Have you ever switched on the light at night and seen something scuttle across the floor? What’s more frightening, there may be even more of these unwanted guests living in some dark corner of your home.
There are several types of common household pests in Singapore such as ants, lizards and cockroaches. Lower floor HDB units are more susceptible to pests as they can crawl up and enter through windows or the rubbish chute — that’s one of the reasons why those higher floor units cost more.
When not managed properly, these creepy crawlies can multiply rapidly and you may need to call pest control services. Let’s take a look at what attracts common household pests into the home, what you can do to prevent them and when to call in an expert.
How to prevent or get rid of ants
- Clean up food crumbs
- Buy ant bait
- Spray DIY home solutions
- Call pest control if you see Pharoah ants or have an infestation
Generally harmless, the most common type of ants found in many households are ghost ants or sugar ants that are attracted to sweet food. The most obvious step is to clean up any food crumbs and keep all food storage containers sealed properly.
If you spot signs of a slight infestation, you can easily buy ant baits from supermarkets such as NTUC Fairprice, Lazada, Shopee or Watsons. There are also natural DIY quick fix solutions — though not scientifically proven — that you can try such as spraying a mix of vinegar and water near ant trails or boiling lemon or orange peels as the oils in the peels are supposedly toxic to ants.
There are other types of ants that may invade your home that are more dangerous. Pharaoh ants are yellow or light brown in colour and may bite, while carpenter ants, which are larger in size, are attracted to moisture and chew through wood.
One thing to know is that pharaoh ants are resistant to insecticide and spraying them will only scatter them to other parts of your home. If ant baits and DIY methods don’t seem to be working and you see new ant trails popping up, it’s probably a good idea to call pest control services.
How to prevent or get rid of lizards
- Lizards are generally harmless
- If you want to get rid of them, spray mosquito repellent
- Or place garlic pieces and/or eggshells near their hideouts (usually dark, damp places)
- Call pest control if you spot eggs and baby lizards
If you’ve heard a high-pitched chirping in your home, it’s most likely a lizard making that noise.
The common house lizard is a harmless household pest compared to other nastier creatures that carry diseases or bite humans.
Lizards usually come in through cracks and gaps in the house. They tend to live near water sources and prefer damp and dark places such as under the kitchen or bathroom sink. They also like to hide under the refrigerator or furniture and near plants.
However, lizards can be beneficial as they eat flies and other small insects. In fact, having them in your home may even be a sign that there are other insects around.
If you want to get rid of them, DIY solutions include spraying mosquito repellent or putting some garlic pieces or eggshells near their hideouts as they hate these smells.
One or two lizards are no cause for alarm but if over time, you notice more baby lizards around, there could be a nest somewhere and it’s best to call in a professional.
How to prevent or get rid of termites
- Keep home clean and dry
- Check all wooden furniture and dark, moist places
- Do not spray insecticide
- Call pest control if you have an infestation
If you start seeing any long brown trails that look like dried mud, it’s most likely a sign that termites have invaded your home.
They can come in through gaps in the wall or structure and travel through mud tubes to feed on wooden furniture and take food back to the queen. Termites prefer dark and moist places so the extent of the infection may be even worse than what you can see.
The first thing is to not spray the tubes with insecticide as this can scatter the termites to other areas. Check all wooden furniture near the tubes. It’s probably better to dispose of the entire piece of furniture if it has already been infested.
Your best bet is to call in pest control services to manage the problem and they can check if termites have infested other parts of your house too.
In the future, try to keep your home as dry as possible and regularly check that there is no leaking from pipes or air-conditioners.
Tip: Call your local Town Council if you need to dispose of any bulky items that have been infected as they can do it for free!
How to prevent or get rid of cockroaches
- Keep rubbish chute area clean
- Check wet areas of your home regularly (toilets, mops, etc)
- Use cockroach bait
- Call pest control if you spot eggs or have an infestation
Living with roaches is an absolute nightmare and the fact that these creeps are so resilient and can still crawl around even after dousing them with insecticide makes it even more stressful.
Cockroaches are attracted to dirty environments and they can come in through the rubbish chute, especially in older HDB flats with one inside the home.
Sealing up your rubbish chute isn’t ideal because you still need to use it. You can clean the area, empty your bins regularly, wash dirty dishes thoroughly and check areas near moisture (mops, pails, toilets, washing machines, etc) regularly.
You may have heard that using pandan leaves can help repel cockroaches but this just drives them away to somewhere else. Cockroach baits work for the occasional roach or two but if you spot cockroach eggs (which look like little brown capsules) you’ve got an infestation on your hands and it’s best to call in the professionals.
How to prevent or get rid of rats
- Keep rubbish chutes and food areas clean
- Try natural solutions like peppermint and white vinegar to repel them
- Do not try to catch them yourself
- Call pest control if you suspect an infestation
- Red flags include rat burrows, droppings, rub marks, gnaw marks and squeaking sounds
Like cockroaches, rats thrive in dirty environments and carry diseases. They seek out food, water and shelter and can usually be found near rubbish chutes and bin centres. They can also enter the home through the roof, sewers, windows and grease traps.
According to NEA, rat burrows, rat droppings, rub marks, gnaw marks and squeaking sounds are all signs of an infestation.
Don’t attempt to catch them on your own as you don’t know what kind of diseases they could be carrying. You can buy mouse baits (although some are not very humane), or try natural ingredients such as peppermint and white vinegar to repel them. But if there are more rats, a pest control service is your best bet.
Pest control services in Singapore
Having creepy crawlies about at home can quickly turn life into a nightmare and you may need some professional intervention. Here are some services to consider.
Disclaimer: These are some of the popular companies in the market. PropertyGuru is not affiliated with any of these companies.
Singapore Pest Control Service
For help with a pest problem at night, Singapore Pest Control Service offers a 24-hour hotline and can deploy teams from around the island to come to your rescue. It deals with the usual flies, mosquitoes, crickets, ants, cockroaches and rodents, and its experts are trained to inspect every area of your home and treat the problem.
You’ve got to hand it to Pest Busters for its website design and corporate video that look straight out of a military campaign. These guys take care of the usual household pests as well as brown dog ticks, and flying insects such as bees, hornets, wasps and cat fleas.
It’s got a whole range of smart technology products to get rid of your pest problem, including drones to scan hard-to-reach areas such as roof gutters and administer chemical treatments efficiently.
Rentokil is one of the more established pest control companies, having been around since 1964 and has presence in more than 60 countries. It specialises in all sorts of pests removal including termites, ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, silverfish, mosquitoes, bees, rats and even snakes!
Rentokil specialises in using the latest technology to accurately detect pests and deploy environmentally-friendly solutions. It also has pretty extensive resources on its website for people to learn more about pest management.
With a team of NEA-certified specialists, Pest Clinic focuses on not just reducing the pests but eliminating the source. Apart from specialising in removal of common household pests, its services also extend to bees, wasps, hornets, book lice, felas, snakes, ticks, millipedes and centipedes. If you suspect you have an infestation, Pest Clinic offers a free initial inspection.
Founded in Sweden, Anticimex has presence in more than 18 countries and styles itself as a “modern pest control company” that focuses on prevention. It uses a range of technology such as smart sensors, traps and detectors that are non-toxic and safe for the environment.
There’s also a 24-hour service hotline in case of a nighttime emergency.
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This article was written by Audrey A.. She can’t wait to move into her own place so she can finally get a cat (or two) and an espresso machine to fuel her love for flat whites. For now, she’s saving up and dreaming of her next trip.