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A guide to getting rid of household pests

A guide to getting rid of household pests

Unwelcome guests, in the form of insects, spiders and rodents, can make an appearance at any time – but, particularly in the warmer months.

For the most part, they’re pretty gross, unwanted and will put you in a state of panic upon infestation. The good news is that they can often be kept at bay with a few simple measures, like good cleaning routines.

So, whilst you consider your annual spring clean, we thought we’d share some tips on what you can do to deter them from visiting - without the need for professional help.

Ants

Ants are tempted indoors by food debris, so it’s important to clean up any dropped food or spilled liquid straight away to deter most pests.

In fact, the following steps apply to every unwanted visitor: store all food in sealed containers and keep your surfaces and floors clean.

Keep doors and windows closed and seal any holes in the wall or woodwork.

Commercial insecticides are the most reliable way of removing ants from the home, but a non-chemical alternative is white vinegar.

Spraying ants with undiluted white vinegar will kill them. However, we know that lots of you want to ‘get rid’ without the need for toxic chemicals. In this instance, try diluting white wine vinegar with water and sprayed around problem areas – this will act as a deterrent.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are among the most common of household pests in the UK and while they don’t spread diseases their bites can be irritating and itchy. Plus, they get everywhere and are very difficult to get rid of!

These tiny pests leave small black dots of faecal matter in your bed and, because they feed on your blood, leave little red smears when they’re squashed.

The best ways of preventing them include washing and drying your bedding and clothing at a high temperature and tidying your home to remove their hiding places.

Vacuuming thoroughly will also help reduce their numbers, but always remember to empty the vacuum afterwards to stop them spreading.

Bed bugs like to spread, so if you do suffer an infestation, we recommend asking your friends and family members to wait until they’re cleared before visiting to avoid further infestation.

Moths

Clothing, carpets and furniture made from natural fibres provide food for moths and while they’re not dangerous, they can easily damage your wardrobe and soft furnishings.

Because moths prefer ‘unclean’ clothes, it’s recommended that you wash clothes immediately after you’ve worn them.

The best policy for keeping moths out of your home involves shutting windows and curtains at night and regular vacuuming to remove their eggs.

You can also protect your clothes from moths by storing them in vacuum-sealed bags, but if all else fails, the tried-and-tested method of mothballs always does the job – if you can stand the smell!

Spiders

Despite every arachnophobes beliefs, spiders can be a useful addition to your household because they do handy jobs around the house, like eating flies and other unwanted insects around your home.

However, their numbers do need to be controlled. As such, vacuuming their webs and removing food debris are the best ways of keeping our eight legged friends in check.

Mice and rats

As well as spreading diseases, rodents can gnaw through important cables, create electrical hazards and cause all sorts of other damage.

Tell-tale signs you have a problem include dark droppings the size of rice grains, tiny puddles or urine and scratches, tooth marks or chewed holes in food packaging – you may even hear them running about from time to time.

Pet food, paper and cardboard all attract mice and rats, so remaining vigilant and keeping a strict routine of cleaning and recycling unwanted packaging is an important way of deterring them.

Commercial mouse and rat traps or poisons are easily available but they also pose a real threat if you have children or pets.

If traps don’t work, then call a specialist as soon as possible and let them take the next step. It’s a common problem and they know exactly what to do.

Wasps

Stray wasps can often find their way inside through open doors and windows, but they only pose a real problem if they construct a nest in, or close to, your home.

Because the Queen wasp builds her nest in the spring, it’s worth checking your loft and eaves at that time of the year.

A smaller nest with fewer inhabitants is much easier to manage than a fully-constructed nest containing hundreds, if not thousands, of wasps.

Wasps may aggressively defend their nest, so it’s advisable to seek professional help if you do uncover one.

They can also be repelled naturally by aromatic herbs like thyme, so it may be worth planting some of it in near where you sit in the garden.
Fleas

The things we’re willing to put up with for our furry friends… Fleas can easily infest homes and it’s important to get rid of them quickly as they can bite humans, spread quickly, and may carry diseases.

The most common sign of an infestation is bites – in the form of raised, red, itchy bumps - either on your skin or your pet’s skin, so check your cat or dog regularly and ask your vet about flea prevention.

If necessary, treat your pet and make sure they don’t become re-infested, then give your home a thorough deep clean.

While there are many commercial flea-killing cleaning products available, fleas are tenacious and can remain undetected, so it might be worth calling a professional in to do it for you.
If you do unfortunately experience a pest infestation, it’s well worth checking your home insurance as you may be able to claim on your home emergency cover.

Here at One Call, we provide basic home emergency cover for free alongside your home insurance policy.

Whilst this basic home emergency policy does not provide cover for all of the pests outlined above, it does includes the removal of wasps’ or hornet’s nests.

As well as this, you can even upgrade to our executive cover which includes the removal of black rats and field mice too.

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