Let my recent experience help you with something no one wants to think about, let alone, talk about...
When Autumn arrives, most of us think about preparing our homes for the colder weather, switching out clothing closets from spring/summer to fall/winter, wrapping up the summer tables and chairs, eating all things pumpkin or squash, and getting ready for the Holidays.
Well, there is one more thing to prepare for… and I don’t mean to scare you, but we have to talk about it... prep our homes and apartments for PESTS!
Note: I will be saying pests versus what they are because it skeeves me out. I am mostly talking about Jerry (from Tom and Jerry) and Mickey & Minnie… you get the gist.
Sharing My Story
Unfortunately, I recently came across some “evidence” of pests in my apartment and I FREAKED OUT! Ready to move out kind of freaked out!! I am sharing my story because of my FEAR, experience, and an article on October 17th, 2020 listing the top 10 cities with the largest pest problems - and NYC is at #3! Now, I understand the building I live in is responsible for taking care of things like this. However, my experience has been that any work they complete (painting, repairing, etc) tend to be subpar and around their schedule, and ain't nobody got time for that, so I decided to take care of this myself. It was either that, or moving - my fear is REAL! Luckily, my friend recommended a great pest service he used in the past, Better Deal Pest Management, Inc.
A few days later, Commercial Pesticide Applicator, Ralph Davis, conducted an assessment of my apartment. So why/how did I have pests? Because when the building replaced my kitchen cabinets, counter, and sink, they left a hole where they can enter… WAIT for the explanation of pests and the sizes of holes at the end!! A couple days after the assessment, he did the work. Although, it took me at least a week for me to feel more comfortable in my apt, particularly the kitchen, Ralph's 2 week follow-up visit gave me the green light; there wasn’t any evidence of the pests returning. Although I have an idea of what helps with pest control, and I do have a system in place in my apartment, I wanted a professional for specifics, how-to’s, and information I do not have. So, I asked Ralph “How can organization help pest prevention?”
So what should you do?
Every building has an exterminating service contract, so let the building manager know you want a pest inspection done as soon as possible. Don’t wait for evidence if you can prevent it. If you’re like me, you can have a pest service , like Better Deal Pest Management Inc, perform an inspection for a reasonable fee. *Depending on the building you live in, they may cover the costs if you decide to get your pest service, just double check with the building manager first. If you live in a home, ask your neighbors, friends & family for referrals and call the pest control company for an assessment. An assessment is great because it allows for the exterminator to let you know of any issues they find, what can be done about it, and gives you an estimate on fee and length of time it will take.
Book the service. Don't forget to ask the exterminator what you should do to prep your spaces according to the kind of pest control. Apt dwellers: if the building will take care of the assessment and service, make sure they also give you dates and times of all appointments.
Prepare your home for the assessment. Again, there may be different prep work according to the kind of pest, or where you live, so make sure you ask what that should look like for you. With my new experience, start a day or two before the assessment by removing everything from every closet, around walls, corners, doors, radiators, behind curtains, kitchen cabinets, etc. Place everything in the center of the room, and/or on the bed in a bedroom. Please, take this opportunity to throw out items you don’t use or haven’t used, expired foods, crusty items, anything corroded, or just plain nasty looking.
Get help to prep from family and friends. If you do have a lot of items don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Here are a few tips from Better Deal Pest Management, Inc:
Get rid of clutter. When things are cluttered, you are giving pests a home. The less items you have the better for you. The better organized, in the right organizing product, the better. And if you think about it, it will make it easier for you to clean up or maintain. Paper, newspapers, magazines, and cardboard are favorites of roaches and insects.
You should be able to see most of your floor in each room. Get things off the floor: replace big and bulky furniture with furniture that have legs. This also makes the room feel lighter and makes it easier to clean under it.
Place furniture away from wall by about 3 inches to be able to see and clean behind it. With a space between the wall and furniture, you can clearly see if anything has fallen back there. Media centers may need more space because of wire management.
Do not block radiators with furniture. Pests come through the radiators and they can easily make your sofa a home (eeeww)!
Organization allows you to notice problems. Organized items partnered with routine cleaning will nip things in the bud. For instance, I have an organized and clean under cabinet with a liner on the floor. So I knew there were pests when the paper label of my jug of vinegar was shredded around it.
You should go behind your stove and refrigerator from time to time. I don’t like doing it so my Dad used to do it for me, but he passed away a few years ago, and I have not done it. Move your oven and fridge every so often ( every 3-6 months) to not only clean and vacuum, but also to check for any evidence of pests. It is important to not have dust and grease build up as pests are attracted to it. This aligns with my advice to deep clean every 3-6 months during the week you are changing out your clothing closet. More on kitchen organization and pest control on another post.
Better Deal Pest Management, Inc. 718-882-0206 firstname.lastname@example.org
Okay now I’m at the point where I will explain holes and pests. Hold on to your favorite pillow or blanket for this one… Ready?
A mouse only needs a hole the size of a dime to get in, and a rat only needs a hole the size of a quarter!! Can you believe that! I was so skeeved out when Ralph told me this that I did not cook that day, lol.
Here are a few To-Do's Better Deal Pest Management, Inc. suggest:
Do the 35 cents test. Walk around your home/apt with 35 cents - a dime and a quarter - and inspect all your walls and cracks in closets, around radiators, behind stove and fridge, under cabinets in kitchen, everywhere. Any hole that you see that is the size of a dime or quarter need to be plugged up. In my opinion, plug EVERY hole regardless of size, but that’s my fear talking.
Clean regularly. I don’t think I need to explain this one.
Less really is more. Less items means less places for pests to destroy, or make a home in. Also, a Commercial Pesticide Applicator (or Exterminator) like Ralph, can not do his job properly if you have too much stuff. They can only do so much, and will not be able to resolve your pest problem in its entirety if they can’t see or get to the spaces that need service.
Better Deal Pest Management, Inc. serves the NYC Tri-State area for all Pest Control needs. Contact them at email@example.com or call 718-882-0206
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Organized by Catherine O organizes all areas of your home, maximizes your space, and problem-selves time management and productivity challenges. We are based in New York City and serve the NYC-Metro area.