A few days ago we received a strange question about getting rid of worms or some other pest without the use of an exterminator. Actually, the question isn’t so much strange as it is incomplete, as we are only asked about getting rid of something, but the something isn’t specified. To see what we mean, here is the whole message we received, with a few minor corrections: “how do I get rid of them, without the cost of an exterminator? Is there any home remedies or pesticides that work?” No picture was submitted along with these questions, so this is all we are working with, and all we can offer are a couple of pieces of advice to our reader, as well as a general remark or two about the project of getting rid of worms or other pests.
The topic of getting rid of household pests is a perennial one, and we’ve written about it many times before. However, in each one of these instances, the crucial first step is figuring out what kind of pest one is finding. We use the word “worm” above, but a good portion of household pests aren’t technically worms, even if most people call them “worms” anyway. (For more on this topic, check out our article on the definition of the word “worm.”) Rather, people often find insect larvae – the immature form of creatures like flies, moths, and beetles. Other worm-like creatures, like millipedes and slugs, occasionally come up as well, and periodically people do in fact find regular worms.
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As you might expect, different creatures are attracted to different environments, and some pests are harder to get rid of than others. Thus, identifying the creatures in your house is generally the first step toward eliminating them, and this is really what our reader needs to do. She can send us information (including, ideally, pictures) about whatever she found, giving us a chance to offer an identification if this is possible, or she can do some research. Searching All About Worms with the relevant descriptive words might turn up helpful articles, and the same applies for the broader web. In our years of identifying worms, larvae, and other creatures, we’ve come to especially value the extension programs run by some universities, which are often known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. If there is a university near where our reader lives, she might see if they run such a program, and through their website she might be able to unearth information about whatever it is she is finding.
As for getting rid of bugs in the house naturally and without an exterminator, the basic idea behind eliminating pests is simple: you must make your home inhospitable to them. Often, this means eliminating a food source – it could be exposed human food or an accumulation of some organic matter – as this is frequently what draws insects into one’s home. It could also have to do with moisture levels inside the house, and in fact sometimes people will install a dehumidifier to control populations. When trying to get rid of a pest, cleaning is almost always a major part of the process, and this cleaning often has to be quite involved. The areas under furniture sometimes needs to be cleaned, and small nooks and crannies must be cleaned as much as possible since insect eggs are sometimes in these relatively guarded crevices. The goal is to eliminate the entire population – eggs, larvae, and adults – so that the population doesn’t regenerate itself. Many people also have varying degrees of luck with natural methods of pest control, designed to repel whatever particular pest they may be dealing with. For example, some people have found that cucumber and mint repel ants. The site OneGoodThingbyJilee has a great discussion of natural pest control for household insects. If extensive cleaning and other such measures don’t help the problem, then it might be necessary to seek professional help.
Obviously, none of this addresses our reader’s exact situation, but that is because we have no information about her situation. Hopefully, however, we’ve at least supplied her with some basic information that she can apply moving forward.
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