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Get rid of common household pests

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Does it sometimes feel like you’re not alone when you are home? Do you feel like you’re being watched by tiny pairs of eyes or that your food keeps disappearing? Are there inexplicable sounds and sights in your house that make it feel less like a home?

You probably have household pests.

We share this planet with a vast amount of creepy crawlies, even though we, luckily, do not come into contact with many of these on a daily basis, some slippery creatures still manage to invade our homes. Since damage caused by pests is not covered in your Building Insurance policy we’d like to give you some tips on how to get rid of South Africa’s most common pests, easily and naturally.

  1. Cockroaches
    These hard core bugs can most likely survive even a nuclear explosion (read more about this here) but don’t fret, there are ways of getting rid of them and keeping them out of your home.

    Cockroaches prefer warm, humid areas, so be especially vigilant in your kitchen, bathroom and anywhere near water pipes.  Prevent these nocturnal crawlers from infesting your home by making sure that dirty dishes and left over  food is always stored away (in either glass or metal containers- cockroaches actually enjoy eating paper and cardboard) . It is very important that you ensure that there’s no access to any water, because, even though roaches can live without food for an entire month, they cannot survive without water.

    A natural remedy that you can try consists of a mixture of one part boric acid, one part flour and one part powdered sugar – place this mixture where roaches are usually spotted - the flour and the sugar attracts them, while the boric acid kills them.

  2. Mosquitoes
    Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so the first step, if possible, would be to drain all bodies of unmoving water around your home, it is also advisable to make sure that your grass is cut short. Male mosquitoes live on nectar from flowers, while the females are the real femme fatales, feeding off humans and animals.

    For a mosquito problem inside the home, make sure there’s always a fan blowing, mosquitoes are not very strong fliers and this is an effective way of keeping them away from you. There are also many essential oils that you can burn in order to repel them; eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and citronella.

    If you’re having a braai outside, place a plate of soapy water outside (use dishwasher soap), the mosquitoes will go to the water and get trapped in the bubbles.

  3. Flies
    Unlike other pests, flies can be found almost anywhere. Make sure that all spills are wiped up immediately and that the trash it taken out as soon as possible.

    For getting rid of houseflies you can try hanging clear plastic bags filled with water in the doorways to your home. Flies do not like the smell of essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus and lemon grass, burn these in your home to repel them. Place slices of cucumber on top of your garbage to deter flies from laying their eggs there. Putting some cloves on your dining table might also chase these pests away.

    Plant mint, lavender or marigold in your garden, this could help for keeping flies away from your outside area.

  4. Ants
    Ants like soil inside/outside of buildings as well as any warm or damp area. Firstly, locate where the ants are entering. Once you know where they’re coming in, you can use one of many natural deterrents.
    Place lemon juice/peels, cream of tartar, pure cinnamon, coffee grinds, garlic, chili pepper, paprika, cloves or dried peppermint at the entry points you’ve established, this might keep ants from coming into your house. You can also mix water and vinegar together to make your own insecticide. 

  5. Rats/Mice
    Rodents live wherever people are. It is very important to get rid of them at the first signs of infestation as rats and mice are very dangerous to our health and are known to spread serious diseases. In the fourteenth century, they were responsible for the biggest deadly disease outbreak in history- the Black Death- which killed a third of the world’s population. 

    Make sure all window and doors are closed and all openings are sealed off; remember that rats are good climbers, so even high up windows should be shut. The most natural deterrent for rats and mice are cats.

    If your cat does not catch the mice or rats, just place a used box of cat litter where you suspect the rodents are entering, they smell the feline urine and won’t enter. If you do not want to go the cat route, it is said that peppermint oil is also an effective rodent repellent.

    So there you have it, you can get rid of common household pests, in an easy, affordable and natural way.