Prevention and Extermination - Mice and Rats - Black Beetles, Cockroaches, Flies, Fleas - Fly Papers, Traps - Fumigating - Moths, Red Ants, Gnats, and Mosquitoes - Boxroom.
However clean and well kept a house may be there is always the chance, especially in large towns or in old houses, of the appearance of these unwished-for visitants. Mice usually announce themselves by a scurrying behind the wainscot and by forming holes in the skirting-boards and walls : there is, moreover, a peculiar smell which cannot be mistaken. Large holes and vigorous thumping and squeaking in the wainscot are often the signs of rats. The appearance of these is nearly always a symptom of unsanitary drainage; a matter that should be attended to immediately.
It is unwise to inject ordinary poison into the holes, as, if the mice or rats die in them, the smell is most unhealthy and unpleasant. Rags saturated with pure carbolic acid should be pushed into the spaces, which not only kills the vermin, but the acid consumes the flesh, and prevents the odour of decomposition. The presence of a cat in the house is a sure preventative of mice.
These are usually discovered first in the kitchens; but if speedy measures are not taken they multiply so rapidly that they quickly introduce themselves into other parts of the house, travelling along the line of the hot-water pipes. If they are seen emerging from any crevice near the kitchen range, the mortar should at once be scraped away, as it probably contains the eggs of the insects.
The most effectual plan of dealing with this pest is to lift the kitchen hearthstone, kill all the beetles underneath, and cover the space with a layer of boiling tar. Do not replace the stone till this becomes cooler, as the intense heat might cause it to crack.
Carefully watch for their reappearance, and on the first signs sprinkle the probable hiding-places with any good insect powder.
The safest way of getting rid of these insects is to scatter a few pieces of freshly cut cucumber-peel on the kitchen floor overnight. This is not a poison, but the delicacy is so tempting, and the cockroaches' self-restraint so small, that in the morning they will be found in a state of stupor, when they can easily be killed and their remains burnt.
When cucumber is not available, mix 1 oz. of powdered plaster of Paris with double its bulk of oatmeal, and scatter it on the floor.
These are easily and effectually arranged as follows : Place a pie-dish on the floor containing a little beer or sugar and water; arrange a few sticks slanting up from the floor to the edge of the dish to make it easy of access. The cockroaches will crawl up and drown themselves.
It is quite possible nowadays, through frequent travelling in trains and public conveyances, for the most objectionable insect to be brought into the cleanest of houses. As they reproduce so quickly, immediate'steps must be taken to get rid of them. Both iron and wooden bedsteads should be examined and attended to; iron ones being washed with strong soda water, wooden ones with carbolic soap. If, before being discovered, they have infested a room, the most stringent measures must be taken, such as stripping the paper off the walls, fumigating with sulphur, scrubbing the floor with carbolic, and sometimes even destroying the mattresses.