Pests in our homes can come in a variety of forms. From cockroaches to termites, bed bugs, mosquitoes, ants, lizards, rodents and more — pests can be found where we least expect them, posing a serious threat to our health and quality of life. In this guide, we’ll discuss the methods of pest control you can perform as an individual, and whether you should hire the services of a professional pest control company in Singapore.
What is Pest Control?
Pest control is the process of managing or eliminating of undesirable pests found in homes and commercial spaces.
Pest control can be reactive or proactive. Reactive pest control is when you take steps to control or eliminate an infestation after it has occurred, while proactive pest control refers to the preventative steps taken to prevent infestations from occuring.
Besides reactive or proactive, pest control methods can also be categorised as general or professional.
General pest control methods can be carried out by anyone and involve the use of off-the-shelf products like traps, repellents or pesticides.
Professional pest control procedures are performed by trained and licensed specialists certified by the National Environment Agency (NEA). These specialists are typically hired by a pest control company and make use of specialised tools and equipment to deal with pests in a safe and effective manner.
How Does Professional Pest Control Work?
When you hire a pest control company, their first step is to conduct an on-site survey and risk assessment of your pest situation. During this time, your service provider will perform a thorough inspection of your premises to determine the severity of your pest infestation.
After the inspection has been completed, the pest control company will share their findings and recommend the most suitable solution. The recommended solution should take into account your lifestyle needs and how the chosen pest control method affects your home.
Pest Control Methods
Pest control methods employed by a pest control company in Singapore typically falls under two categories: physical and chemical.
Physical pest control methods:
- Use of traps or bait stations to capture and remove pests
- Set up of pest proofing barriers to block pests from entering an area
- Destroying and removal of nests
Physical pest control methods are generally regarded as better for the environment and safer as it reduces exposure potentially harmful chemicals. Physical pest control methods are also consistently effective as pests are unable to build up any kind of resistance. However, this form of pest control method can take longer to deal with infestations due to the time-consuming nature of having to remove all the pests.
Chemical pest control methods:
- Poison baits in the form of gel or pellets, often used in conjunction with physical traps
- Insecticides that specifically target and kill insects, delivered via methods such as fogging or fumigation
Chemical pest control methods are widely used due to their effectiveness and fast results. This method can quickly take care of infestations and even prevent future infestations from occuring. Professional chemical pest control methods can involve strong substances that can be highly toxic to people and the environment — which is why they require a trained and licensed technician to carry out in a safe manner.
Frequency of Pest Control Methods
Depending on the severity infestation, you might need one or multiple instances of pest treatments. Usual frequencies for pest control methods are as follows:
- One-off treatments — Suitable for minor infestations or a quick-fix for a specific pest problem that is localised in one area. Can be carried out within hours.
- Regular treatments — Typically use for reoccurring pest problems, as well as long-term prevention. Can be carried out on a set schedule that can range from weekly or monthly or more.
- Intensive Flush-out treatments — Use for pervasive and serious pest infestations that have spiralled out of control. Can be carried out within hours or over the span of a few days depending on the infestation.
Why Hire Professional Pest Control Services?
There are many reasons why you should hire a professional pest control company instead of taking care of the problem yourself.
Many of us do not have the knowledge, skills and equipment to treat stubborn pests in the household. Without the right tools, it can be hard to tell the extent of an infestation. What we think might be a minor problem could easily be a major issue waiting to explode!
Furthermore, some of us may be afraid or have a phobia of dealing with a particular type of pest. While off-the-shelf, DIY solutions might be useful for minor infestations, they are often a short-term fix that only addresses symptoms. It is not uncommon for pest infestations to reoccur applying a DIY solution. Continued application of DIY solutions may also cause the pests to develop resistance to the chemical solutions over time as survivors pass along genes to offspring, eventually making the pest population harder to kill.
In contrast, professional pest control services target the source of infestations to wipe out the problem and ensure that infestations do not reoccur. They can also provide you with sound recommendations to manage your pest situation and prevent it from reoccurring. Overall, hiring a pest control company is more sustainable long-term solution that ensures you won’t need to continuously spend time and effort dealing with pest problems.
How Much Does a Professional Pest Control Service Cost?
The cost of professional pest control services can vary greatly depending on several factors.
Type of Pests
Costs for getting rid of common household pests like cockroaches or ants tend to be lower as they can be eliminated using simpler pest control methods. In contrast, eliminating more stubborn household pests like termites or bed bugs may require more advanced products and a combination of different methods which adds to the total cost.
The size of the treatment area also affects how much your pest control company will charge for their service. The bigger the area, the pricier the service will be. This is due to the amount of product needed and man hours spent.
Type of Treatment Used
The type of chemical solutions a pest control company uses can also affect how it prices it services. Factors that affect price include:
- Eco-friendly and low toxicity formulations
- Innovative or special formulations with rare ingredients
- The efficacy of the treatment and how much product needs to be used
Frequency of Treatment
Costs for professional pest control services can also increase depending on how often the service needs to be performed. This is highly dependent on the type and severity of the infestation.
Naturally, regular or intensive treatments will cost more than one-off localised treatments. Infestations that require a mix of methods to deal with can also drive up costs — such as an intensive treatment to flush out the pests followed by monthly maintenance treatments.
As you can see, it’s difficult to provide a fixed cost for professional pest control services due to the sheer amount of variation between each problem. The most reliable method is to shop around for quotes from different pest control companies after they have conducted a survey of your pest situation.
What Are the Most Common Pests in Singapore?
No matter where you stay, pests can show up where you least expect them. These are six of the most common pests in Singapore you probably have encountered at some point in time.
Ants are social insects that have an established caste system from queens to soldiers and workers. Worker ants are the most commonly seen as they explore our homes foraging for food.
Most ants are attracted to sugars, which is why you often find ants around anything sweet and sticky that has been left out for some time. Ants typically find their way into homes from cracks and crevices around doors and windows.
A telltale sign of ant infestation is when you notice active ant trails around your home, or live foraging ants in unconventional places like the bedroom or bathroom. You might also notice ant mounds which look like small piles of dirt around the house.
An ant infestation can be combated by insecticide residual spraying or gel baiting. Insecticide residual spraying coats walls and surfaces with an insecticide that kills ants that come into contact with the surface. Gel baiting involves using a poisonous gel formulated to be irresistible to ants — worker ants mistake the gel as food and brings the poison back to the colony to share with the queen, thereby killing the colony at its source.
Cockroaches are one of the most common and hated pests in any household. They are mostly nocturnal and are extremely fast, which makes them a challenge to catch. Cockroaches are also very hardy and can survive without food and water for at least two weeks.
Cockroaches are often found in warm, dark and humid areas like sewage pipes and drainage areas, and can enter your home through these entry points. As they often forage in unsanitary conditions, cockroaches can potentially cause serious health problems by carrying pathogens and germs into your home.
Katsaridaphobia — the fear of cockroaches, can be a real issue for many people trying to deal with this pest. Approaches to managing cockroaches can range from insecticide residual spraying to kill them as they make contact with a surface, gel baiting to kill them via consuming poison, or using glue traps to physically capture them.
Mosquitoes are one of Singapore’s most ubiquitous pests. Every Singaporean has experienced being bitten by a mosquito, and dengue is an ever-present health risk that we’re consistently fighting.
Mosquitoes only need a tiny puddle of stagnant water to start breeding and multiplying, which is why they are so prolific. This is why Singaporeans are always exposed to public information campaigns asking us to look out for areas of stagnant water in our homes to prevent mosquito breeding.
Depending on the species, mosquitoes can be diurnal or nocturnal. They feed by sucking our blood, which is how they spread diseases like dengue fever and zika. Mosquito bites also result in raised, itchy bumps which can be annoying to deal with.
The most effective way to deal with mosquitoes is to stop them from breeding. Barring that, general methods involve using repellent to prevent bites from occurring as well as off-the-shelf mosquito traps. Professional techniques include fogging or misting which uses pesticide released via a blower in smoke form to quickly and effectively kill adult mosquitoes in a large area.
The three most common species of termites in Singapore are Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood termites.
Termites often enter homes through cracks in concrete. They are prolific breeders and can grow at an extremely fast pace in a humid climate like Singapore’s. If you spot a single termite, it is advisable to immediately seek a pest control company before the colony grows into an unmanageable size. Because they are capable of living inside wood, a colony of termites can go undetected until they cause serious damage.
The telltale signs of a termite infestation include damaged wood, hollow-sounding wood or tapping sounds within wood structures. You may also find small brown fecal pellets left behind by the termites. They are attracted to damp, moist areas and use mud tunnels to remain hidden and travel.
Pest control methods for termites range from preventative to curative. Preventative termite control involves using termiticide before and after construction to get rid of termites and prevent them from colonising the area.
Termite baiting treatment is used if a termite infestation is found. It involves inserting tubes of bait into calculated areas for termites to eat. Worker termites responsible for foraging food take the bait which stops their ability to moult, eventually, fewer termites are available to collect food which eventually starves the colony.
Read also: 5 Ways to Keep Your Home Free from Termites
Bed bugs are nocturnal ectoparasites that are often hidden amongst our beds, cushions, pillows and curtains. They feed on human blood and leave red, itchy bumps when they bite. Bed bugs are prolific breeders that can lay an average of five eggs each day.
Taking care of a bed bug infestation can be a challenging and time-consuming affair. It is hard to detect bed bugs as they can easily hide in cracks, folds, seams or crevices within bedding.
Telltale signs of a bed bug infestation include finding itchy rashes on exposed skin after sleeping, or tiny blood stains on your bedding.
Professional methods to treat bed bugs include identifying potential areas of infestation before low-volume misting a fine water-based insecticide capable of penetrating cracks and crevices. However, as this method can only target adult bed bugs, repeated misting is necessary in order to eliminate the bed bugs from unhatched eggs during the previous pass.
Rats and Rodents
Rats and other form of rodents like mice are intelligent, adaptive creatures that sneak into our homes via openings for water pipes, electric wires, sewer pipes, drain spouts and vents. Depending on the species, they can be excellent climber and swimmers, and are able to gnaw on small openings in order to make them larger to fit through.
Rats and rodents are pests because they carry diseases that can make us fall sick, and cause property damage when they chew through wiring. Telltale signs of rat infestations include rub marks on floors and walls, dirt tracks throughout your home, signs of droppings as well as gnaw marks on wires and cables.
Professional pest control methods for rodents include physical glue traps, sealing of potential entrance points as well as rodent-proofing doors and windows to prevent them from entering.
What Are the General Pest Control Methods?
General pest control methods are DIY or off-the-shelf products designed to help you deal with pests. They are intended to be a short-term solution, often addressing symptoms and not targeting or resolving the source of the infestation.
- Physical traps like sticky ant traps, sticky flypaper or mouse traps
- Bait traps that contain a food attractant for the target species to consume
- Aerosol insecticides that kill the pest on contact
- Insect repellents and other natural products that allow you to mask your scent from pests
The best way to prevent pests from entering your home is to ensure your space is always clean, neat and clutter-free. Habits like disposing trash regularly, cleaning spills immediately and disposing of unwanted items before they pile up go a long way into preventing the environment that attracts and allows pests to thrive.
Nevertheless, general pest control methods can be useful to help manage pests on your own before you call a pest control company.
Do’s and Don’ts of Pest Control
Pests are a nuisance and can be challenging to manage once they’ve found their way into our homes. Most of the time, pests are attracted to our home due to easy access to food, shelter and water.
With the right practices, we can prevent pests from invading our living spaces. It’s also important to observe safe practices when handling pesticides as the chemicals they contain can have an adverse effect on our health.
Follow these useful do’s and don’ts of pest control to keep yourself safe and your home pest-free.
Do’s of Pest Control
- Always clear uneaten food immediately and do not leave uneaten items unattended or extended periods of time.
- Store food in sealed containers and do not leave food out in the open.
- If possible, clear your trash daily or as often as possible. Ensure your trash cans are tightly covered.
- Do not let unused items clutter up your living area and give pests a place to hide. Clear things like newspapers, magazines or cardboard regularly.
- Inspect and close off places where pests can enter or hide such as holes in your cupboard or a missing cover for a drainage pipe.
- Always follow the instructions and safety warnings on the pesticides you are using. Do not spray pesticides all over the room if it is intended for a targeted location.
- Always check if the pesticide contains chemicals that are safe to use for homes or around pets or children.
- Always keep your pesticide sprays or baits out of reach from children or pets.
Don’ts of Pest Control
- Don’t use pesticides that are intended for outdoor use indoors. These pesticides often contain chemicals that remain toxic for longer and cannot be adequately dispersed in an enclosed environment.
- Don’t assume two pesticides are the same. Always read the instruction label with regards to dosing and use within an enclosed environment.
- Never spray or use more than the recommended dosage. Extended exposure to excessive amounts of pesticide can negatively affect health.
- Do not use empty pesticide containers to store food or beverages. Pesticides can remain in a container and cause poisoning even after repeated washes. Any containers you use to store pesticide should be used to store pesticides only.
Don’t Let Pests Affect Your Quality of Life
If you have a pest problem, don’t waste your time and effort on short-term fixes or DIY methods only for them to show up again weeks later.
Get professional pest control services to survey your home and rid yourself of annoying pests today. At System Pest Control Services, we provide pest management services for a safe, clean and pest-free home.
Contact us and let’s discuss how we can help with your pest situation.