As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and prevention starts by detecting unusual signs or potential risks arising from pest infestation. However, to most of us who are untrained, how can we go about spotting these pest signs? In this article, Rentokil shares the five ways you can adopt to detect and spot pest infestation signs easily. Also, read on to learn the possible causes of a pest problem and ways you can consider to get rid of pests from your home.
Spot unusual signs during housekeeping time
While doing the sweeping, vacuuming and mopping of your home, besides cleaning them up, you should also take the opportunity to spot unusual signs such as additional or sudden appearances of droppings, cracks, lines, shed or discarded wings and stains. They usually appear at the back of appliances and furniture, on the surface within the cabinets and drawers, above items or along wall tiles. Before wiping them away, do take a photo to cross check if those are indeed pest signs. In addition, you can clear the clutter and unwanted cartons and piles in the storeroom and backyard, to give you more visibility in hiding pests or their infestation signs.
Be more observant to stains and smell
We tend to rush off activities that leave room for negligence and errors and take the surrounding for granted. In certain conditions, we tend to turn into a blind spot including defects, gaps, leaks and even potential pest infestation. For example, pests do leave behind evidence of their presence including their urine or bloodstains (for the case of bed bugs) and their droppings and uric acid will leave a foul or musty smell when the infestation starts to get heavy. Cockroaches produce a strong and pungent smell especially while bed bugs exude a sweet and musty scent. Start to notice these signs and you could save your home from turning into a pest-wreck.
Arrange for regular home checks
Home maintenance and facility check and balance is essential not only to ensure sound integrity of the home but also to rule out possible pest occurrence.
Firstly, check for any defects to your plumbing and piping system that can result in chokes, pipe-burst and water leaks. Water and moisture are one of the main factors of pest attraction. Secondly, structures do wear out because of environment, condition and usage. Check for holes, gaps, entries or crevices that become entry opportunities for pests such as ants, cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes. Thirdly, arrange for a professional pest control company to perform a proper and accurate pest detection programme. Pest control specialists are trained to conduct visual checks, identify key risk areas to inspect and utilise special tools and technology to trace for pest activities. For example, termite inspection and detection can be conducted with Microwave Technology or insertion of termite baiting units to detect termite presence. Digital rodent control is equipped with sensing technology to detect rat activities 24/7, particularly at night when they emerge.
In summary, pest prevention begins with diligent home checks engaged early to minimise the severity of the pest infestation.
Tap and knock on walls and structures
Pests do make sounds and if you notice clearly, there are audio signs that illustrate pest presence. For instance, rats scratch and screech as they scurry around the false ceiling or within a hidden corner.
Termites do create sounds when they are threatened. They will “bang their head” against the wall to send signals to their termite members of danger and hence you will notice a “clicking” or “rattling” sound behind the walls. You can also leverage on sound to check for termite infestation. This can be done by simply knocking and tapping on the wall or structure to observe for hollow sounds. This is resulted from the daily wood consumption by the termites that eliminates the inner foundation, and leaving only the outer structure. Over time, this weakens the structure stability causing topple or collapse. However, the recommendation is to seek proper termite control services where they can detect termite activities accurately and thoroughly, to prevent further damages and consequences caused by termites.
Pay attention to your bedroom and furnishing
Bed bugs (while not because of their species name suggest) lurk around bedrooms and particularly on the bed more due to the warmth and hosts they seek. Bed bugs are similar to female mosquitoes where they need blood meal for development and hence, they attack us by biting and sucking blood off us. Hence, they stay close to their targets by planting themselves comfortable on locations including the following:
- Bed: including seams, headboard, mattress, bed sheets and corners of the bed
- Carpet and rug: Among the fur and cushion and along the edges
- Curtains: Within the slits, edges, corners, curls and accessories
- Furniture: Sofa and armchairs particularly along grooves and splits
- Wall and structure: On the wall, edges of PowerPoint and skirting
- Bed bug bites: Commonly on the neck, hands and legs
Bed bugs leave obvious infestation signs. They include bloodstains that are rusty and reddish brown in colour, droppings that are dark and black spots, their skin sheds and shells, the sweet and musty smell and physical live bed bugs crawling around. However, they also belong to the nocturnal pest categories. Hence you may not be able to spot them alive unless we stay up through the night. As they bite into us, they produce an analgesic element. Thus, we tend not to feel any bites until we notice the visible bites and itch the following day.
Bed bugs are tricky to eliminate and besides engaging in bed bug treatment, it is important to equip yourself with knowledge pertaining to “Do’s and don’ts in dealing with bed bugs in homes”.
How pest infestation comes about in your home
You can welcome pests easily from activities, home conditions and environment or surrounding factors. Firstly, home activities such as poor planting standards (over-watering with excess standing water), leaving food crumbs and bits behind from snacking, flicking wet hands after hand washing promote pests through water and food source availability. Secondly, we could accidentally bring back pests. This is because they cling onto bags, items, belongings and even on our body especially for ticks and bed bugs. Thirdly, because a home has multiple openings and entries from home defects (like cracks and crevices), but also open windows and frames, and gaps beneath doors and within ventilators. Fourthly, we are all guilty of inadequate housekeeping and leave cleaning at the last priority. Pests are attracted to all sorts of food sources besides exposed food ingredients, scrapes and even wastes.
Finally, environment and weather can affect pest attraction. Rainy weather can result in receptacles while warm weather promotes faster development of mosquitos. Construction works can also forces pests to relocate and seek alternative nesting ground. Sanitation and cleanliness are one critical factor in pest management, besides having a sound and robust pest control in place. Most have misperceived that pest eradication requires pest control solutions, however some cases of inefficacy related to poor housekeeping and home integrity.
Which are four common household pests?
There many pest species around and it is not exhaustive to specific numbers and types of pests turning up in your home. However, Rentokil Initial highlights the most common pests bothering us in our homes.
Get rid of cockroaches before population increases
Cockroaches are not desired in homes because they are carriers of diseases through filthy spaces they visited. This means, increasing risks of family members contracting diseases including Gastroenteritis, Typhoid Fever, Cholera and Salmonellosis. You may expect symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Besides diseases, some cockroaches depending on situations may bite us. This can lead to red and itchy bites that can potentially turn into skin rash and infection when not dealt properly.
Cockroaches are capable of surviving without food, live in water for more than thirty minutes and are good at hiding that makes cockroach elimination difficult. Besides, they favour most food sources found in homes, including the neglected waste bin and decayed matters that we did not dispose of promptly. Besides, cockroaches they are nocturnal and chances of identifying them is not easy unless we spot signs of cockroach infestation through professional cockroach control.
Natural ants’ elimination remedies merely repel
You may have tried attempts in repelling ants away. Examples include the widely known remedies of drawing lines with chalk, or diffusing scents of strong and pungent smell including vinegar, peppermint, cucumber peel and garlic but to no success.
Getting rid of ants permanently may not be as easy as what you think. This is because besides the vast food supplies, they target in your kitchen and dining hall, ants have different species that infest at other locations. Example is carpenter ants, though are attracted to sweets but infest on wooden furniture. They dig their way out through the tunneling process by making holes, thus causing damage to your wooden items. As ants are present both indoors and outdoors like the fire ants, proper ants’ control is necessary to take care of ants’ population in all parts of your home. Fire ants are capable of causing painful and stinging bites and especially harmful with kids or elderly in the home.
Mosquitoes fly around freely for blood meal
Mosquitoes are definitely not welcome in all homes because of the dengue fever they can cause. The disease is a current epidemic in Singapore with the dengue cases exceeding the 10,000 mark and counting. Therefore, it is more critical to pay notice to your mosquito prevention efforts. Mosquitoes locate their targets with their receptors and sense our body heat, carbon dioxide and lactic acid. They require regular blood meals for their reproduction purpose. If your home has stagnant water for mosquito breeding opportunities, it puts us at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
With more companies introducing working from home arrangement, we are exposed to Aedes Mosquitoes in the daytime when they are most active. Placing mosquito traps or engaging in regular mosquito control helps in protecting ourselves from the disease transition. Take note of the receptacles lying around the home. They include potted plants and their trays, pails and containers, unwanted items, clothes hanging activities and gulley and drains.
Get rid of termites before they start damaging home
Termites are especially detrimental when it comes to the list of damages they can cause to a home. They are present practically in most homes because of the wood and cellulose they are attracted to. It is not just the landed home with a huge compound that is at risk. Instead, this is also applicable to apartments and flats where food source and waste is available. Furthermore, they can travel and build their colony either sideways and vertically, hence not all premises are spared.
When termite treatments are not in place, termites have the liberty to chew on your wood substance and feed them on 24/7. They tend to start to build their mud tubes over the walls for traveling. In the long term, it weakens the structure, emptying the foundation and causing cracks and defects to the wall and frames (including door and windows). In some cases, their frass (droppings) also causes allergies triggers, hence putting our health and safety at higher risks. Termites are not easy to detect because of their habitat found underground or within the wall. Hence, professional termite inspection is necessary to detect their activities accurately.
Get rid of pests before infestation worsens
Start to get rid of pests early before more recovery and rectification is required. Particularly for situations with spread of pests, increased in population and damage to the home and its furnishing. Here are some ways you can start to resolve your pest problems:
- Ensure consistent and ongoing pest treatment that includes inspection, treatment and monitoring
- Have adequate pest control services covering related pests and size of the home
- Adopt regular home detection for unusual signs of pest infestation
- Engage in home and facility maintenance including fixing cracks and defects
- Always maintain sound and optimal housekeeping and sanitation standards
- Invest in proper storage and organisers to ease easy cleaning and lesser hideouts
- Free up those clutters, junks and unwanted piles in the storeroom
- Fix insect screens and protector mesh to prevent pests flying in
- Refrain from using DIY home remedies or off-the-shelf solutions that is ineffective
- Do not procrastinate housekeeping or calling a pest control company for help
Call Rentokil Singapore at 6347 8138 for pest control services today.