Handling the problem of unwelcome wildlife in your house is something every homeowner needs to face sooner or later. On top of the immediate visceral discomfort a pest problem brings, you also need to consider the possibilities of structural damage and the introduction of bacteria and disease. If you have a pest problem that you are putting off, you may want to hunker down and face it head on, as the situation can escalate rapidly if the creatures are not sufficiently deterred.
Some infestations are less obvious than others, so it’d be wise to scrutinize any possibilities every once and a while. Other times, the presence of a species may be obvious but the homeowner lacks immediacy in taking care of the problem. Rest assured, however, that the sooner you solve the problem the better. These types of problems rarely solve themselves and can become incredibly expensive if the problem gets serious enough.
Below, we will look into some common varieties of household pests and what you can do about them.
Some people find skunks amiable enough to be kept as pets, but there are few things you want on your property less than wild, non-domesticated skunks. They often dig shallow holes in a yard, where they feed on insects. In addition to their characteristically unpleasant scent, they are also known to rummage through trash and create burrows that can potentially cause damage to wires. Signs of a skunk includes the trademark smell, as well as fecal matter – which is around two inches long and often contains the remains of insects.
Skunks often seek out shelter in earlier winter months and settle on a place to mate by the later months. When males approach females, she may reject him by emitting a foul odor, which incidentally is also an effective tactic in humans. During these latter months, skunk smells may become common around the house’s basement or foundation.
Skunk repellent or humane removal are the best ways to handle a skunk problem. These animals are valuable parts of the ecosystem and rarely pose a direct threat to humans. You also want to secure any disposed trash bags and make sure the ground is clear of any fallen fruit if your yard has any fruit-bearing trees.
Mosquitoes are perhaps more of a problem than ever, as climbing global temperatures have allowed the disease-bearing insects to proliferate at unprecedented rates. Whereas cold weather typically truncates the populations on a seasonal basis, they are now able to survive longer and spread disease more extensively. Some of these diseases include Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and West Nile. These pests also tend to thrive in urban areas since there as a lack of natural predators.
To help curtail mosquito populations, you are advised to get rid of any standing water on the property. These spots are ideal breeding areas for the insects. Keeping your lawn well-manicured also helps to limit the places mosquitoes can comfortably call home. Staying vigilant and persistent with anti-mosquito practices is key, as the threat of disease is very real, particularly in warmer areas and parts of the year.
Other solutions include the burning of pinion wood, which is a pungent variety that tends to keep mosquitoes away. Lemon-scented geraniums are another means of biological deterrence, as the insects find the citrus-smelling plant repulsive. Research also supports the use of catnip as an herbal deterrent. If you are having an outdoor party, you can also consider using a large fan, since breezes cause the bugs’ infrared senses to malfunction.
These rodents are renowned for their ability to absorb disease from their environment and then introduce them in dangerous places. The most obvious signs of a rat infestation include noises in walls or attics, as well as fecal matter. They tend to hide from humans, so if you happen to spot one it is likely indicative of a full-fledged infestation.
The most effective thing you can do is prevent the property from being attractive to rats in the first place. These animals are primarily attracted to a home based on food availability, as well as warm, dark places that go undisturbed. Be sure to safely secure any food matter that you dispose of. If you use compost piles for your garden, avoid using any meat or animal products, since these are especially attractive.
Rats tend to establish footpaths and then stick to them. In cases that involve a single rat, a trap may be effective. However, they are also wary of unfamiliar objects, so traps may be less effective than you think. Likewise, the problem of an infestation is likely beyond what traps can do. If this is the case, it’s probably safest to bring a professional exterminator into the picture, as more rats mean an exponential increase in the threat of structural damage and disease.