Whether you own your own home, rent a house or apartment, or live in an alley juice-soaked cardboard box (yet somehow have access to the internet), it will, at times, seem as though you've been beset on all sides by an army of pests that wants nothing more than to destroy you, your family, your pets, your home, your yard, and your garden. To be perfectly honest with you, that's exactly what's happening, and those pests have every right. You think you hate ants? Just imagine how they, and every other type of pest you've attempted to displace, feel about you. You are, in all actuality, a pest to the pests. Luckily, we're the best of the pests, and therefore, don't really give a rat's tuckus about how the others feel. Here at How to Get Rid of Things, we take "being the best" very seriously and have, consequentially, devoted countless hours to the amassing of a comprehensive library of pest control articles. Why, you ask, would we do this? Because we want you to be the best, too. Humankind's reputation is at stake, and we'd rather you didn't make us all look bad. It's been a long road to the top, and we like it here.
The Most Common Household Pests
The first thing you need to know when attempting to get rid of ants is what species you're dealing with. While each type does come with the obligatory six legs, three body segments, and the incredible ability to bench press a Volkswagon, they all come with a different set of rules and regulations when it comes to their extermination. This is due to the fact that, in proper niche-filling fashion, they're all specially adapted to their own specific way of life. They all, to a certain extent, eat different things, require different living conditions, and therefore, respond differently to various ant killing techniques.
No other flying insect incites fear in the masses so effectively as bees. Bees, with their seemingly menacing demeanor, have the uncanny ability to make even the machoest of macho men scream and flail like a two-year-old who's come face-to-face with The Boogeyman. While this level of fear is, in most cases (with the exception of those who suffer allergic reactions to stings), mightily unfounded, lets face it, nobody wants to get stung by a bee. Aside from that, and depending upon the species you're dealing with, these dastardly little insects, if left unchecked, can and do cause various types of structural damage.
It may or may not surprise you to know that one in four species of life on Earth is a beetle. Evolution has been kind to this incredibly varied model of insect, giving it the ability to branch out and exploit an all-encompassing array of resources. This truth is exactly what makes it so difficult to get rid of beetles, and when the resources they're exploiting happen to be in, on, and/or around your personal property, it becomes time to be grateful that evolution is an equal opportunity employer and has blessed us with the giant brains necessary to kill beetles wherever they reside, however inaccessible they seem, and however numerous they are.
Until we get to that article on getting rid of annoying next door neighbors, this will remain the only section of our pest control index to focus on two-legged pests. The problem with these particular two-leggers is that they also happen to have wings—wings that allow them a huge range within which to be pestiferous. Whether they're pecking holes in your house, eating every bit of available birdseed without leaving any for the birds you like, or crapping all over your roof, yard, deck or dock, we've got you covered. Above all, however, you must remember: A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word.
This section focuses on all those little arthropods that don't fit neatly into one of the other directories. They're the outcasts of the order. And, as outcasts have a tendency to be, they're also some of the scariest, nastiest, most annoying and destructive pests you'll ever have to deal with. By clicking on the word "Bugs" up there, you'll be magically transported to a page that's loaded with links to articles containing focused information on the specific type of bug you're looking to destroy. If you want to say "bye-bye" to box elder bugs, "so long" to centipedes, "adios" to earwigs, "sayonara" to stink bugs, or anything else to any other type of bug in an annoyingly alliterative manner, check out our Bugs section and let the extermination begin.
As much as I would enjoy taking this opportunity to make one of those obligatory cracks about Cher and cockroaches, I can't, in good conscience, do so. Making that comparison would be doing cockroaches a huge disservice. Cockroaches, as history has proven, are far more resilient than any pop star. All you have to do is take a look at the charts. Cher's gone. Has been for years. Cockroaches, however, are still plaguing millions of homes all over the world. Just because cockroaches enjoy a level of success Cher could never dream of, however, does not mean they can't be gotten rid of. There are numerous actions you can take, traps you can set, and poisons you can place that, when used diligently and in conjunction with each other, will make cockroaches go the way of Cher. Oh . . . oops . . . I mean, "of the dodo."
There are few things more troublesome to pet owners than fleas. Flea infestations, if you don't know what you're doing, can be notoriously difficult to get rid of. They hide on your pets, in your pets' bedding, in your bedding, in the carpets, in the cracks of hardwood floors, under baseboards, and in countless other places. To make matters worse, the stress and blood loss from a serious flea infestation can, in rare cases, actually kill pets. This is generally only true with very young, old, or otherwise frail pets, but it happens. Usually, however, fleas are just extremely irritating. They quickly spread from pet to pet and won't hesitate to bite humans. So don't delay; the longer you wait, the worse it's gonna get. The most important thing to remember when getting rid of fleas is to be diligent. A single lapse in routine can mean starting the entire process over again.
Flies (and maggots, their soft cuddly offspring) are often, and rightfully, associated with filth. That isn't to say that having a fly problem means you're filthy. On the contrary. Since you're here trying to learn how to get rid of flies, it's pretty safe to assume you're not. The flies plaguing you, however, probably are. Chances are, that fly that was on your nose a moment ago had just come in from a cow patty square dance and still had bits of feces and partially digested grass on its feet. Now it's all on your face. Congratulations. Poop isn't the only thing found on fly feet. Quite often, there are remnants of dead animal and hot garbage, too. Depending on the type of fly, like fruit flies, it might even be rotten banana or drain sludge. Whatever you've got on your nose from whatever type of fly that landed there, check out our fly control section, we've probably got you covered.
I'm simply unable to think about getting rid of mice in the house without my brain conjuring up images of the lady in the old Tom & Jerry cartoons standing up on a chair, holding up her dress, and screaming for Tom to come and destroy Jerry. Tom, as we all know, was completely inept. We, on the other hand, are like mouse-killing ninjas: dark, mysterious crusaders of the night protecting you and yours from the dangers of hantavirus.
One needs only mention the word "mites," and everyone in earshot suddenly finds themselves with an uncontrollable and irrational case of the creepy-crawlies. Every little itch/tickle we imagine we feel suddenly, in our minds, becomes a huge swarm of tiny, starving beasts congregating on their own personal blood bank and laying their eggs under its surface. It's a repulsive thought, one that often leads to showering with a Brillo Pad. While it's true that some mites do require blood meals to survive, others (chiggers) actually consume your liquefied flesh, and still others (scabies) bore holes into your skin within which to live. Truth be told, mites are one of the few pests that live up to our sensationalized perceptions. Dust mites, on the other hand, are found in pretty much every home in the world and really only cause problems to those with allergic reactions. So no, they're not all evil, but yes, they're all disgusting.
When I was a young lad trying to sleep on the couch at my grandparents' lake cabin, I decided it might be fun to catch the mosquitoes buzzing around my ears by trapping them inside of my ear. My thought was, "You wanna get in my ear? Fine! There you go." I would cup my hand and slowly attempt to herd the mosquitoes into my ear. To be totally honest, it didn't work very well. Turns out, I was a pretty stupid child. And by "pretty," I mean attractive. So at least I had that going for me. Now that I'm old and wise, I realize the one-by-one approach to mosquito control is not the best course of action. Sure, a dead mosquito plastered to my skin brings me some small measure of joy, but wouldn't killing them by the thousands be more satisfying? Wouldn't altering the environment around my home so that I don't have to kill them by the thousands be equally satisfying? To answer my own questions: yes, and hell yes.
Sure, they seem innocuous enough; tiny, fragile little things that they are, but moths cause an incredible amount of damage. They can destroy your food, ruin your clothes, blankets, and valuables, and be one giant pain in the rear to get rid of. And get rid of moths you must. As far as dollars are concerned, a moth infestation can be one of the most costly pest infestations to have. Food is expensive, and if you have to replace a bunch of it because the moths have claimed the old stuff as their own, well, you see what I'm getting at. Replacing your woolens, silks, downs, and taxidermied animals is no treat either. Sometimes, it's not even possible. Many a valuable (monetarily and/or sentimentally) antique has been destroyed over the millenia by marauding moths. Lets not forget about the damage they and their nasty, caterpillary little offspring can cause to crops and garden plants, too. Well, enough is enough, I say. The day of the moth is coming to an end.
When was the last time you stopped and thought to yourself, "Gee, I sure wish I had reptiles in my house"? Never? Huh . . . and here I thought you were cool. Oh, well. I guess I can't blame you too much for not wanting snakes slithering around your basement and lizards skittering across your walls. Not many people would. In fact, I'll even go one step further and assure you that, in most cases, it's actually fairly simple to keep reptiles out. "What about the ones that are already in here?" you ask? Well, it just so happens that the hardest part of getting rid of lizards and snakes in the house is the not-so-simple act of gathering your courage. So be brave. We'll get you through this.
Oh sure, they're cute. They've got those big black eyes, adorable ears, and soft, petable fur that just makes you wanna pick 'em up and snuggle 'em! That is, of course, until they start invading your space and wreaking havoc on your property and on your stuff. When this occurs, the desire to cuddle is quickly replaced by the desire to kill. Whether you've got mice and rats in your home or garage, eating your food and leaving turds in your drawers and cupboards; squirrels and chipmunks in your attic, garage, and on your birdfeeders; or voles, moles, gophers, or groundhogs tearing up your yard and destroying your vegetation, we've got the means to an end. Each of our rodent control articles are filled with expert, well-researched advice from people who have been where you are now. We know your pain, and we're here to help.
As far as pest control is concerned, getting rid of spiders is the final frontier in the war on terror. The guerrilla tactics employed by these eight-leggedy beasties can make it seem as though they're coming out of the walls. And you know what? They are. Spiders, be they the venomous kind or just your run-of-the-mill creepy kind, can enter your house through the tiniest of cracks, holes, and openings in your foundation, in the sides of your house, and around things like doors, windows, and vents. While many of the tactics that can be employed for the destruction of one type of spider will work for all the others, each species has its own little quirks that require the homeowner to explore different spider control strategies specific to different spider species.
While they probably won't pursue a romantic relationship with your spouse that will ultimately lead to an ugly, drawn out, expensive divorce followed by a heart-wrenching custody battle over the children, dogs, and your betta fish, Steve, termites are, nonetheless, home wreckers. Just in a far more literal manner. Termites can and do cause serious structural damage. Sometimes the damage is so extensive that your house becomes an unsafe place to be. This is, fortunately, a rare occurrence. Having termites doesn't necessarily mean that your house is doomed. Based on the size and duration of the infestation, damage can be minimal and, while you'll still need to get the infestation under control, there may be no need to spend a ton of additional cash on repairs.
Arguably the most charismatic group of pests we come into contact with, varmints are also the most varied. The term "varmints" umbrellas everything from cats and dogs, to deer and skunks, and everything in between. In most cases, the best thing you can do to get rid of varmints is to trap them. Unfortunately, for pests such as deer, trapping isn't always an option. But when it is, there are a number of different things you need to know for trapping different types of varmints. Not only does trap setup and placement differ, but some varmints prefer baits such as canned cat food while others prefer some good ol' fashioned peanut butter. For those cases where trapping isn't required, isn't possible, or just isn't desired, different pest control methods will be required to turn your property into an unsuitable environment for them.
Protestant jokes aside, wasps are often regarded as the creepier, angrier cousins of bees. And as with bees, this is, in general, a gross misconception. True, wasps can sting you (multiple times, even) and while 51% of the world's population prefers certain things in multiples, it rarely occurs without proper provocation. This, however, is of little consolation to people with a wasp nest hanging above their front door or near their kid's swing set. The greater the proximity of the wasps, the higher the chances of an unpleasant run-in. Perhaps worst of all, some wasps have the audacity to land on and attempt to claim your cocktails and beers as their own. For this, there can be no forgiveness. Luckily, these cocktail-stealing, picnic-ruining wasps are usually pretty easy to get rid of.
In an attempt to keep things simple, we've taken a few of our pest control articles that would have otherwise required their own sections, and compiled them here. Below you will find links to a few articles dedicated to the control of some of the most unwelcome of house and yard guests: bats and frogs.