The most common pests in Southern Utah are cockroaches, spiders,
ants, termites, rodents, and bed bugs. Yep, bedbugs. Like most problems, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you find some of these nasty critters in your home, it isn’t necessarily because your home is not clean. Pests happen even in clean homes, but let’s face it, none of us are perfect housekeepers.
Most people have come in contact with a mouse or cockroach in their lifetimes. That doesn’t mean we have to tolerate pests in our home. If you find yourself infested, you may want to consult with a professional. Most exterminators have monthly or quarterly plans that are affordable for almost any budget.
Now let’s talk prevention:
Cockroaches: Roaches enter your home through any gap or hole it can find. Many times you will find roaches under kitchen sinks or stoves with a gas line. Roaches climb in around utility lines and through gaps in your doors or windows. Seal the edges around your plumbing with caulking or expanding foam. Don’t use sticky contact paper on your kitchen shelves. Roaches love to eat the sticky glue backing. Clean up food and spills quickly. Roaches also enter homes by hiding in the folds of paper boxes and bags.
Spiders: Keeping creepy crawlers out of your home can be as simple as being inhospitable. Spiders like to hide in dark and dirty areas. Keeping your yard free from debris like leaves and weeds eliminates homes for spiders. Using cedar mulch repels spiders and smells great. Inside your home, clear cobwebs as soon as you see them and look out for egg sacks. Spiders like to hide under clothing, papers, and boxes. Keeping floors clean and clear will eliminate hiding places. Spiders are also repelled by vinegar, peppermint, and cats.
Ants: Ants are looking for food. Scout ants leave the nest to scout for food. They leave a chemical trail to find their way back to food, so if you see a scout, kill it and use a household cleaner on the trail. The coffee ground makes ants lose their sense of smell; they get confused and can’t find their way back to the nest. Eventually, the larvae die of starvation. And coffee grounds smell great in your gardens. If you can find the nest, pour several gallons of boiling water directly into the nest in an attempt to kill the queen. And like spiders, they don’t like the smell of peppermint and vinegar.
Termites: Termites need water to survive. Fix any leaks in your home or standing pools to deprive them of water. They like to live in the heavy brush so as with the pests listed above, keep your yard clean and clear. Termites love cellulose and wood is their primary source. It’s best to keep untreated wood up off the ground or even away from your house. It’s good to have your home inspected for termites from time to time.
Rodents: That cute little deer mouse is running around your home looking for food and a hiding place. Take away their food sources. Make sure to sweep up crumbs and thoroughly clean up food preparation areas. Eat only in the kitchen and don’t leave dishes or fast food wrappers out. Clothing or blankets left on the floor is very inviting for mice. If you have other pets, be careful about using rat poison. If your cat gets a hold of a poisoned mouse, they will ingest the poison and will get sick or even die.
Bed bugs: These little nasties are a real nuisance. Once you have an infestation, it’s expensive to get rid of them. If you stay at a hotel or sleep rough in a sleeping bag, and you wake up with little bites, check for critters in your bed. If you find bed bugs, wash anything that came in contact with them in hot water. Do not take them home. If they find their way to your home, the best defense is to call a professional.
The common thread here is that cleanliness is the key. Keeping your house clean and tidy inside and out is your best defense.