From ants to termites to the critters in the chimney, pest control should be a top priority for homeowners and property managers alike. To effectively control pests, you should focus not only on eradication, but also on ways to proactively prevent pests from entering your property in the first place. Just as important, you want to take care of the pests without creating any new hazards to your family or tenants.

black and white typewriter
By Erin Golden
Steps
6
Difficulty
Moderate
Time Required
1Weekend
Estimated Cost
$$$
STEP ONE

Consult Pest Control Professionals for Advice

Research online and gather references from family and friends to find reputable pest management companies, then compare their services. If you're a building owner, talk to other property managers in your area. It’s important to get bids from several firms and to find out key details, including the work the service provider guarantees and the length of that guarantee, as well as steps you can take to ensure effective pest prevention on an ongoing basis.

In some cases, you may also be required by law to hire a professional if you plan to apply chemicals such as pesticides. For example, in Ontario, landlords cannot spray for pests in tenant spaces unless they’re a licensed exterminator.

STEP TWO

Identify Where Your Pests are Coming From

Inspect your area. You might have windows that are not sealed tightly, decaying wood on the outside of the building, or rotted shingles. After you find the source, you should look into why you might be attracting pests. It’s helpful to think about pests wanting many of the same things we do: food, water, and shelter. Modifying or changing some of those constraints can greatly reduce or control the population.
STEP THREE

Take Preventative Measures

Take steps to protect your property from attracting pests:

  • Keep sitting water away from the building by installing gutters.
  • Replace mulch, which can be a comfortable environment for rodents, with crushed stone.
  • Ensure food is kept sealed, and empty garbage cans and larger trash containers frequently.
  • Seal all doors and windows properly.
STEP FOUR

Purchase the Right Pest Control Products

Regardless of how work you do to discourage pests, you likely will have to eradicate at some point using chemical applications or other methods. There is a range of products available, many of which contain low toxicity and more natural ingredients. 

For example, a popular ant killer is a hockey-puck-shaped bait that has boric acid. Ants pick up the pesticide and hand it off to one another, eventually killing the entire colony. You can use this product in place of more traditional spray-application pesticides that can irritate your eyes and lead to skin rashes. Another increasingly popular product is a bedbug eradicator that contains crushed seashells, resulting in a powder that dehydrates the bugs.

Some of the harshest chemicals have been taken off the market in Canada, and they’ve been replaced with a growing number of human- and environmentally-friendly products. Check out our buying guide for environmentally friendly pest control products for more information. 

How To Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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