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Pest Control Tips for the Top 10 Insects

Battling unwelcome insects can be a big headache. But following a few tips will help you keep the most common insects at bay.

Living room floor.

1. Ants


Although there are more than 20 species of house ants in the United States, most can be eliminated by setting out traps or bait that contains boric acid, which is often listed as orthoboric acid on packaging.

2. Centipedes


Dry out all damp areas in which these leggy critters typically thrive, including garages, porches and basements. Fix any plumbing leaks, seal foundation cracks, and consider purchasing a dehumidifier.

3. Cockroaches


You'll need to break out a chemical control for these resilient bugs. Look in the Lowe's Garden Center for bait or traps that contain boric acid or other chemical poisons.

4. Crickets


Place a strip of duct tape, sticky side up, on the floor near where you hear crickets. The bugs will be attracted and get stuck.

5. Fleas


Although airborne and hopping fleas are annoying, focus on killing flea eggs in carpets and fabrics. Launder all fabric items in hot water, especially pet bedding, rugs, pillow covers, and slip-covers. If laundering doesn't fix the problem, move on to chemical solutions. Bathe pets with flea-killing shampoo and apply a flea-preventing treatment recommended by your veterinarian.

6. Houseflies


Rely on old-fashioned fly swatters and sticky strips. Avoid toxic chemical sprays if possible, but if you choose to use them, follow the directions to the letter.

7. Mosquitoes


Because mosquitoes breed rapidly in standing water, get rid of anything that can collect and hold rain water, and dry out pools of water inside and outside your home. Fill uneven patches of ground in your yard with well-draining top soil.

8. Moths


If you see white moths inside, larvae are probably living elsewhere in your home, eating fabrics and creating "moth holes." Use pheromone traps to catch any flying moths and then kill larvae in fabrics with extreme heat by washing in hot water and drying in a hot dryer, or use extreme cold by putting fabric in the freezer for at least four hours. Store garments alongside cedar accessories or mothballs to prevent future infestations.

9. Spiders


Don't kill spiders, if possible. Although some species, such as black widow and brown recluse, are venomous, the vast majority are beneficial, killing and consuming their weight in other insects daily. Instead:

  • Vacuum webs and egg sacs. Shake the vacuum canister outdoors and run water through any removable vacuum hoses. Or wrap the vacuum's filter bag in a plastic garbage sack and discard.
  • Capture a spider under an inverted glass and slide a sheet of paper underneath. Carry the trapped spider outside and release it.

10. Termites


Termite infestations are typically in your home's wood structures and deep in the ground that surrounds your home. Seek professional advice as soon as you see a termite or any sign termite damage, especially weak wood, shed wings and "termite tubes."

Most insects are harmless. For their sake and everyone's, always use pesticides safely.