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Avoid pests in your home these school holidays!

To a majority of New Zealander families, the month of October means getting away for a weekend or two.

As many of us are packing up and hitting the road for some well-earned time away, we will inevitably be leaving our home for a period of time. While we’re away, what is to stop the pests moving in?

Here are our Top Tips on how to deter pests from you and your home while you're away.

Ants

  • Make sure all foods are sealed in air tight containers.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.
  • Do not leave dirty laundry in rooms or on the laundry floor.
  • If anyone is house sitting, notify them to only feed pets with enough food for immediate consumption as  ants will definitely be attracted to it.
  • Ensure all tree and shrub branches/palms/ foliage do not make contact with the external house walls or roof structure. This often provides an ideal opportunity for ants to gain access into the building.
  • Remove items away from external walls (e.g. firewood) building supplies, pipes, hoses. This deters concealed access by ants but is also quite relevant for subterranean termites.
  • Ensure all water taps are firmly turned-off as excess water and dampness attracts a multitude of pests (e.g. ants, flies, termites).

Bed Bugs

  • While away on holiday, keep your luggage away from the bed. The best bed bug prevention practice is by leaving your luggage in the hotel room bath tub.
  • Sadly, fold out sofas are notorious harbourage areas for bed bugs as they conceal themselves in and around all the cracks and crevices within, so check very carefully for any signs of blood spotting or staining.

 Flies (Maggots)

  • Keep all foods sealed in air tight containers.
  • Rinse out and wash all rubbish bins including waste receptacles or before re-lining them for ease of rubbish removal (even the wheelie bins).
  • If you leave before rubbish collection days, do not overload the rubbish bin with perishables (e.g. seafood remnants). Store these few items in a freezer unit and dispose of them when you return.
  • Remove all dog droppings and clean out the kitty litter trays just before you leave.
  • Again, if anyone is house sitting, notify them to only feed pets with enough food for immediate consumption as many fly species will locate the leftovers and deposit eggs/larvae into it.

 Mosquitoes

  • Avoid strongly scented perfumes or toiletries, as the smell can attract insects. 
  • Ensure there are no pools of water outside, or areas where rain can accumulate.  Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, so remove the possibility.

Ticks and Fleas

  • Check everybody (adults, children & pets), including shoes and clothing when leaving risk areas (e.g. Bushland /long grassy areas). Ticks/Fleas are ideally suited to hitching a ride on the host.
  • Pay careful attention and brush yourself off before going into the home.
  • Before leaving, ensure your pet's Tick and Flea program/treatments is up to date. Keep it marked on a calendar or set it on your phone alarm for easy reminders.
  • If anyone is house sitting, instruct them to keep your pet's bedding area regularly cleaned and treated (for further information consult with your pest management technician).

Follow these simple tips and you won’t be confronted with an avoidable pest problem when returning home these holidays. Enjoy your break!

This article was originally published by Amalgamated Pest Control and has been modified for Flick Anticimex.

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