Posted: Jan 21, 2014 7:00 AM
Before you call an expensive exterminator, trying putting an end to common pest issues yourself. We've got tips for preventing infestations and killing nuisance insects.

Got pests? You're not alone. Before you spend a fortune on an exterminator, consider these DIY pest control tips.

You've got roaches

We won't judge you if you scream like a little girl when you see roaches. They're pretty gross. From huge American cockroaches to smaller German cockroaches, these pests are a serious health hazard. Ready to get rid of roaches?

Kill your current roaches

Roach baits work well if you use a lot of them. Keep them away from pets and kids and always place them flush against walls. Boric acid is considered the best weapon against roaches. The key is to apply it correctly. Pick up a bottle at your local hardware store and apply it in a very thin layer under appliances and in crevices. The application should be no thicker than a coat of dust. This stuff is toxic, so keep it away from eating surfaces, kids and pets. It may take a few weeks for the roaches to die, but they definitely will.

Prevent future infestations^

  • Do a number on clutter. Cardboard boxes and piles of clothes give roaches a place to hide.
  • Don't leave food out or dirty dishes in your sink overnight. Roaches love your food.
  • Don't give them water. Stop up your sinks at night and close toilet lids.
  • Empty the trash every evening. Your garbage can is a roach buffet.

You've got ants

In the house, ants can stage a major infestation very quickly. Outside, fire ants can make your yard a danger zone. Ant-proof your home and get rid of current ants so you won't feel those creepy crawly sensations anymore. If you see large carpenter ants in your home, don't try to do it yourself. These ants can cause major damage. Call a pest control professional.

Kill your current ants

Some ants like to eat sweet foods, while others go for greasy food. Liquid and solid ant baits are the best way to attract and kill ants, but these baits won't work unless they're fulfilling the ants' cravings. If you don't see the bait working within a few days, try another kind. Outside, use a spreader to treat your entire yard for ants. For best results, spread ant killer directly after mowing. Ant killer is toxic, so keep kids and pets off your yard for a few days.

Prevent future infestations^

  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean. Even a smear of honey or syrup is enough to attract ants.
  • Don't stack firewood or furniture against your house.
  • Spray a barrier of insecticide around your home, following directions carefully.
  • Seal your windows and doors. This saves on energy costs as well.

Call the pros

If your DIY methods don't make a dent in two weeks, it's probably time to call for backup.

Some pest jobs are better left to the professionals. If you're dealing with a rodent infestation, you're unable to access every area of your home and crawl spaces, or you think you may have termites, give the pros a call. Remember, if your DIY methods don't make a dent in two weeks, it's probably time to call for backup.

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