Tips for removing insect infestations

Prevention is most important for keeping insects out of your home. But if the little critters get in, we have tips for getting rid of eight types of insects.

Tips for removing insect infestations

Pest prevention

  • It's far easier to keep pests out than to get rid of them once they've invaded your indoor turf. But it's not as though they march single-file through the front door. You need to check every likely entry, including foundation cracks, gaps around outdoor faucets, openings created by loose siding or flashing, and those small, round insertion points for your cable and electrical wires.
  • Seal any gaps or holes you find with caulk, siding or sheet metal, or metal screening.
  • Cut back branches touching the roof or siding that serve as insect "bridges."
  • Rid your house and its environs of areas where water can collect or infiltrate.
  • Seal cracks and holes in your foundation with caulk or cement.
  • Repair plumbing leaks.
  • Eliminate anything — including old tires, empty flowerpots, and wading pools — that can hold stagnant water.
  • For larger gaps, use mouldable putty, available in the electrical supplies section of your local home centre.

Wasps

  • If you notice a small wasp nest under a roof eave, wait until after dark on a cool evening when the insects are inactive. Use a long pole to knock the nest from its mooring, and the wasps won't return.
  • Treat larger hanging nests or ground nests with wasp and hornet spray killer (follow package directions).

Ants

  • Seal up all sweets and greasy foods, which attract ants.
  • Washing countertops, cabinets, and floors with a vinegar-and-water solution kills the scents that guide ants to food.

Bees

  • There are over 10,000 kinds of bees. If the bee that's bugging you is fuzzy with brown and yellow stripes, you may be dealing with honey bees. If so, there's a chance a local beekeeper will take them off your hands for free.
  • Large infestations of other types of bees may require a call to the exterminator.

Carpenter ants

  • Find and fix the moisture problems (usually roof or plumbing leaks) that attract them.
  • Lay a line of chili powder or powdered charcoal to bar their points of entry.
  • Or sprinkle boric acid on a spoonful of apple-mint jelly, mix it in, and spread the jelly on an index card. Place the card near the ant colony.
  • For a severe infestation, call in professional help.
  • It is not advisable to use boric acid in homes in which small children or pets live.

Fleas

  • If your pet has fleas, you need to treat your home too.
  • Vacuum all areas where your pet sleeps or sits. Vacuum its bedding and then wash it in hot water. (Seal up and discard the vacuum bags.)
  • Be sure to keep your pet's flea treatments up to date.

Moths

  • To prevent infestation by pantry moths, store food in tight-lidded glass or sturdy plastic containers.
  • Clean your pantry with a disinfecting cleanser or a vinegar-and-water solution.
  • If you find holes in woolen or other clothing, check the corners of closets and behind furniture for webbing or small cocoons, which are signs that clothes moths are present.
  • Pheromone traps, which use a natural insect bait, can be used for both types of moth.

Roaches

  • Paper and glue attract roaches, so don't stockpile empty grocery bags.
  • Sprinkle boric acid under cabinets and in corners where these pests are known to travel. Keep your kitchen sparkling clean, fix leaky faucets immediately, and if necessary schedule regular exterminator visits.
  • Again, it is not advisable to use boric acid in homes in which small children or pets live.

Termites

  • If you think you have an infestation, call a reputable exterminator, find and fix the moisture problems that attracted the termites, and then repair damaged or compromised wood.

Despite all of your best preventative efforts, if insects have still managed to infiltrate your house and home, you now have the know-how that could help get rid of creepy crawlys once and for all so you can finally say, "insects begone!"

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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