A mysterious absence of pests.

I haven’t seen a pest in my house for years. No bugs, no mice, nothing. My house is in a permanent state of messiness, I am not a bit fastidious. In other words, I’d think there would be plenty for varmits to eat. And I don’t use any kind of pesticides.
So, should I be worried about insidious vapors or the like?

They’re biding their time…

You mean, like gathering at the gates? They’ve been biding for at least three years. That’s some very patient cockroaches.
I’m serious. I’ve never lived in a house that pests didn’t at least try to inhabit. And I’m 65 years old.

Your neighbors, by way of comparison, have much more to offer?

Believe me, I’ve thought about asking. But, “Morning neighbor, Got any roaches?”? Maybe I will.
I’m wondering if any dopers have the same situation. Remenber, I’m taking absolutely no preventive measures.

I sort of have the same situation. I’m in a townhouse, and all the townhouse units around me have a severe termite problem. I never see termites in my unit (and when they come to do the yearly inspection, they never find any). I also rarely see other insects (I do see the occasional spider, though).

They gutted the unit and remodeled a few years before I moved in. I always assumed that when they gutted the unit, they somehow treated the wood or insulation to minimize pests, but I don’t know anything about construction, so I’m just guessing.

My house is about a hundred years old. It’s what real estate people euphemistically call a “cottage”. The front room goes all the way accross, with bedroom, bathroom, bedroom going down the left side and dining room, kitchen, laundry room on the right.
Very airy. :stuck_out_tongue: Ought to be a varmit paradise.

Well, then, maybe the pests finished pillaging your establishment a long time ago and have moved on.

Or, maybe an Amazonian spider has mated with a house spider and is living in your wine cellar.

Clearly you need a much more controlled experiment.

Go buy an ant farm and set them free. Then get yourself some house centipedes and set THEM free. If after 12 months they’re all gone, start to worry just a little bit.

Would you like some ants? I have plenty to spare.

I actually thought about a canary, but I’m kinda woosy in that sort of thing. I shot a sparrow when I was about twelve, and that ended my Great White Hunter days forever.

Sure. I ate all mine.
If you remove all their food sources they’ll leave. Unlike cockroaches, ants are pretty picky eaters.
I know you didn’t ask for this, but what the heck. :wink:

All of your mice are at my house. I’m not kidding, I’m considering renting a couple neighbors’ cats to get the ones that are in my house. My barn cats are about overrun!

One thing about cats, if they like you they’ll share.:cool:

Oh, THANK YOU :slight_smile: for that list! I don’t know what they eat, I’m afraid they’re living in the walls eating the sheetrock. I set out bits of sponge covered with liquid Terro ant killer and have seen a great reduction, but I’m afraid the warm weather is going to bring them out. I’m going to try several of these things, thank you again.

Cleo caught a couple mice yesterday and I told her it was okay if she wanted to keep them for herself…:eek:

The Master Speaks: What’s the best way to kill cockroaches? - The Straight Dope

I have lived in my house for over 30 years. At one point early on, I bought a used portable dishwasher that turned out to have a pregnant roach aboard as a bonus. I didn’t figure it out for longer than it should have taken and eventually had an infestation worthy of Billy the Exterminator’s attention. If you turned on the kitchen light at night, hundreds of them would scurry to the dark across the kitchen counters. It was beyond disgusting! Whacking, while somewhat gratifying didn’t kill enough of them and spraying only seemed to help then mutate bigger and meaner. I finally spread borax (Roach Prufe) in the electrical outlets and along the back of the cabinets. It isn’t toxic to humans, but the roaches carry it back to the nest where they groom each other and die. It took a couple of weeks for them all to go away, but I don’t think I have seen a roach for 20 years. Cecil’s column offers a home brew that is less expensive then the commercial product, but I hadn’t heard of Cecil yet when I needed him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the OP’s house was treated with borax at some point and is no longer roach-friendly.

A lot of times, the critters inside are affected by what’s outside.

When I lived in CA, we had some resident possums in the house attic. I got rid of the possums one day by putting chicken wire over the hole they were using. Three weeks later, we were overrun by rats. It turns out that possums eat rats. We used poison for a while, but the rat problem didn’t actually go away until I cleared out a giant hedge of overgrown ivy. (During the clearing process, we actually got calls from the neighbors saying “We’re overrun with rats! Are you having the same problem?”). This hedge was so big, I discovered long-lost posts underneath it that were the city’s last gas lights before they put in electric street lights.

Here in WA, my house was overrun by mosquitoes and spiders when I first bought it. I spent a huge amount of time that first year clearing all kinds of overgrown brush in the back. I saw a significant reduction in spiders and mosquitoes in years 2 and 3. I haven’t seen a single big spider at all this year (year 5). We do still see a few mosquitoes in the summer, but no worse than anywhere else in the area. I did no poisoning of any kind.

Trimming the bushes might not apply to cockroaches, but I’ve never lived anywhere with a roach infestation. I was actually 17 and on a missions trip to Mexico before I saw my first roach. (In fairness to Mexico, the roach was in a motel in San Diego).

Two points here.

First, many people fail to see any insects or spiders in their house, but have them anyway. An excellent way to monitor what you actually have (should you be curious) is to get a few sticky traps (aka “glue traps”) at the hardware store, and set them along the walls in likely areas. They are pieces of cardboard with tree-pitch-based stickum on one side, that you fold into a sort of flat-sided tube with the glue on the inside. Anything that passes through gets stuck and eventually dies. You might be amazed at what you catch. If you don’t catch a single thing in a month or so, that would be, well, curious…

Second, most household pest insects, as well as beneficial household fauna such as spiders, cannot compete outdoors - they’ve been adapting to the indoor environment, which is pretty distinctive, for thousands of years. You get them by bringing in some indoor object that has eggs or is otherwise infested, like the poster with his cockroach in the dishwasher. You might have been lucky and not brought any in. A good way to not get kitchen pests is to never shop at organic whole-food stores, or buy bird seed or similar products. Of course, there are a few pests that do depend on the surrounding environment, of which rats are a prime example.