“How we love sequestering, where no pests are pestering.” – Lorenz Hart
They’re called pests for a reason. They drive us to distraction with their endless invasions and make us crazy with noise, mess or worse. They’re an inevitable, albeit necessary, part of life and are fine so long as they know their place…but when they move their show from the outdoors to inside your home, that’s when it’s time to take action.
Affordable Mallorca feels your pain and has a few ideas to help you keep unwanted visitors at bay!
Sure, They Cause Problems, but We Need Them #
Besides being nuisances, these critters can be downright destructive. Rats and mice have been known to chew wires, causing fires, as well as getting into food supplies and contaminating our fare. Termites damage wood. Mosquitoes, gnats and fleas bite, and sometimes pass on disease. Scorpions are poisonous and scary to find in the closet or in our beds. Spiders are creepy. Ants get into food. And flies and cockroaches are just vile.
We all know they’re annoying in their own special ways but they also are part of the circle of life, food chain and eco-system of our ever-more precariously situated world. They all have a purpose, even though it may be hard to remember that when you are battling a countertop crawling in ants or have a mouse chewing through your bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos.
To that end, we are going to make as many humane and environmentally-friendly suggestions as possible here to help you solve your pest problem without further wrecking the Earth. Any fool can pull out a spray can of poison, it takes a better sort to come up with alternatives that do harm to none!
Prevention is the Key #
If you don’t want bugs, rodents, scorpions or other icky things to invade, don’t let them in in the first place. Controlling the environment and making your home unfriendly to vermin of all species is the best way to prevent invasions.
They want what we all want: food, water and shelter. Deny them the essentials and they will pass you by.
- To make your home pest-proof, fill in holes, gaps and cracks that could allow them inside. A rat can wiggle through a hole as small as a 50 cent piece and insects can pass through the tiniest holes in a window screen.
- Don’t leave food out or give them access to it. Cover your bins, don’t leave pet food out overnight, pick and store or compost fruit and veg you don’t eat, that kind of thing.
- Keep trees and hedges trimmed and remove or keep potential habitats at a distance from your home, such as wood piles, tall grass, and debris of any kind (limbs, old appliances, etc).
- Don’t let water sit for long and dry and damp areas in and around your home.
- Clean and sweep on a regular basis, remembering to clean kitchen and bathroom drains to keep drain flies from breeding.
- Finally, remove stacks of newspapers, magazines or boxes as they are a haven for roaches.
These simple tips will help keep your home free of the nasties in the first place and save you the trouble of having to eradicate them at all.
If You’re Already being Occupied #
If you’ve already got an infestation, then additional steps must be undertaken. As mentioned before, Affordable Mallorca recommends humane and eco-friendly choices whenever possible, so we will outline these as the primary ways to help.
Rat and mouse cages are humane and effective, as well as not being dangerous to children and pets. Traps can be set at night and usually within a day or two, your little furry frenemy will be waiting for you to take him to a nice field for relocation. Peppermint, spearmint and eucalyptus oils can be put onto beams or near possible entry points to repel rodents, they don’t like the smell. Another rather disgusting, but effective solution is to spread urine soaked cat litter around outside your home. The rodents smell a cat and will avoid your home studiously. Some people swear by ultrasonic repellents that plug into the wall and emit a sound we don’t hear, but is annoying to them. Using one of those devices, Ulla, our editor at Affordable Mallorca, successfully got rid of a band of almond rats that had chosen the space under her roof tiles as an all-night open stage for their hard rock gnawing rhythms. We can't tell whether they'll work in your place as well, but it's at least worth a try.
If you’ve only got the occasional bug, catch and release is a great way to go. Not only will it stop bad karma, it’s a simple way to a bit of good for nature. For bigger problems, there are other options.
Any food that has been infested will need to be chucked out. Just make sure you place the discarded food in a sealed biodegradable bag outside and away from the house until it is picked up.
Phytochemical deterrents are said to be quite effective. Ants, for example, don’t like cinnamon, mint, citrus, cream of tartar or white vinegar. Clean with white vinegar or citrus scented cleaners and sprinkle cinnamon outside doors and in windowsills to get them out. Mosquitoes don’t like clove, lemongrass, geranium, lemon eucalyptus, and turmeric. Mix the essential oils from any of these with body lotion and use them topically to keep the mozzies from biting. Moths hate cedar. Use cedar blocks in closets to run them off. Cockroaches like stinky, disgusting things, so keep rubbish bins tightly sealed, and your home clean. They also are repelled by certain scents like rosemary, lavender, mint and tea tree oils, but this reportedly can kill them. If you’re ok with that, rock on.
Other Pesky Creatures
There are other creatures that can be not just bothers, but dangers. Scorpions are endemic to the Balearics, but the primary species has only mildly poisonous venom and rarely stings. That being said, it DOES sting if provoked, so follow the above rules for sealing your home and not leaving standing water anywhere and also try lavender. Lavender plants outside your home will deter them from approaching, as will lavender oil – or a few twigs of lavender on your windowsills.
Mallorca also has its fair share of snakes. Only two types are venomous, but all of them look scary and bite when frightened or incited. Keeping a clutter-free yard so they don’t have hiding spots is a good way to keep snakes away, as is laying cotton balls soaked in clove or cinnamon oil in snake-prone areas.
In Conclusion #
Controlling pests from your home isn’t hard, it just takes vigilance and common sense. So, before you pull out a can of stinky and hazardous spray or lay a cruel trap, consider alternatives that will give the same results without the unnecessary side effects.
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By Stephanie Horsman
1 October, 2019