The most important step in getting rid of pests is removing or securing all food sources to which the pests have access. It is also essential to attend to any places in the home where pests like to nest or congregate.
The type of pest plays a large role in determining how to go about removing them. Ants, for instance, primarily eat sweet foods such as fruit, candies and soft drinks. Removing these foods--or at least keeping them in secure containers--is the first step in controlling an ant infestation. Mice and rats prefer carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, pasta and flour, but these rodents can eat virtually anything quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to remove or secure all foods to deprive the pests of nutrition.
While often effective at controlling stubborn pests, traps and poisons should only be used when safer strategies fail. Traps and poisoned bait are most effective at controlling rodent infestations. Commercially available pesticides are effective at controlling minor insect problems; however, serious insect infestations typically require the services of a professional exterminator.
Exterminators have access to more effective pesticides as well as the knowledge of how to safely use these chemicals. Pest control professionals are also necessary when combating termites, as these destructive pests are difficult for an untrained homeowner to personally remove.