Pest control and removal can be a costly and time-consuming task.
We take a look at some of the most-effective ways in which you can rid your home of unwanted pests using simple, proven methods.
We help you identify possible access points around your home favoured by insects, birds, mammals and reptiles alike.
Keeping your home free from pests can seem to be a never-ending task.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take, which will ease the burden of keeping these creepy crawlers at bay.
If you love nature, but like me, squirm at the sight of some pests, we’ve provided a range of ideas on how you can discourage unwanted guests while respecting all creatures, great and small.
Every year as spring approaches the activity of insects, mammals and reptiles increase, and regardless of your level of appreciation for the wonders of nature, it’s also nice to have boundaries when it comes to sharing your home with them.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common pests which can invade your home and the simple preventative steps you can take to stop them in their tracks and eliminate potential health risks.
Common pests which invade every home
Let’s take a quick look at the common pests found in most homes and what factors encourage them to stay. There are four types of pests;
Insects are of particular concern for most people, let’s face it, they’re small, they crawl, and often they bite. Most would agree, the bugs we’d all like to keep out are;
Cockroaches are all-year-round pests which seem ever more present in the summer months, surprisingly lowering your exposure to them is relatively easy.
For cockroaches to thrive, they require a stable source of food, warmth, moisture and shelter, something all homes adequately provide.
Every room, cupboard or shelf in your home is a potential hiding and breeding ground for nesting cockroaches, so vigilance is required to control their food and moisture sources.
It is important to remember that the smallest amount of food can be a feast for cockroaches.
Keeping benches and floor areas clean and free from food particles is essential.
Make sure that food in cupboards or food bins are sealed tight so that cockroaches are unable to smell the food source, let alone get access to it.
Ensure that pantries are kept crumb-free and containers free from any food residue.
Unclean benchtop kitchen appliances can also be another source of food, ensure you wipe them clean, removing crumbs from toasters, and take your trash out nightly to prevent them from feeding on food scraps.
Finally, place plugs in kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtubs and laundry basins overnight, check for leaks under kitchen or bathroom sinks and get them fixed promptly if any issues detected.
Even after food and moisture sources are removed, the quickest way to eliminate existing infestations is to call pest control.
Keeping your home clean will prevent them from returning in the future.
Spiders, like most insects, are attracted to your home by food.
I’m not just referring to the food in your pantry, what draws spiders to your home is the prospect to dine upon other insects.
Keeping your home dust-free is essential – dirty homes attract a range of insects, and those insects are perfect for spiders to feast upon.
Most spiders find their way into your home under entrance doors, damaged flyscreens and open windows.
The best way to keep unwanted guests away is by installing a door sweep under all entrance doors into your home, including your garage.
Four common types of spiders enter homes, they are;
- Huntsman Spider
- Daddy Long Legs Spider
- Funnel-Web Spider
- Brown House Spider
- White Tail Spider
- Redback Spider
Huntsman spiders are not aggressive spiders, but they do bite when they feel threatened and, although their bite is non-toxic, it still packs a punch with bite victims suffering swelling and acute pain.
Huntsman spiders are incredibly fast on their feet, which makes them difficult to catch.
The best way to capture them is to wait for an opportunity when they are on a flat surface and quickly placing a large bowl over them, then sliding a piece of paper or cardboard between the container and the surface.
Once you have captured the spider, take it a reasonable distance away from your home and release it.
Daddy Long Legs Spiders
One of the most common sights in and around Australian homes is the Daddy Long Legs spider.
Aptly-named for their very distinct, thin, long legs, they are not threatening to humans, preferring to feast on insects and other small spiders.
The best way to keep these spiders at bay is by keeping webs around your home under control, remember too that spiders do an excellent service and help keep other insects at bay.
Funnel Web Spider
Probably one of the most frightening of spiders which may enter your home is the funnel-web spider.
The funnel-web spider has a bulky appearance and large fangs and delivers a bite that is both painful and life-threatening, depending on the location of the bite, death can occur within minutes.
Attracted to moist and humid areas funnel-web spiders are often found in bathrooms.
Approach with extreme caution and do not attempt to catch this spider unless you know how to as their fangs can penetrate thick leather and even plastic.
Brown House Spider
The brown house spider food source is feeding on other insects.
Surprisingly, the brown house spider can also pack a nasty punch with bite victims experiencing a burning sensation and itching around the area of the bite.
Blistering can also appear and tend to ulcerate with pain lasting several days. In rare cases, secondary infections can occur.
White Tail Spider
Found in homes throughout Australia, the whitetail spider tends to hide within bedding or clothes left on floors.
Easily identified by its whitetail, their bite results in mild reactions for the majority of sufferers, however, in some circumstances blistering and ulceration can occur, leading to a range of other health problems.
Easily identified by the bright red stripe on it’s back back, the redback spider is highly venomous and delivers intense localised pain, symptoms of the redback bite may include, sweating, nausea, convulsions, weakness and loss of coordination.
Ants are drawn to sugary foods like syrups and honey.
The best way to keep ants at bay is to keep food in airtight containers.
Ants are very resourceful and can make their way through screw lids tops, so how you store your food is crucial.
Keep floor areas clean, and benches wiped as even the smallest amounts can become a food supply.
These simple steps are in most cases, all you need to rid your home of ants.
Termites are a serious problem and one that can only be resolved by a qualified pest control specialist, but there are some steps you can take to lower your homes termite risk, they are;
- Reduce moisture and humidity buildup in roof areas and basements.
- Keep moisture away from foundations.
- Do not store firewood inside your home or within close vicinity of your home.
- Get your home inspected regularly for termites.
Birds are harmless by nature; however, bird nests in and around your homes roof, left unchecked can quickly become a health hazard due to the buildup of faeces and bird mites.
Your roof’s cavity is an ideal spot for birds, and other unwanted guests to make a home for themselves, dry and shielded from the elements makes it perfect for nesting.
Snakes are the most common hazard in homes, especially those surrounded by bushland or located in rural areas.
Snakes are often attracted into roofs by a potential food source, attracted by the smell left from mice, rats or bird droppings.
Snakes also enter roofs to shed their skin or keep warm.
Blocking entry points into your roof and under entrance doors are the best way to prevent these unwanted guests from entering your home.
A word of warning, Australia has some of the world’s most venomous species of snakes, if one enters your home do not try to catch, kill or remove the snake – call a licensed herpetologist to remove the snake.
The thought of creature entering your home at night while you sleep and foraging through your food stocks is disturbing, but more importantly, is the health risk it poses through contamination.
Following are the two mammals types most likely to enter Australian homes;
- Rats & Mice
Anyone who has had a possum in their roof knows just how disruptive these lovely creatures can be to your sleep and the potential health risk they pose.
Possums eat a variety of foods from insects, frogs, birds, fruit, vegetables and nuts.
As with most unwanted guests, possums enter roofs through openings in the roof cavity, the easiest way to keep them out is to seal the entry-point, but not before removing the possum.
The most effective way to remove a possum is to entice it by placing fruit near its entry point, then when the possum exits – seal the entry-point.
Often, the tell-tale clues mice have entered your home are the visible signs they leave behind, such as dropping or holes in walls or food containers.
Mice found in Australian homes tend to be either brown, grey or black and around 5-9cm long.
Rodents feed on nuts, fruit, flowers and grains and are attracted into homes with easy access to food sources.
The best ways to avoid attracting mice into your home are;
- Ensure there are no access points to your home
- Ensure all food is kept in plastic or metal storage containers
- Ensure floors and cupboards are regularly cleaned.
Once you have identified the presence of mice in your home there are several options available, they are;
- Mice traps
- Call Pest Control
The first two solutions are DIY bait trapping methods not intended for the faint-hearted, removing dead mice is not a pleasant task and can pose a risk to children or pets.
A more compassionate way of tackling the problem is to deter them from entering your home and block all access points, and finally, if you have tried everything and nothing seems to be working, call a pest control expert.
Ways to prevent pests from entering your home.
You would have no doubt heard the expression, “prevention is better than a cure”, and when it comes to warding off these unwanted guests, nothing could be truer.
Keeping pests at bay is easier than you may think.
By taking some simple preventative measures will not only stop these pests in their tracks but negate the need to use pesticides.
Below we reveal common access points where pests enter your home.
Your roof is the perfect shelter and breeding ground for a range of insects, mammals and birds.
Small openings between your tiles, sheet metal roofing and roof battens provide sufficient room for a variety of pests to enter your roof.
Pests can also gain access through cracked or dislodged tiles, openings in eaves or between gaps in and around down water pipes.
The best way to prevent insects, snakes, mice and birds entering your roof from under the tiles is by installing gutter guards.
Gutter guards fit under roof tiles or are attached to metal sheeting covering the entire length and width of the gutter.
The mesh not only prevents wildlife from entering your roof but also stops the buildup of debris such as leaves and twigs from clogging up your drains.
Routine checks of your roof and gutters are advised, especially after storms as early detection of cracked or dislodged tiles, downpipes or broken guttering can save you thousands in repair bills.
Seal any gaps in downpipes with either silicone or foam sealant.
Check all seals and entry points around chimney flues and whirlybirds.
Sealing these access points will eliminate pests of any kind, making your roof their home.
However, if you already have an infestation problem in your roof; such as a possum, snake or wasp nest, we recommend seeking the services of a professional pest control expert
Door bottom seals are an effective measure in preventing bugs, spiders, snakes and mice entering your home from under your door while also providing an effective means of sealing your home from inclement weather.
Don’t stop with just the underside of your door, seal the sides and top of the door with a quality weatherstrip.
You have no doubt noticed the gaps around your garage door, well there is a simple way to seal your garage with garage door weatherstrips.
Designed to seal out the elements, pests, dust and leaves, these are a worthwhile investment in eradicating pests from your home.
Windows are another way pests enter your home and yet the easiest to secure.
Did you know that fly screens are not only effective in keeping out unwanted insects but also act as a barrier by ensuring birds, small mammals and snakes stay outside your home?
Regularly check the integrity of your fly screens to ensure there are no rips or tears in the mesh membrane.
A simple and effective trick to stop insects entering through wall-vents is to apply a screen mesh.
Installing a screen mesh is simple, just remove the screen and place a piece of mesh on the underside of the cover and reinstall.
A favourite hiding and breeding ground for insects are gaps between the flooring and the skirting boards, which can also harbour, dirt, hair and food particles.
Quickly resolved by sealing the gap for good with a tube of rubber sealant.
There are four areas in every bathroom which provide access and an ideal environment for insects to breed in your home;
- Floor drains – a common entry-point for insects and easily overcome by removing the drain cap and installing some screen mesh on the underside of the lid – a cheap yet effective solution.
- Toilet plumbing – ensure there are no gaps present around the water supply that feeds the tank. Fill any gaps with silicone filler.
- Bathroom cabinets – seal around any pipes that pass through holes in cabinetry as this is a favoured location for insects to live and breed.
- Ceiling vents – check your ceiling vent, if it does not have any screen mesh, install some.
Just like the bathroom, the laundry provides a humid and warm environment which attract insects.
There are three areas in which insects may enter;
- Floor drains – check if screen mesh is present on the underside and install if required.
- Extraction fans or ceiling vents – check for the presence of screen mesh and install if necessary.
- Laundry basin – check around water pipes and waste pipes and seal with silicone or foam-based sealants.
The average kitchen is the perfect breeding ground for insects, warm, dry and a plentiful supply of food particles to feast on.
Ensure your floors are swept and mopped regularly, thoroughly clean under fridges and dishwashers.
The areas you need to target are;
- Kitchen sink – openings around pipes that pass through cabinets are an ideal place where insects can live and breed, sealing access to this area with a foam or silicone sealant will eradicate access.
- Kitchen cabinets – provide an abundance of opportunities where insects can hide and breed, thoroughly sealing all cracks/crevices in and around cabinets will ensure there is literally no place for them to hide.
Surprisingly, pest control and prevention can be relatively affordable with homeowners able to complete most tasks if willing to get their hands dirty.
By removing access points, cutting off access to food and moisture by keeping your home clean is the sure-fire way to rid your home of pests.
For those who are time-poor or less capable of completing these tasks themselves, seeking the services of a skilled handyman or professional pest control expert is the best option.