Pests: How to de-bug your flat

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Pesky neighbours are one thing, but in-house pests are a whole other can of worms.  Isobel Williams explains how to get rid of them.

One of the most  complained about issues with living in an apartment is bad neighbours. They can be nosey, noisy or just plain weird, but at least they are on the other side your walls.

But what if your problems moved into your apartment with you?

Bugs and creepy crawlies can cause a serious problem for you and can be hard to get rid of once they are settled in. So the best thing you can do is stop them from getting into your apartment in the first place with good preventative measures. These aren’t big or lengthy tasks just little things that you can do, and some you will most likely already be doing, to stop a problem from occurring.

Keep it clean

Washing dirty dishes and clearing up food prep areas can make a huge difference in the prevention of pests within your apartment. It might not look like much mess, but even a small crumb could be a feast for critters such as ants and roaches.  This is the same for leaving pet food out overnight.

Also storing food within airtight containers, preferably glass, can stop pests such as pantry moths from getting to them. Also if you have the space, storing non-perishables within the fridge is another good way of creating an extra barrier between those bugs and your food.

Taking out the trash on a regular basis is crucial, as your bin provides an easily accessible store of yummy food for all manner of creepy-crawlies. It will also help if you regularly recycle old newspapers, cardboard and boxes since cockroaches are not fussy eaters and will happily munch on these too if given the chance.

Finally, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping frequently can not only help to remove any edible debris from your floors, but will help to remove any insect eggs that may be lurking in corners and help to control any problems you might be experiencing with fleas or dust mites – especially if you have a pet in your apartment.

Water wise

Any standing water is a big no-no in pest prevention. Roaches in particular are drawn to water, as although they can survive for weeks without food they need a regular water source. So leaving sinks or baths filled, or half empty cups around your apartment is just inviting them to move in. You will also want to pay extra attention to drying off kitchen workspaces and bathroom floors after use.

Check for leaky pipes routinely, especially under kitchen sinks or anywhere the pipes are within a cupboard. Dark, damp spaces are best friends with all manner of critters and by allowing these spaces to exist you could be inadvertently creating the dream home for a pest within your apartment.

Mind the gaps

Sealing cracks in walls, floors and the joins between the two, and filling gaps around cabinets and pipes can not only help to stop bugs from getting into your home, but can also help to stop them spreading from your apartment to neighbouring ones. Although this might sound tempting if you are not on the best terms with your neighbours, just remember those same bugs can then come back to haunt you if you manage to evict them from your apartment after sharing them.

Natural repellents

Should you find that despite your best efforts you still have a few critters who have decided to move in rent free, the best thing you can do is to act as soon as you become aware of the problem. Identify the type of pest you have and find the best way to deal with that problem.

Natural repellents such as spices, citrus and essential oils can be used for most pest types, or pick up a phone and call in the professionals. It may also be worth letting your immediate neighbours know just in case the problem has spread, as this may save it from spreading back to you in time.

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