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How to Get Rid of Singapore House Pests: Cockroaches, Ants, and More

(This article was last updated on 18 Feb 2022.)

Turn your home into a no-fly zone with these pest control tips.

Although some creepy crawlies are good to have around – like for example, spiders, which feed on harmful insects, or lizards that do the same – it’s more likely than not that you’d want to keep all of them at arm’s length (or preferably, much further) if you’re reading this article.

But the question is, how exactly can you deal with these unwanted house guests without getting too close?

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Of course, there’s always the option of nuking your kitchen/living room/immediate surroundings with the nearest can of insecticide spray you can find, but as with personal health, the real solution is prevention.

Here are 5 common house pests that you’ll encounter in Singapore – and more importantly, some helpful tips to keep them away for good!

How to get rid of mosquitoes at home

Plain and simple: mosquitoes are nothing but trouble. These annoying flyers leave itchy red bumps where they bite, and if you’re unlucky enough, you may even get a bad bout of dengue fever after these bugs leave their mark.

The first step in controlling mosquitoes is simply by getting rid of any stagnant water in breeding spots/containers like pails, vases, and pots. But you can also do more by:

1. Placing BTI dunks in places that constantly accumulate water to kill mosquito larvae

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BTI (or Bascillus Thuringiensis Israelensis, if you prefer its full name) is a type of bacteria found in soil that functions as an insecticide. And since it specifically targets mosquito larvae, it’s most certainly useful in nipping the problem in the bud.

Place these dunks in hard-to-access areas that are likely to accumulate stagnant water, such as empty planter boxes or roof gutters, to curtail mosquito breeding.

2. Ensuring proper housekeeping is done on the regular so that mosquitoes don’t thrive

Uncovered containers left exposed to the elements and clogged gutters are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes, so get rid of them to minimise the likelihood of having bloodsuckers as unwanted house guests.

3. Keeping mosquitoes away by ventilating your home spaces

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Keeping your fans on is a natural thing to do in sunny Singapore, but it’s also an effective (albeit simple) solution to keep mosquitoes at bay. A constant direct breeze will make it hard for mosquitoes to fly straight, and even harder for them to land on you for a bloody sip.

How to rid your home of house flies

House flies are a nuisance mostly due to the health risks that they pose. Aside from being carriers of harmful bacteria like E.coli and Shigella that cause intestinal-related illnesses, these pests are also capable of spreading serious diseases like tuberculosis and typhoid fever. Downright dirty, if you ask us.

To get rid of house flies from your home, you can start by:

1. Storing or disposing leftovers properly so that they don’t attract house flies

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Any food that’s left out in the open will inevitably draw the attention of house flies (even if it hasn’t gone bad), which is why covering up and/or disposing of your leftovers properly is important.

For instance, if you’re using an exposed trashcan, don’t leave a filled trash bag sitting in it overnight. Instead, toss the contents immediately after every meal/dishwashing session so that you don’t end up sending party invitations to any nearby swarms.

2. Cleaning your pet’s litter box regularly to prevent house flies from using them as breeding grounds

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Part of being a responsible pet owner is cleaning up after your furry friend is done with business. And you’ll definitely want to do that because just like rotting food, animal waste is a prime breeding ground for house flies.

Estimations suggest that a female house fly can lay up to 500 eggs over 3 to 4 days, which means you’ll be faced with an infestation faster than you can recover from a session of food poisoning.

How to deal with drain flies in a bathroom and/or kitchen

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Although they’re also widely referred to as moth flies because of their fuzzy bodies and scaly wings (which make them almost seem cute), drain flies are in fact… just regular flies.

These pests are most commonly found around shower floor traps, and occasionally, in kitchen and bathroom sinks. Like mosquitoes, drain flies tend to make their nests in areas where stagnant water is present.

1. Use boiling water OR a mixture of white vinegar + baking soda OR mothballs to kill off a drain fly infestation

Hot water and/or a mixture of white vinegar + baking soda are widely touted to be efficient solutions to a drain fly problem when poured down water traps/drainage points.

Flushing your pipes regularly with these liquids twice a week (or more, if necessary) helps to get rid of drain fly-attracting organic matter, like hair and body grease, accumulating unseen in the depths of your home’s plumbing network.

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Likewise, mothballs are an effective infestation answer. Simply place one of these spherical pesticides over a drainage point, cover it with a plastic container, and watch the drain flies drop like, well, flies.

2. Create a hygienic bathroom environment that drain flies can’t thrive in

Keeping your bathroom clean isn’t a direct solution to a drain fly infestation, but it can most certainly prevent a population explosion of these pests.

Drain flies thrive and lay their eggs in organic matter, so ensuring there’s no build-up of these substances is one way to prevent a colony from growing.

How to prevent ants from infesting your house

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Most of us are used to seeing an ant or two show up when there’s a meal sitting on the dinner table, but if a trail of them appears, it’s highly likely that you’ve got a colony hiding out unnoticed in a corner or entering your home (sweet home) via an ingress from the outside.

Either way, here’s what to do apart from covering your food:

1. Apply lemon juice or other repellents around the perimeters of your home

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Ants dislike the citrusy smell of lemon, so slice up a couple of these juicy fruits and make some repellent with them.

Similarly, a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water works just as well in putting ants off. Use a spray bottle to quickly apply this natural solution near door/window gaps or wall cavities.

2. Use ant bait to get rid of a colony – for good

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The best hunters are the ones who know their traps, or more specifically, the best spots to place them. If you’re patient (or desperate) enough to get rid of an entire colony plaguing your home, follow a trail of ants back to their hiding spot(s) and place one of these deadly poison traps right at their doorstep to eradicate them.

How to get rid of a cockroach infestation

Though they’re the final entry on this list, cockroaches are easily the most reviled (and also, feared) pests that homeowners have had the misfortune to deal with.

Their egg sacs can be glued to hard-to-access areas like the walls of an under sink cabinet, while fully-grown adults of some cockroach species can withstand downwards forces of up to 900 times their body weight.

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So make no mistake, these insects are the hardiest household pest, being able to survive any half-hearted attempts on their lives. If you see one scurrying around, be sure to go all out with one of these prevention/eradication methods.

1. Keep them away with pandan leaves, but don’t skim on the insecticides

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Pandan leaves are a strong natural cockroach repellent that you can place around your house to deter them from entering, but if you’re already facing an infestation, this solution won’t be enough to eliminate them.

You’ll have to invest in some cockroach bait, which will (hopefully) kill every last one of them off when they consume their fallen brethren’s poisoned corpses. (Yes, cockroaches are cannibals.)

Failing that, a call to a pest control service might be in order.

2. Seal up ingress points like windows and rubbish chutes to keep cockroaches out

If you’re living on a low-floor unit in a high-rise block, your rubbish chute might be a potential ingress point for cockroaches.

One way to deal with the problem is to spray a generous amount of insecticide down your chute before sealing up the edges with tape – also, be sure to do this prior to fumigation days, lest there be a chaotic exodus into your home when you least expect it.

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The same goes for windows, check for gaps where roaches might be able to enter, patch them up (if possible) and spray some insecticide to keep these harmful pests where they should always be: far, far away.

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