Preventing Pest Infestations in Your Home: How-To

Pests are attracted to homes and offices for three main reasons; food, water and shelter. Leftover crumbs, unkempt gardens and overflowing trash cans all provide attractive food sources, while cracks in walls, standing water and old weatherproofing give pests a warm place to settle in.

Taking some preventative measures of managing and preventing pests can help keep these unwelcome visitors at bay. Consider implementing the following steps:

Keep Your Home Clean

Many pests thrive in dirty environments. For example, crumbs on the counter or floor can attract ants and other pests looking for food. A dirty kitchen can also provide a breeding ground for flies, roaches and rodents. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping regularly can reduce the attraction of these pests in your home.

Clutter can also make your home more attractive to pests. Old mail, newspapers and magazines that pile up around your house can be a hiding place for silverfish, ants, spiders and other pests. Additionally, piles of firewood near your house can be a source of shelter for termites and other pests.

The most common way that pests get into your home is through open windows and doors. Keep windows closed as much as possible, and use screens on exterior doors to prevent pests from getting inside. If you do have problems with pests entering your home through the window or door, seal any cracks or crevices as soon as they appear.

Rodents, cockroaches and other pests often seek out dry shelter to nest in. Leaving wood, firewood, lumber and bricks close to your house can be inviting to pests looking for a place to hide and build their nests. These materials can also give pests access to your house through gaps in the foundation or other areas of your structure.

Another way to help prevent pests is to store food in containers with tight-fitting lids, and clean up spills and crumbs immediately. Keeping your trash cans and garbage bags emptied frequently and using resealable plastic storage bags can also reduce the attraction of pests.

Keeping your yard and garden area well-maintained can also prevent pests from seeking out your home. Remove overgrown vegetation from around your home, and rake leaves regularly to stop them from becoming pest-attractive. Additionally, avoid mulching your garden beds, as this can encourage fungus and other pests to grow. Finally, be sure to close the doors to your garage and shed, and keep firewood away from your home.

Keep Your Food Safe

Having a clean kitchen is the best way to keep pests away. This means putting food in securely-sealed containers, cleaning up spills and crumbs immediately, and not leaving food out on the counter or table. It also means cleaning out trash cans regularly and not leaving them out too long. Trash and compost can attract gnats, cockroaches, rats and other pests that can then make their way into your home in search of food.

You should also avoid storing food in the garage or basement, and not keeping it in pantries that have doors that open and close often. Pantry bugs can easily get inside of these areas if you leave food there, and they’re much harder to get rid of than regular cockroaches or rodents.

Pests love moisture and can be attracted to places like leaky pipes, damp basements and standing water. To prevent them from finding these sources, you should fix all leaks and ensure that any containers holding water are tightly closed. You should also be mindful of avoiding over-watering any plants outside, and you can reduce humidity by using air conditioning and dehumidifiers.

Clutter is another big attractant of pests and can make it easier for them to find hiding spots. Whether it’s old mail on your entry table, kids’ toys or clothes strewn about the hall closet, clutter gives pests more opportunities to hide and breed. You can help prevent a pest infestation by getting rid of clutter, especially in the hall closets, bedrooms and playrooms.

You should also make sure that your garbage cans and floor drains are properly cleaned and emptied on a regular basis. Pests are drawn to trash cans and dumpsters, so you should be careful not to leave them sitting too long, especially in warm months. You should also keep your garbage cans and dumpsters at least six inches away from the house to prevent pests from accessing them. You should also store your food supply items quickly and correctly, keeping them in sealed plastic or glass containers and not letting them sit out for too long on the counter or pantry.

Seal Off Entry Points

When pests infest a home, it’s not just because they’ve found a cozy place to breed and feed; they are also attracted to the many easy entry points in your property. Cracks in walls, rips in windows and unsealed gaps around doors and frames provide easy access for unwanted visitors to make their way inside.

Rodents and bugs can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter inch, so it’s important to do a thorough inspection of your home to discover potential entry points. Using a flashlight, take time to look low and high, focusing on areas where critters might hide. This should include the basement, garage, around utility lines, vents and near pipes. For holes larger than a quarter inch, use caulk to seal them. For smaller openings, use steel wool to pad them and then cover with caulk.

Keeping your yard neat and tidy can also help prevent pest infestations. Piles of leaves, overgrown weeds and debris provide shelter for pests. Cleaning up these items, removing pet food from the house and storing garbage properly can cut down on pests looking for an easy meal or hiding place.

In addition, a leaky faucet or clogged sink can lead to moisture and humidity in the home, which is another attraction for pests. Fixing these issues can prevent water damage and ensure a comfortable living environment for you and your family.

Finally, removing attractants is an essential step in pest prevention. This includes storing food in sealed containers, cleaning up crumbs and pet food, and disposing of garbage regularly. Also, avoid over-watering your garden or leaving standing water in trays or buckets. It’s best to water your garden in the morning, so that nocturnal pests won’t be as active and can’t easily seek out a drink of water from your outdoor plants. Learn about the pests that live in your area and options to control them, so you can better protect your home from them. These preventive measures, when combined with regular pest treatment and monitoring, can go a long way in helping keep unwanted guests out of your home.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

Many pests are attracted to the moisture found in our homes. This is why it’s important to keep your home clean and dry at all times. This can be done by keeping storage areas clean, regularly wiping down surfaces and removing clutter that provides hiding spots for pests.

Clutter can include anything from unused boxes to toys that your kids have outgrown, but it also includes things like pet toys and messes made by rodents or insects. These items are a hot spot for pests and can bring them into your home where they can spread germs and cause damage to your belongings. Getting rid of clutter is one of the best ways to prevent pest infestations.

Trash can feel like an all-you-can-eat buffet for pests, so it’s important to dispose of your trash as soon as possible and to keep your garbage cans covered with tight-fitting lids. It’s also a good idea to remove your trash cans from the side of your house and place them in the garage or outside as often as possible.

It’s a good idea to look over your food when buying it at the grocery store, especially when it comes to products packaged in cardboard. It’s easy for roaches and pantry pests to hide inside these containers, so it’s a good idea to inspect them carefully before bringing them into your home.

Overripe fruits and vegetables can attract flies, which are a big problem in the kitchen. In addition, it’s important to throw out any food that has gone bad. Leaving a rotting banana in the fruit bowl or a bag of stale cereal on the counter will attract pests and make your home smell unpleasant.

In addition to food, crumbs can be a major attractant for pests, so it’s a good idea not to leave them out anywhere in your home, especially on the kitchen counters and in the cabinets. You should also clean up your pet’s kibble on a regular basis to avoid pests gathering around it and eating it. Lastly, wood piles can be a breeding ground for termites and beetles, so be sure to properly store them away from your home or office.