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Help! My House... Has Pests

September 4, 2017

With Singapore’s tropical climate, our homes are the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of unwanted creepy crawlies. Leave a plate of food wide open? Those flies and ants be coming like the wind. And don’t forget cold, slimy lizards or spiders that bring out the worst of our arachnophobia. While you can't get rid of them entirely from your life, you can prevent them from showing up at your door - find out how you can keep these 5 common household pests away from your home.

1. Ants

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Chapter One

Most Singaporeans have learnt to co-exist with a stray ant or two. It’s inevitable – these critters are often found when there’s food and drink. If trails of worker ants are constantly showing up the moment you put your plate down, it could point towards a nest (and a Queen ant) setting up colony near or within your home. It also means that your home may have holes or crevices that allow these tiny ants to infiltrate your space.

How To Get Rid of Them:

1. Block up all access to your home:

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Cozy Ideas Interior Design

Check for any holes or gaps in your corners, grouting or carpentry, and patch it up with plaster. Your electrical wiring or water pipes count too - you'd be surprised how resilient ants are in crawling through treacherous environments.

2. Discourage them from coming into your home with smells

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: KDOT Associates

Ants don’t like the smell of citrusy fruits like lemon. Take some lemon juice and apply them in crevices or cracks where ants could enter. Or a 50/50 vinegar and water combination always works. Ants are equally repelled by the smell of vinegar – spray them in gaps or other entry ways where ants could enter.

3. Use an ant bait to get rid of the colony – for good.

If those ants are still coming strong despite all attempts of preventing them, get an ant bait for a long term solution. Containing food laced with insecticide, the bait attracts worker ants who carry the poisoned food back to the rest of the ants and the Queen – eradicating the problem in the bud.

2. Cockroaches

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Aestherior

More reviled than ants, cockroaches can be found anywhere (even in new houses), and are known to spread harmful bacteria or trigger allergies. There are many reasons why they show up; you may have brought them from outside (their eggs can stick onto pretty much everything) or they may have crawled through your plumbing or sewage system. Cockroaches prefer dark and moist places, like the underside of your sink cabinet, corners or crevices.

How To Get Rid of Them:

1. Cover all holes and gaps

That includes windows or doors, if you’re living on the lower levels. Also, make it a point to check regularly for any cracks or holes in your pipes, drains or vents.

2. Clear all traces of food

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Starry Homestead

Like ants, they like your food - don’t leave any food out in the open, or dirty, unwashed dishes overnight. Clear your rubbish every day, and invest in a tight-fitting lid that the cockroaches can’t easily slip into.

3. Clean up and dry up

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: D'Initial Concept

Cockroaches like wet places too. Regularly check for any water leaks, and fix them immediately. Likewise, don’t leave pools of water around in your bathrooms, kitchen sinks or your indoor garden/balcony.

4. Kill them with kindness

Not by swatting them or spraying insecticide. Instead, consider using cockroach baits which (similar to ant ones) attract roaches to feed on the poisoned bait. When it dies, the poisoned cockroach eaten by other cockroaches will then pass it to the rest of the gang – killing them all.

3. Spiders

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Summerhaus D'zign

From nightmarish Tarantulas to deadly Black Widows, it’s no wonder why so many of us suffer from arachnophobia. However, most spiders are harmless to humans – and actually help to clean up your place from other pests like ants and flies. These creepy crawlies can be often found in untouched corners and piles of books, boxes and clutter.

How To Get Rid of Them:

1. Declutter

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Studio Fortyfour

We said it – spiders love weaving their home in places you’d least touch – AKA clutter. Whether it’s in your storeroom or bedroom, clearing out your space is bound to reveal hidden cobweb corners to get rid of.

2. Suck them out (along with their eggs)

Sweeping and vacuuming every inch or corner of your space is one way to eliminate spiders, their webs and eggs in one go.

3. Use peppermint/tea tree oil to repel them away from your home

The smell of these ingredients is said to deter spiders, who hate the smell. Dab a little oil on your windowsills, doors or crevices where spiders can enter or build their nests in.

4. Lizards

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Ascenders Design Studio

Lizards come around your home when there’s food to catch (or simply eat). Though they may be beneficial in terms of clearing other pests, their pale, slimy bodies are definitely not one you’d want lurking about in the house. Lizards can easily creep into your home from windows, open doors, and any open corners or crevices and can often be spotted behind furniture or picture frames.

How To Get Rid of Them:

1. Lower down and cover up

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Ciseern

Reduce the chances of lizards entering your home from the outside by closing any entry points (like windows and doors) often. If possible, choose a door with a smaller gap from the floor, so those critters can't slip in from below.

2. Don’t make your home the brightest on the block

Thought of installing a front door lamp? Lizards are attracted to light, so skip the idea, unless you want these extra visitors in your home.

3. Concoct your own repellents

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: KDOT Associates

  • Place garlic cloves in areas where lizards would usually hide (like the back of furniture), or mix garlic or onion with water and spray them on problem areas (like doorways, corners).

  • This may seem a little odd, but place empty eggshells in corners and crevices where lizards are prone to come by. Lizards are instinctively afraid of the smell, which reminds them of their natural predators – birds.

5. Mosquitoes

Interior Designer: Create

Nothing but trouble, these annoying flyers suck our blood, leave red, itchy bumps and if you’re unlucky enough - can lead to a serious bout of dengue fever. Thankfully, NEA has drilled into us about mosquito prevention methods in the house – for instance, it's common knowledge that still waters are the perfect places for these insects to breed. But besides keeping your area dry, what other methods are there?

How To Get Rid of Them:

1. Get BTI dunks for your water features

Pests in the house


Or basically, anywhere that’s difficult to drain away water, like your fish tanks. BTI (a kind of bacteria) dunks don’t pose a threat to your aquatic organisms – but it does to mosquito larvae. When fed upon, the larvae explodes, effectively preventing them from turning into adult blood suckers.

2. Keep your area windy

Pests in the house

Interior Designer: Ciseern

Just as they need still waters to breed, mosquitoes move faster in still air. These pests will find it hard to move against wind speeds of 3 kmph, so keeping your home breezy with ample fan power is enough to blow them away from you and your home.

A little preparation goes a long way.

A smartly designed, well-built home can be better equipped to keep those pesky bugs away. And we can help - request for a quote here, and we can match you up with 5 interior firms, based on your style and budget for free.

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