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Thread: Your tolerance for pests in the home

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Your tolerance for pests in the home

    How tolerant are you of pests in your home? No, we're not talking about unannounced visits from in-laws, we're talking about mice, spiders, ants, bats, termites, fruit flies and other various vermin.

    Ladybugs are considered one of the few 'cute' creatures in the insect world. They seem to make an annual appearance in my home study right around this time of year. They don't get into food and the most annoyance they present is perhaps landing on the keyboard, computer screen, or mouse while in use. Their numbers are also generally small and I know they will disappear of their own accord in a month or so if I do absolutely nothing. I can't say the same of ants as we've had repeated problems over the years with carpenter ant infestation - we generally have a 'kill on sight' policy for ants. Junior noticed last week we have a chipmunk who has made a home in our garage. I'm hoping once spring weather gets here our visitor will leave but Mrs. Maister has already started grumblings about 'getting rid of that thing before it gets inside the house'. The jury's not out on that one yet.

    If you see a lone spider walking along a wall near the top of your arm's reach will you grab a newspaper or do your Buddhist impulses to live and let live prevail? What about a lightning bug? An ant? 5 ants? How about stray dogs and cats that show up in your yard? Which critters will you accept in or around your home? Which pests will you attempt to wrangle with yourself or call a pest control service to deal with?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    In my house there is screaming and possibly crying over any insect until I kill or remove it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Scary looking spiders = kill
    Non-scary looking spiders on the floor or other horizontal surfaces = catch and release
    Non-scary looking spiders in a web near the ceiling = leave alone until I have the vacuum cleaner out next (sorry guys), or catch/release if it is scaring my son.

    I used to not kill just one ant until I realized they were the "scouts", so now I have to kill them so they don't bring in the troops. Because they WILL bring in the troops and then there will be an ant massacre.

    Gross or scary looking bugs get killed. Cute or benign-looking ones (lightning bugs, ladybugs, moths etc.) are left alone or captured/released outside.

    Anything larger than that that somehow makes it into the house I just try to get it out (unless the cat gets it first). Except for the one time a skunk got under the house, then I called the landlord immediately and made them send someone over with a trap as soon as humanly possible.

    I actually haven't had stray dogs/cats turn up in a long time, but I'd feed them if they looked thin, and then would call animal rescue (they are a no-kill shelter except for unrecoverable cases, so I wouldn't feel bad about calling them).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    If it's in the house it's gonna get squished. Other than lady bugs, I'll carry them outside.
    Scary looking spiders get squished anytime I see them. Except tarantulas, I pick them up to play with them.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    My tolerance for pests has increased dramatically since moving to my current apartment. I am not freaked out by the occasional German cockroach, it's common to apartment living. Usually I just squish on site, eliminate what they are after, and seal up holes between the apartments with blow foam. Last summer we had the appearance of large American cockroaches, these suckers are 1.5-2.5" long and FLY. I was not a happy camper, apparently they live in sewers and come up through the pipes. Gross.

    Our latest installment in the pest saga is mice. There are mice in the building. I don't like mice at all. Neither does RT who screams like a banshee. I've trapped 5 of them and plugged up every possible gap in the floors and walls so I haven't seen any recently. Captain can hear them in the walls though and goes nuts trying to scratch through the wall to get at them.

    Small spiders I leave alone, big spiders are caught and released outdoors. Haven't had much of a problem with any other pests except for house centipedes when I lived at the university.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I kill all bugs and insects on sight. It's my house and the can get the hell out.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Does this include children?
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I kill all bugs and insects on sight. It's my house and the can get the hell out.
    I will add mice and snakes. Living in an old house, we have had all 4 of them on occasion... in the same month.

    The mice were few and far between, so we had a live trap and would let them go behind the garage. Our oldest loved it, until a neighbors cat jumped from the fence and grabbed the mouse as it ran from the trap. My son thought that it was awesome and wanted to feed the cat more mice.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I will add mice and snakes. Living in an old house, we have had all 4 of them on occasion... in the same month.

    The mice were few and far between, so we had a live trap and would let them go behind the garage. Our oldest loved it, until a neighbors cat jumped from the fence and grabbed the mouse as it ran from the trap. My son thought that it was awesome and wanted to feed the cat more mice.
    Gotta love kids. At my MIL house she had a mouse problem so she put out some poison in the garage. One day the kids found a bunny in the garage (he didn't make it). They were fascinated by the dead bunny (first time seeing a dead animal). Soon after we went to the Grand Canyon and stopped by the gift shop. The little one found a bunny stuffed animal, immediately wanted it and named it "dead bunny". We still have dead bunny today.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    The little one found a bunny stuffed animal, immediately wanted it and named it "dead bunny". We still have dead bunny today.
    Gotta love kids
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    My tolerance for pests has increased dramatically since moving to my current apartment. I am not freaked out by the occasional German cockroach, it's common to apartment living. Usually I just squish on site, eliminate what they are after, and seal up holes between the apartments with blow foam. Last summer we had the appearance of large American cockroaches, these suckers are 1.5-2.5" long and FLY. I was not a happy camper, apparently they live in sewers and come up through the pipes. Gross.
    .
    I have these guys too (the American ones). They are massive in cockroach terms. I hate them. I've had a few mice in this current house, but I haven't been able to catch them. I had a baby snake last summer too. That was mostly my fault though. I leave my back door open so the dog can go out. I have a magnetic screen there to keep most of the bugs out though.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Montana is blessed in one way - we don't have a lot of insect pests. No fleas. Not a lot of ticks, but of course some of those can have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Mosquitos are only found where it is wet. You will only find roaches in the kitchens and pantries of restaurants (they escape from boxes of fresh produce).

    Hornets were a bit of a problem for a few years in my yard, but then someone told me to put out the hornet traps very early. That way you catch the queen and no queen, no colony. Nary a hornet all last year.

    Alder bugs are our main household insect. They are harmless. They are only pesty because they come inside in the winter and there can be a lot of them. I generally adopt a live and let live policy toward them.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  13. #13
    Errr, I live in the Deep South. The pest control companies have shot gun racks to take care of the bigger problems. Our spiders include brown recluses. The ants are fire ants and you steer clear of ant hills. We also have gators. I've had to deal with the occasional cockroach, been bitten by a fire ant and bitten by a juvenile brown recluse. Outside of that, I don't have a problem with pests.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I don't have much of a problem with bugs. Since I live in the country, I do need to contend with mice. I recently spotted one in the recylcing bin in the garage. Though not liking it, I am willing to concede the garage since it is hard to seal. I also get them in parts of the house. They don't get into the living areas, but they do make it into the basement and they do make it into the attic areas or into walls because of the poor quality sheathing and poor job of sealing gaps done by the builder. I would really like to eliminate these mice and have been trying to seal up any gaps I encounter. At some point I will remove the attic insulation and have it foamed to seal all gaps.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    Moths are scarier than all other creatures and no sleep will be had until any and all moths present in the bedroom are exterminated or shoo'd. For the most part, I am incapable of doing this myself. I've been up till 3 or 4 in the morning sometimes over trying to get rid of a large moth with a broom.
    Same goes for 'leather jackets'/'flying daddy longlegs'/'mosquito-eaters'/whatever you like to call those huuuuge dopey giant mosquito-looking guys. They tend to get stuck in my hair, which I find blood-curdling.

    Mice, don't care. Really prefer that they don't be killed. I haven't lived in a place with mice in years, but I used to live in an apartment with tonnes and a roommate who was deathly afraid (they were the little ittybiddy tiny cute ones and back then I ate exclusively at restaurants, so I didn't care about the unhealthy side effects of mice in the kitchen)... and I was always very sad that he would kill them

    Ants, yuck, kill with vacuum. Spiders, scream until someone deals with it. Unless its small, in which case, use someone else's shoe, never my own. If its large and I'm on my own, hairspray to death.

    Hate lady bugs.

    Hate wood bugs, ear wigs, and silverfish.

    Wasps freak me out. That's another one I can't sleep with in the room.

    Overall, I really hate bugs.

    Bedbugs are rampant in Vancouver, I think I might die if my apartment ever got them.

    I've never seen a cockroach and I hope I never will.

    Outdoors there are abundant skunks, raccoons, and coyotes in the city. Bears and Cougars in some neighbourhoods.
    I don't mind raccoons, but running into a coyote at night tends to be kind of a scary experience.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    In the present house we have had carpenter ants and rats (bushy-tailed wood rats are very common here). Exterminator dealt with both problems. Spiders I see as allies and let them live. Ants get killed. In the house we lived in before this one we were in the forest. Rats and mice I trapped (deadly traps). Bats I captured and released. The worst problem was ladybugs in the spring. One ladybug = cute. Hundreds of ladybugs = horribly stinking mess. I vacuumed them up and released them outside. The neighbor's house was worse for ladybugs: thousands in the west bedroom every spring. Vile smelling creatures.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Errr, I live in the Deep South. The pest control companies have shot gun racks to take care of the bigger problems. Our spiders include brown recluses. The ants are fire ants and you steer clear of ant hills. We also have gators. I've had to deal with the occasional cockroach, been bitten by a fire ant and bitten by a juvenile brown recluse. Outside of that, I don't have a problem with pests.
    I remember living in Charleston and having GIANT sized mosquitoes and a few big sewer roaches. We also had a gator that hung out down by the river next to our apartments. We would feed it left over hot dogs.

    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    Moths are scarier than all other creatures and no sleep will be had until any and all moths present in the bedroom are exterminated or shoo'd. For the most part, I am incapable of doing this myself. I've been up till 3 or 4 in the morning sometimes over trying to get rid of a large moth with a broom.
    Same goes for 'leather jackets'/'flying daddy longlegs'/'mosquito-eaters'/whatever you like to call those huuuuge dopey giant mosquito-looking guys. They tend to get stuck in my hair, which I find blood-curdling. .
    To freak you out a little more, try living in Arizona where the occasional scorpion is normal, my friend had a rattlesnake coming into his yard (shovel took care of that), I checked in on the neighborhood tarantula (big guy), and as a kid torching black widow nests was a favorite past time. Honestly though, not too many normal pests in Arizona. I had a mouse maybe once, few flying bugs, although look up the palo verde beetle - that sucker scared the crap out of my wife. They can be up to 6 inches long and yes they flew. You can hear them coming. And don't forget the lizards, there were always a few running around the back yard and we had a couple living in our carport, but they're nice, they eat the pests.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    I remember living in Charleston and having GIANT sized mosquitoes and a few big sewer roaches. We also had a gator that hung out down by the river next to our apartments. We would feed it left over hot dogs.



    To freak you out a little more, try living in Arizona where the occasional scorpion is normal, my friend had a rattlesnake coming into his yard (shovel took care of that), I checked in on the neighborhood tarantula (big guy), and as a kid torching black widow nests was a favorite past time. Honestly though, not too many normal pests in Arizona. I had a mouse maybe once, few flying bugs, although look up the palo verde beetle - that sucker scared the crap out of my wife. They can be up to 6 inches long and yes they flew. You can hear them coming. And don't forget the lizards, there were always a few running around the back yard and we had a couple living in our carport, but they're nice, they eat the pests.
    We don't have too much of problem with mosquitos because the local governments spray for them. We also have little anole lizards, which are kinda cute. Like you said, they eat bugs, so we are cool with them. We don't have mice problems, but then again, we have feral cats too.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    By chemical or physical means, they all die.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    Around here everything is manageable except for the damn Stink Bugs. It is a rare day to not see one walking up a wall, even in the middle of winter. They are very hardy and fit into the smallest gaps to hide from the cold and when it warms up at all they are out and about. Summer is actually better because their food is outside, not in. Was really hoping the bitter cold this winter would impact their numbers but preliminary reports are not encouraging.
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  21. #21
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    We've had problems with meal bugs (I think that's what they're called) on a few occasions. They get into open flour bags and before you know it they're in cereal boxes and pasta too. We end up throwing out all the food and for a while go on a 'keep all things with powder consistency in zip loc bags phase' until laziness and inconvenience overtake us and we stop bagging those things. The meal bugs usually return within a year or two.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  22. #22
    Cyburbian terraplnr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    Spiders, scream until someone deals with it. Unless its small, in which case, use someone else's shoe, never my own.
    This cracked me up, I do the same thing too, I hate the idea of squished spider on my shoe!!!

  23. #23
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    At our previous home, we had quite the issue with roaches. It was less about that house than the entire area of downtown which is infested. A nighttime walk reveals copious numbers smashed on the sidewalks and many more scurrying in the leaves. Gross. But we lived with them. They were not inside much so that helped. They lived in the woodchips and leaves and had a few nests on the property. We got the pest control folks to spray a synthetic pyrethrum which is made from chrysanthamums and is relatively harmless to animals. They say its totally safe, but I can’t imagine that anything resulting in that scale of death can be entirely ok. Twice a year curtailed it. Mostly.

    Beyond that, we are quite tolerant of bugs and such. We have plenty of spiders around and, save for the black widows, I generally leave them alone. Or casually remove them so they don’t nest and make more. But I don’t really mind them and they are usually too fast for me. Lizards stay outside. We don’t have much of an issue with mosquitos given how dry things are here. Up at some rural land we own in western NM every fall there is a huge explosion of stink bugs and they find their way into every crack in the buildings, no matter how tightly I seal everything up. They are nasty and..stinky. Also late in the summer there are tons of june bugs up there at night. Big, clumsy beetles that endlessly smash into the screen door so long as you have a light on. They look drunk and make a weird sort of sucking sound, but are otherwise harmless (unless you have long hair in which case they can get pretty tangled up and hard to remove).

    Outside the house the critters to look out for are porcupines, raccoons (though not many of those around here. Growing up they were a real nuisance) and coyotes. And rabbits if you have a garden. Tons of them around now if you are out around dusk.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  24. #24
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Once the weather starts warming up, we always have a lot of tiny little grey spiders. I don't care for spiders but these ones don't really bother me. I will vacuum them up or squish them if they are nearby and I have a shoe on. Otherwise I only bother with them if they are on the ceiling directly above a bed.

    When we first moved in, we always had a lot of little pill bugs all over the place that would come in and dry up and die. At first I was disgusted by them but then I slowly got used to them. Over the past few years I cleared away a lot of the organic material (mulch and shrubs) that was right up next to the foundation and I sprinkle some diatomaceous earth down a couple times a year and that seems to have helped a lot.

    Last year the ear wigs were out of control and I'd find a few in the house every week. Those were disgusting. I heard from a lot of folks in the area that they were having similar problems with them.

    Every once in a great while I'll see a silverfish or centipede in the house and they make my skin crawl for hours. My usual inclination is to kill them with fire, but I don't know if my homeowner's policy would cover that.

    I've never seen a mouse or bat (or other rodents like that) in the house but they honestly wouldn't bother me too much. My wife on the other hand would be calling a Realtor to find a new place to live if she ever saw one though.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  25. #25
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    We are very "live & let live" in our house. The only things that get killed are bugs I know are poisonous (brown recluse & black widow spiders are most common). Haven't had a rodent in the new house, but I have a "live catch" trap from the old house that I'll use and then release said rodent in a field away from the house. Our house is really tight, so I haven't had any major insect issues--no roaches, etc. We tend to get flying insects more than anything. I'll tolerate wasp nests as long as they are not on a part of the house near a high traffic area (like a doorway). If I get stung though I will eliminate the source.

    Scorpions & centipedes are killed on sight.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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