Are there creepy critters lurking in your home? How to recognize them and where to hide?

No matter how small or big your house is, chances are that there is an unwanted critter lurking somewhere.

And while they may not be harmful, it’s scary to think that house bugs can reproduce, cause allergic reactions, or just be a nuisance.

Here’s how to be a bug detective and keep those creepy critters at bay…

1. The kitchen

The busiest room in the house is a paradise for ant colonies… they are attracted to all kinds of food, especially sweet things.

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Once you’ve identified their entry point, you can try using natural home remedies to deter them, such as drawing a chalk line for the ant hole or placing lemon peel there.

Otherwise, Mark Smithson, CEO of Marks Electrical, suggests peppermint oil: “Ants don’t like the smell of peppermint. Mix about 10-15 drops in a mug of water and if you add it to a spray bottle you can spray it on problem areas. Regularly to repeat.”

If all else fails, try an ant repellent like Lemongrass Atomiser (500ml, Coopers or Stortford) that is eco-friendly and suitable for ant holes inside and outside the home.

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Spiders also peak in the spring and like ants, they don’t like strong smells, so citrus, peppermint oil, mint or lavender can deter them; otherwise you could try Peppermint Spider Repeller (Coopers or Stortford).

2. The living room

“The so-called ‘woodworm season’ usually runs from April to September when they are most active,” said Steve Jameson, National Operations Manager for Peter Cox, a property retention company.

“You should look for holes with a diameter of about 1 mm-2 mm in wooden objects such as furniture, floorboards, wooden beams or window sills,” he continues. “You may also notice small piles of fine powdery dust (known as frass) near the holes, indicating active contamination.

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To reduce the chances of a wood-boring beetle infestation on your property, Jameson says you should ventilate your home by opening windows to reduce moisture and humidity levels.

“Be careful when bringing into your home used or antique wood items, check them carefully for any holes, and take immediate action to treat the item if you see any sign of contamination,” Jameson advises. He says DIY products, such as waxes, oils, and water-based preservatives, can help kill the beetles and prevent further woodworm infestation.

If you think a wooden item or property you’re considering buying has had a woodworm problem that’s already been professionally treated, Jameson says you should ask for a warranty certificate for when the treatment took place. “They should come with at least a 10-year warranty.”

3. The bedroom

Another annoying thing, dust mites are the most common allergen in the home and love bedding and carpets — but they’re often missed because you can’t see them.

“These microscopic mites are a problem because they excrete enzymes in their stool, which can cause an allergic reaction, resulting in rashes and other unpleasant symptoms,” says Steve Payne, sleep hygiene expert at Sleep and Snooze.

“They multiply easily in our warm bedding and feast on dead dander and hair,” explains Payne. “They can cause unpleasant symptoms all year round, so it’s worth taking the time to get your bed rid of them as part of your spring cleaning.”

He says there’s no point cleaning your mattress from mites if they live in your sheets, so remove all your bedding first and let it wash at a high temperature to kill any mites.

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“The easiest and most economical way to remove dust mites from your mattress is to use baking soda and a vacuum cleaner,” suggests Payne.

“Simply sprinkle baking soda over the surface of a fabric mattress and let it sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then vacuum the baking soda off the bed making sure it all gets in between any crevices.”

He says to address this, make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter to keep the mites out, rather than accidentally spreading them throughout the rest of your home.

4. The bathroom

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Sophie Thorogood of the engineering team at eco-friendly pest control brand Green Protect says: “In these humid areas, pests such as silverfish, German cockroaches and book lice can thrive due to the high moisture content in the air. Therefore, the first thing to do is to remove sources of moisture where possible. .

“You can do this by using a dehumidifier, having a properly functioning extractor hood, ventilating the room, and hanging damp laundry and towels,” suggests Thorogood. “In addition, any damaged tiles or cracks in the room should be repaired and repaired as they can provide a hiding place for the pests.”

She recommends trying Green Protect Silverfish Killer Trap (Pack of 2, Espares), but says German cockroaches are difficult to treat and a professional should always be called in.

“If not adequately managed, the infestation can spread to other areas, including kitchens. If you live in an apartment building, neighboring properties can also be affected,” warns Thorogood.

5. The utility room and/or drying cabinet

“Moths love warm, dark and undisturbed places, making utility rooms and air boxes the perfect hiding place for them to eat and breed in your home,” said Paul Blackhurst, principal of the technical academy at Rentokil Pest Control.

“The textile-loving species can irreparably damage clothing and upholstery, and they especially enjoy non-synthetic materials such as wool, fur, silk, feathers, felt and leather.”

To get rid of the larvae and prevent further infestation, he says, it’s important to wash the contaminated fabric at a minimum of 55C. For those fabrics that need to be washed at a lower temperature, Blackhurst says you can always keep them in the freezer for a few weeks to eradicate the larvae.

“As with any pest problem, prevention is key, but if you have a moth problem in your home, it’s wise to seek professional help,” says Blackhurst.

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