In Australia we’re used to living side-by-side with creepy crawlies, but even the most enthusiastic of nature-lovers would get upset at the thought of returning home one day to find insects had infested their home. We’ve put together this guide on how to get rid of two very different, yet very common pests found in the home – bed bugs and ants – so that you can transform your home into a pest-free zone – just follow the instructions below.
Before you get started, be sure to protect your skin and clothes, and follow the safety instructions on the labels of the products you choose to use. If in any doubt, consult a pest control professional.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If your home shares walls with other buildings, it’s important to let other residents know they have a potential problem too. Bed bug infestations can spread rapidly through adjoining apartments. They key to getting rid of them is to be meticulous in carrying out the following steps:
Locate the main source of the bedbugs. This can be surprisingly difficult to do as bed bugs can live for long periods of time away from the host. Check in bedframes, mattresses, any cracks or crevices in your furniture, walls, or appliances – and don’t just stop looking in your bedroom; they like warm comfy places like sofas and car seats too.
Treat your bed frame, mattress, and bedding. You should:
- Consider throwing away any infested removable items like mattresses, duvets and pillows.
- Wash all your bedding on a hot wash with Omo Sensitive, followed by tumble-drying where possible to kill any remaining eggs with heat.
- Then, vacuum your mattress and bedframe thoroughly to make sure any bedbugs or eggs are completely removed.
- Next, apply an insecticide according to the safety and usage instructions on the label.
- Then, zip your mattress into a bedbug encasement to prevent any remaining bugs from emerging to snack on your while you sleep.
Treat the remaining items in the room. The best way to do this is to:
- Vacuum the walls, floor, and furniture.
- Spray the furniture with insecticide as above. Take care to wear protective clothing, and keep the room well ventilated.
- Launder soft items like toys, clothes, and towels in a hot wash, followed by tumble drying.
- Seal other removable items in plastic bags to prevent bed bugs from escaping and place these in the sun, or the freezer for 12 hours to kill off any life inside.
Make regular checks for repopulation. Bed bugs breed rapidly and can live on average 4-5 months without feeding, which means you should remain vigilant, even when you’ve performed the above steps meticulously. Tell-tale signs of repopulation are red or brown smudges on your sheets and itchy bites on your body.
How to Get Rid of Ants
Next up – ants! Though these little insects seem to many like harmless pests – they don’t live on human blood like bed bugs, but they can quickly over run a kitchen, particularly if you leave food lying about. Here’s how to get rid of ants fast:
Wipe your surfaces clean of ant trails. Helpfully, ants tend to walk a fairly predictable route from their nest to your worktop by following scent trails other ants have left behind. This means if you watch ants for long enough, you can locate their point of entry and figure out where they’re heading next. Use a large sponge and soapy water to wash ants from your work surfaces and down your sink, and then follow up by removing the scent trail with a diluted white vinegar solution.
Block the point of entry. Ants tend to walk up walls and like to get into your home through cracks in window and door frames. Make sure these potential entry points are as sealed as possible (fill in any holes etc.) and then draw chalk lines in front of these thresholds to stop ants attempting to cross into your home.
Locate and eliminate the nest. A last solution, if you can’t find or seal the point of entry is to destroy the nest. Pouring boiling water on top is enough to destroy a colony.
Take precautionary measures. If you keep your kitchen and dining room clean and crumb-free, you’re less likely to have a problem with ants. Don’t leave food out in the counter and place opened packages in jars.