Pests, such as cockroaches, flies, rats, spiders and other insects, can be a real menace in our homes. Besides creeping the hell out of us, they are carriers of diseases. Therefore, it is essential that one takes matter in their own hands and calls the pest control services.
Services offered by pest control professionals primarily include the following termite control treatment, bed bug control and cockroach control. But it is not entirely up to professional pest control services to ensure your house is free of these unwanted guests, you would have to do your bit as well. Rather than a list of chores, it is best to think of these as precautionary measures for your safety and health. For instance, before starting with the pest control treatment, ensure that your food, clothing, furniture and other paraphernalia are properly stored. And, once the treatment is over, use them in such a way that chances of re-infestation are reduced.
The kind of pest determines the nature and type of preparatory steps. For example, if you are getting rid of cockroaches, a pest control spray will work well which means all your consumables should be properly covered and stored. You will usually receive a list of things to do after you book an appointment. In some cases, a professional will visit your home to do a pre-treatment analysis. After taking a look around, they will let you know how and what to prepare.
But before we explain further let’s take a look at the basics. As we noted earlier, it is almost always the kind of pest that will dictate the course of action but the following guidelines hold true in all cases.
Things to do before pest control treatment
Let’s look at a few points to help you prepare for your pest control appointment.
Remove any large piece of furniture or appliance away from corners of your home. This will give an ease of access to pest control professionals. They can get into the corners where most pests tend to thrive. It also means your furniture and appliances are safe from any spills and spray of the chemicals used during the treatment.
2. Clothes and Furniture:
• Ensure that your clothes, children’s toys, jewellery, make-up, toiletries, etc. are all packed away, ideally after covering them in plastic wrapping. Store them inside cabinets and if possible, seal the gaps of the doors and drawers with wide cellotape. Masking tape is not ideal since they are made of paper and will absorb the sprayed chemicals.
• Remove all bed sheets, covers, cushions, pillows, mattresses, etc. and store them away. If you run out of storage space, use plastic wrapping.
• Cover your sofas, chairs and tables with plastic wrapping. Covering them with cloth sheets may not be adequate as the chemicals can penetrate them.
• For some pests, like termites, you may have to empty out your wooden furniture, including storage beds.
3. Kitchen and Dining Area:
• Clear out the dustbin!
• Clear out your counter tops and store all your utensils, cutlery, plates, cups, glasses, etc. Unlike your regular storage equipment, kitchen cabinets are usually sprayed since they attract maximum pests.
• Ideally, move small kitchen appliances out of the kitchen. If that is not possible, unplug and cover them thoroughly with plastic wrapping. If you have to leave them on the counter top, make them easy to move around.
• Cover the water outlet of your water filter and if possible, wrap it with plastic.
• Kitchen sinks are sprayed. So, do not cover them or use them for storage.
• All food must be stored in thick plastic containers. Many pests can chew through thin plastic and seek refuge inside. If possible, place things like spices and chips inside your fridge.
• Speaking of your fridge – you will have to unplug it. Consider finishing off any perishables and discard any left overs.
Pets are usually very sensitive to the chemicals used during pest treatment. It will be great if you can drop off your pet to a neighbour’s or friend’s place for the duration of the pest control treatment.
• Store your pet’s bedding and toys carefully.
• Get your furry friend a flea and tick treatment at the vet.
• Aquariums must be covered tightly with plastic. Make sure your fishes have adequate food for the duration. If you don’t have one already, this is a good time to get some kind of auto feeder for your fish.
• Turn off any aquarium air pumps as they will suck in air-borne chemicals and introduce them into the water.
5. Paintings and Flower Pots:
• The paint of your favourite wall decoration may not like the chemicals, so try covering them with plastic.
• Flower pots and other decorative vegetation are best left in the open. Consider a balcony that won’t be sprayed or the roof. Some plants can be wrapped, but others may wither away.
• If they will be sprayed, bathrooms are best emptied out completely.
• You will need to pay special attention to your toothbrushes, floss, shaving razors, etc. It is best to replace your soaps and detergents after the treatment.
[You can also read: Top 10 pest control tips]
Things to do after pest control treatment
Now that we are done with how to prepare for a pest control service at home, let’s take a look at what you need to do after the pest control service is completed.
If you had to vacate the premises, wait until the recommended time before you head back home.
2. Discard any food left outside:
If you accidentally left any food outside, throw them in the garbage. Even if they used organic chemicals for the pest control process, such food will never be entirely healthy for you.
3. Do not clean immediately:
Our pest control service professionals are trained and will not leave behind a mess. There should be no need to immediately sweep and mop the area. In many cases, it may wipe off any treated baseboards, reducing the effectiveness of the treatment. Pest control treatments are usually customised based on your needs. So, you will be told when you can clean again and if there are any areas you should not wash. Do not do a deep cleaning for at least a week.
4. Repair any leaks:
If you have any leaking taps or drainage pipes in the house, get them fixed as soon as possible. Water from leaks serve as entry for pests, and may lead to a re-infestation.
5. Avoid leaving paper around:
Paper can be a source of food for many pests. Wet paper (of any kind) and brown bags (used to carry groceries) are the ones to look out for. Do not store old newspapers and magazines in or near the kitchen.
6. Protect yourself:
Wear a pair of disposable gloves when you handle sprayed surfaces for the first time. Even while unwrapping objects, take care not to touch any surface with naked hands.
7. Keep checking for pests:
In the days following the treatment, you will likely continue to find dead pests every now and then with diminishing frequency. Make sure to check the trouble-spots regularly and keep them clean. Dead pests can attract other pests, compounding your problems.
These lists are by no means exhaustive. You will need to co-ordinate with the pest control service to ensure you are truly prepared and have the best service delivered to you.
Side Effect of Pest Control on Your Health
It is a widely held misconception that pest control services use chemicals that are extremely poisonous or dangerous. People often demand organic or natural treatments fearing health issues. Let’s look at the following points to help you understand better. Let’s shed some light on these concerns.
1. All chemicals used for pest control are poisonous to some degree. However, they are not lethal to humans, at least not based on the quantity used during pest control treatment. However, if you are sensitive to or have allergies pertaining to fumes and chemicals, it will be a good idea to stay outdoors during the pest control process. And once the odours and the vapours clear out, which usually do within a few hours, you can safely return home.
2. Organic treatments generally use concentrated chemicals that are extracted from natural sources. While they may cause fewer health problems, they are generally weaker in treating pests. Depending on the scale of the infestation, organic chemicals may not always be an option.
Both the above points go out of the window if you or your family member is allergic or sensitive to certain chemicals. If you know about such a condition, inform your pest control service provider beforehand. However, finding out that you are allergic to a certain chemical while a treatment is in progress can be quite distressing. If you experience or witness one or more of the following symptoms, vacate the area and consult a doctor in severe cases:
• Irritation in the throat
• Breathing trouble
• Watery eyes
• Itchy eyes
• Reddening or appearance of rashes on the skin
• Itchy skin that does not seem to dissipate
In all cases, pregnant women should stay out of the area until the pest control service professionals deems it safe.
[You can also read: 5 Reasons Why You Should Have Pest Control Done After House Cleaning]