This post has been edited to reflect updated information. If you have a read of our previous posts, such as such as how to attract insects to your garden, you’ll see that we are a fan of attracting insects and bees to your garden. The post below offers advice on tackling wasps nests and we have made this clearer in the copy.
It’s not only people that enjoy summer. Pests such as mice, wasps and ants come out to play when our doors are open and we’re dining al fresco whenever we can. Sometimes it seems they’re having a right old party at our expense, bugging us until we actually start wishing for winter.
Image source: larkandlarks.co.uk via flickr
There’s nothing worse than discovering you have an infestation, it’s disheartening and frustrating. Getting rid of pests is entirely possible but there’s one golden rule: you must have absolute air-tight persistence. Half-hearted attempts often backfire, so if you want to de-pest, you have to commit to the cause.
How to deal with mice
Mice are ingenious little things and because there is a vermin epidemic in our cities, they will at some point pass through your home in search of food and shelter.
Make sure there is no food for them – a messy, untidy kitchen with plenty of crumbs is heaven for mice. Be fastidiously clean and tidy, hoovering up crumbs on the floor and inside cupboards. Put all your food in plastic boxes and jars as they will nibble through paper and plastic packaging. If food is left out for just one night, mice will find it and come back to that spot. Do this in summer when mice are on the move, otherwise you may find mice camping over for winter.
Image source: Pixabay
It can take months to get rid of mice this way, but it really is the most effective method.
Seal the holes – while every single hole in your kitchen should be sealed, this isn’t always realistic. Floorboards, holes in the wall for plumbing or electrical wires, air bricks: mice will find a way in and around as they can shrink down to the diameter of a pencil. You can tell when they’ve been using a hole as it’ll be greasy, smelly and covered in faeces.
Read also: How to make your home pest-proof
Use traps – instead and only if you’re willing to, use traps and poison. If poison pellets are taken, keep replenishing. Killing just a few mice is problematic as it creates a temporary increase in food supply (if your kitchen isn’t clean), causing the surviving mice to eat plenty and then reproduce, leading to more mice in the long run.
There are humane traps, but these must be used properly. A caught mouse that is deposited in your garden will head straight back inside. Take it at least a mile away before you set it free.
Other natural deterrents include peppermint, which can be used as an oil or grown in your kitchen, or a cat, whose smell will deter mice from entering the room.
Image source: Susan Serra, CKD via flickr
How to get rid of wasps
Wasps might just be the most infuriating creatures out there and if you have a nest in your garden, it’s bad news for your barbecues. Unfortunately, it’s just not advisable to tackle a nest on your own. They’re often high up, meaning you’ll need to use a ladder to reach them – not the best position to be in if a swarm of wasps come out stinging.
You should always call a pest control expert to do the work as early as possible in the year. Late summer cases are trickier as colonies are bigger and more aggressive.
Calling in the professionals doesn’t mean you can’t deter wasps in the meantime. Food is key: don’t leave protein or sugar out in the garden, which includes wine. Seal off all your rubbish bins. Mint, that magic herb, is a natural repellent.
Image source: Pixabay
Never kill a wasp, as when they die they release a pheromone that attracts more of their kind. Catch them using halved plastic bottles filled with sugary liquid, with the spout end turned upside down.
Finally, if you find yourself a wasp’s delight at a party, it probably means that your perfume or cologne is too sweet. Avoid spraying yourself with anything that smells too saccharine. Similarly, avoid bright colours like white or yellow and wear red instead, which wasps can’t see.
How to get rid of ants
Ants are another pest that invade the home in search of food. Notice a common theme? So keep your house clean and tidy and food stored away.
You can deter entry into your home by lining doorways with salt, chalk, talc or baby powder. Spraying vinegar works too, as do liquids containing alcohol. If you see any individual ants in your kitchen, these are most likely scouts searching for food sources. Kill the messenger before it returns home.
That said, going aggressive on ants isn’t recommended, as they do important work such as killing other pests like bedbugs and fleas, turning and aerating soil and spreading seeds. If you find yourself overrun then it’s time to act by finding the anthill and pouring boiling water down it. This should be considered a last resort.
While you can do most of the above tasks yourself, in some cases it’s better to get professional help. At Rated People we have registered pest control specialists to help you get rid of mice, wasps or ants. Post a job for free and get your home pest free.