You don’t have to be living in or near one of America’s most pest-infested cities to experience a pest problem. Whether you live in an apartment, condo, or house, chances are some type of critter is going to invade your dwelling sooner or later. While many people don’t think about pests coming into their home until they actually see a mouse or insects scurrying about, the truth is many pest infestations can be prevented. Before you find yourself with a problem on your hands that requires an exterminator’s expertise, follow these 7 Pest Control Tips To Prevent Infestations that can help keep rodents and bugs out of your home.
- Remove Food Sources
When rats, ants, cockroaches, and other unwelcome guests start appearing in your living spaces, they are usually in search of food. You can make your home less attractive to them by removing all food sources and making sure your pantry and other edible items are securely sealed and put away. All leftover food should be placed in containers or jars with airtight lids.
Even birdseed should be stored in a hard plastic or metal container with a tight-fitting lid so rodents can’t access it. Resist the urge to store it in the basement or attic, two places where mice are found. If possible, place it in an area away from your house such as a shed.
Wash or put dirty dishes, glasses, and utensils in the dishwasher immediately after using them. Clean up pots and pans right away after making a meal so you’re not sending a welcome message to pests. Keep your garbage secure and bring the trash out regularly.
Clean up any spilled food or beverages immediately before pests have a chance to smell it and come running. If you have a pet and they throw up, remove the vomit, which can attract ants and other insects.
Flour and other dry foods sometimes contain pantry insects that make their way into it during the manufacturing process. It’s a good idea to place new bags of flour in your freezer for at least 24 hours when you bring it home from the grocery store to kill any eggs and adults before they have a chance to run rampant through your pantry.
- Keep a Clean Home
Keeping your home clean in general will further remove food crumbs that can attract pests. Vacuuming your carpeting and rugs regularly will remove any egg casings laid by clothing eating moths. Pay particularly close attention to your kitchen and wipe up hidden food underneath the microwave and other appliances that can lure pests.
- Keep Your Home Dry
Next to food, pests are attracted to water. Inspect your home for any leaky pipes or other sources of moisture, and deal with any problems promptly so pests have one less reason to enter your property.
Standing water can become breeding pools for mosquitoes. Always empty any vessels of water in your yard after a rainfall to deter mosquitoes and other insects.
- Seal Up Openings
How do pests infiltrate your home in the first place? By entering through holes, cracks, and crevices in your home. It’s been shown that a mouse can squeeze through a hole as tiny as a dime, which shows how easy it is for animals to gain access to your living quarters.
Inspect your home at least once a year for any openings in your foundation, roof, and sides as well as around doors and windows, then seal up these access points as soon as possible. A good pest control company such as Synergy² can also point out areas where pests are entering your home.
Pests can also invade your HVAC system in search of warmth, so you’ll want to keep your system safe by sealing the air ducts and using vent and flue covers, and inspecting your flue pipes regularly for any signs of rodents or insects.
- Remove Clutter
Rodents in particular love clutter such as boxes and household items because they offer dark hiding places. Reducing clutter throughout your home and in storage areas such as the basement and attic, where these pests are often found, will give them one less reason to enter your home.
Toss out or recycle any paper products including newspapers, books, and magazines, as mice and rats will use these materials to build nests in your home.
- Prevent Bedbugs
Bedbugs have become a growing problem in recent years. They usually find their way into a person’s home via their suitcase after a hotel stay. If you find yourself traveling, wash your clothes immediately upon returning and place them in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Bedbugs cannot survive when exposed to extremely hot temperatures.
- Try Natural Deterrents
You can discourage pests from entering your premises not with pesticides, but with many natural repellents found at your local grocery store. Citrus and peppermint oil, for example, will help keep ants away. They don’t like the smell and actually spraying insects with citrus oil kills them within minutes, as the acid in the oil dries up their exoskeleton.
Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and can be used to kill a variety of insects from ants to bedbugs. It’s particularly effective against cockroaches, although you may see increased insect activity at first as the bugs come searching for water because their exoskeleton is drying up. Boric acid is also a known insect killer but should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Mice don’t like mothballs, so if you can stand the smell, place them in areas where mice can enter. Cotton balls soaked in clove oil may also help keep them away.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to reapply many of these natural deterrents every few days for them to remain effective.
Keep Your Home to Yourself With These Pest Control Tips
Follow these pest control tips, and you may never have to share your home with unwanted guests again!
For more advice on keeping your abode clean and comfortable, check out our For The Home section.