Thanks to a higher overall level of sanitation and widespread best practices in today’s world, you might be fortunate enough to live a pest-free life in many areas. But things can change. A neighbor leaves their garden unattended, letting it grow wild. Or you move into a home with some areas that were allowed to deteriorate by the previous occupant.
Scurrying noises at night, scattered bits of food, and animal smells in unwanted places; all of these signs indicate that you’re facing unwanted competition for resources from strangers no bigger than an inch or two. Ignore it, and you’ll be having face-to-face encounters with the intruder sooner than you’d think.
At some point, many people might call the local pest control company and leave it at that. But as the timeless adage goes, prevention is better than cure. And failure to deal with the root cause of a problem will inevitably lead to its recurrence later on. Here’s a more practical approach you can take.
Meeting the pain points
Vermin are everywhere in the world. As humans have shifted towards increasingly sedentary lifestyles, these critters likewise adapted over the millennia. They thrive in the favorable conditions we create with our indoor environments and live off our waste. Many of them even feed off humans or our domesticated friends, such as pets and garden plants.
Pests are drawn to the very things we love or deem essential for living. Thus, in a broad context, it might seem futile to try and get rid of them completely. Thankfully, dealing with pests isn’t an all-or-nothing affair; humans have a threshold of tolerance for pest activity.
For instance, some species aren’t universally considered pests. Caterpillars can tear holes in your vegetable patch, but other people care for them as pets. You don’t want wasps nesting in the house but probably wouldn’t mind if they were buzzing around in the yard.
Every pest species is different, and we all have various pain points for their presence. Rather than aiming for eradication, your approach should be focused on management. What are the key factors that seem to encourage their presence in your home? Identify those, and figure out how far you can go to minimize them. Use the internet, and you’ll unearth plenty of species-specific advice on dealing with pests.
Go all-out for feedback
When you haven’t used your swimming pool in some time, and you decide to just jump in one day, chances are it will feel unpleasant. The water’s pH will be unbalanced. This immediate sensation tells you to use a muriatic acid substitute for your pool before continuing to swim.
In every system, this sort of feedback is useful. We notice it right away and are prompted to take action. Problems are dealt with, systems improved; nothing gets out of hand. The lack of feedback is what leads to neglect and degeneration.
The same mechanism can help or hinder your efforts to manage pests inside the home. If you seldom enter a room or leave it filled with clutter, there will be many areas hidden from view. Basements get moldy, and attics become colonized by many-footed (or winged) guests.
Go over your property, indoors and out, leaving no stone unturned. This is how you’ll find the places that were harboring pests. Also, re-evaluate your habits and routines. Are those tree branches or leaf piles too close to the home? Should the trash bins be more securely covered?
Only by looking over your property and practices as a homeowner with attention to detail can you obtain valuable feedback. This will reveal the specific reasons why certain pests have begun to frequent your home.
Expand proactive measures
When you take charge of pest control for your property and begin to engage in proactive management, you’ll develop a keen awareness of what to avoid and how to improve. Knowing that careful food storage is so essential, for instance, you’ll take pains to put everything in tightly sealed containers and avoid eating around the house.
These practices must be extended to the rest of the household and possibly beyond. Otherwise, your efforts will only be a splash in the pond. Zealous cleaning and clearing up of leftovers won’t make much difference if your kid has a stash of snacks squirreled away in their bedroom.
Recall that in the big picture, pest eradication is practically impossible. A lot of the difficulty stems from the connected nature of communities. If your best efforts at pest management still fail, it might be due to the habits and living conditions in your town. Hopefully, matters don’t reach that point, but if they do, you can embrace it as the next big challenge and spearhead an effort to improve pest control on the community level.