How not to invite pests into your home

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The problem in the house because of cockroaches living in the ho

With the spike in covid-19 cases, it is unsurprising that another movement control is in order. Now that we are more likely to be at home, it is imperative to ensure that we spend more time with our loved ones, and not with pests. However, this is easier said than done.

Our current sedentary lifestyle and those of our neighbours, assuming that we are living in a dense community, are bound to increase rubbish build-up that brings about these uninvited guests. Understandably, some of our living aspects may be out of our control, but actions can still be taken to improve on the areas within our purview. Let's get down to the details.

Make your home inhospitable

12635713 - ecology landscape - climate change concept, desert invasion

Water is the key to life, and its absence spells doom for many pests. For example, a cockroach may survive for a month without food, but it will last around a week without water. Hence, the first step involves removing the presence of water from your home, at least until it is needed. Here, a little discipline needs to be exercised.

For starters, always drain the dishwater from the sink and make immediate repairs if there is a blockage. The same goes to those leaky faucets that act as veritable water dispensers for your unwanted pets. Also, make it a habit to wipe any spilt liquid off the counter and table as soon as it is spotted as puddles are roach magnets. Remember that a drop of water is all a roach needs to stay alive for quite awhile.

Unless you want to create an artificial watering hole for pests, it is important not to leave your cups containing your unfinished drink overnight. Moving on, any excess water collected inside the drip-trays of your indoor flower pots should also be poured out. Once that has been achieved, then it is time to starve those creatures out of your house. 

Leftover crumbs from your meal are generous donations, although you may never have thought of it this way. Try not to walk around while eating as this will potentially increase the distribution area. Lastly, clean the dirty dishes immediately after eating as pests are known to snack on whatever is left on the plate.

Invitation by odour

indian man holding stinky trash bag

Something as innocuous as cooking your traditional dish may be an involuntary invitation for pests to set up residence in your home. This is especially true when the food in question has a certain pungent or smelly ingredient such as prawn paste, durian and some other fermented material.

The smell may elicit either delight or horror from your neighbours, depending on their tastes, but the cockroaches and rats certainly approve of it. Further on, cooking brings about leftovers which is another source of odour. Smells produced by the decomposition of meat-based products are oftentimes stronger compared to vegetables. 

Reduce it by placing residual flesh and those unwanted organs into a dry package that is tightly sealed. To prevent the risk of leakage, it is best to dispose of the garbage before decomposition sets in. Either that or you could adopt a vegetable-rich diet instead. As an added bonus, going vegetarian is good for the environment.

Remove their bridges

3067720 - crack on a wall of an old building

Pay attention to the trees neighbouring your home. If their branches are reaching towards the building, then it would do well to trim or cut it off as these form a bridge for pests. The same goes to the cracks and holes within the walls which need to be sealed. Discover them by doing a quick routine check, probably once every six months. Seal any openings with copper mesh, coarse steel wool, sheet metal, or mortar. Expanding caulk is not ideal to use because many pests can chew through it. Next, examine the doors and windows as these can have tiny gaps, made either by design or by faults. Close these openings by applying adhesive rubber strips that were meant to make the window and door waterproof.

Crush their nests

Rain Gutter Cleaning from Leaves in Autumn

Just like their bridges, pests can form intermediary nests before graduating over to your home. Seemingly innocuous objects in your backyard may present ideal breeding grounds, such as cardboard boxes, woodpile, open containers and even the bushes in the garden. Termites especially are drawn to dead wood, and they will do a real number on the foundation of your house once the current supply has diminished.

If you no longer have any purpose for these objects, then the next course of action is to remove them. A pristine lawn with flat ground cover presents little hiding place for pests, and the sunlight will drive home the message that they are not welcome here. Moreover, you can use stones instead of grass as a groundcover to make your lawn area even more inhospitable. Also, check the rain gutter along the roof and remove the dead leaves within it. Not unlike the kitchen sink, clogged gutters should always be cleaned, although its elevated position usually leaves it in neglect.


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