Although technically mice aren’t bugs, we feel that the rate of house mice infestation is significant enough to warrant an article on this pest control site of ours. Mice and rats can be extremely difficult to tell apart with the exception being their difference in size (a rat is often twice as big as a mouse).
For ordinary homes though, mice infestations are approximately 15 times more common compared to rat infestations so if you see one of these rodents in your house and they aren’t terribly huge (longer than 4 inches in length), you can safely bet that it’s a house mouse you’re seeing.
Regardless of all that though, both mice and rats can survive for extended periods despite having very limited resources of food and water. The approaches that you can use to catch these critters are also identical so you really don’t need to tell the differences between the two.
Firstly, the single most effective method of getting rid of mice is to trap them. A snap trap, in particular, which is triggered as a mouse runs across it or if it’s baited to step upon it, is the simplest yet most cost-effective way of killing these rodents. The choice of your baits doesn’t have to be complicated because mice will be attracted to literally all sorts of food that are left out in the open.
If you still want a recommendation from us though, we’d suggest using a tiny scrap of cheese as the bait just because we’re fans of the cliche and it doesn’t get any more generic than that!
The terrifying Snap-E Mouse Trap!
A cheap snap trap (~$12) that we find most effective is the Snap-E mouse trap because it kills a mouse instantly by snapping down on it really hard but without crushing the head or limbs. Out of 20 or so mice we killed instantly using this trap, only 1 was caught by its back foot. We still don’t know how that happened but we suspect that it’s a particularly light-footed one! It’s nothing a whack on the head wouldn’t solve though.
Because this trap doesn’t cut up or cause the rodent to suffer from bleeding injuries, you can easily reset and reuse the trap over and over again. If you plan on releasing your caught rodents alive out into the wild though, this might not be the best choice for you! For live catches, you’ll ideally want a glue or cage trap discussed below.
An alternative here would be electrical traps (that basically electrocutes the rodents to death) but these are a lot more expensive (up to $40) and will not offer any additional advantage over well-made snap traps.
Glue Traps & Cage Traps
These types of traps can ensnare a mouse and leave them well alive and without any harm but this also means that you’ll have to manually kill the mouse by whacking it over the head.
Drowning it is usually a cleaner way but we don’t do this anymore because it’s not really a humane way to kill a rat (or anything at all really). You could choose to release the mouse elsewhere but if you don’t do it far away enough (like at least half a mile away), it could very likely track its way back to your property eventually.
Poison Or Rodenticides
This used to be a popular option years ago before significant drawbacks were discovered. Firstly, other predators of rats or scavengers might consume these poisoned critters and be subsequently poisoned themselves.
Secondly, it takes a while before the poison kicks in and finally kills off the poisoned rodent. In that time, the rodent could have crawled into a difficult to reach area before it dies. Its corpse will emit a lasting odor and will also attract other pests or scavengers into the area. On the whole, using poison or rodenticides is a messy affair that we’ve learned to stay away from.
Well-made snap traps are the best way to kill mice or rats quickly and in a clean manner. Electrical traps work just as well but it doesn’t make sense to use them because they’re a lot pricier. A glue or cage trap is only useful if you’re planning on catching a mouse instead of killing it. Poison or rodenticides are just way too messy and have too many awful drawbacks.
One of the worst pests that can destroy your property are termites, which are actually very different from ants. They look similar but have completely different behavior and they (termites) pose a higher threat to your home. Unfortunately, a typical termite colony is made up of over 300,000 to about a million of swarmers, soldiers and workers that can cause serious damages to your home. Moreover, one termite queen lays thousands of eggs in a day, and these can survive for up to 50 years! With that in mind, it is easy for a queen to repopulate the colony after you have exerted a serious effort in eliminating these pests. So, it is best to prevent them from infesting your home to avoid massive headaches and property damages over time.
Common Breeding Grounds of Termites
A large percentage of termites are mainly subterranean, which means they dwell in the ground. These insects create tunnel systems in the soil, which may extend to a maximum depth of three feet. Here, they make mud tubes that will connect their colonies located underground to food sources above such as wood materials in your home.
There are also some termites who live in water sources such as a leaky faucet or any damp areas produced by rain. They look for a place where there is moisture, so they will be able to survive and populate.
Lastly, termites prefer to invade wood or any types of material that have cellulose. Termites feed on this component found in wood, and it is typical for an entire colony to it and invade other nearby areas with any wooden material. Although termites who dwell on the ground live on humus and dung, among other materials, their main source of food is wood.
Ways to Resolve A Termite Infestation
Having termites in the house can be quite stressful. So, if you find yourself deeply concerned about termites infesting your property, then the following techniques on how to eliminate these pesky insects may be helpful.
1. Prepare a bait for subterranean termites.
Unlike your usual tool for deterring termite invasion, a bait works by killing the entire colony at its primary source. You can set these baits deep in the ground, which may be at least every 10 feet or more around your home. With this method, untreated segments of wood are attatched to bait stations, which cna help identify the presence of termites within your property.
Then, each unit is checked and evaluated on a weekly basis. Once live termites are detected, these wood segments are replaced with another bait filled with toxic substances that these pests ingest and take to their colony. Eventually, termites slowly die once the toxin take effect, and the rest of the colony may be eliminated completely. There are also bait traps that can be used indoors, particularly when damages due to termites are observed.
2. Use liquid termiticides.
Another effective solution to termites invading your home is the use of liquid termiticides.
This is a type of pesticide in liquid form, which is applied underneath and around your home’s foundation. It may also be applied to the soil before a home is constructed.
However, for existing structures, proper coverage of the pesticide is ensured by digging out and drilling the foundation before applying the solution.
You can find different types of liquid termiticides in the market. There are those that repel and block termite invasions while others immediately kill these pests once they are exposed to the chemicals.
3. Make use of home remedies or natural solutions to eliminate termites.
For homeowners who are looking for a more eco-friendly way to kill termites, the use of home remedies may be a viable option. Clove bud oil, for instance, is a type of essential oil that works efficiently in eradicating these pesky insects. Simply get a mist sprayer or empty bottle of perfume, pour the oil into the container and spray generously on areas where termites dwell. You may also use vetiver oil to prevent these pests from coming back.
Another natural remedy to kill termites is aloe. To prepare an effective termite-busting solution, crush the plant and place it in a sprayer. Then, pour some water that is enough to submerge the plant. After 2 to 3 hours, strain the liquid before adding about 5 parts of water for every 1 part of aloe into the container. Spray the contents directly on the termite-infested area.
I’ve also taken the liberty of uploading this video on the prevention of termite infestations using certain DIY techniques if you have some time and you’re willing to get down and dirty to do it on your own.
How to Prevent Termites from Infesting Your Property
Considering how difficult it is to eliminate termites once they have invaded your home, it is best to prevent them from coming in and spare yourself from serious problems caused by these insects. The following are some tips that you might want to try to prevent these insects from getting inside your property.
1. Check for leaky areas inside and outside your home and have them fixed immediately. Be sure to eliminate leaky water source to prevent them from surviving, populating and destroying your home later on.
2. Inspect your home for any heavy or thick vegetation as this can create moist areas that support the survival of a termite colony.
3. If you have plenty of firewood or spare construction materials, be sure to store these far from house as possible. Keep in mind that termites feed on wood, so any scrap of this material can be quite inviting to these pests. In case you have a limited space at home, you may consider creating a thick barrier beneath the wood products in your storage area. This discourages termites from creating a direct path to the wood and into your house.
4. As much as possible, try not to use mulch within your home because this material serves as a food and water source for termites.
5. Get rid of dead trees or stumps in your yard. Once these decay, they serve as food for a colony of hungry termites. In the same way, make it a point to use treated lumber when you plan to use wooden structures that are set directly on the ground. While there is no guarantee that the chemicals used in the lumber will prevent termites from invading the material, they can serve as a deterrent for patios or even decks made from treated lumber.
Ensure your home’s quality, appearance and integrity for years by safeguarding it from termite infestation. With these tips and strategies, you can ward off these pests while enhancing the durability of your property.
Most people assume that bed bug infestation is linked with having filthy areas at home. However, these bugs do not need dirt to survive. Instead, they rely on the blood of humans and animals as their source of food. Thus, it does not matter whether you live in a small home or a vast mansion since bed bugs are more likely to live in any areas as long as there is food available to them.
The only way for bed bugs to enter your home is to hide and stick on clothes or luggage, so they can go to another location. For instance, these pests remain in your suitcase after you have stayed in an infested room. These bugs may also be found in public places such as theaters and buses, and they can spread to other places through a person’s coat, backpack, and other items.
Detecting Bed Bugs
As soon as bed bugs are in your home, they will start looking for another hiding place including your baseboards, switch plates, and even underneath your wallpaper. In a matter of minutes, these pesky creatures will start multiplying. In fact, a female bed bug can carry a few eggs at the time it arrives to your home. Soon enough, it can begin producing hundreds new bugs, which make it more difficult for you to get rid of them.
Although filth and clutter may not have any impact on how bed bugs spread, you will find it more difficult to get rid of them because of more hiding places made available to these pests. Your dilemma goes on until you are able to eliminate all of these bed bugs in your home.
The question is – how can you detect bed bugs, so you can start getting rid of them? Are there signs of bed bug infestation? If so, what are the signs to watch out for when you want to free your home from these annoying creatures?
One way to check if there are bed bugs at home is by inspecting your skin. Look for some bites on your skin that were not present before you went to bed. These bites are more likely to have been caused by bed bugs if you have not seen any insects in the house, yet you continue to get the same kind of bite each time you wake up.
There may be times that you will notice some evidences of bed bugs infestation even without seeing these insects. You may find some dark stains in your bed, and these come from fecal stains or partially-digested blood. It is also possible for you to discover some bed bug droppings or black spots in a specific area. The best way to check if these are indeed droppings is by wiping them with a damp cloth. If the spot smears, then it is a bed bug fecal spot.
How to Resolve Problems with Bed Bugs
Tired of dealing with bed bug issues in your home? If so, then these tips can help you put an end to your worries about bed bug infestation.
1. Wash and dry infested infested objects at high temperatures.
If you suspect there are bed bugs hiding on your comforter, simply toss in the bedding in the dryer and place the settings on high heat at about 120 degrees F. By doing so, you can instantly kill adults and nymphs, as well as their eggs that may be hiding on your bedding.
Be sure to inspect your closet and prevent more bed bugs from staying on your clean linens. Place your linens in a plastic bag and seal off any possible passages for these bugs. There is no need to use insecticide sprays and other chemicals on your bedding since these do are usually ineffective in killing bed bugs.
2. Use a device that generates steam.
A quick way to kill bed bugs on the spot is by using a device that can generate steam. If you wish, you may use a regular electric kettle at home and atach a flexible rubber tube that you can use to point-steam on bed bugs. This DIY steam device should be effective enough to kill eggs and adult bed bugs. Just be sure to spray steam at seams and every corner of your mattress cover, bedding, and other infested items.
3. Scatter silica gel in your bedroom.
You may also apply ground silica gel in your room such as the mattress, along the bedroom walls, and areas surrounding your bed. Once the fine silica gel sticks to the bug, it will eventually dehydrate and die, and this should solve your problem with these insects. However, be very careful not to inhale the gel since it can impact your health.
If you prefer another option with the same effect, yet without any health risks, use the food grade variety of a dehydrating substance such as Diatomaceous Earth. This does not put your family and your pets’ health at risk unlike what silica gel offers.
Preventing Bed Bugs in Your Home
The most practical way to avoid any problems with bed bugs is to prevent them from getting in your home. This means, you will have to be very careful about buying second hand furniture such as couches and beds, which may already be infested with these bugs. Be sure to inspect all seams carefully, and look for signs such as droppings, stains or spots that are proofs of infestation.
When traveling, make it a point to inspect the headboards and beddings first, as well as closets for any bed bugs lying around. As much as possible, avoid placing your clothes in the closet of your hotel room unless you are certain that the area is free from bed bugs.
Getting rid of bed bugs can be tough, and there may be times when it may be impossible for you to eliminate all of these creatures once they have already invaded several parts of your home. So, prevent these bugs from getting in your property by applying the tips presented here, and consider removing them by using natural techniques. If all else fails, you can always contact a professional who can provide the most effective solution to your concerns.
Because I often live in rural areas as opposed to city centers, the places that I've stayed in tend to come with pest infestation problems. I also move around a lot as my job requires me to (I'm a farm developer), so I get practice ridding these places of pests. Although I'm not a professional pest controller, my experience from having dealt with a ton of these situations have made me a de-facto pro on this topic.