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Prevention Of Pests

( Originally Published 1918 )

Household pests are annoying, dangerous to health, and destructive to property. They carry disease germs from one person to another and from the lower animals to human beings. Absolute cleanliness is essential, if the house is to be kept free from pests. As a rule, they flourish in dark, damp, dirty places. With proper care the house-keeper can keep her house free from them and, if they are noticed, she should know how to exterminate them.

A few simple methods of extermination are here given :

Bedbugs.--Kerosene should be poured into all the cracks, and a brush, dipped in kerosene, run briskly over all surfaces. Care must be taken to have no fire in the room while this is being done. The windows should he open, and the room should he kept free from dust. ln four days this should be repeated, in order to kill any hugs that may have just hatched.

Cockroaches and waterbugs.—A solution of one pound of alum to three pints of water should be poured into all the cracks. Insect-powder and borax are also effective. Absolute cleanliness and freedom from dampness are necessary, if the house is to be kept free from cockroaches.

Ants.—Oil of cloves or pennyroyal on pieces of cotton-batting scattered about in the places where ants appear will drive them away. saturating the nests with coal-oil will destroy them, Food which attracts ants should he removed from places which they are able to reach.

Rats and mice.—These are best exterminated by the use of a trap or some preparation such as " Rough on Rats". Traps should be set nighty and should he scalded and aired after a mouse has been caught. Rat holes may be stopped by sprinkling with chloride of lime and then filling with mortar or plater of Paris.

Mosquitoes.—These breed in swampy places, or in old barrels or kegs or tin cans which hold stagnant water. Therefore, if the swampy places are drained and the grounds about the house are kept free from stagnant water, the housekeeper will, as a rule, not be troubled with mosquitoes. Empty barrels or kegs should he inverted, and old tin cans should have a hole punched in the bottom. so that they will not hold water. All high weeds near the house should be cut down and destroyed, so that they will not provide a damp place in which to harbour mosquitoes. If it is impossible to get rid of all standing water, the breeding of mosquitoes can be checked by pouring kerosene oil on the water. One ounce of oil on fifteen square feet of water is sufficient, and this will have to be renewed at least once in ten days. The doors, windows, and ventilators of the house should be well screened, as a protection against mosquitoes.

Flies.—These are one of the greatest carriers of typhoid and other germs, as well as filth of all sorts. They can be got rid of only by destroying the breeding places and killing the flies as rapidly as possible_ Materials that attract them should not be exposed in and about the house. The house should be well screened with wire mesh or mosquito netting, in order to keep out the flies. A By swatter should be kept at. hand. The stables should be cleaned daily. Manure piles should be screened, and every effort should be made to kill the larva) by frequent spraying with kerosene, creoline (dilute creosote), or lime.

Fleas.—These will lie troublesome if eats or dogs are kept in the house. These pets should be given frequent baths, the rugs on which they lie should he brushed and shaken daily, and the floors should he washed with soap and water and wiped with kerosene.

Moths.--These are apt to develop in woollen clothes unless the garments are thoroughly shaken and absolutely protected by wrapping in newspapers before being put away. Woollen garments that are used only occasionally should be kept in a light, dry place, examined frequently, and hung in the still occasionally. Moths or carpet beetles can be exterminated by the use of kerosene.


Give this lesson at a time when the pupils are asking about household pests or when the school is suffering from them. It would be well to have it in the spring, just before the school closes, so that the pupils may immediately put into practice what they learn. It may be desirable to devote their efforts to the destruction of one particular pest ; for example, a fly crusade may he inaugurated.


If there are pests in the school-room, discuss their habits, what seems to attract them, where they come from, etc. Have the pupils report any that they may have at home. Explain why they are dangerous, tell how they can be exterminated, and assign to each pupil the task of exterminating one household pest. Have her report, each day, the success of her efforts. Continue this work for several weeks.

Pests in Homes, Gardens, Landscapes, and Turf
Ohioline: Yard and Garden: Insects and Pests

Household Science in Rural Schools:
Prevention Of Pests

Removing Stains, Bleaching Fabrics, And Setting Colours

Washing Dish Towels, Aprons, Etc.


Care Of The Baby

Cost Of Food, Clothing, And House

How To Keep Accounts

Care Of The Exterior Of The House

Discussion Of Foods And Cooking

Preparing And Serving Vegetables

Read More Articles About: Household Science in Rural Schools

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