The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



Spiders, Silverfish, and Termites: DIY Solutions for Ridding Your Home of Infestation

 August 7, 2023 |  Home Maintenance, DIY, Cleaning Tips |  bathroom, new homeowner, first-time homeowner

Many are quick to point out the bad wrap that insects tend to get. Bugs are a part of the diverse and fascinating ecology that lies just outside of our homes, after all, and their roles in pollination and sanitation cannot be overstated. Yes, some have found that the prevailing stigma associated with our many-legged friends to be a tad judgmental and unfair, given their thankless efforts. However, others will contend that while these truths are all well and good, bugs can stay outside of my house and far away from me, thank you very much.

Homes can become infested by a wide range of the creepy and crawly-variety. For homeowners who would like to deal with their bug problems now rather than later and would rather not pay a hefty pest control bill, here are a few DIY solutions for dealing with bugs.

How to Annihilate Ants
Ants are one of the most common home invaders throughout the United States, and they come in many different varieties, from the common pavement ant to the dreaded carpenter ant. Ants aren’t commonly known to bite people like some other bugs (though they can). However, they are known to contaminate food and carry disease. Carpenter ants are particularly troublesome due to their potential to cause serious damage to homes as they create their nests. If you are seeing a larger than normal number of ants in your home, you might have an ant infestation on your hands. Before calling the exterminator, though, there are some possible DIY solutions worth exploring!

Ants tend to be drawn to different kinds of food based on the time of year and type of ant. According to pest experts over at the Family Handyman blog, homeowners can lay out a selection of proteins, sweets, and fatty foods in their home to determine which foods their ants are most drawn to. From there, toxic ant bait that corresponds to these different “diet preferences” can be used to lay waste to any ant colonies that have found their way indoors. For more information on handling ant infestations, check out the rest of the Family Handyman's fabulous article.

How to Clobber Cockroaches
If you have never had to deal with roaches, consider yourself lucky. Cockroaches are one of the most common insects known to invade homes around the world, and, interestingly, they seem to be one of the most common insect-related phobias. Despite not commonly carrying diseases, biting, stinging, or sucking blood, cockroaches somehow climb to the top of most people’s insect “ick” lists.

Award-winning journalist and fellow bug-despiser Rachel Nuwer writes about this phenomenon in a BBC article saying, “...many people suffer from katsaridaphobia, or cockroach phobia…[though the vast majority] never seek help, primarily because they want to do everything possible to avoid even speaking of those creatures.” For anyone interested in seeing many more pictures of these frequent household visitors, check out Rachel’s article!

The best answer to keep cockroaches away is to clean up spills quickly, avoid leaving out food for long periods of time, and take out the garbage in a timely fashion. Cockroaches are known to reproduce extremely quickly, so catching sight of a single one of these critters should trigger homeowners to take action. Chemical bait can be placed under sinks and near trash cans, enticing roaches to bring the toxic food back to their families. This then eliminates the colony.

How to Terminate Termites
For homeowners, the structural damage that termites can cause leads to more nightmares than all of the other insects on this list combined. Knowing the costly harm that can come from termites, this is one infestation where it may be worth contacting the pros rather than relying on DIY remedies. Still, there are options homeowners can take to fight against termites.

The most reliable method for terminating termites is through using boric acid, an ingredient in certain insecticides. Drill holes into infected wood and apply this spray to cracks and other access points to eliminate termites where they’ve established themselves. Another option for a DIY termite trap is simply laying two wetted cardboard pieces on top of one another, leaving it near a termite nest, and allowing the insects to become caught in the material. This method isn’t thought to be as effective or consistent as using high-powered poisons and baits, but can be employed as a supplemental option. Remember, when in doubt with this issue, call a local pest control specialist!

How to Slay Silverfish
Although not the most numerous or harmful insects found in homes, silverfish are nonetheless a common unwanted guest. These insects are incredibly quick and are known to make their homes in moist or humid areas like bathrooms or under sinks (similar to many bugs). Their resilience is also something not to balk at, as scientists trace back their existence to times before even dinosaurs walked the earth. Apparently, humans have been contending with these pests for ages, but modern homeowners may have found a few tricks to help deal with them.

Silverfish are drawn to common household items like glue, carpet fibers, and paint. So, a solid DIY way to catch silverfish is to wet a roll of newspaper and lay it out for a few days. Silverfish are likely to crawl inside the paper and can be disposed of easily. Alternatively, pest experts at Good Housekeeping recommend making use of diatomaceous earth, a white powdery substance said to be harmful to these insects.

How to Smash Spiders
Lastly, spiders might not be the most common infestation since they are known to be mostly solitary creatures. With that said, spider infestations plague many houses across the US. Even if a homeowner doesn’t necessarily consider themselves an “arachnophobe,” chances are that most would prefer to do without too many of these eight-legged companions in their cribs.

To begin a fight against spiders, homeowners should thoroughly vacuum their homes, including under furniture and inside closets. Spiders tend to establish their lairs in seldom-frequented corners of houses, so a committed effort is needed for this step. From there, any pesticides or repellents can work nicely. As a homemade option, essential oils are said to be effective such as lavender, rosemary, and peppermint.

In general, homeowners can work to keep pests out of their homes by doing things like trimming back bushes, and sealing openings to the outdoors. For more information on keeping pests away before they find their way in your home, check out this quick guide!

One of the things that make bugs so unnerving is that once found, you wonder how long they were wandering around just out of sight. Home inspectors know exactly where to look to identify the otherwise overlooked issues that lead to major maintenance problems in the home. Schedule a home inspection with NPI today to avoid an unwelcome surprise tomorrow.

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