Essential guide to home maintenance and pest control
Activities taking place around the home
Besides spending quite an amount of time at work and outdoors for exercises and sports, home is one place we are in for various purposes. Firstly, some of us do work from home either as a freelance or due to the current COVID-19 pandemic distancing measures. Secondly, families with kids who are still studying would spend a fair bit of time with revisions and catching up with projects. Thirdly, family bonding and friends gathering while we have any free time of opportunity. Fourthly, celebrations and occasional events where we have groups turning up at our home. Above all, which is perhaps the most essential reason to return home is to have a good night’s rest.
Situations that will happen daily
With so much time spent at home on a long-term basis, we face some familiar incidents such as:
- Build-up of dirt and grime due to poor maintenance over a period of time
- Dust accumulation due to open concepts, pollution and lack of housekeeping
- Defective plumbing due to wear and tear, chokes & aging
- Poor functionality of appliance, lightings and air-conditioning
- Cracks and splits of the structure due to integrity, denegation and weather
- Overgrown and withered landscaping and plants at the courtyard
- Pest infestation due to poor facility maintenance and sanitation
Health and safety consequences and risks
In particular, if there are the young or elderly living in the home with you, health and safety is utmost important. There are various implications arising due to poor home maintenance, defects and presence of pests around.
- Compromised sanitation can promote the development of germs and bacteria
- Presence of pests can transmit harmful diseases such as Dengue Fever, Salmonella and gastroenteritis.
- Besides mosquitoes bites, other pests are capable of causing bites with skin infection and allergies
- Damaged to home furnishings such as sofa, cabinets, wall and upholsteries
- Weakened or compromised structures, panels and beams that pose safety risks
- Ruining the overall home aesthetics and outlooks such as ugly mud tubes or urine stains
- Emotional stress and worries in dealing with poor functioning home or a pest outbreak
Termite the silent home destroyer
Famous for being known as the silent home destroyer, the minute and beyond visibility pest is capable of damaging your home, and in worse situations, causing panel or ceiling and door frames to collapse. Besides moisture, they feed on the abundance of wood and literally chew up your home. It is not one or two or a dozen termites, but a colony that is built underground, below your home. Termites spread from traveling through the mud tubes they build upwards and sideways, thus infecting other parts of the home and extent of reaching the neighbours.
Without intervening with a termite treatment, termite infestation can turn serious into damaging and weakening your home structures. There are times where you may notice flying termites hovering around your home, especially during wet weather or when there is high humidity. It may look harmless by flicking them away, however the presence of these swarmers might mean a heavy infestation or additional colony is built up along the way.
Signs of a termite infestation
A critical sign of a termite infestation is presence of frass lying around your floor, sills and surfaces with wood or panel. They are in fact pellets or also known as termite droppings that excrete by drywood termite. There is a difference between the two termite species, namely subterranean termite and drywood termite. While one, infests in furniture and home structures, the other nests and lives in the ground.
Your rest and comfort can be disturbed by the sound termites make when they are threatened or disturbed. Also known as head-banging, the soldier will hit their head against the wall to communicate to their fellow colonies of danger ahead. As they make their way through the tunnel, termites also produce rustling sounds and can disrupt our time spent at home. As they are well hidden internally among the structures, finding these termites is a lot harder unless conducted by a termite specialist.
What does home maintenance include?
Housekeeping and domestic cleaning
A home activity that is procrastinated by many, one of the basic home maintenance essentials is to ensure a diligent housekeeping regime is in place. For instance, vacuuming and sweeping the floor, mopping and wiping of surfaces, dusting of appliances and décor and steaming curtains and blinds.
Kitchen is one part of the home that should not be neglected. This is especially when there is availability of food sources that attract pests during food preparation and consumption activities. This includes any ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, sugar or juice, crumbs and bits, waste and scraps and even water. Find out why it is not recommended to leave unwashed dishes in the sink or not disposing the trash promptly.
Bathrooms are another critical hot spot for pests. This is due to the spills and water drips after a face washing or shower, and possibility of cockroaches climbing up sewers and pipes, and entering into the bathroom as a result. Toilet scrubs, removing bulks of grease, trapped hair, and keeping surface dry can improve quality of sanitation standards.
Plumbing and pipe checks and repairs
A familiar scenario where either you receive pipe leaks from your neighbour or vice versa, this could warrant a need to conduct a plumbing or piping check. With moist, integrity conditions and wear and tear, there may be defects and cracks or the pipes that cause water leaks, or poor plumbing functionality that causes chokes and poor drainage. Besides promoting pests due to its moisture, it will result in an unpleasant experience with presence of odour and dealing with neighbours’ complaints.
Servicing of ventilators and air-conditioning
Highly utilised functions in the home, particularly with the warm weather, most homes would rely heavily on air-conditioning. Firstly, there is an accumulation of dust, pollutants and particles over time. Compromised air quality with clogs can result in allergies or respiratory symptoms. Not forgetting, the foul smell that is coming from the mold or bacteria not filtered and cleaned that is certainly unhealthy and unpleasant for a home stay.
Arranging landscaping and plant pruning
Outdoor maintenance is critical as well. We may not spend much time outdoors; however, we should not miss out on this area as well. Landscaping is essential because it helps to keep the outdoor greens in shape. For example, removing any unwanted weed, trim scrubs, plants and trees, removing any rotten wood furnishing, and decomposed greenery. Rotten, decay and moist wood, dead trees, mulch, can attract a termite infestation. Above all, with a connection from outdoors leading to your home, termite can find their pathway in so long as there is moisture for them to nest and navigate around. Read here to find out the difference between subterranean and drywood termites.
Patching and sealing any cracks and crevices
One main cause of pest infestation is due to the multiple entries they can find around your home to enter. Even with just a one-millimeter gap is all it takes for a pest to enter. To name a few, ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and even rats require proofing to prevent them from invading a premise. Causes of infestation of these gaps and holes are due to old or poor integrity structure, defects, weather expansion or past renovation works or interior décor activities that leave holes and cracks around. However, the damage found on the wall could be due to a termite infestation. Find out if your home has an existing termite problem.
Engaging renovation and construction work
There are occasions where DIY-self-help patch work and remedies may not help if the condition of the home or any defects and damage is beyond our help. For example, self-patch jobs may not work on damages to the door frames or kitchen cabinets that are built-in and connected. Replacement of doors and reconstruct the entire kitchen furnishing is required. In worse cases, ceilings are damaged or show signs of collapse that require a proper renovation. Lastly, cracked and split floors leaving cracks and crevices can trap food debris or encourage pest harbourage. Re-tiling or sprucing with new laminates can promote pest prevention.
Adopt pest management and detection habits
There are home remedies you can proactively take on towards pest management. Firstly, do self-detection and inspection around your home to look for potential signs of pests. This includes droppings, strong musty smell, shed skins or eggs lying around. Secondly, you can apply repellent and preventive aids such as bait traps, gel and the use of insecticide spray. Thirdly, be more aware and take note of the time of the day you spot physical pests running around. Heavy cockroach infestation could result in seeing cockroaches in the daytime looking for food. Above all, it is good to seek professional advice from pest control services experts to help perform a pest identification.
Common residential home complaints
Pest complaints are one of the common conversation topics among families, friends and colleagues. Rentokil shares some of the common home complaints commonly suffered by many.
- Unsure where are the pests coming from
- Unable to eliminate pest and control them well
- Spending money on pest elimination with no efficacy
- No idea which pest solution to take on
- Recurring pest problem shortly after a treatment
- Lack of pest education such as habitat and early signs
- Greasy home with insecticide sprays or stick-on marks
DIY home remedies that do not work
There are many self-help and DIY tips to eliminate home pests. However, that may or may not work due to various reasons. While most methods do deter and repel pests to some extent, these home remedies are generally short-term and quick fix with minimal to no effect.
- Using pandan leaves based on a popular pest myth to get rid of cockroaches will only result in further infestation due to its food source made available for pests to feed on. Cockroach prevention begins with good housekeeping and removing their breeding source.
- Getting rid of ants with chalk and cucumber peel only deters ants from location to location. It does not eliminate the root source.
- Applying baking soda or cinnamon to remove bed bugs will not address the massive reproduction and quick spread of their presence of bed bugs. They usually hide in hard to see and reach spaces as the mattress seams which these sprinklers may not cover them. Professional bed bug control is necessary. This avoids additional investments incurred to replace mattresses, furniture and curtains.
- Getting rid of mosquitoes will not work with just protecting yourself with lemongrass or citronella elements. Adult mosquitoes and larvae are still present to breed and seek their host for blood.
- Termite prevention with orange oil is a said myth that may have limited efficacy to eliminate the colony. Rather, it may be hazardous due to its flammable and acidic component.
Dr. Chan Hiang Hao, the Medical Entomologist of Rentokil Pest Control debugs various pest myths applied on ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and rats. To find out which pest myths are not true, read here.
Engaging home pest control
An assuring way to protect from pest damages and harm is to engage a reliable pest control company to design a suitable pest elimination solution for you. Besides delivering pest control services for residential settings, the pest control specialists will also advise you on several matters. For example, pest type species, key risk areas with pest activities, causes of an infestation and additional pest prevention tips to manage pest problems better. Some of the home pest control programmes include:
- Pest detection and identification of the species to recommend the relevant and approach pest solutions
- Termite control solutions that help eliminate termite colonies and prevent further damage to a home with seven years warranty.
- Integrated mosquito control programme including fogging, larviciding to eliminate mosquito breeding sources and placement of mosquito traps at hot spots.
- Common pest treatment such as cockroach control and managing ants’ infestation in a home can be frustrating to live with when it comes in groups.
- Bed bug treatment is often sought for. Dealing with bed bugs can be a challenging task given their tiny and flat body size and speed of spreading from room to room. Three-time residual spray and steam treatment is carried out to control the entire lifecycle of a bed bug.
All you need to know about pest control in Singapore
Keeping up with dengue awareness
Dengue cases in Singapore are still on the rise with an alarming figure of over 6,500 cases till date and with over 111 active dengue clusters. Mosquito prevention forms a critical and an essential home maintenance checklist in keeping your family safe from dengue fever. Firstly, understand what causes a mosquito infestation. This includes poor housekeeping, letting potential water receptacles to lie around and inadequate home maintenance. For instance, plant watering habits can lead to water build up or hardening of soil that makes water absorption poor. Secondly, be more observant and vigilant towards signs of mosquitoes. For example, do you notice larvae breeding along gully traps or the drains, and presence of flying adult mosquitoes? Thirdly, is your pest control solution complete with dengue control and sound pest education?
While we are familiar with the deadly Aedes Mosquitos that bite us as hosts to aid in their reproduction, unfortunately, there are still many uncertainties and misconceptions around mosquitoes and the dengue disease.
- Do all mosquitoes bite and who is at risks of receiving bites?
- Mosquitoes immunity resistance build over time thus making elimination harder
- Mozzies are able to track your whereabouts and stick to you as a host
- Lesser mosquito problem if we are living in a warmer climate
- Mosquitoes is an outdoor problem and we are safe so long as we stay at home
Expert pest advice and recommendation
Seeking professional pest advice and useful housekeeping recommendations can save unnecessary stress in pest issues troubleshooting. This is because, pests are experts in hiding well. Additionally, they can reproduce and spread quickly and cause harmful health risks and structural damage. Similar to medical diagnosis and prescriptions, pest experts such as Rentokil initial can perform pest identification and trend analysis. In addition, study the environment for risk factors and surrounding consideration. Thirdly, they can recommend suitable and relevant treatments to resolve the pest infestation. This includes undergoing a more intense flush out solution or light and basic maintenance programme. Fourthly, they will advise on essential do’s and don’ts of a premise that promote pest harbourage. Finally, they will engage you with ongoing communication and treatment to ensure the pest problem is well controlled. Above all, for pests that are more complex and complicated to identify due to its habitat nature such as termites, pest control experts will use innovative termite inspection for homes to detect termite activity and movements through Microwave technology.
Call Rentokil Singapore at 6347 8138 for a pest control solution today.