Summer is here and our old friends the household pests are gearing up to entertain themselves in our homes. Water leaks are a huge attraction to all manner of household pests, and summer is when many pests, like people, are looking for respite from the heat with water. Today, we're going to talk about some of the pests homeowners call us to treat, and how you can prevent them from getting a toehold in your home.
Scorpions are often found in the bathroom or kitchen since these places are where the water is located. Oddly enough, sometimes the first way people discover they have a leak beneath their bathroom sink is when they start finding scorpions skirting around the bathroom baseboards beneath the wet towels the kids have left on the bathroom floor. In the outdoors, scorpions like to hide under piles of wood, plant pots (water, remember?), and under decorative pieces. But, if you have a leak inside, they’ll happily come flocking to it like shoppers after a Group-on.
The truth is, if you notice a scorpion in your house, it’s highly likely there are more. Always check the bath or shower before you get in it. Don’t let the kids store their bath toys in the tub and look them over before you add them to the bathwater. Scorpions like to hide beneath toilet brush holders and along baseboards and other places where they’re difficult to see. In other areas of the home, when they’ve spread out to find bugs, they also like to hide in bedding and shoes. Please shake these items out carefully before you use them.
To control scorpions, repair water leaks and carefully caulk all cracks and crevices. Screens and doors need to have tight fittings and seals, especially if you have outdoor potted plants or a fountain.
If you have scorpions, it’s likely that they’re eating the other bugs in your home, because they’re bug eaters, unlike ants and cockroaches.
Ants are another household pest attracted by moisture and food. Various forms of control involve fixing water leaks, caulking cracks, and crevices where ants can get in the same as is done for scorpions. Since ants leave a pheromone scent, the hive can follow it even if the original trailblazers are gone. Ants are smart foragers and only need a pinhole-sized opening to get into your home.
Also, every possible item they can eat has to be eliminated. Crumbs, soda spills, even jars with drips interest ants. Store food that shouldn’t be refrigerated (like jars of honey) in tightly closed plastic ziplock bags.
If they’re on the kitchen counter, they will hide under whatever is on it, including the coffeemaker legs, a drinking glass, the dish soap bottle, everything. Cleaning is critical to cut off their food supply, eliminate their pheromone trail, and get rid of places they can hide.
Cockroaches are another critter which needs moisture to be happy. Sometimes, a lone cockroach will turn up because they hide in cardboard boxes and paper bag cracks. If there is more than one, they have colonized your kitchen for the same reasons as ants (moisture, food), and can be treated with the same leak repair and cleaning practices, professional treatment by an exterminator and close monitoring. Since cockroaches carry pathogens, meticulously clean surfaces where they are spotted and destroy any of their eggs.
Cockroaches are attracted to dirty dishes, trash, grease, and cardboard glue. They can often be found hiding beneath a dog’s food or water dish. (But, not the cat’s. Haha!) A clean, leak-free house won’t guarantee they’ll stay away, but a dirty house with unrepaired leaks will attract them, and once they're in the home, they breed fast and are seemingly ubiquitous.