Geckos are not the Geico cartoon that some people think of. These little green lizards can give you quite a fright if they get into your home and decide to make it their own. Geckos like to climb walls and can be found just “hanging out” near a heat source.
If you live in an area with a gecko population, then you have either learned to live with them, or you are having problems on occasion. Here are some ways to reduce your gecko problem and get on with your life.
Shut Your Door
This may seem like it is too simple, but lizards love to run in when they see an opportunity. Keeping doors shut except when in use goes a long way towards keeping lizards from entering your home. It is important to make sure everyone in your home is on board with this concept. It is not a hard habit to get into with a little bit of practice. If you like to leave your door open for the air flow, then make sure to use a screen door at the very least and make sure it is a good fit so lizards cannot crawl under the door. Weather stripping can help seal gaps that may have appeared as your home has aged.
Some doors may have too large of gaps at the seal or the screen on a door may be torn so this is something that should be looked at regularly because it can let in a lot of other pests besides lizards. Geckos love bugs, so if there is room for bugs to get in, this very well may attract geckos in search of a great feeding area.
Strategies to Reduce Insect Populations
While it is true that lizards can reduce the amount of insects in and around your home, it is also true that having a lot of insects can draw lizards in because they are looking for an abundant and easy source of food. Insects are drawn to food left out and pets in your home that have not been treated with medication that prevents insects from bothering them.
There are both chemical and homeopathic ways to deal with insects in your home. Diatomaceous earth and borax will help naturally reduce insect populations, but they are dusty to use. If you have a major insect issue, then you might need to use a fogger to eliminate bugs. This can be a real hassle because you have to leave your home while the poison works and then you will need to let it air out at least as long as stated on the product you used.
Run Them out Immediately
If you see a gecko, it is important to get them out immediately. You may be able just to run them out or scoot them out by gently using a broom. There is no reason to use a lot of force with a gecko. If you do act too aggressively you could easily hurt or kill them and since they are not venomous, what is the point in going overboard?
Post a Cat
If you have a cat, then they might catch on and start to enjoy chasing geckos away. If you don’t, then you might consider getting one to keep a myriad of pests away. Of course, there is a decent chance that a cat will just kill a gecko, so if you are not comfortable with a lethal solution, then you shouldn’t encourage your cat too much. If your cat does kill one, then make sure to remove the remains immediately. Cats usually don’t eat them because they are lizards, but they can begin to smell pretty rapidly.
Squirt Them Away
A spray bottle of cold water is effective in making geckos scram! The colder the water, the better because geckos are attracted to heat. This is why you often see geckos hanging out in the sun, or if they are inside your home, they may be attracted to light sources that give off warmth or near a heater.
Simply spray them and they will run off. You may want to try to get them towards an exit using a rolled up magazine and a scooting motion.
Geckos Are Not Fans of Peppers
Pepper sprays that are made at home are highly effective in getting rid of geckos. Simply spray areas with a pepper dilution. You can make your own using any hot sauce. The cheapest out there will do just fine for this type of application. There are premixed sprays you can purchase as well if you need to do so.
Mixing your own is easy because all you need is a spray bottle and a good dollop of hot sauce mixed with water. You can use a little bit of cooking oil if you want a lot to stick in one particular spot. You can mix it as strong as you want but be cautious about mixing too strong if you have some sensitive plants or other vegetation you care about.
Turn the Hose and Sprinklers On
Since Geckos don’t like cold water, you can use your garden hose to get them away from your yard and other space. You can set your sprinklers to come on when motion is detected. Of course, this is only useful if you are not in an area where water usage is more monitored, and you don’t want to make your yard muddy or boggy.
Clear out the Clutter
The more places there are for geckos to hide, the more of then you will attract. A lot of us have items that we simply don’t use anymore. Reducing clutter is a goal to strive for. If you are having trouble then just take it room by room, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Kids and teenagers can help out as well. You can make reducing clutter fun by giving everyone some treat afterward.
Hiding spaces are critical to lizards surviving in your home. They are most comfortable where they can hide with ease. Drawers and doors that close are helpful in keeping geckos away from your stuff, but be aware they can squeeze into a tight space so don’t be surprised to open a door and startle one if you are having a major problem with them.
Reducing piles and clutter will make your home look better, and you can donate usable items to charity and help make the world a better place for everyone. Goodwill and the Salvation Army will sometimes come to your home and pick up larger donations which save you the hassle of transporting your stuff somewhere.
Get Kids Involved
Your kids might think it is fun to have geckos in the house even if you don’t. You can place a “bounty” on each gecko and have your kids trap them and then you can release them somewhere where they won’t bother you. This also gives kids something useful to do when they want to help out around the house.
Professional Pest Control
While professionals will help you get rid of geckos, it is often something that people just deal with themselves to save money. If you are experiencing other pest issues though, you might mention the lizard problem with your exterminator. If you are older and don’t feel up to ridding your home of lizards, this can be the best option. Your pro will likely recommend checking your home for cracks and gaps where geckos can enter and can suggest and arrange someone to seal your home for you.
Signs You Have a Gecko Issue
Strange Noises in the Night
Geckos like many lizards are very nocturnal. If you start hearing scurrying around and squeaking or chirping sounds, you may have a gecko problem. A lot of people assume if they hear strange sounds that it is small rodents but in some areas, it may be far more likely that it is lizards that are the main problem causing all that racket. You would be amazed how much noise even one small lizard can make in the deep of the night.
Sometimes it is the kids that notice the sounds. If you are dealing with reports of noises in the night, then be on the lookout for geckos and other lizards around the home.
If you are unfortunate enough to have geckos get into dry goods, then you may see strange footprints or trails of debris. This can make a lot more vacuuming and the assumption that you have a different critter frequenting your home. This is of course very unsanitary so if your lizard issue is that bad, then you need to take charge of the situation immediately and get your entire family on board with the idea.
While this may sound gross, a gecko can shed their tail, and you may find a few scattered around your home. Other lizards can do this as well, and it is pretty disturbing and gross to find a tail where you least expect it. This can cause a big fright when you are cleaning or if you find one where you sleep. Let others in your household in on what happened so they are not too taken aback when the same thing happens to them.
Seeing What You Think Is a Lizard
Geckos can move very fast so you may second guess if you are seeing things or not! Geckos are attracted to heat so look for them where your home is the warmest. House plants can attract insects that geckos like to eat, so pots full of dirt and greenery are a big attractant. They also make very convenient places for geckos to hide from you and blend in.
Educating About Lizards
People are often scared of lizards. One way to get over this fear is to realize that there are only two poisonous lizards out there, and these are the Gila monster and Mexican beaded lizards. Geckos might be annoying, but they are nothing that you should be afraid of. They can cause a mess and give you a startle, and there is the issue of cleanliness. No one wants lizards running around their kitchen for example.
Geckos don’t bite or scratch so trapping them and relocating them is often the answer if you have a severe problem with them. Usually just chasing them out of your house and sealing cracks and gaps is all that is needed to get the situation back under control.
Thinking Outside the Home
Geckos can be a problem outdoors if you don’t like lizards. Keep in mind that they do an excellent job of controlling insect populations around your home so if you can deal with them being outside your home, then you may want to set aside an area for them. For example, you might have a wet area or a pan of water that you leave out. Sugar water and nectars attract insects which geckos love. If they know they are going to get an easy meal, they will stick to an area.
If you have a cat, you may have to discourage them from going near where you are “harboring” your gecko population. Using a squirt gun can help discourage cats if you see them stalking a gecko, and you don’t want them to.