Prevent insects from entering your home with our step-by-step guide.
Signs of summer are well underway in Japan. While we look forward to more daylight, shaved ice and summer getaways, with the rainy season just around the corner, insects are making a comeback. Rainy season is essentially the breeding season for gokiburi (cockroaches), and if you want to lower your chances of an encounter this year, check out our must-know tips below on how to keep pesky insects out of your home. When it comes to insects, is there ever such a thing as being too cautious?
keep it clean
Perhaps the most simple and the most important tip is to keep your home clean. Debris, dirt and dust attract insects and give them sustenance or space to hide. Mites, for example, live off dead skin cells and dust. This advice extends to your balcony, as dead leaves can quickly become housing for unwanted guests. In particular, don’t let your cardboard collection pile up. Insects love an insulating cardboard home, so take it out as soon as trash day arrives.
Freeze your food waste
It can be hard to prevent your burnable trash from smelling, especially in the middle of summer. If food waste is causing your trash to smell, a simple solution is to buy a small container, line it with a plastic bag and put it in your freezer. Collect your food waste in this container and then add it to your burnable trash on trash day.
Put it in the sun
If you sleep on a futon, don’t forget to hang it outside in the sun as often as you can. This kills any mites and mold, and the same advice goes for duvets and pillows too. Mites, or dani in Japanese, it can cause allergic reactions, especially in children. They feed on dead skin cells and dust, so vacuuming is another go-to prevention measure.
Insects love a humid home. A dehumidifier will not only take the heat down a notch but keep insects at bay and prevent mold. For your wardrobe and closet, look at purchasing desiccant dehumidifying packs from the supermarket or Amazon.
Don’t leave food or drinks out
In Japan, the humidity of summer can spoil food items significantly faster than what you might be used to, and this attracts insects. As much as possible, store food in the fridge or freezer or in air-tight containers.
Block potential points of entry
One entry point for insects is around drain pipes. Take a quick look in the cupboard under your sink and see if there are any gaps around the pipes. This area is dark and humid, the perfect bug hideout. One fix is to fill the gaps with putty from your local homeware store or Daiso. The putty can also be used to fill any other gaps, such as along skirting boards, etc.
If you want to go the extra mile, spray the entry points of your home, such as along the edges of windows and doors, with insect repellent from your local drugstore.
Clean your air conditioner
Before summer arrives, it’s a good time to deep clean your air conditioner and vents as dust tends to collect after long periods of unuse. Also, check your drain hose on the outside compartment of your air conditioning unit. Does the pipe have a cap or is it open to let anything crawl in? You can purchase an insect-repellent cap from Daiso or Amazon.
Repellents: Sprays and herbs
If you have children and pets or want to avoid using harsh chemicals, planting herbs on your balcony or kitchen could be an excellent way to naturally repel insects. Mint and peppermint keep cockroaches away, and citronella and lavender keep advance (centipedes) out. Peppermint and citronella also repel mosquitoes.
Another tip is to add dried bay leaves to your rice storage container and you can effectively prevent mites from your rice.
Last resort: Poison
If you see a cockroach in your home, it may, unfortunately, mean others are nearby. You can set up traps such as a sticky trap but the most effective method is to put poison down. At the drugstore, you can purchase the poison “Black Cap,” pictured above. Poison can be very effective for dealing with an infestation as they can take it back to their nest. That being said, these are harsh chemicals so be sure they are out of reach from children and pets. They are best placed near points of entry, doorways and drains, as well as in places where they can hide such as under the fridge.
Insects are a way of life and to some extent, can’t be helped, but we hope these tips help put your mind at ease and lower your chances of an encounter this summer.
Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear how you bug-proof your home, let us know in the comments.