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How to get rid of common household pests

Insects can cause big problems in and around the home. They are known to carry disease, destroy property and garden plants, and generally create a nuisance. Of course, there is also the factor of simply not wanting to share your home with creepy-crawlers.

If you've got pests on your property, then it's time to serve them an eviction notice. Here is a handy guide for how to identify and get rid of six common types of household bugs.
1

Grubs

Grubs will live in your lawn and can be identified by their soft, white, C-shaped bodies with legs located up near the head. They are actually the larvae of different beetle species, including the Japanese beetle, the European chafer, and the Green June beetle, among others. Grubs will eventually turn into adult beetles and complete their life cycle upon laying their own eggs in the soil.

How to check if you have grubs

If grubs are allowed to proliferate and complete their life cycles, they will quickly begin causing damage to your lawn by feeding on your turfgrass roots. A lawn that has been weakened by grubs will be easier to roll back. You may also see signs of damage caused by animals digging into your grass for the grubs.

How to get rid of grubs

Grubs can be effectively controlled with the timely application of a quality grub killer. You have a few different options for when to apply the product.

If applied in the springtime (from April to late May) to the thawed ground, the grub killer will eliminate grubs that have overwintered and are heading to the surface, while a summer application (from late June to early August) will help control newly hatched larvae. Grub killer can also be applied in the fall (from late August to September) to prevent grubs from overwintering and lessen their impact on your lawn next spring.

2

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are a type of non-flying, blood-sucking insect that feeds on humans. They have flat bodies and only reach a quarter of an inch in length when fully mature (roughly the size of an apple seed), making them difficult to spot.

When bed bugs bite in order to draw blood, they inject some of their saliva into the skin. This can result in redness, skin rashes, blisters, and allergic reactions. Bed bugs mostly come out at night but will surface in the daylight if they are hungry. They like to hide in small, tight spaces such as mattress folds and are capable of waiting a very long time for a meal to come around.

How to check if you have bed bugs

If you suspect that you have bed bugs, then you can confirm your suspicions with bed bug traps. These traps use an attractant to lure and then capture the bed bugs when they come along. For a household with children and pets, make sure you choose a product that is guaranteed to be safe to use.

How to get rid of bed bugs

Bed bugs are among the most dreaded type of household pests, but it is possible to get rid of them with the proper treatment. There are two main treatment methods you can use in tandem for best results. One is a bed bug killer that kills bed bugs upon contact and can be used for effective spot treatment when you see them. The other is a diatomaceous earth powder that will provide residual control after application.

3

Ants

Ants are just about everywhere, and you can't expect to head outside without coming across them. However, you definitely don't want them in your house or establishing colonies in your yard. You can identify an ant by its three-part body, thin waist, and elbowed antennae. Where there is one ant, there is often a colony nearby. Ants usually build colonies under the ground or inside trees, but they can also be established inside walls and baseboards.

How to check if you have ants

If you are regularly spotting ants inside of your home, then you've likely got an infestation on your hands. You might notice them congregating around your garbage or near your pet's food bowl. Ant waste and tunnelling debris are also sure signs of an infestation, as is the presence of ant mounds around your home's exterior.

How to get rid of ants

There is a range of different products you can use to get rid of ants, all available for both indoor and outdoor use. The most common are liquid and aerosol insecticide sprays designed to kill ants on contact. Foam and gel insecticides, on the other hand, are designed to kill entire colonies. Another way to eliminate colonies is with the use of ant traps that you simply set up in the desired location to capture the ants.

Once you've gotten rid of the ants, you can help keep them from coming back by mixing some peppermint oil and water and spraying it around doorways, windows, and vents. Peppermint oil acts as a natural insect repellent, and it leaves a pleasant scent.

4

Mosquitoes

Nobody likes mosquitoes, and for good reason. These annoying members of the fly family suck blood from all sorts of vertebrates using their long proboscis, which functions as a mouth. They are most frequently found near ponds and creeks and will lay their eggs in stagnant water like backyard birdbaths or rain puddles.

There is usually not much need to check for mosquitoes, as they will make their presence known by trying to spoil your outdoor fun and even tormenting you inside! Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide humans expel, making it easy to track us down.

How to get rid of mosquitoes

Your first step to getting rid of mosquitoes is to limit the places where they can hide and breed. Clean up debris such as piles of leaves around your property, keep your grass mowed, and remove areas of standing water.

Mosquito repellents will further help keep mosquitoes at bay when you are enjoying some time outside. Peppermint and lavender oil function as effective mosquito repellents as well. Mosquito insecticide sprays can also be used to kill mosquitoes on contact or applied to the grass and bushes around your outdoor space.

5

Wasps

Wasps have smooth and hairless bodies with cylindrical abdomens and two pairs of wings. They are attracted to sugar and carbohydrates, and their stingers contain venom, which can cause irritation, pain, and allergic reactions.

Three of the most common types of wasps are:

  • Yellowjackets: Small wasps, usually about half an inch in size, characterized by their rapid speed and side-to-side flying motion.
  • Hornets: Larger wasps between three-quarters of an inch to two inches in length known for their painful sting. Hornets commonly nest in eaves, trees, and bushes.
  • Paper wasps: Ranging from three-quarters of an inch to one and a quarter inches in length, paper wasps are identified by their brown bodies. Their nests are usually made of paper-like materials, and they will readily sting if disturbed, sometimes multiple times. Paper wasps build their nests in door frames, eaves, porch ceilings, deck floor joints, and shrubs and trees.

How to get rid of wasps

Once you start seeing wasps around your property, chances are that they won't just go away. Inspect your property every spring when the wasps are developing their colonies and make sure you deal with wasp nests as soon as you see them.

Wasp deterrents are the first line of defence against wasps. They repel new wasps from coming to the area by mimicking the look of a nest. You can affix them to your patio or around your eaves. If wasps have already made a home on your property, you can kill them on contact using spray wasp insecticides. Spray and foam wasp insecticides can also be used to directly target nests.

When applying any of these products, it is important to read and follow all of the included instructions.

6

Fruit flies

Fruit flies are small types of flies with yellowish or brownish bodies and red eyes. They usually come into a home from the outdoors and are attracted to ripened fruits or vegetables. Fruit fly infestations are easy to spot, as the flies will be swarming around fruits and vegetables left on the counter or around garbage bins.

How to get rid of fruit flies

Getting rid of fruit flies entails getting rid of their sources of attraction. Ripened fruits and vegetables should be eaten or refrigerated, and any damaged or cracked portions of produce should be cut and thrown away. Make sure you keep the lid closed on all of your waste containers as well. Once you've eliminated food sources, fruit fly traps will be very effective at getting rid of the infestation for good. These are usually available as either sticky strips or bottle traps.

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