We all want our homes to be pest-free, but unfortunately, pests like to enter our homes to search for food, water, and warmth. Some household pests can be dangerous to us, while others are simply a nuisance. As with all things, prevention is key, but if you find out it’s too late to prevent pests from invading your home, be sure to call an exterminator as soon as possible.
Here are 8 common household pests, along with a few tips to prevent them from entering your home:
Ants are among the most common household pests in any home. There are different species of ants around the world, but the ones that can be found in our homes in Canada are generally thief ants, which are tiny and brown, or carpenter ants, which are black. Carpenter ants can reach a length of 13 mm, and they can damage the structure of your home if they destroy the wood to build their nests.
To try to prevent ants from entering your home, keep your kitchen free of food spills and crumbs, and keep your food stored in air-tight containers.
Flies are another common household pests. When house flies invade a home, it could be a sign that an animal is dead inside that home. Maybe a few mice have died within the walls of the home, and that can be enough to attract flies that will come lay eggs on them. Flies can be dangerous because they often carry and transmit diseases such as typhoid fever or tuberculosis.
To prevent an invasion, make sure there are no holes in your window screens, and seal any crack or crevice around your door and window frames.
One of the most common species of cockroaches is the German cockroach. The adults can reach a length of 5/8 inch, and are usually light brown. Cockroaches are dangerous because they can spread diseases. Since they like to hang out in sewers and around garbage, their bodies and their feces are covered in bacteria.
To keep cockroaches away from your home, keep it clean, wash your dishes immediately after eating, and take out your garbage each day.
Earwigs have long antennae, and their back end has appendages that look like a pair of claws. Although those appendages look dangerous, earwigs are actually harmless. They generally live outdoor, but they can enter your basement during a hot summer, looking for some shade and cool air.
To prevent earwigs from entering your home, remove anything they could use as shelter or food around your home. For example, make sure there is no dead organic matter in your garden.
Centipedes have flattened bodies, and adult ones can have between 80 and 180 pairs of legs. They like to hide in dark and damp areas such as basements, or closets. Large centipedes can bite you, but their bite is not dangerous, although it can be painful.
To prevent centipedes from visiting your home, seal any crack you see in your house’s foundation. Reduce moisture around your home, and make sure your rain gutters let water flow away from your foundation.
6. Bed bugs
Bed bugs have flat, oval-shaped bodies that can reach a length of 5 mm. They are brown, but they turn to a blood red colour after feeding: they feed on human blood during the night. They hide inside mattress seams, and in any small crack they will find around a bed.
Before you bring any piece of second hand furniture into your home, check it carefully to make sure no bed bugs are hiding there. When you are spending the night away from your home, examine the mattress where you will be sleeping. It’s easy to carry bed bugs from one home to another without noticing.
Wasps look similar to bees, but their black and yellow abdomens are longer. Wasps will probably not try to invade your home, but they can build their nests in your attic, under your porch or under eaves troughs. Their sting is painful, but not dangerous, unless you are allergic to it.
To keep wasps away from your home, keep your garbage bin sealed, and inspect your property in the spring. If you notice a small paper nest, deal with it as soon as possible before the colony gets bigger.
There are many species of spiders that could find their way inside your home. Most of them are not dangerous at all, in fact, they are quite helpful because they eat insects. But people who are terrified of spiders don’t care that they eat insects: they simply want them out of their home.
To keep spiders away from your home, keep it clean and free of clutter. Seal cracks in the foundation of your home, which will prevent spiders, as well as the insects they eat, from entering. You can also use peppermint or lavender essential oil as a repellent.