If you have a pest control problem, you need a solution. Furthermore, whether you have an active pest control problem or not, you can take steps to prevent one in the future.
Read on to learn more about preventative pest control steps you can take to protect your home and family.
Eliminate Standing Water in Your Yard
Pests like mosquitoes are drawn to pools of standing water. These pools are breeding grounds for insects and the diseases they carry. Dangerous and potentially deadly mosquito-borne diseases include the West Nile virus and the Zika virus. Less commonly, mosquito bites can cause malaria, dengue fever, and the Chikungunya virus.
Protect yourself from these dangers by surveying your yard after it rains. Identify areas that flood frequently. Then work to improve drainage in those areas.
Avoid leaving buckets, wheelbarrows, and other containers in the open where they can collect rainwater.
Clean birdbaths, and check that potted plants drain properly.
Also conduct regular maintenance on ponds or other ornamental waterscapes. Make sure the filter is working, and apply a larvicide. These include natural options, like BTI, a bacteria naturally found in soil.
Eliminate Water Sources in Your Home
Inspect the interior of your home for leaks and signs of moisture. Many destructive pests, like termites, carpenter ants, and cockroaches, love moisture. Moist wood in dark places provides the ideal habitat for these insects.
Prevent them from setting up shop by fixing leaky pipes, dripping faucets, and clogged drains. Besides fixing leaks, you can also make areas around pipes less appealing to pests by filling nooks and crannies with steel wool.
Also check ceilings and floors for watermarks. The basement of many homes is an ideally dark and moist location for pests. Take particular care when inspecting this area.
Attack Pests in the Attic
The attic provides another potential luxury suite in your home for pests. The amenities it offers include dark and cozy spaces and, if you don’t maintain your roof, a potential moisture source. Your attic also sees less activity, which appeals to pests who enjoy their privacy too.
Deny pests these luxuries by conducting regular inspections in the attic. Sweeping the floors and crevices of dust, cobwebs, and other debris is also important. Finally, keep the area as well-ventilated as possible.
Reduce Clutter Throughout Your Home
Whether in the attic or elsewhere in your home, undisturbed clutter provides an appealing habitat for pests. Prevent them from getting cozy in your clutter by keeping your home organized.
Old clothing and paper products are frequent culprits in welcoming pests. Donate or recycle as many of them as possible. Store the items you can’t part with in secure containers.
Eliminate Pests’ Supply of Food
Regular household cleaning tasks go along way toward protecting your home from pests. Clean counters to remove crumbs and other food residue. Sweep the floors and mop up any spills immediately.
Also pay attention to food storage. Don’t leave old produce, like bananas, on the counter. Store food in well-sealed containers. Store-bought baked goods, including bread, often come in flimsy containers. Transfer these items to resealable containers. For extra protection, keep these items in the refrigerator.
Many homeowners keep sugar, flour, and other baking products in decorative canisters on the counter. If you do, keep them away from any exterior walls of your home.
Finally, clean up quickly after meals and put leftovers in the refrigerator.
Secure Your Trash
Of course, your trash has little value to you. However, your trash is a treasure trove for household pests. Protecting your home from pests means protecting your trash from pests.
Invest in outdoor garbage cans with lids that snap shut. Keep these cans away from the walls, windows, and doors of your home.
It’s also wise to purchase indoor trash cans with lids. This is especially true in the kitchen and anywhere you dispose of food waste. Heavy-duty trash bags offer an additional layer of protection.
Remember to empty the garbage cans inside your home on a regular basis. Finally, periodically clean your cans with hot, soapy water.
Dispose of Debris in Your Food Disposal
If your sink is equipped with a garbage disposal, keep it clean. Run hot water down the disposal after each use.
Every few days, toss in a handful of ice and rock salt. Running these tough materials through the disposal will clear it of debris.
Keep Your Yard Tidy
Pests like damp and dark locations. Overgrown grass and bushes provide ideal nesting grounds for insects, rodents, and birds. Fleas and ticks, which are dangerous to humans and pets, are especially drawn to tall grasses.
Mow the lawn and trim the bushes to reduce the appeal of these locations to household pests.
Also check that tree branches don’t reach near your home. In addition to other dangers, these branches can offer an elevated highway to pests entering your house.
In the fall, regular leaf maintenance can also help control pests and prevent a host of household and landscaping issues.
Use Plants to Keep Pests Away
Overgrown bushes and certain plants attract household pests. However, well-chosen plants can be an important part of your preventative pest control efforts.
The following plants are ideal insect deterrents:
- Marigolds deter mosquitoes and cabbage worms
- Petunias repel tomato hornworms, leafhoppers, and aphids
- Chrysanthemums contain an insecticide that repels bedbugs, fleas, ticks, roaches, ants, spider mites, and Japanese beetles
- Alliums deter aphids, cabbage worms, and slugs
- Lemongrass plants contain citronella, which is a natural alternative to synthetic deterrents
- Lavender repels fleas, moths, flies, and mosquitoes
- Basil deters moths and flies
- Thyme repels mosquitoes
- Mint also repels mosquitoes, but gardeners should use it with caution because it does spread quickly
Not only do these plants repel pesky insects with their smell. They also attract beneficial insects, like ladybugs. These “good” insects can help you keep more destructive pests at bay.
Plants, like lemongrass, that contain citronella are also safe to use on your skin. However, it’s always wise to test any kind of insect repellant—whether natural or synthetic—on a small area of skin first.
Eliminate Yard Waste
As you maintain your yard, remove waste products promptly. Don’t leave piles of waste laying out in the open. Instead, dispose of yard waste in a secure container.
If you choose to compost, keep piles away from your home. Also keep these piles and any other yard waste away from sheds, fences, and other wooden structures.
Keep Extra Firewood Away from Your Home
Like yard waste, firewood can provide nesting material to household pests. Keep your supply away from your home. Experts recommend storing firewood at least 20 feet from your house. It’s also wise to keep your supply of firewood elevated at least five inches above the ground.
Also conduct a visual inspection of your woodpile. Remove any debris that may have gathered. These efforts will reduce the pile’s appeal to household pests.
Finally, use your oldest firewood first. Doing so will prevent insect colonies and other pests from becoming established.
Make Sure the Only One Getting in Through Your Chimney Is Santa
While you’re attending to your supply of firewood, take a moment to consider the role of fireplace maintenance in pest control. If you’re not careful, birds, bats, insects, and other pests can enter your home through your chimney.
Work to prevent this by closing the flue when your fireplace isn’t in use. Installing a door to your fireplace can offer additional protection.
Give Household Pests a Gut(ter) Punch
Clogged gutters are a common and hidden source of moisture and nesting materials for pests. Without regular maintenance, your gutters themselves can provide an ideal habitat for pests.
Bees, especially, gravitate to gutters and the overhangs of your home when they construct their hives. These hives not only add unnecessary weight to your home’s structure. They also put dangerous insects within close proximity to you and your family.
Inspect your gutters at least in the spring and fall. For the best protection, experts recommend conducting these inspections every four months.
During your inspection, remove any debris and other obstructions.
Cleaning the gutters can be a simple but time-consuming and dangerous DIY job. If you feel more comfortable leaving it to the experts, professional gutter cleaning services are another option.
Inspect the Roof
While you’re cleaning the gutters, inspect your roof for signs of damage. A leaky roof is a prime entry point for household pests. Of course, it is also a prime entry point for the moisture that makes your home appealing to these pests.
If you notice signs of water damage or deteriorating shingles, call a repairman to investigate further. Doing so quickly can prevent damage not only from infestations. Quick action against a damaged roof can also prevent significant structural damage to your home.
Wall Off Your Home from Invaders
Maintaining the roof over your head is an important part of preventative pest control. However, it’s equally important to check the integrity of the walls around your home. These walls are the ultimate barrier between you and any exterior threats, including pests.
In providing you with this protection, your walls themselves suffer damage over time. Wind, water, age, and other factors can create weak spots in the exterior walls of your home.
Check walls for cracks at least as often as you inspect the gutters and roof. If your home has siding, inspect it for discoloration that can be a sign of water damage.
Also check your home’s foundation for cracks. Concrete is a porous material. As it absorbs moisture, your concrete foundation can begin to crumble. The cracks that result can provide an entryway for pests. They can also lead to additional structural damage. Regular inspections protect against this damage.
Patch or seal any cracks or holes you find. If you find a large hole or must delay your repair efforts, wire mesh can provide a temporary solution.
Inspect Doors and Windows
Insects and rodents can enter your home through surprisingly small passageways. Even more than cracks in walls, doors and windows that don’t shut properly scream “Welcome!” to household pests.
Check that your doors and windows seal properly. Over time, your home can shift, producing gaps at these points. Look for light and listen and feel for escaping air. Both of these are signs your doors or windows aren’t closing properly.
If you notice minor gaps, fix them with caulking or another sealant. Adding or replacing weatherstripping can also prevent pests from entering your home through minor gaps in doors or windows. If your doors or windows are significantly off balance, however, it may be wise to enlist an expert.
As you inspect your windows, also check for condensation. This can be another water source for moisture-loving pests.
Finally, maintain the screens on windows and exterior doors. Loose or torn screens can allow insects and other pests to enter your home.
Work with Professional Pest Control Services
Professional pest control services offer the strongest line of defense against household pests.
Beyond taking your own preventative pest control measures, it’s always wise to enlist the experts. Find out more about professional pest control services at https://www.altuspest.com/.
Their experts can conduct a comprehensive inspection. In doing so, they can identify additional problem areas and suggest solutions. If they discover an infestation your efforts missed, they have the tools to tackle it. They can also offer additional preventative pest control tips.
What’s Bugging You? If You Engage in Preventative Pest Control, the Answer Could be Nothing!
If you’ve read this far, household pests might already be bugging you. If so, the tips above offer a comprehensive guide for how to get rid of pests.
If you don’t yet have a pest problem, you’re still wise to ask, “How do I do my own pest control?” Again, the tips in this article can help you engage in effective preventative pest control.
As you get to work on these and other home improvement efforts, count on our blog for the best advice.