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How to identify, control and prevent common pest infestations

installs a new bark beetle trap for pest control

Just like the name suggests, pests can be incredibly annoying. From the garden to the bedroom and even in our clothing, household pests crop up here, there and everywhere. With many of them nearly impossible to see with the naked eye, pest control and pest infestations can also difficult to identify and challenging to remove. 

It’s crucial to banish these unwelcome invaders from your home as quickly as possible. Keeping a pest-free home is especially important if you’re hoping to sell shortly. So the questions become, how can you spot them in the first place and, once you know they are there, how can you get rid of them?

Fortunately, we’re here to help with pest control. Depending on the type of pest involved, here is a detailed look at how to control four of the most commonly found pest populations – from bed bugs and moths to mice and even birds. 

#1: Bed bugs

Bedbug

Bed bugs are an increasingly common problem in Canadian households since, as their name suggests, they seem to love a warm, cozy bed as much as we do. Although bed bugs aren’t particularly dangerous and don’t spread diseases, their bites can become quite itchy. Plus, it’s not particularly lovely having to share your bed with a bunch of bugs, so this is one guest you’ll want to show the door as soon as possible. 

How can you identify bed bugs as an issue?

Roughly the size of an apple seed, bed bugs vary from dark yellow to brown. They also leave little black spots in and around your bed, which, to put it somewhat indelicately, is bed bug poop. 

How can you remove bed bugs?

Your first port of call for banishing bed bugs should be to strip your sheets and wash them at the highest possible temperature. If this doesn’t work, the bugs have probably moved into the mattress itself, in which case you will need to replace it with a new one. If that doesn’t work, you might need the help of a professional to eradicate them. 

How can you prevent bed bugs?

Preventing bed bug infestations is possible by regularly inspecting your mattress and bedding. It would help if you also considered investing in a mattress protector and a plastic covering to eliminate this as a potential hiding spot and manage pest control. 

#2: Moths

brown clothes moth sits on fabric closeup

Moths might be symbolic of a desperately empty wallet, but they are not necessarily harmful to health. What they are best at wreaking havoc on our clothes, curtains and furniture. If you have moths flying around your home, you’re going to want to get rid of them before they can cause lasting damage. 

How can you identify moths as an issue?

Pinpointing a moth infestation is relatively straightforward. If you notice textiles have damages that look like bite marks, there is a good chance moths are responsible. Neglect these nibbles over time, and you could even start seeing the moth’s larvae and silk cocoons in dressers, closets, and other storage areas. 

How can you remove moths?

To manage pest control, wash your clothes, curtains and any soft furnishing covers at as high a temperature as possible. Alternatively, you can catch any larvae or cocoons before they can transform into a pesky moth and place them in the freezer for a few days. 

How can you prevent moths?

Moths love dirty clothes, so make sure to launder regularly. Also, vacuum your carpet regularly, as moth larvae often like to lurk among the fibres. Home maintenance is crucial to pest control — so, it might be a good time to ensure you cover all of your bases when it comes to cleaning and upkeep.

#3: Mice and rats

Close up Two Young Mice On  The Old Books On The Shelf In The Li

Probably the worst kind of pest you can find in your home, it’s not fun to share space with mice and rats. After all, they do have a poor level of hygiene can cause substantial damage — whether through chewing cables or carrying harmful diseases.

How can you identify mice and rats as an issue?

A mouse or rat infestation is usually hard to miss. You’ll see these rodents scuttling around inside your home or garden, or you’ll be dismayed to notice first-hand some of the damage that they’ve caused. If your cat seems to have been finding a lot more ‘presents’ for you lately, that could be another clue. 

How can you remove mice and rats?

Many specialty stores sell commercial mouse and rat traps or poison, but these can be hazardous to small pets or children. Therefore, the best plan of attack when it comes to dealing with mice and rats is to ask an expert for advice. 

How can you prevent mice and rats?

Rats often enter homes through damaged underground pipes. Do your best to check such areas on your property regularly. Mice, on the other hand, enjoy warm, dry places like garden sheds and greenhouses, so make sure to inspect these areas — especially during the winter months. 

#4: Birds

Close up Of Domestic Or Wild Blue Neck Or Red Eyes Pigeon In The

Whether it’s seagulls at the beach, pigeons in the city or starlings at the crack of dawn, birds can be a persistent nuisance. However, unlike other pests, there are certain rules and laws which protect them from being dealt with inhumanely. Therefore, if you’re currently struggling with a bird-related issue, researching acceptable prevention methods is vital. 

How can you identify birds as an issue?

If you find your property to be busy with birds, have a lot more bird poop than usual, or if you regularly hear bird activity in your attic, chimney, or eaves, then there’s a good chance you have an infestation. Again, your cat will probably confirm your worst suspicions if it’s been bringing you more ‘presents’ than usual.  

How can you remove birds?

One good idea is to buy some deterrents that might encourage the birds to leave on their own. A fake owl, some plastic spikes or a light reflector are a few options to deter birds. If it’s too late and they’ve already made your house their home, your best bet for removing a bird would be to call a professional. 

How can you prevent birds?

Birds considered pests love accessible food and water, as well as any warm, sheltered openings they can find to nest. Therefore, cover your trash bins and eliminate any standing water in and around your home. Also, take the time to go around and seal any openings you can find. If this doesn’t make a difference, spikes and netting can also be used to persuade birds to land or nest elsewhere subtly. 

Often, you can take preventative actions ahead of time to ensure that you never have to deal with a pest infestation. Try to do regular checks to keep your home safe and clean to avoid having to deal with the cost and cleanup that comes with removing these pests after it’s too late.

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Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is a Brighton, UK-based content writer. She writes on a variety of topics including homeowner tips, smart tech, travel and business planning.