Preventing Pests – the Importance of Good Housekeeping

In his blog, ‘A Day in the Life of a Pest Control Technician’, Michael Marbe noted one of the most difficult parts of his job was, “giving people advice about good housekeeping. I must be very diplomatic and explain to them that a mouse needs just 3g of a food a day and they must be getting it from somewhere – breadcrumbs in the toaster, food bins, grease around the cooker.”

All pests, whether they are small and furry or have six legs and armoured bodies, are in your home because it supplies something they need. Put simply, they want a haven in which to hide, nest and breed and a source of food. Your home provides these.

This gives you an advantage in the fight against pests. If you are not providing them with something they want, then you can be sure one of your neighbours will be and the pests will choose to infest that property.

A Mouse in Your House

Mice are one the smaller members of the rodent family. Like all rodents, they have ever-growing incisor teeth which they keep under control by gnawing – causing damage to your property. They are also known to carry diseases such as Salmonella and Listeria.

Unlike rats who don’t really want to be in your home, mice are naturally inquisitive and are quite happy to move into your home. This is especially true in the colder months. They are amazingly agile and can squeeze themselves through tiny gaps– down to 6 mm.

The best way to keep mice out of your home is stop them entering in the first place. The first thing you should do is survey your property and make sure all holes, vents and gaps are sealed. Either fill the hole with a hard substance like cement or use wire mesh. In the case of gaps under doors, we advise bristle strips.

The second thing you should look at is your housekeeping. All food should be stored in airtight containers. While plastic won’t stop the mouse from gnawing through to the food, if it doesn’t know it’s there it won’t bother.

Waste food should also be removed and the area cleaned. As Michael noted above, a mouse only needs 3g of food a day. Therefore, if you aren’t clearing around the toaster, vacuuming up all crumbs on the carpets, or regularly disposing of food waste into firmly closing dustbins, then you are making their job easy and essentially feeding the mouse. Poor hygiene is a pest’s banquet.

Keeping Insects Out of Your Home

In many ways, the advice for keeping ants, cockroaches and flies out of your property are the same as for mice. If you remove sources of food, regularly wipe down surfaces and immediately remove spillages, then insects will look elsewhere for food supplies. These are simple good housekeeping practices, but they can have a major impact on the probability of a pest problem.

In the case of ants, you should also try to find the entrances they are using to get into your home and block them. With flies, you can try fitting fly screens or fly killing units that attract and trap these unwanted pests.

Bed Bugs

The advice for bed bugs differs from other insects because they enter our homes in a completely different way. They are, in many ways, the world’s best hitchhikers. They will come into your home in luggage and on second-hand furniture, rugs and clothing.

Over the years, several newspapers have run stories offering advice on how to stop bed bugs from entering your home. The watchword is ‘vigilance’. Check everything that may be carrying these pests before you bring it into your home including your luggage when you come home from a holiday.

Housekeeping is Key

Preventing pests from entering your home is less stressful and cheaper than trying to get rid of them once they have arrived.

Your home is your sanctuary; don’t let it become a sanctuary for unwanted pests.

For more information on preventing pests, read our leaflets:

Mice   Ants   Cockroaches   Flies   Bed Bugs

We have the expertise to deal with a wide range of pest problems quickly, safely, and discreetly. If you have a problem, call us on 020 8430 4133 or email here.

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