Bugging Out

Pests such as rodents and insects live in every city in the world and, for the most part, these creatures keep to themselves. A problem arises, however, when these creepy critters seek to set up camp in human homes. A severe infestation is definitely a matter for professional exterminators; but, if the problem is small or you’d just like to keep the creatures at bay, there are a number of simple steps a regular Joe can take to keep a home bug-free.

Mosquitos

In an urban environment, a small backyard or patio can be an oasis for pests. Mosquitos, for example, are an abundant nuisance in Louisiana. Like many creepy crawlies, mosquitos lay their eggs in water; specifically, standing water. Items such as bird baths, buckets, or even ashtrays that collect rainwater act as ideal nurseries for young mosquitos. Mosquito larvae take approximately one week to develop into adults, so it is important to dump out standing water in weekly increments so the buggies don’t have the chance to hatch.

Ants

These tiny creatures, while popular in cartoon form, are the bane of picnic baskets the world over. To combat these weensy kitchen invaders, it is most important to keep countertops clean. If this doesn’t work well enough, shed some light on the situation – literally! A nightlight, plugged in near an area of high ant activity, can be used to confuse and disperse parties of scavenging ants.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are at the top of the list of creepy household pests. Though these insects have a reputation for indestructability, there are ways to discourage them from setting up camp in your house. Some individuals suggest keeping bay leaves or citrus peels around the house to deter the insects, but these means may be too gentle.

Another suggestion is to stash catnip around the house. Nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip, is an incredibly strong roach repellant. Stash sacks of catnip around the house or mix catnip and water, boil, then pour the liquid into a spray bottle and spritz in problem areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Do not, however, use this method if you have cats.

If you’ve seen more than a few roaches in a certain area, you may wish to try boric acid. Cockroaches won’t be deterred by boric acid, but this is good; a cockroach will unknowingly haul boric acid back to its nest over and over until the chemical finally kills the host insect and subsequently the rest of the nest.  While boric acid isn’t terribly toxic to people, individuals with children or pets should restrict use of the compound to out-of-reach areas like cabinet tops.

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