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15 Things Your Exterminator Won’t Tell You

Sometimes you really need an exterminator—sometimes you don't. Learn what professional exterminators would never tell you about pests.

Dead cockroaches in an apartment house on the background of the water faucet. Inside high-rise buildings. Fight with cockroaches in the apartment. Extermination.torook/Shutterstock

Dampness is the enemy

Roaches LOVE water. That's why they gravitate to moist, dark environments such as damp basements and you see them skittering down kitchen and bathroom drains. Even your pet's water dish could be attracting roaches. Dry out your sink and tub after each use and eliminate leaks.

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Bananas are your friend

Here's a trick for trapping roaches, according to Bob Vila: Rub petroleum jelly along the inside of a canning jar, just below the rim. Drop a piece of banana in and place the jar wherever you've seen roach activity. The banana will lure the roaches in, and the jelly will keep them from getting out. (These are the things mosquitos absolutely hate.)

Lepisma saccharina walking on a white wallJorgeOrtiz_1976/Shutterstock

Silverfish love water, too

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that don't harm humans but can destroy your books and your upholstered furniture. If you're seeing silverfish, you probably have a moisture problem somewhere. Check drainpipe connections and water supply lines, Bob Vila recommends, and repair any leaks. And make sure your bathrooms are ventilated.

Close-up Of Person Hand Using Lice Comb On Patient's HairAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

They don't deal with head lice

"Head and body lice are a medical issue and there's no reason to call a pest management company," exterminator Keith Willingham told Woman's Day. In addition, not every exterminator deals with every species. For example, with termites, you might want to call in a termite specialist, such as Sentricon, which a study by Texas A&M found to be effective in decimating termite infestations.

Many ants are walking on the wall. While the men's hands are using spray to eliminate.kram9/Shutterstock

Ask a lot of questions

Before you hire an exterminator, ask what kind of chemicals they use, how long you need to be careful around the sprayed area (and whether you need to keep children and pets away), and whether they've ever failed to eliminate an infestation. Extermination is not an exact science, so mistakes can happen. The real question is, "How did you follow-up after you failed to eliminate an infestation?" Be sure to check for requisite licensing and certification; also ask if they have a trained entomologist on staff.

Next, find out the 19 secrets your landscaper won't tell you.

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