How to Control Pests Around Your Home
I am fairly certain that every home has them. Those creepy, crawly, flying, biting, gnawing, hole digging, yard tunneling pests!! Maybe they’re not in your home or yard yet, but they are always nearby trying to figure out how to get in. Our home is no exception. I’d like to share with you some of the tactics and strategies we use to control pests and critters. With that said, we also have two dogs, which at times are pests themselves, that we have to be careful of the methods we use. For that reason we tend to shy away from poisons. Here are some of the ways we control pest around our home.
Creepy – Crawlies
We live in the state of Michigan and when spring arrives and the “April showers, brings May flowers, There’s not a more beautiful place to live! However, those April showers and the accompanying warm weather bring a whole host of creatures to life. Some are back from migration and hibernation and are another sign of spring that are welcomed. However, there is another group of critters that appear that I call the “creepy – crawlies” that I can do without. These include critters like ants, earwigs, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
To combat these critters we set up a perimeter around our house… literally. I did some research and found a pesticide that seems to work well for our situation. This is the only exception to our “poison” rule mentioned above. What we use is a spray concentrate called Permethrin, that you mix with water a spray where needed.
This product can be used in many different ways. It depends on how strong of concentration you mix. A weaker mixture can be used on your clothes and pets to protect against fleas and ticks and it even helps against mosquitoes. A stronger mixture is what we use around the perimeter of our house to kill and repel critters.
Depending on the amount of rain, or increased signs of critters, I will re-apply this couple times through the summer. We use a small 2 gallon pump up sprayer for around the house and you can use a smaller spray bottle for some of the smaller applications. Caution! I have to stress the importance of following the manufacturers mixing and application instructions! It has worked for us.
We’ve also had good luck using Terro Liquid Ant Bait too. In between treatments of Permethrin we will set out a couple Terro bait traps in areas we notice any ant activity. This works by attracting the ant to the bait and then they take it back to their nests. This is a great way to get them at the source.
In this category I’m going to include mice and chipmunks. They can get into anything, cause damage and make a real bio-hazard mess! We have had barbecue grill covers, tarps, sleeping bags, and many other thing ruined by mice chewing on them or by their “wastes”. Chipmunks can cause similar damage, and in many cases, because they are bigger, they cause more damage getting into places.
The first thing you have to do is try and keep them out. I know that’s easier said than done, but by closing off opening and sealing larger cracks
you’ll limit their access points. This will help cut down their numbers and give you fewer entry points to focus your efforts! This includes vinyl siding outside corners and others I’m sure. I’ve seen mice and chipmunks climb up inside them, which can give them access to any opening around your soffits.
One of the best ways to block smaller opening and cracks is with steel wool. Apparently mice do not like to chew the steel wool as it probably cuts their mouths. If you are a pet owner, dog or cat, you know it is their nature to hunt some of these rodents and pests, so we opt more for traps to control them. In my pole barn I have traps set all year long. My bait of choice is peanut butter and it has always worked well. I have several set at each of the notable points of entry. I also set a couple others randomly around the inside of the barn for the elusive one that find a new point of entry.
A friend of mine told me he used “rat” traps for chipmunks. He purchased several traps and sets a few around each of entry points or holes. You don’t bait the traps, you just count on them randomly stepping on one of them. This works well, but you need quite a few traps to make this work. I tried a different method using the rat traps. Survival experts frequently set snares on leaning branches and trees. Squirrels are known for liking to use the leaning branches as they are easier to climb than a vertical tree.
On that premise, I bought a 2 pack of rat traps and screwed them to a three foot, 2 x 2 board. I leaned these boards up against trees, or any type of structure, in the areas where I see chipmunks around yard or buildings. In the first summer I used this method I trapped 12 chipmunks and 10 mice! This was outside of the buildings. I call that method a success!
Ground moles can be one of the most frustrating critters in your yard. Their burrowing can cause unsightly mounds and other related issues. The mounds can dull and cause damage mower blades. During heavy rains these borrows can collapse causing a series of wash-out in your yard. Then there is the issue with dogs love to try and dig these guys up. What a mess!
There are poison pellets that you can drop in the moles tunnels, but we never had great success with them. Not to mention our concern with the dogs getting a hold of the poison, or a poisoned mole. They also make granular lawn treatments that are supposed to kill the grubs that the moles are supposed to be feeding on. Depending on the size of your yard, this can get expensive. Again we’ve opted for trapping them. There are several types of traps; here are the ones I’ve used and how I rank them.
Plunger Style Trap: I own one of these traps and it work, but not as well as the next two options. It’s more difficult to set and I’ve had more misses with this trap. If you do get a mole with this trap, you have to dig it out.
Choker Loop Trap: I also own one of these traps and it is my preferred of the first two. It sets much easier and it seems to work well.
I don’t recall it ever missing. If it’s tripped, you will have a mole in it and the mole will come out when you pull the trap.
Easy One-Step Trap: I do not own one of these traps, a close friend of my does and I’ve seen it in action. This trap
lives up to it’s name. It is very easy to set. Just stick it into the ground and step on it. It also works very well and rarely misses, according to my friend. I really like my choke loop trap, but if I were to buy another trap, it’s going to be the easy one-step. Simple is better! Just by one or two of these traps and move it around your yard, as needed.
Some critters don’t have to be creepy looking or cause damage to your stuff. Sometimes just their presence is annoying enough. One such critter is the fruit fly. In our area they really become an issue beginning in August through September. I’m sure this coincides many berries, fruits and vegetables coming in season and getting ripe. Not only are these things annoying, they can be embarrassing when entertaining!
Fruit Fly Control
Much like mice, prevention is one of your biggest weapons. I know this can be a chore, but there are several things you can do that will help. Store as many fruits and vegetables in the fridge. This will keep many fruits and veggies from ripening to quickly. Also the seal on the fridge door reduces the scents that allows the flies to them. Empty your trash frequently. Better yet, any trash generated by cleaning / preparing fruits or veggies should be disposed of outside. Especially peals, cores and seeds. Wash any knives, cutting boards and dishes used to prepare your fruits and veggies. Be sure to wash your counter tops and kitchen surfaces too! Keeping things clean is your best defense against attracting fruit flies.
Fruit Fly Traps
There are many traps for fruit flies too. There are also traps that can be made by using a canning jars. One trap call for you to put a small amount of apple cider vinegar in the bottom of the jar and cover the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap. Then just poke several small holes in the plastic wrap with a toothpick. Once the flies get in, most of them can’t find their way out. A similar traps call for inserting a small funnel in the mouth of the jar, blocking the opening. The only way in is down through the funnel opening. Check out some of the options on the sidebar that can be purchased at Amazon. We’ve purchased, and use, the to the right in this article. It works great!
In most cases you’ll be able to get them under control. However, for heavy infestation of certain pests, like termites, carpenter ants or roaches, it may be in your best interest to call in the professionals. I hope this article will help you gets rid of some of your unwanted pest around the house.