When you Google words such as “childproofing,” “healthy homes for kids,” and even “food contamination,” chances are you will encounter questions regarding child-safe household pest control treatments.
After all, in addition to wanting your children to grow up in a healthy environment, you also want them to be safe, especially from pesky and destructive home invaders—the kind with four legs or more (and sometimes wings and tails), such as cockroaches, rats, and mosquitoes, that are commonly found in a tropical countries such as ours.
Incidentally, this sentiment is not only true for existing parents but for anyone who manages a home. Whether you are planning to start a family or about to have a baby on board, regardless of what parenting stage you’re in, knowledge about pest risks, detection, and control is essential in keeping your home clean and family safe.
And so, before you get ready to bring a new life into this world, sanitising your home is a must to clear off any pests that may harm you and your growing family.
Why you need household pest control for those pesky home invaders
You may already know that some of the most common home invaders include ants, bed bugs, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, cockroaches, termites, ticks (from pets), and rodents.
They look small and harmless, but they can actually bring deadly diseases to your doorstep.
Household pest control can get rid of pesky insects that can risk asthma, allergy and even food poisoning. | Image courtesy: Pixabay
To give you an idea of the risks involved, this list by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USA reveals exactly what can happen if your home harbours any of these pests:
- Cockroaches: These pesky little insects are responsible for increasing the risk of asthma, allergy, and even food contamination.
- Mosquitoes: They are capable of spreading diseases such as malaria, Zika, encephalitis, yellow fever, and dengue fever.
- Ticks: Their various species can transmit Lyme disease, tick-borne relapsing fever, and ehrlichiosis (a bacterial infection).
- Bed bugs: Bites from bed bugs can cause allergies and skin inflammation.
- Rats and mice: Rodents are capable of spreading rodent-borne diseases and may be responsible for contamination of food.
- Reptiles: They can cause salmonella and even botulism (caused by clostridium bacteria found in reptiles and which can lead to paralysis).
You will inevitably encounter these pesky pests at any stage of your life. Read on to understand how they may potentially affect you and your kids, as well as know how to detect and eliminate these unwanted tenants.
#1 Pre-pregnancy stage
At this stage, it may just be you and your partner planning to start your family. But that doesn’t exclude you from practising proper home sanitation and hygiene.
Pests can cause bacterial diseases including salmonellosis (a symptomatic infection that leads to diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting), Escherichia coli (better known as E. coli, bacteria that causes diarrhea and food poisoning), and trachoma (bacterial infection that causes blindness). Then there is the increased risk of asthma, allergies and food contamination.
All these can affect a pregnant woman’s chances of a healthy conception, making pest detection and control essential.
Pest detection tip: If you see tiny black pellets on your kitchen counter, or see dark brown or black “cases” stuck inside cupboard doors or elsewhere, these are signs of cockroaches.
#2 Pregnancy stage
Food safety is one of the most important things to ensure with a pregnant woman in the house, since at this stage she is the only one nurturing the growing baby.
So even though you might use separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables, are you sure creepy crawlies are not savouring your food on the sly?
Household pest control also involves getting rid of ticks and fleas that are commonly found in pets. | Image courtesy: Dreamstime
Most household pests, such as cockroaches and rodents, are attracted to cooking smells and food. When they help themselves to your food, they can leave behind harmful microorganisms and, sometimes, urine and poo.
Needless to say, this can contaminate food and present a health risk for pregnant women and their developing babies.
It’s not just in the kitchen that pests are a hazard to pregnant women. Mosquitoes can zoom around the whole house, spreading harmful diseases like dengue and Zika.
Luckily, you can protect yourself and your family by adopting an integrated mosquito control. It is also important to eliminate mosquito-breeding sources; as a part of your household pest control method.
Pest detection tip: Know your pest’s poo! Gecko poo will look like a small black pellet with a white tip. Rodent poo, on the other hand, is all black. If you see either or both in your home, you know you have unwanted visitors!
Besides recognising the type of poo, it’s also crucial to recognise the presence of mozzie including the breeding source, larvae and/or adult mosquitoes flying around.
#3 Baby and toddler stage
Babies are so little, so helpless, and must be protected from many things—including household pests. The last thing you want when your little one is fast asleep in the cot is to be bitten by mosquitoes or bed bugs.
And you certainly don’t want ants or cockroaches in baby’s food, once they are bigger and eating solids. As we mentioned before, this poses a risk of food contamination. A baby’s immune system is still not strong enough to effectively fight off many infections.
Once your baby progresses to crawling and then walking, protecting him or her from household dangers becomes even more important. Aside from the usual protective measures like padding sharp edges of tables and blocking entry to the kitchen, eliminating pests is also crucial.
Just think about it – a crawling baby or a tot stumbling around, learning how to walk, is more often than not on your floor. And given the potential presence of crawling pests around, toddlers may be at risk of coming in close contact with these creatures.
For instance, ants may bite or sting a crawling baby, causing a lot of pain or allergy.
In households with pets, ticks and fleas are common unwanted “guests,” and usually hide in carpets and rugs—all the places where toddlers usually spend their time playing.
#4 Preschool, primary school and beyond
As kids grow older, they become more active. They like to go out to playgrounds or the garden and indulge in physical sports. Therefore, their contact with outdoor pests is inevitable.
They are attracted to (and bite) people who perspire and produce lactic acid and body heat. Does that sound like your kid?
Not to forget, the outdoors is also home to less common but often overlooked creatures like snakes and bees.
While we can’t do much about the latter in areas beyond the boundaries of our homes, we need to keep in mind that they can cross those boundaries easily. As such, they may appear in homes with gardens or apartments surrounded by trees and foliage.
As mentioned by Rentokil experts, “If you have an outdoor or garden area, always make sure to keep the grass short as this will discourage snakes (and even mosquitoes) from crawling about near your house.”
As a rule, make sure to seal off any cracks or crevices on damaged walls and decks, especially those damaged by water or pests that cause damage to structures.
Pest detection tip: Look up in the trees of your garden for bee or wasp hives. If you spot one, it’s time to call the professionals. Make sure you also check for clutters that may hide snakes.
#5 Mothers with grown-up kids
Oftentimes, a cross-infestation may occur. Bed bugs can invade and breed in homes quickly, attacking bedsheets, headboards, curtain drapes, and even furniture.
In such a situation, you may have to first identify the pests, work on a plan to get rid of it, and then execute that plan. Or you can be sure to get rid of the pests and call for professional help.
De-clutter all your rooms and keep them as clean as you possibly can. This will eliminate hiding spaces for pests. | Image courtesy: Freestock Photos
How to get rid of pests at home?
If you detect any of these pests, you may have to rethink your home hygiene strategy. Here are a few things you may do:
- Remove all possible entry points by sealing up cracks and crevices. You may need to install a door sweep to prevent pests from entering your premise.
- Drape your baby’s cot or bed with mosquito netting.
- Apply mosquito repellent on kids whenever they go out, especially in the evening.
- Regularly vacuum and mop the floors of your home. Clean storage cupboards frequently.
- De-clutter all your rooms and keep them as clean as you possibly can. This will eliminate hiding spaces for pests.
- Keep your kitchen free of food debris, clear rubbish daily, store food in air-tight containers, use a rubbish bin with lid, and clear dried leaves from the yard.
- Remove water/moisture presence, which is the number 1 food source pest attractant.
- Groom your pets regularly with a flea comb and wash their beds weekly.
- Engage a trusted household pest control company who can help to resolve pest issues. Depending on the pest type, the methods to resolve pest issues may include trapping, baiting, residual spraying, or foaming.
- This is not only for homes with existing pest issues, but is also ideal for prevention, too. Why wait for an infestation when you can prevent it from happening in the first place?
- Keep a record on your findings around the house. The household pest control company should also provide professional advice and recommendations based on your current pest situation.
- While you are at it, try to recognise early signs if pest infestation. These can include poo, droppings, cracks in the walls as well as blood stains.
Pests are a danger to your family, no matter what stage of parenthood you’re in. Now that you’re armed with the information you need to be aware of, you are empowered to keep your family, especially your little ones, safe.
Constant vigilance is key. Good housekeeping habits and overall cleanliness need to be maintained at all times. And that is only the beginning.
The good news is you’re not alone. Household pest control companies can play an important role in keeping your home free from unwanted guests.
And they can be a key component in preventing these pests from stepping foot into your home—and keeping infestation under control.
Also read: How to get rid of common household pests