The informal definition of a pest is a ‘thing or human that is annoying’. That is an accurate description for these pesky, uninvited household visitors. Most often in the form of rats, bedbugs, ants, mosquitos, termites, and cockroaches. They can cause damage to our homes, eat our plants and livestock, contaminate stored goods such as food and other dry goods, bite us, get into our furniture, as well as create an overall nuisance. Most people want pests gone and quickly, especially if the problem seems to be getting worse.
There are many trialed (and sometimes failed) methods of getting rid of pests and keeping them away for good. These techniques need to work to be effective, as well as work for you and your family. When it comes to pest eradication, there is also often a question of morality and whether the means of removal are humane or not. This discussion is going to explore some of the more ethical and nature-friendly options for removing and preventing those unwanted pests once and for all.
Rats In The Roof
We’ve all heard it. That dreaded scurrying noise of teeny-tiny claws above you while you attempt to sleep at night. Rats in the roof of a house are a common problem due to the fact that they can enter holes the size of a coin, and use the shelter as a way to escape predators and the elements. They are guileful creatures, able to gnaw their way through many materials such as aluminum, wood, and drywall. They often access the roof through tree branches that hang near to your house, so a preventative strategy is to keep branches trimmed and away from your house.
The danger of rats in the roof, besides being a disturbance, is that they can gnaw through electrical wires and impact the functioning within your home. Some can even make their way into your sewer system, which is a concern for water contamination. There are many illnesses and health risks linked to rodents, and you can find out more about the various rodent-borne diseases like Typhoid, Weil’s, and the Bubonic plague. As you can probably tell, we don’t want these guys sharing our homes with us. Natural methods like eucalyptus, peppermint oil, and black pepper can act as a deterrent since they have a sensitive sense of smell.
Antsy About Ants
Ants are a right pain. They are the most common household pests and seasonal in their movements. They are typically attracted to damp, sugar, grease, fungi, and proteins, depending on their species. Interestingly, there are over 12,000 species of ants! Who knew?! Ants are found on every continent, except Antarctica. They also have remarkable strength with the capacity to lift 20 times their body weight.
While ants are pesky and unsightly, they do not pose considerable harm to humans and are needed to maintain our unique ecosystem. They can bite, and this can be painful and become infected if not treated well but is usually not dangerous. In fact, ants actually eat some of the other pests that are more harmful to humans. That said, if you have an ant problem, you likely want them out of your home and kitchen cupboards. Ants can be prevented by creating a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water to clean your surfaces, including floors and countertops. Ants are repelled by the smell of vinegar, and yet, once dry, it is usually not potent enough to be discernible by the human nose.
Bed Bug Battles
Bed bugs live in beds and feast on human blood while asleep. Ouch. They are the size of a seed and leave itchy, noticeable bite marks on the skin. A key way to keep the bed bugs at bay is to maintain a decluttered and clean sleeping space. That means regular cleaning, steaming, and vacuuming of your bed and mattress.
Your linen needs to be regularly washed at a high temperature. You can also try to reduce the number of hiding spots for these sneaky bugs. Using steam at high heat is a sure way to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs, as well as uses non-toxic means that do not pose home to you or other creatures (besides the bugs and mites). Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Household pests are a common but annoying reality in many homes around the world. Factors like climate, food waste, mess, and environment can often contribute to the level of appeal your home offers them. There are plenty of low-toxic, more humane means to get rid of pests, as well as keep them away. Hopefully, this conversation has given you some food for thought on ways you can best protect your home from pesky pests.