In many cases, homeowners’ homes are infested with undesirable pests long before they even know it. Particularly with insects, but also with mice and other small-sized pests, you can “suddenly” have a huge infestation that, in reality, has been going on in your home’s “nooks and crannies” for months or even years previously.
A big part of residential pest control in Puerto Rico is knowing where to look for hidden insects and how to eliminate, or at least severely curtail, their populations before things get out of hand.
Below, we offer some advice on five key areas of your house where pests may be lurking:
1. The Basement or Crawl Space
There are many varieties of insects that love a dark, damp environment, and few places are as inviting to these “cellar dwellers” as your basement or crawl space.
Flashlight in hand, you can probably locate these unwelcome guests rather quickly, scanning cracks and crevices, into dark corners, and around the hot water tank or other appliances. You may spot both centi- and milli- pedes, silverfish, crickets, spiders, and more.
Use a heavy duty shop-vac to physically remove as many insects as possible, at least once a month. Otherwise, you can eliminate them by sealing off entry points and running a dehumidifier to rob these bugs of the moisture they crave so much.
2. Up in the Attic
You might think that the high temperatures that prevail up in your attic would make it an inhospitable place for insects, but this is not at all the case. The mere fact that your attic provides protection from the outdoor weather is enough to make it an attractive abode for ladybugs, boxelder bugs, stink bugs, and spiders.
To cut down on attic-dwelling insects, remove unnecessary clutter from your attic floor. Screen over all vents, and seal off any openings in the walls or other obvious insect entry points.
3. Baseboards and Wall Voids
Another key place where insects like to take up residence in your home is behind the baseboards and inside wall cavities.
Just behind the trim along the floor, there is often a small cavity that is used by insects as both a “hotel” and a “highway” that takes them around the room without being seen. This is prime real estate for roaches, carpet beetles, lice, and many other species.
To counteract the tendency of bugs to crowd in behind your baseboards, vacuum them with a special crevice-attachment once a week. And dust them off with a duster brush attachment as well. Finally, there are many insecticides specially designed for use behind baseboards and trim.
But some of the bugs go deeper, all the way into the wall, rather than stopping at the baseboard. They love the insulated climate in the wall cavities and the quick access between rooms of your house, which makes food collection that much easier.
In the case of wall infestations, you will need to use an insecticide. It will require drilling small holes in the walls at key points and filling them with plaster. In most cases, this is a job best left to a residential pest control expert.
4. Garbage and Recycling Containers
When you toss your food scraps into the trash can, you likely forget all about them within seconds. But they can soon become a feast for a host of insect species, roaches, ants, and flies.
For this reason, it is best to use a garbage can that can be tightly sealed to block insects’ entry. Needless to say, cracks or holes in the can would also be problematic. And the sooner you move the garbage out of the house and to the outside bin to await pick-up, the better.
The other strategy to use to cut down on garbage-dwelling insects is to rinse out tin cans and other garbage with food residue before tossing it into the can. It especially makes sense to rinse out items you plan to recycle before putting them in the recycling bin. And the containers themselves must be cleaned with water and bleach once in a while as well.
5. Dog and Cat Food
While you might never stop to think about it, pet food and pet food bowls are a likely place for insects to live. Granted, they may soon be ingested by your pet, but they don’t know that.
Be sure to keep pet food supplies sealed until use and to wash your dog/cat dish regularly to discourage insects from moving in.