We hate to talk about them but most of us have household pests. From the usual household fly to weevils, rodents, or even those bugs we can’t see, all of them should get our attention. Household pests can carry foodborne pathogens or disease. The process of prevention, treatment and disposal takes consistent effort and determination. Consider these ideas to rid your space of pests.

Rodents: Mice are difficult to prevent from entering your home as their bodies don’t have bones but rather cartilage, which explains why they can get into spaces the height of a dime. They do eat most of the night but may rest during the day. To prevent encouraging entrance to your homes, make sure spaces around pipes and electrical wires are sealed. Take household waste and place into bags and remove garbage frequently to a secure container. Rats must eat all day long to help decrease the size of their teeth, which never stop growing. Unlike a mouse, rats do have bones in their bodies but may also get into small spaces. Carriers of disease, these rodents like to swim and can enter a home through pipes. Follow guidance for mice and involve a professional pest management team eliminate all rodents from your home, apartment or business.

Flies: Common flies touch their food source and liquify it for their use. The antennae they use to pierce our food or garbage may carry pathogens or disease from everything they touch. To prevent this, keep doors and windows closed and use a screen to deter entrance into your residence. Remove garbage regularly from your home to a secure outside container. Hanging tacky or sticky traps may catch flies, as well as using the common fly swatter. Dispose of dead flies with care, by not touching them with your bare hands and properly washing your hands after contact.

Keeping our living spaces clean and food surfaces sanitized helps remove pathogens we can’t see, which pests may have left behind. By educating ourselves in best practices to manage pests, and obtaining a professional pest management system if needed, we can keep our homes and businesses free of pests.

Julie Buck, EdD, RDN, is a registered dietitian, who is employed as a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator at the University of Idaho Extension, Bingham County. She can be reached at (208)785-8060 or jhbuck@uidaho.edu.