Good housekeeping is often the best defence against disease carrying household pests. If you’re noticed cockroaches or rats scurrying about in your home, it might be time to pay more attention to dark places and food storage areas, where they generally congregate.

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Image: Andrew Poh I.D.

Here are some of the more common pests, and how to get rid of them.

Cockroaches
These insects are extremely hardy and can survive for up to three months without food and a month without water. They can nest almost anywhere – from behind refrigerators to inside bookshelves – but are most often found in warm and moist places like kitchens and bathrooms.

What to do:
Scrub your home with soap and water, using stronger cleaning solution in suspected infestation areas. Move heavy furniture pieces away from the wall when doing so, and let the area dry thoroughly before putting them back.
Carefully inspect appliances and furniture that may be harbouring cockroaches, and dispose of any you cannot clean thoroughly.
Keep problem areas (under sinks, behind pipes, inside seldom used drawers and cupboards_ fastidiously clean, and give stored up items a regular airing.
Glue down loose wallpaper, repair cracks and close up any nooks and crannies that may make inviting nesting spaces.

Mosquitoes
Check out spots with stagnant water, which may be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

What to do:
Modify or eliminate any place or item that collects water. Look past the ground level- water can collect in roof gutters, window ledges and tree holes.
Cover any stored water
Change uncovered water, like in vases, at least once a week.
Increase ventilation as mosquitoes dislike the breeze.

Ants
Ants can be found anywhere, especially near sweet things.

What to do:
Keep branches away from the walls of the house –that’s often how ants get in.
Patch up wall cracks and crevices to minimise nestings.
Don’t overwater your plants, ants may wander in when their nests are flooded.
Wipe up food crumbs and split drinks, and wash used utensils immediately.

Rats
Older homes are more vulnerable to invasion by rodents, but they are also attracted to food and mess

What to do:
Clean out piles of old boxes, clothes or books.
Clear out food waste and store it in a tightly closed trash bin.
Store all the food in tightly closed trash bin.
Store all food in tightly closed, sturdy containers. Rodents can gnaw through bags and even containers.