How to rid your home of moths, ants, bedbugs, fleas and other pests –

As the song goes, into each life some rain must fall. You just have to hope its not a deluge. Sometimes though, the smallest troubles loom large and feel bigger and more pressing than they really are. I certainly think this is the case when it comes to household pests.

It always feels horrible to know you have this kind of visitor. Theyre even worse than those bores who witter on about bins, traffic and parking (though after a year of no visitors, truthfully I might even welcome them). In part, I think its because the presence of pests hints at less-than-perfect housekeeping, of dirt, and with that comes feelings of shame. Well, lets banish those for a start. Most of us will host some or all of these critters at some point in our lives. The most important thing is to act swiftly and ruthlessly. Procrastination increases the population, and therefore how hard it will be for you to rid you of your pests. Heres how to show them the door.

Find out where they are coming from and seal up the holes. Make sure you clean up any sweet, sticky drips and dribbles, such as from honey or jam. Pilot ants navigate by pheromones, so to disrupt the scent, wash down trails with a mixture that is half-and-half water and distilled white vinegar. They also, apparently, dislike the scents of peppermint and lavender, so a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with some water and a slug of vodka (this helps disperse the oil in the water) will help deter them.

Once, after a trip to Australia, I brought back more than an Akubra hat. In my suitcase was the horror that is bedbugs. I didnt even know what they were until horrible, itchy round red bites appeared on my legs. It seemed a particularly revolting, Victorian-urchin thing to be afflicted with.

In the end, I called in an exterminator, who was marvellously gothic in his description of his battle against these tiny beasts. It was all he did. (Not quite all, as he did hand me a flier for his fetish club on the way out. People have rich interior worlds.) Wash everything you can at 60C, vacuum thoroughly and get the contents of the bag or cylinder out of the house immediately, then call in the experts, as it is almost impossible to get rid of them yourself. Either contact your local council, or the British Pest Control Association (

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How to rid your home of moths, ants, bedbugs, fleas and other pests -

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