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A pest infestation in your home is a common problem that needs action, fast.
Whether it’s bed bugs, fleas or mice, there is lots that you can do to get rid of unwanted critters who have taken up residence in your property.
In this instalment of the Cash Emergency Bible, CashLady looks at how to deal with a pest infestation in your home.
Dealing with a pest infestation
Pet infestations are perfectly common and mainly arise because of situations out with your control, such as changing weather conditions, overheated homes, a prevalence of food waste or a lack of regular bin collections.
Spotting the signs of a pest infestation and then acting quickly will help you remedy the problem as painlessly and cheaply as possible.
Dealing with bedbugs
An invasive pest that sneaks into our beds and bites at our extremities, the numbers of bed bug infestations are on the rise.
Rentokil Pest Control reported last year that it had seen a 140% jump in the number of inquiries about the blood-sucking bugs.
Late summer and early autumn are the peak season for bed bugs as holidaymakers unwittingly carry the critters in their luggage or clothing.
According to the NHS website, signs of a bedbug infestation can include:
- small bugs or tiny white eggs in the crevices and joints of your mattress and furniture – use a bright torch to check for these
- bites on your skin
- tiny black spots on your mattress
- mottled bedbug shells
- blood spots on your sheets, which occur if you squash a bug after it has fed
- an unpleasant, musty scent in your bedroom
Bedbugs usually prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep, for example, under the mattress or along the headboard.
Your best chance of successfully treating an infestation is to get professional help with a pest controller because the bugs are very difficult to get rid of.
A technician will carry out an inspection to confirm an infestation and may then use special treatments such as insecticide to get rid of the bugs.
Other things you can do to help get rid of bedbugs are:
- wash infested clothes or bed linen at 60C
- use a vacuum cleaner with a hose to suck up any bugs you can see, be careful to dispose of the contents in a sealed bag
- Throw away any mattress or furniture that’s heavily infested
Dealing with fleas
Fleas are a pest that is easier to treat yourself, but they should be dealt with quickly to prevent discomfort to your pet, or the fleas from spreading throughout your home even further.
According to Pets4homes, being bitten yourself is the most obvious indication of lots of fleas living in your home or on your pet.
Seeing fleas jump, feeling the bite and the itchy red lump that results, or watching your pet frequently scratching and itching is usually a sign that you have a flea infestation.
There are a couple of effective DIY options available to you if you discover flees within your home and on your pet.
Note that it’s typically worth spending a little more on treatments purchased through your vet, rather than the cheaper supermarket alternatives, which may not always work.
When treating your pet, use a good quality spot on product plus you may want to bathe them with a good quality flea shampoo before treating them, to maximise its effectiveness.
Flea bombs or a flee spray can then be used to treat your home for a relatively inexpensive sum, a popular spree spray, usually available through your vet that can treat your whole house, for example, costs around £20.
Dealing with mice
It can take a little while to notice that a family of mice have moved into your house due to their nocturnal habits.
Typical signs that you have mice include an unusual, ammonia-like smell, small dark droppings, greasy marks on walls or skirting boards, shredded materials or gnaw marks.
Their tiny bodies enable them to squeeze through cracks as small as 5mm, which is how they get into your house, building nests in roof spaces, under floors or in wall cavities, especially when it’s cold outside.
The British Pest Control Association says it’s important to get rid of mice quickly, as mice are adaptable and breed quickly.
As well as recommending contacting a professional pest control company for any mouse infestation, the organisation says you can carry out the work yourself and buy amateur use poisons and traps from a hardware store or garden centre.
On its website, the BPCA says:
“Proofing all means of entry as much possible will help to prevent entry.
“Block holes with wire wool embedded in quick-setting cement, and fit met metal strips to doors to prevent mice from entering.”