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Use Your Vacuum As a Pest Control Tool

By Chris Williams on January 14, 2016.

Did you know that vacuuming is a very useful tactic in controlling pests? In fact, professional exterminators use specialty vacuuming as part of their Integrated Pest Management programs for certain accounts.

While vacuuming will rarely eliminate a pest infestation completely, utilizing it as a first step often means that other control measures will be more effective. The more pests that you can remove with a vacuum, the fewer are left to control and the amount of insecticide needed can be reduced.

Vacuuming Removes Pests and Their Food Sources

Vacuuming can remove the pests themselves, the food that they feed on, their shed skins and egg cases, and their droppings. Vacuuming is used to monitor for pest activity by removing old evidence of pests such as mouse poop or sawdust left by wood borers so that you can see if new evidence appears. Vacuuming up debris and insect body parts also removes insect “aggregation pheromones, ” chemicals that attract more pests to the area (see Cockroach Poop Attracts Others to the Site).

Vacuuming is especially useful to remove pests from sites where pesticides can’t be easily used such as around electronics or animal cages, or inside stoves and refrigerators. Vacuuming, along with traps or insecticide baits, is a good treatment plan where there are infants, or elderly or ill people who might be sensitive to the use of pesticides.

  • In flea infestations, vacuuming fluffs up carpet fibers meaning better penetration of insecticide.
  • Small numbers of certain fall-invading pests such as stink bugs and lady beetles are best controlled with a vacuum.
  • A vacuum with an extension wand is a good way to remove spiders, their webs and egg sacs.
  • Vacuuming up pet hair and lint that collects in corners and under furniture can help with a carpet beetle infestation.
  • Vacuuming can remove clusters of bed bugs while they are still grouped together and before other control methods cause them to scatter. 

No Special Equipment Needed for Preventive Vacuuming

Exterminators use specialty vacuums with extenders and attachments but your home vacuum can also work for pest control. A vacuum with a beater bar or powered head does the best job of removing pests (such as flea or carpet beetle larvae) and debris from carpeted areas. Use a handvac or a crevice tool to reach cracks, crevices, and corners where cockroaches hide. Just be sure to empty the vacuum or the vacuum bag into a sealed plastic bag for disposal so you don’t have eggs hatching or insects emerging from your vacuum.

The one caution is to be sure NOT to vacuum for a week after pest control service so you don’t vacuum up the pesticide residues that need to remain on surfaces.

Since vacuuming alone won’t eliminate a pest problem, give Colonial a call. Our technician can work with you and can advise you on when and how to vacuum if you want to help eliminate pests. The two of you and your vacuum can be a formidable team! For more on vacuuming as a part of pest control, see these blogs:

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