COVID-19 has basically forced just about everybody to remain indoors, whether it is sitting at home (trying to keep busy) until the quarantine is lifted, or working in an office for those working for essential businesses. As we are forced to stay inside for as long as needed, it is important that we keep our homes or offices clean and free from pests. An added incentive would be to avoid clients and co-workers seeing a dirty place on a zoom call. With the pandemic going on, we can no longer rely on cleaners to do the job. Besides, it might not be safe just yet to let other people inside the house or office. So it is up to us to keep our own premises pest-free. But how exactly do we do just that? Do not worry, we got some tips if you just read along.
Life During COVID-19
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) first hit headlines back in December of 2019, as its first cases were confirmed in China, specifically in the city of Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province. Fast-forwarding to four months later, the disease has since spread worldwide, with more than 2.8 million reported cases across 185 countries across the globe, already killing over 200,000 at the time of writing.
The threat posed by COVID-19 has dramatically changed what we consider normal today, with international travel virtually banned in some nations, while dozens of governments now forced to issue quarantine protocols and promote the importance of social distancing in helping flatten the curve.
Amid the widespread pandemic, we now have become familiar with new terms we don’t always encounter just months before. These new terms include “flattening the curve,” “R0” (pronounced R naught), and of course, “social distancing.”
Also known as physical distancing, social distancing is pretty much explanatory. Basically it requires everyone to keep a safe distance between themselves and the nearest person, while in public, especially when going out on a grocery run, or an important errand. So far, when followed properly, social distancing really works.
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Pests Don’t Care About a Pandemic
Yes, there’s a virus spreading around at a nightmare-inducing rate, and we really need to be extra careful.
Unlike humans, pests aren’t really that concerned about maintaining social distancing. Pandemic or not, bugs will always be bugs, which means that cooperating with government-mandated health protocols will be the least of their worries.
But pest infestation can be prevented, as long as you take certain steps.
There’s a virus spreading around and we really need to be extra careful, but that does not mean we forget to ward off pests that might be invading our homes.
Steps You Can Take To Prevent Pest Infestation
These steps are all easy to do, and shouldn’t take a lot of time to accomplish. And even if they do, it would be worth your while in making sure your home or office is pest-free.
- Step 1: Tidy Up. Pests are attracted to bits of food, collections of dust in the corner, and piles of trash that are left attended. So make sure to clean your house or office regularly.
- Step 2: Store Food Properly. Don’t leave food on the table for long, and if you have to because the fridge is full, make sure to store them in water-proof containers.
- Step 3: Don’t leave dishes and utensils unwashed. Remember that pests are attracted to pieces of food instantly, no matter how minute the pieces are.
- Step 4: Dispose of your garbage regularly. The longer your trash stays inside the house or office, the more likely pests will converge on it.
- Step 5: Mind the cracks and the gaps. Some cracks might need more time to fix, but for those small enough to be sealed quickly, close them now (besides, you now have all the time in the world).
- Step 6: Use natural repellents. Essential oils can ward off pests, and you can even make use of certain plants that discourage infestation.
For more ideas about preventive measures against infestation, you can check out our DIY pest control guide.
Don’t be Afraid to Call a Professional Exterminator if You Need One
Bugs can sometimes be scary, so if you can keep it together personally dealing with them, a DIY approach should not be a problem. However, for those who just can’t do it, or facing an infestation that’s too big to handle alone, there’s no shame in acquiring the services of a professional exterminator. If you’re not convinced, you can check out our guide on the benefits of hiring an exterminator.
The great thing about calling an exterminator is that they have the experience and the equipment to get rid of the infestation. On top of that, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, most exterminators today usually maintain a no-contact approach when purging homes or offices of pests, so you can rest assured that you can stay safe from the bugs and the virus at the same time.
The standard procedure is to spray the exterior of the house or office, to prevent pests from entering the premises. But if you’re up to it, you can request exterminators to go back at a later time to do the interior spraying.
Pest control is widely considered an essential business, and as such, exterminators have already been briefed on safety just like other essential workers. They will be following social distancing procedures, wear gloves all the time, and practice proper hand-washing and disinfecting methods after every appointment.
Keeping Your Office/Home Pest Free During COVID-19 FAQ’S
Is social distancing the best way to avoid COVID-19?
In some ways, it is. If anything else, it certainly is a good way to start. But if you want to decrease the odds of infection even further, you can combine social distancing with proper personal hygiene and nutrition, regular hand-washing and disinfecting practices, and of course, keeping yourself healthy and your home or office clean and pest-free.
How often should I be checking my business space for pests during quarantine?
The frequency of checking may vary, depending on how big your business space is, and the nature of your business. If your office has some food in storage (like in the pantry), a quick daily check might be warranted, but only if you’re in the office every day. If you closed your office during quarantine, a weekly (or every two weeks) visit might be enough, as long as you made some preparations before the lockdown.
What are the toughest pests to deal with?
If you’re not dealing with a large infestation, ants, cockroaches, houseflies, and spiders should be manageable. Among the four, ants can be pretty tricky to eradicate, especially if they have already built a sizable colony under your house or inside your walls. In that case, getting professional help would be ideal.
What about allergies?
Insect stings can cause allergies, and cockroaches are known to trigger the same, as well as asthma. So if you have asthma or allergies, be extra careful when doing the cleaning yourself — always wear a mask, gloves and proper clothing, don’t use scented detergents or cleaning agents, and use a damp mop or fabric when cleaning floors or surfaces.
Can I trust professional exterminators?
Yes you can, but you need to communicate safety concerns early and clearly. Ask them about their usual extermination process, then request more information about how they’re gonna go about practicing social distancing and disinfecting methods. If they can provide straightforward answers to your inquiries, then they’re more likely to know what they’re doing.
What if the pests come back?
Some pests might appear again after some time, despite your best efforts. Don’t panic — it might mean that they’re coming from somewhere (the next door neighbor who’s not always home to do some regular cleaning, for instance), or there’s a new crack or gap that you haven’t discovered yet. Stick to your cleaning routine and you should be okay.