By the time your tenants get around to contacting you about a critter problem, it has probably progressed fearfully far. As the landlord, performing a sweep on your properties periodically will likely save you from having to enter emergency mode, which inevitably equals expense.
It is important to recognize that critter invasion is an all season problem. In the summer, bugs are growing and thriving, so naturally they will be ever present. In the cooler seasons, critters will be looking for a way to escape the elements, thus they will be drawn to indoor environments. People often act irrationally in the face of the 6 or 8-legged creatures, so staying ahead of such a problem may also save your property from small damaging acts of violence against these powerful forces of nature.
There are simple measures to get ahead of critters before they ruin your life. This is ordered from most extreme circumstances to least extreme- preventative measures, because it’s always better to end on a good note.
- RAID and capture! This repellent is pure poison, and will likely make a big impact on your critter problem, but it is full of harmful chemicals that are not healthy for the environment or for humans to breathe in. Only in an extreme invasion should RAID be applied, and with caution. In such a case, keep an airflow going in the house, with fans and open windows, and apply it at a time where the residents won’t be home bound. Best practices for RAID are to spray, then vacate for a few hours. It is also recommended that a mask is used to avoid the harmful chemicals as much as possible.
- Death by suffocation! Bleach is another strong poisonous repellent. This is especially recommended for extreme spider problems, and should only be used in rooms that will not be damaged by bleach- mainly bathrooms. The fumes created by bleach will eliminate most spider problems, particularly in enclosed areas. The best practice for bleach applications is a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water in a spray bottle. Put on a mask and shower cap, eye protection, and remove any material that could be damaged by bleach. Spray ever corner, nook, and cranny of the bathroom, shut the doors, and leave for 24 hours. Any critter life in the bathroom will be suffocated.
- Cayenne Pepper is not just for cooking! This is especially effective for ant problems. Use this for small ant invasions. Cayenne pepper can be sprinkled around doorways and frames, windowsill perimeters, and any door and window areas with poor insulation. Lightly wet the sprinkled cayenne with a water mist, for highest effectiveness. Most critters will not appreciate the strong and spicy effect of cayenne, and will succumb to the fumes.
- Poison, that will do it! This is a non-invasive solution to keep the critters under control. The beauty of ant poison is that it only takes a few drops, and a few ants to carry it back to their colony. It works like magic. Everyone is dead upon delivery. Be careful using this if you have pets, or small children in the house. It could be very harmful for a cat or dog to ingest, and worse for a child. Read directions before using.
- Zap them dead! Electronic Plug Ins are highly preventative critter contraptions that are extremely non invasive. These magic plug-ins emit electronic waves, only detectable by the smallest of creatures, specifically bugs and spiders. When the critters detect these, they will stay as far away as possible. These can be purchased on Amazon. Make sure and read reviews before purchasing. There are levels of quality, and not all are created the same.
- Hippy Style! Eucalyptus and Peppermint Oils are some of the most natural repellents for pesky critters, best used to control critters before ultimate multiplication. Because it is a pleasant and non toxic smell, it can be used year round, as an extra measure of prevention. These oils can be purchased on Amazon. 4-5 drops in a water filled spray bottle will do the trick. Spray generously and often on linens, curtains, carpets, bedding, and even walls and blinds.
- Caulk and Tape like a redneck! This measure is something that really should have been addressed BEFORE bug problems appear, but, if you have any holes or cracks in your ceiling, these are perfect avenues for spiders and bugs to either enter from attic areas, and perfect undisturbed areas to lay eggs and nests. These areas should be caulked closed, or for a VERY temporary measure, taped up. Ultimately these areas need to be addressed with a more permanent solution.
- Screen the strangers for danger! If there are not screens in every window on a property, there is a bigger problem. Don’t wait for pesky problems to do the right thing! Lack of screens, particularly in the summer, is an open invitation for bugs. Tenants that love fresh air will have window’s open in the summer, and especially if your property is older, without AC, the windows will be consistently open. Screening all your windows is an elementary solution that could be found in "Landlording for Dummies".
- Keep corners consistently vacuumed. It’s where the egg sacs are built and thrive. This is a tip you can give your tenants. It’s simple housekeeping, but younger tenants may not yet be in the habit of vacuuming and cleaning. If you paint a frightening enough picture of a bug infested house, they will faithfully perform this task without your bidding. Simply addressing the corners, and keeping those webs out before they even have a chance to add a home for baby critters is a huge preventative measure that may save you from having to apply measures 1-6.