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At the end of long and challenging 2016, many of us at this time of the year are packing up the family and hitting the road for some well-earned time away. What is to stop unwelcome pests from moving in and giving you an unwelcome surprise on your return? Here are some tips on how to deter pests from your home these holidays while you’re away.

Ants and Cockroaches

  • Make sure all food stuffs are kept sealed in air tight containers.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.
  • Ensure your kitchen, laundry and bathrooms are kept clean and free of clutter or anything that will attract cockroaches or ants.
  • Empty your internal and external dustbins and ensure there is nothing to attract pests to your kitchen or your waste bin areas.
  • Do not leave dirty laundry in rooms, cupboards or on the laundry floor.
  • If your animals are not boarding while you away, only feed pets with enough food for immediate consumption.Do not over feed pets with food because if they don’t consume it all, ants will definitely be attracted to what’s left.
  • Ensure all tree and shrub branches and foliage do not make contact with the external house walls or roof of the dwelling. This will often provide an ideal opportunity for ants and for that matter rats to gain access into the premises.
  • Practise good stacking- Remove items away from the external walls- e.g. firewood, building supplies, pipes, hoses. This deters concealed access for ants, cockroaches and rodents, but is also quite relevant for subterranean termites to take refuge.
  • Ensure all taps are firmly turned-off, as excess water and dampness attracts a multitude of pests (e.g. ants, flies, termites). It will also go a long way in saving precious water with our current water shortages we experiencing currently.
  • Place your plugs in position within the kitchen sink or bathroom basins to prevent cockroaches or ants from entering your kitchen from your drains.
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Flies & their larvae

  • Do not leave any open food stuff behind. Keep all foods sealed in air tight containers. Do not leave too much perishable food stuffs in the fridge or home for a prolonged period in case of power failures which could result in food being spoiled and in turn attract flies.
  • Rinse out and wash all rubbish bins including waste receptacles and wash them before re-lining them with a plastic bag for ease of rubbish removal (even your wheelie bins).
  • Do not overload the rubbish bin or wheelie bins days before refuse removal with perishables (e.g. meat, seafood remnants etc). Store these waste items in a freezer unit and have them disposed of on the day of refuse removal.
  • Remove all dog droppings from the garden and clean out the kitty litter trays.
  • If your animals are not boarding while you away, only feed pets with enough food for immediate consumption. Do not over feed pets with food because if they don’t consume it all, many fly species will soon find it and deposit eggs/larvae into it.

Mosquitoes

  • Avoid leaving strongly scented perfumes or toiletries behind and unopen, as the scent can attract insects including mosquitos and bees. Seal and put these away before you leave for your holiday.
  • Ensure there are no pools of water outside, especially standing water, or areas where rain can accumulate which causes an environment for mosquitos to breed within a matter of a few days. Check your gutters are not blocked and trapped with standing rain water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, so remove the possible source of their breeding.

Ticks and Fleas

  • Before departing for your destination and on your return trip- Check everybody for signs of ticks and fleas (adults, children & pets), including your clothing, socks and shoes, especially when you have visited and preparing to leave high risk areas where ticks and fleas thrive (e.g. Bushveld/long grassy areas). Ticks/Fleas are ideally suited to hitching a ride on their host- being man and pets.
  • Pay careful attention for any signs and brush yourself off before going into the home.
  • Regular vacuuming practises of floor surfaces will keep the flea population controlled.
  • Check your pets regularly for signs of ticks and fleas. Keep your pets (dogs, cats) by keeping their Tick and Flea program/treatments up to date with your local veterinary – Mark the dates on a calendar or set reminders on your phone to have the pets treated
  • Keep your animal pets (dogs & cats) bedding area regularly cleaned and thus free of ticks and fleas
  • Ensure your lawn is mowed before you depart, as long grass can also attract fleas. If you away for a prolonged period, try having a garden service have it cut back before your return. This will not only keep ticks and fleas away, but will also prevent rodents from finding refuge and breeding areas within your garden if there is long grass.

Sealing up cracks and crevices

It’s a good idea to inspect all corners of your home, including the garage, outbuildings and cellar (if you have one) and check for any openings in external walls, foundations, door frames, under doors, around your windows and roofing. Insects and rodents can sneak into homes through tiny holes for food, water and shelter. Rodents can squeeze through any small space that is big enough to fit their head through; the rest of their body will follow. It’s therefore a good idea to double-check your dwelling for any possible pest or vermin entry point before leaving home for your well-deserved break.

Follow these simple tips and prevent coming home to unwelcome visitors like this

Author: Stuart Steele

Whatever the situation, Flick has solutions to cater for your pest control headaches and challenges. Feel free to contact us at enquiries@flickpest.co.za or contact me directly on 087 820 7008 or even pop me an email at stuart@flickpest.co.za and we will be sure to be in touch with you.

“Remember One Flick and they are gone”