Being a parent means being responsible for your children's wellbeing, their health, and their needs. That includes ensuring your home is clean and neat, alongside being a safe and secure environment for your kids. And nothing can impact your enjoyment and the healthiness of your property like a vermin infestation.
That's why it pays to invest in proactive pest control measures, and to secure pest control services as soon as you feel you need them. For some infestations (like termites, for instance) securing termite control services promptly can mean the difference between a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of damage versus tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage.
We’ve prepared today’s guide to help shed some light on how to safely facilitate pest control measures in households with younger kids. Continue reading to learn more about how you can protect your property from pest infestations alongside ensuring that your kids stay safe when applying pesticides and other potentially hazardous pest control measures.
Consider Engaging the Pest Control Professionals
First, we need to stress that if you are currently experiencing a pest infestation of any kind, the best step you can take is to call pest control specialists right away. If you've already got an infestation – of rodents, spiders, ants, cockroaches or other unsavoury creatures in your home, then it's beyond the prevention stage. In this case, you need to engage a professional pest control company who can come and assess the severity of the infestation and provide expert treatment and containment.
A pest controller can apply poison, bait, and other treatments to your home to eradicate the presence of pesky pests effectively and restore your home to its pristine state of cleanliness and health. If this means you and your kids may need to vacate your property for a few days (to reduce risks of poison exposure or inhalation of irritants), then consider staying with extended family for this period of time.
It's also worth engaging the company to provide some ongoing protection, especially if you live close to woodlands or other natural environments that make pest incursions more likely. Some expert insights can help you keep the pests at bay over the long term, ensuring that you and your kids can stay comfortable and healthy at home.
Keep Your Home Neat and Tidy
One of the best proactive pest control measures that you can enact in your property today, is simply keeping your home neat and tidy. Rats, cockroaches, ants, flies and other vermin love to feed on leftover food, crumbs and other bits of edible debris on your floor and benches that come with cooking and serving food. Similarly, pests love having little nooks and crannies that they can hide in – or nest in.
Thankfully, by staying on top of your household cleaning routine, you can reduce the total amount of nesting spaces available for pests like ants, spiders, and other critters that seek out warm, dark spots in your home.
Granted, we know that little kids aren't the neatest eaters, and they're probably prone to dropping crumbs and making a mess when they eat. In order to prevent pests from calling your home theirs, ensure that you clean as you cook and the kids eat, and be proactive about keeping your benchtops, floors, tables and bedrooms free of crumbs and scraps. Be sure to also follow these tips for dealing with messy eaters at home.
Block Up Entry Points
Rats and mice tend to get into your home through holes or gaps in your door or window seals, or even in walls, ceilings, or flooring. If you suspect that there are points of entry that opportunistic insects may be taking advantage of, then it's well worth performing a thorough examination of the exterior of your property (including your roofing and ceiling cavity) and sealing all holes you come across.
You can use expanding foam or nail small bits of timber or corrugated iron over the holes. Steel wool is also an affordable solution to block small holes. And if you're not up to completing this task independently or have safety concerns, then consider enlisting the help of a local handyperson or a friend who is willing to climb up a ladder for you.
Secure Your Compost Bin
Speaking of points of entry, the last thing that any homeowner wants is for pests to be snacking on the contents of their compost bin. Not only does this negate the purpose of setting up a compost bin in the first place, but it can invite a wealth of different pests into and around your property.
Rats, mice and some birds love to get into the compost pile, where there is a variety of juicy scraps for them to devour and feast upon. Thankfully, you can counteract this by securing the lid with a heavy item like a brick, or investing in a raised, off-the-ground, tumbling compost station that’s designed to keep the pests away.
Seal Pantry Foods & Pet Foods In Containers
Like any animal, pests are drawn to food sources. Loose crumbs and bits and pieces present the perfect treat for those nasty ants, cockroaches and silverfish. So, do yourself a favour and seal up your packages after use. Try to purchase foodstuffs with ziplock or easy-seal packets, or even better, invest in some decent Tupperware or sealable tubs to keep your food fresh and safe from pests. This is great for those little kids' snacks, such as baby food packets of chips or other kid-friendly snacks.
The same goes for your pet food bags. It can be tempting to keep your cat or dog food out in a bowl, either in the laundry or in another open space. While this may be convenient for you and your pet, you're essentially offering pests a free buffet. Ideally, you'd feed your pets at a designated time and then pack away their food in a sealed and safe location, so you're not offering vermin an accessible food source. This can be good for your pet's health, too, as they won't risk becoming overweight, which can cause a variety of health issues.
Consider Natural Pest Control Deterrent Measures
Finally, just as you’d want to use eco-friendly practices when caring for your lawn and garden, so too should you want to use natural pest deterrent measures in and around your home. And truth be told, sometimes an all-natural defence is the best measure you can take in pest prevention for families with young kids. After all, chemical bug spray can be full of nasties that can cause harm to you and your kids if inhaled or left to settle on the skin.
Thankfully, you can use some easily obtainable essential oils and make up a batch of bug spray that's bound to keep the insects at bay. You can use a combination of lavender, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, geranium, citronella and lemongrass to repel insects naturally whilst also keeping your home smelling fresh. Parents can also combine these ingredients for a more effective pest deterrent solution, or make a spray with just one or two natural ingredients. Once this spray has been prepared, all that’s left to do is apply this natural solution wherever needed, and then rest easy knowing the bugs will stay away. These solutions are also more likely to be safer for little lungs than harsh commercial bug sprays and pesticides.
Final words: Top pest control tips for parents with younger kids
With these safe pest control tips up your sleeve, you should be able to keep all the creepy crawlies firmly at bay. And if you do experience an infestation for any reason, remember to seek professional assistance and practice caution when applying pesticides or other chemicals or poisons around your property.