the dinner party.
Ants are at least a little more hygienic because they nest and keep house better than roaches and flies. Roaches hang out in filthy sewers and other warm, wet digs and therefore tend to spread lots of nasty germs on those crackers that were left out. Flies aren’t any better: they would enjoy your hamburger, rotting vegetables and manure – in no particular order. Worse still, these toothless beasties puke and poop all over whatever they are eating (their puke is a digestive aid). In comparison, termites seem quite well-mannered. However, these wood-digesting-machines will literally eat you out of your home if their sneaky snackings go unchecked.

Guess which pest?
If you have a pest problem in your home, chances are high that it will be one of these three critters: Roaches, Ants or Termites (R.A.T.s). These six-legged crawlies are responsible for about two-thirds of pest control headaches home owners face every year. Mosquitoes, flies, rats and so forth make up the R.A.T.s & Co, which are always eager to share your living space. While the average home owner has no problems identifying a cockroach or a rat, it can be difficult to recognize smaller pests. Termites look a lot like ants, but close scrutiny will reveal key differences. For one, ants have a very narrow waist, which makes these little critters look bodaciously curvaceous compared with the thick-waisted termites. (For more termite-ant identification tips read on in my upcoming post!). Then there are the ‘shy’ pests that only come out at night, such as blood-sucking bedbugs, which bite painlessly so you are clueless as to your welt-covered skin the following morning. With a little detective work, you can figure out the identity of these and other pests. It is then even possible to take matters into your own hands and avenge whatever transgressions these various pests have committed against you. Common anti-pest offensives usually include sanitation to reduce feeding and breeding hotspots and using screens and taking other measures to block pests from entering the home. Some pesticide options are also available that you can use but if in doubt, your best bet would be to consult a reliable pest control operator. Stay tuned for more tips on how to keep pests at bay!

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