Introduction to Pests that are Problem 'Pets'
This article explains why roaches, flieas, termites and other pests like living with us and gives the basics of pest control.
If you have a pest problem in your home, chances are high that it will be one of these three: Roaches, Ants or Termites (R.A.T.s). R.A.T.s 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.
Why do I have a pest problem?
Like humans, pests have basic needs: 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, and silverfish munch on books. Mosquitoes, fleas and bedbugs have a taste for warm human blood. Roaches, ants and flies are the least fussy eaters and contentedly polish off your scraps.
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.
What's bad about pests?
Roaches hang out in warm, wet digs such as sewers and therefore tend to spread lots of nasty germs on your countertop when they scavenge at night. 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). Ants are a little more hygienic because they keep house better than roaches and flies. Termites are wood-digesting-machines that will literally eat you out of your home if their sneaky snackings go unchecked.
How do I identify my pest?
While you should have 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 example, ants have a very narrow waist, which makes them look very curvaceous compared with the thick-waisted termites. Then there are the ‘shy’ pests that only come out at night and leave no trace: blood-sucking bedbugs, which bite painlessly so you end up covered with welts, and clueless. With a little detective work, you can figure out the identity of these and other pests. I will be updating this site with identification tips, but if you have a pressing question in the meantime, please email me.
How do I kill that pest?
After you are 100% sure what your pest is, you can usually take matters into your own hands and avenge their transgressions (k-i-l-l--t-h-em). Common anti-pest offensives include sanitation to reduce feeding and breeding hotspots. Simply put, hygiene, hygiene, hygiene! Screens and taking other measures to block pests from entering the home are also effective. 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!