Whilst major infestations and pest control in rental properties usually needs professional attention, ongoing remedial care and maintenance can often be done using less invasive and more eco-friendly methods and products. With that in mind, here are some natural pest control tips for keeping your rental property in tip top, pest free condition:
Keep the property clean and vacuum regularly
Keeping your rental property clean will help deter pests that are attracted to crumbs and food particles. Regularly clean all counters, floors, and other surfaces. Vacuuming in particular will remove fine particles of dust, and pet hair and flea larvae if you have pets. Don’t forget to do under furniture and appliances.
Seal entry points
Seal off any cracks, holes, or gaps around windows, doors, and walls. Not only will this help insulate the building but it will also help to keep insect pests and rodents outside.
Store food properly
Store food, including pantry items, in airtight containers. This keeps them fresher and also stops insect pests and mice getting to them. There’s nothing worse than going to do some baking and finding your flour is full of cockroach ‘dung’ or the mice have had a field day chewing holes in packaging! Proper food storage can help avoid an unwanted pest infestation.
Dispose of your rubbish often, and properly
Most common household rubbish is a pest magnet. Use plastic bags in rubbish bins to keep them clean(er), and make sure they have secure lids. Outdoor bins in particular should have tightly fitting lids to stop both insects and animals getting into them. Empty your household bins into your council bin regularly. This is a tenant responsibility.
Don’t have standing water ‘lying’ around
Static and stagnant water attract pests like cockroaches and mosquitos. Regularly empty outside containers that collect water. Cover those that can’t be emptied. Get plumbing and other ‘watery’ leaks attended to promptly by notifying your landlord or property manager.
Keep the outdoor areas clean too
Keep areas like balconies, patios, and gardens clean. Leaf litter and standing water attracts ants, flies, cockroaches, and mosquitos.
Fix window and door screens
Keep window and door screens in good repair as these are crucial for keeping flying pests outside.
Keep your pet’s living quarters clean
Regularly clean all areas where your pets sleep, or spend a lot of time. Treat both pets and bedding for fleas regularly. Store their food in airtight containers to keep ants and flies away, and keep their food and water bowls clean.
Regularly inspect for signs of pests
Regularly inspect your house or unit for signs of insect and rodent pests. Getting on top of infestations in the early stages will prevent them turning into serious pest problems.
Use natural pest control repellents
There are many plant-based pest repellents that actually do work! You can use them as essential oils and apply directly to surfaces (dilute with carrier oil or water first), in essential oil diffusers, or grow pest-deterring plants in pots strategically located around the house and garden. Some of the better-known and more effective plants for pest control include:
Pest Control Rental Property – Tips
**NOT suitable around pregnant women and small children.
If you do want to try growing some of these plants around your home or rental property, make sure you choose ones suitable for the climate.
Common Household Substances for Cleaning and Pest Control
Apart from plant-based natural pest control products, you can also use things like vinegar, lemon juice, boric acid, and diatomaceous earth as these too are effective against certain types of pests.
- White vinegar: Vinegar is a powerful natural disinfectant AND helps keep pests like ants, mosquitos, spiders, and fruit flies at bay – the acetic acid in it disrupts their scent paths without actually killing them. Spray it wherever you notice ant trails, and on surfaces where spiders and other crawlies like to frequent.
- Lemon juice and lemon peel: Lemon juice and lemon peel have strong citric acid properties that can be effective in deterring a range of insect pests including ants, fleas, mosquitos, flies, cockroaches, and moths.
- Cayenne pepper: a sprinkle of cayenne pepper can help keep insects like ants, aphids, and caterpillars away because they don’t like the strong peppery smell or taste. It works with rodents too!
- Sugar and baking soda: both these household staples can do double-duty as effective insect traps for pests like ants.
- Diatomaceous earth: diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilised remains of a type of algae called diatoms. It is extremely abrasive to the exoskeletons of insects so essentially dehydrates them. It’s typically sprinkled in areas where insect pests like to hang out. Always wear a mask when handing diatomaceous earth though because it’s also abrasive to human lungs!
- Boric acid: this is a common ingredient in insecticides and some natural pest control products because it can both deter and eliminate certain types of insect pests. It works as a desiccant (by destroying their exoskeleton and dehydrating them) and via ingestion (by disrupting their metabolism and digestive system). It’s also slow acting so gets picked up and carried back to nests where it destroys the rest of the colony, and the queen.
It’s not difficult to be responsible for pest control and warding off unwanted pests, especially if following these preventative measures, which will take care of many of the most common pests.
Natural Pest Control For A Rental Property
Although the above natural pest control methods and products can be effective for maintenance pest control, they are not as effective as chemical pesticides, particularly for serious infestations. Therefore, if you do have a serious pest control problem, notify your landlord or property manager immediately as it’s very likely you will require professional pest control services.