Updated: May 25, 2022
Everyone has their ‘Insect I Love to Hate.” I know I do, and I’ll bet you do too.
And while that list of bugs is fairly diverse, there are some pests that seem to show up more frequently than others. Top contenders for inclusion include cockroaches, ants, bed bugs, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Of course, there are other bugs in the running as well, such as termites, grain moths, centipedes, spiders, beetles, flies, and gnats. But the latter don’t seem to engender quite the same disquiet that our main contenders do ̶ with the possible exception of termites—the bane of anyone who has ever owned property.
Another thing our ‘top nominees’ have in common: They are all hard to track down and just as hard to eradicate! So let’s take a few moments to learn why these bugs are so hard to kill, and what you can do to get rid of them.
So, in no particular order, here are the buggy ‘villains’:
If you are the victim of a bed bug infestation you will need to act quickly and decisively. These pests can multiply at an astonishing rate- and ultimately into every corner of the house. First, make sure that the bugs in question are actually bed bugs. You can identify them readily because of their small, flat, oval-shaped bodies that are usually brown in color. And they’re wingless too.
Not sure what bit you? Check out our bug bite identification guide.
Bed bugs love hiding out in mattresses, bed frames, bedding, furniture, carpets, baseboards and that clutter you leave lying around the bedroom! The biggest clue to their presence is, unfortunately, the bites they will inflict on you (and your family) as you sleep. These are small, itchy bumps, not unlike mosquito bites, although some people are unlucky enough to develop large, puffy red lesions instead. Also, look for tiny red stains on your sheets, pillows and blanket; a sure sign of bed bugs.
Why are bed bugs so hard to kill? Because they can, and do, hide everywhere and anywhere, and you have to track them all down. First, you need to vacuum every surface in the house, including baseboards, furniture, mattresses, box springs and bed frames, as well as shelves, curtains, carpets and so on. You should also get rid of all the accumulated clutter (which bed bugs absolutely love) and carefully launder bed linens and clothes.
Then you can go about the business of spraying Sterifab® to finally eradicate these pests. More about Sterifab later, however.
As invasive pests go, cockroaches are not only notoriously difficult to find, but equally tough to permanently remove. However, there is one surefire way to reduce their numbers right away: Deny them food! Cockroaches invariably cluster in areas that provide food (yours, for the most part), so eliminate their sources of nourishment and they will seek sustenance elsewhere. As a matter of habit, you should store whatever fruits and vegetables you can in the refrigerator, and keep flour, cereal, grains, sugars or other food stuff in sealable bags, boxes, or plastic bins.
Tracking down cockroaches is hard, too, although they do have an affinity for debris of all sorts, which might include stacks of cardboard, magazines, and newspapers, as well as those dark spaces in and around water pipes. (Cockroaches need a constant source of water to survive). To help keep them out permanently, check your basement, attic, and around the outside of the house for any visible cracks or gaps, and seal them off. In addition to searching under all your appliances, you also need to inspect your appliances, as well as any cables, hoses, and ducts that might provide entry to these pests.
The jury is still out on which pest is the more dangerous, mosquitoes or ticks. Whatever the experts ultimately decide, there is no doubt that ticks carry diseases and infect tens of thousands of people in the US each year. And, contrary to popular belief, ticks carry more than just Lyme Disease. They also bring with them babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia. They are not just a pest, they’re a public health threat and need to be treated accordingly!
Get more facts about tick-borne diseases.
Ticks neither jump nor fly, and prefer to wait on tall grass and bushes before crawling onto their selected host. Any animal will do, but ticks have a particular affinity for deer; still they will also use us, and our pets (dogs or cats) to hitch a ride inside (where they can live for quite a while). So, if you have deer living in your neighborhood, chances are good that ticks do too! Also, be aware that many tick bites go unnoticed because they rarely itch or hurt.
To stay clear of ticks, try to avoid tick-friendly locations when you’re outside, treat your clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, and use safe, reliable EPA-approved insect repellent. Finally, check your pets, your self and your kids for ticks daily, especially if they’ve been outside.
These pests are not just a seasonal annoyance, a momentary nuisance that can be quickly swatted away, but one of the most dangerous bugs on the planet! According to the Illinois Department of Health:
“Today, mosquitoes transmitting malaria kill 2 million to 3 million people
and infect another 200 million or more every year. Tens of millions more
are killed and debilitated by a host of other mosquito-borne diseases,
including filariasis, yellow fever, dengue and encephalitis.”
And, like ticks, they carry their own panoply of disease, including malaria, St. Louis Encephalitis, Eastern and Western equine Encephalitis, California Encephalitides, Dengue virus, Zika and West Nile viruses.
Mosquitoes rarely breed indoors, so best to look for them outside, where they like to lay their eggs- usually in marshes, swamps, clogged ditches and temporary pools and puddles. You can also find their progeny tree holes, old tires, buckets, toys, potted plant trays and saucers, and plastic covers or tarpaulins. Anywhere, in fact, that water can accumulate. One of the reasons they’re notoriously hard to get rid of is because they’re simply so ubiquitous outdoors.
To control mosquitoes, the EPA recommends removing potential habitats. Get rid of “standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.” You should also empty and change the water “in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week.”
Using the appropriate pesticide can help to keep mosquitoes out of your own four walls, but the best defense is often creating a physical barrier. Block gaps in walls, doors, and windows, and ensure that window and door screens are intact.
If you are unlucky enough to have fleas in your house, they’ll make their presence felt very quickly. Your pets are the most likely modes of transport used by these tiny invaders, and their behavior is often the first sign of a flea problem. (Let the scratching and fur-nibbling begin!)
Fleas are particularly hard to get rid of for those of us with pets. Cats and dogs, in particular, pick them up outside and fleas thrive on them as hosts. Then, our furry friends transport the bugs inside, where they can make themselves all-too-comfortable houseguests.
But you, too, may fall victim to fleas, especially in the warmer months. You can protect your pets with flea treatments and, if you’re bitten, you can use one of the many effective topical OTC ointments designed to alleviate flea bites.
To get rid of fleas from your home, you’ll need a powerful, nonresidual insecticide, such as Sterifab. The nonresidual part is important, especially if you have pets or kids. It means that within 15 minutes of application, your cat or dog can head back onto the couch or into the room where you sprayed. Treat areas in which the fleas are congregating- sofas, chairs, under rugs and carpets, drapes, in pet bedding (always a likely spot), etc- and spray until they are all dead.
Of course, you’ll also have to hunt down the dormant fleas and eggs that are undoubtedly present. One small suggestion: Don’t use bug bombs to eliminate fleas. They often don’t work and you’ll end up right back where you started!
Best estimates put the world’s ant population at around 1,000,000,000,000,000- give or take a few thousand. Thus far 12,500 species of ant have been identified, although experts estimate that there may be another 9,000-plus that have yet to be classified. And of the 25 most common ant species in the US one is particularly troublesome: The carpenter ant.
Carpenter ants generally forage outside the structure they have chosen as ‘home’, but always create easy-to-use pathways to their nests within a building’s insulation, in its crawlspaces, or in whatever attics are available. And, while they don’t actually feed on wood, they can still do an enormous amount of structural damage. That’s why you have to hunt down the nest and eradicate them quickly.
Carpenter ants have an affinity for damp areas, such as framing or flooring that is soft and malleable, usually because of a leaky roof or water pipe. So, look for areas with water damage, such as attics, bathrooms and exterior walls. Cut holes and you’ll probably find the nest in short order. Then spray it with an insecticide.
The Key to Getting Rid of (Almost) Any Pest
There are many products on the market designed to eliminate bugs. Some are good; others not so much. There are even some that just don’t work. Period. But Sterifab does work, and it’s been the product of choice for pest management professionals and the public since its first introduction over 50 years ago!
Sterifab will kill nearly every kind of pest there is, including lice, ticks, dust mites, centipedes, bed bugs, fleas, sowbugs, ants, silverfish, roaches, firebrats, and many more.
Plus, it’s EPA-approved as an insecticide and a disinfectant. Better still, it won’t stain, has no added perfume or objectionable odor, and it’s fast drying and crystal clear. In fact, Sterifab can be used on almost all surfaces as well as mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and other porous surfaces.