Homeowner's guide to zombie pest control
For most homeowners, pest control is limited to small, harmless creatures such as insects and rodents. However, if you are a fictional character in a movie with the word "zombies" in the title, you may have more serious concerns -- especially if your character doesn't have many lines.
Zombie-proof your home
Get deadbolts: Hire a locksmith to install quality deadbolt locks on all your doors. Otherwise, zombies who still have their wallets could use the old credit card trick to gain entry and eat your brain. As a side benefit, deadbolts also protect against burglars.
Update your windows: Even if your house never gets attacked by zombies, replacement windows are a great investment. You'll save money on energy bills, you may be eligible for tax credits and because they are double- or triple-paned, these windows will be harder for zombies to break with their squishy, rotting bodies.
Install a security storm door: You can enjoy the breeze on summer nights without the risk of zombies getting in by investing in ornamental security doors.
Upgrade your garage door: Ask a top-rated garage door installer about the range of options. Most higher-quality garage doors are quieter, retain energy better -- and they're more zombie-resistant. If your new door comes with a security keypad, but be sure to change the code from the factory default. After all, some zombies used to be IT guys.
Install a home security system: Although these systems are great for catching burglars, they're somewhat less effective with zombies. Burglars only want your valuables, while zombies want to eat your brain. This is an important distinction. In either situation, your home security system's silent alarm will bring help within about five minutes. But when you have zombies in the house, five minutes can seem like a long time.
Check your homeowner's insurance: Your homeowner's policy may not specifically cover zombies, but it may pay for related losses such as water damage from rain coming in through broken windows or carpeting stained with zombie guts. Ask your agent.
Just walk faster?
Zombies walk very slowly so it really shouldn't be that hard to stay ahead of them. Just remember that if you trip and fall down, don't just sit there screaming into the camera while they catch up. This is a common mistake made by non-essential movie characters. Instead, you can get back up again and keep moving. It's really not that complicated.
Of course, walking faster than zombies is not really a long-term strategy. They never sleep and can be quite persistent. You need stamina to stay ahead of them for a sustained period, so make sure you're in shape by joining a highly-rated fitness center. Even if you never have to flee from zombies, there are many other benefits to regular exercise.
DIY zombie eradication
If your zombie problem is relatively minor, you may be successful with do-it-yourself techniques such as striking the zombie with a baseball bat, crowbar or other handy household implement. However, be sure to aim for the skull because the only proven way to stop a zombie is to bash in its brains. This is a common mistake made by do-it-yourselfers who think they are making progress lopping off a zombie’s arms or legs. This will only irritate the zombie and the additional time invested may distract the homeowner from noticing other zombies approaching slowly from behind.
The main drawback to DIY zombie remediation, experts say, is that you can never be certain you've gotten them all. It's not unusual for a character in a zombie movie to survive all the way to the final scene only to be surprised by that one overlooked zombie. Don’t let that happen to you.
Hiring an exterminatorpest control experts have extensive scientific training on a variety of household pests such as rodents, bed bugs, termites and other insects. However, not all exterminators have experience with zombie infestations – which is quite different. Before you hire, ask about the company’s background and specialties -- and as with any contractor you hire, be sure the company is licensed, bonded and insured. Professional zombie extermination is not without its risks, so any death or injury of a company representative should be covered by their insurance, not yours.
Although you may feel pressed for time when being attacked by zombies, take the time to get at least three bids from different companies.
Don't fall for zombie scams
Be suspicious of anyone who knocks on your door and claims to be "killing zombies in the neighborhood" and supposedly has several gallons of premium zombicide left over from another job. That is often a scam. Another version of this is the offer of a “free zombie inspection” -- which inevitably leads to the alleged discovery of zombies hidden in your walls or chimney. This is unlikely because if you actually had zombies in your walls they would have come out to kill you by now. As with mold and lead remediation, the best advice is to hire one company to inspect your house for zombies and a separate company to handle eradication.
Movies and TV shows usually skip over the less exciting aspect of zombie attacks – cleaning up afterwards. If you have ever had to kill a zombie in your house, you know how messy it can be. Chances are you will have rotting body parts scattered all over the house -- and if you've got white carpeting you'll never get out the stain with ordinary DIY efforts. Be sure to call in a qualified carpet cleaner.
To save money, you can do some of the general cleanup yourself, but be sure to wear rubber gloves as zombie guts are quite toxic. If you have a large amount of zombie body parts, do not put them in your household trash. Dispose of zombie waste responsibly either by hiring a biohazard remediation company or by taking the waste in approved containers to your county health department's next "Tox-Away Day."
The tips on this page can be useful for homeowners in the real world where there are no zombies, but if you're a nonessential character in a Hollywood horror movie, they could be a real lifesaver -- unless of course your name in the script is "Zombie Victim No. 6."
Zombie illustrations by Kris Davidson