Homeowners must remain vigilant if they want to limit the number of pests that make their way into their homes. It can seem like an impossible task, but some simple steps make a significant difference. Pest prevention techniques reduce the need for eradication efforts that can become very time consuming and costly if an infestation takes place.
#1. Keep Property Dry
Insects and rodents love wet locations. Mosquitos use standing water for breeding. Cockroaches thrive in dampness. Earwigs seek out water constantly. Reduce the moisture available to reduce the appeal of a home to pests.
Repair all leaky hoses and pipes in the house and outside. Install dehumidifiers in damp basements. Fill depressions in the lawn where water collects after a rainstorm. Make certain the home has excellent drainage, especially around gutter downspouts, to ensure adequate water runoff. Be careful to not overwater the lawn or houseplants.
#2. Close All Openings
Keep pests away by closing possible entryways. Common problem areas include gaps around windows and doors and openings near plumbing pipes. Put screens on attic vents and have a chimney cap installed to reduce the available entrances for bats, birds, and rodents. Patch or replace torn window screens and do not keep doors open any longer than necessary.
#3. Avoid Excess Mess
Increase trash collection days if infrequent visits allow the garbage to pile up. Keep all garbage in cans with lids. Remove yard debris often and mulch or compost the material as far away from the house as possible. Do not leave toys or tires in the yard. Clean and rearrange lawn furnishings often to make certain no pests have built nests in the frames.
Empty garbage cans every day or two and remove the bag from the home. Wipe all counters with a damp rag after every use to avoid attracting pests with food crumbs or odors. Do dishes at least once a day and remember to wash pet food dishes daily. Clean microwaves, ovens, and stovetops after every use.
#4. Store Food Carefully
Keep all food in plastic or glass containers when the food is not stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Pet food and animal feed should also stay in sealed bins to avoid rodent visits. Do not leave overripe fruit on display or leave cut fruit sitting around for too long. Clean up food or beverage spills as soon as they are noticed.
#5. Inspect Property Regularly
Make a quick trip around the home about once a month to look for any signs of pests. Check basements and attics during the trip, as well as less noticeable areas of the home like the back of closets or the cabinets under the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Look around the outside of the home for any signs of rodents or insects.
Signs of pest problems could include soft spots in wood or small piles of sawdust. Sawdust from termites can often collect on windowsills and on the floor around windows and doors. Look for possible nests, disturbances in the insulation where material seems removed, or screens or siding that seems clawed or chewed. Make a note of any droppings found in the home and any holes or mounds in yards. Contact a pest control service if any signs appear or any pests are found.
Pests want what humans have. Rodents and insects need food, water, and a comfortable and safe place to sleep. The more homeowners make these necessities unavailable to pests, the less likely they are to spend time in the home and yard. Unfortunately, an overabundance of rodents or insects in a neighborhood or a less careful neighbor nearby can encourage pests to arrive regardless of what people do. Stay watchful and call for help at the first sign of a growing pest population.