Pest Prevention Starts at Home! Our 17 Tips to Follow
Insects and animals that spread disease-causing contagions, parasites, or that can cause damage to your home are considered “pests”. These unwanted intruders can come into our homes and wreak havoc on our health and destroy our homes. What’s worse is that one or two pests can eventually turn into a full-blown infestation that can be hard to manage.
Staying ahead of pest infestations is the best way to prevent pests from coming into your home. Here’s our top tips for pest prevention before any pests show up!
17 Pest Prevention Tips
1. Fix Water Leaks
Leaky pipes, water fixtures, and other plumbing problems should be addressed as soon as possible. Pests don’t need much water to live, and a leaky pipe hidden out of sight is a pest’s ideal source of water. Regularly check for leaks throughout your home and stay on top of any necessary maintenance, no matter how small and insignificant the leak may seem.
2. Clean Food Areas
This has been said in our previous pest-related posts many times before, and for good reason. Pests such as cockroaches and rodents can live off of mere crumbs. So the pile of dishes in your sink and the crumbs on your counter are plenty to keep them satisfied. Make sure to wipe down all food areas before you go to bed, as these pests are more active at night and when you’re not around. Also take the time to wipe down the outside of bottles and jars of messy foods like honey or jam.
3. Store Food Items
Invest in a large set of airtight containers to store all of your pantry items and leftovers. Pests can easily find their way inside food packages and boxes so you will want to place food into the containers as soon as you bring them home from the store. Keep fruit and vegetables in the fridge where pests are less likely to get to them. For the most part, pests tend to stay out of the fridge since it’s cold, and very difficult to enter unless you’re dealing with a large infestation that is competing for food sources. At that point, pests will go wherever they can find food.
4. Check Packages for Stowaway Pests
Be sure to check every package that gets delivered to your home for signs of pests or their eggs before bringing it inside. Infestations from stowaway pests occur more often than you’d think. This pest prevention tip goes for groceries too, make sure your food items don’t have pests or eggs on them either.
5. Clear Clutter
For easy pest prevention, never allow clutter to pile up. Clutter is attractive to pests because it provides a safe place to hide from predators, such as you and your pets. This is especially true when it comes to paper materials and cardboard, as these provide both shelter and a food source for many types of pests.
6. Take Out the Trash
When it comes to the trash in your home, you have two options for easy pest prevention. Simply take the trash out every single night or purchase a pest proof trash can with an airtight lid. You will also want to consider a pest proof outdoor bin so that wildlife and larger pests, such as rodents or raccoons, aren’t attracted to it. Every so often, wash your trash cans to ensure they’re clean and decrease the chance of attracting pests even when empty.
7. Be Mindful of Pests When Traveling
Bed bugs can be found in even the nicest of hotels, so don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll never come across any. Always do a thorough check for bed bugs in your hotel room or rental. Pull up the sheets and bedding and check the mattress for visible pests or their feces which look like rust-colored specks. Check the backs of picture frames, electrical outlets, and furniture drawers for signs of pests as well. After wearing your clothes, place them in sealed bags to keep them from spreading. Once you arrive back home, vacuum your luggage, wash all of your clothing in hot water, and dry them on the hottest setting possible.
Related: Why Thermal Extermination is Best for Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
8. Clean Up the Yard
Clutter outside of your home tends to attract pests too. Anything that encourages pests to come near your home’s exterior increases the chance of them coming inside. To start cleaning up the yard, remove any debris like leaf and wood piles from your yard. Trim your landscaping and don’t allow it to become too overgrown as it can harbor pests.
9. Seal All Entry Points
Seal any possible entry points to prevent pests from making their way indoors. Pay attention to any gaps or crevices around doors, windows, exterior piping, exhaust and dryer vents, chimneys, roof and attic vents. Depending on where these are located, you may either fill them with some sort of caulk or foam sealant, or hardware cloth to cover vents. Closing these off is a simple pest prevention method that will lessen your chances of infestations. In fact, when performing professional pest control, we can help with some of this.
10. Check Pets for Pests
Pets that spend time outdoors are at a higher risk for coming into contact with pests and can accidentally bring inside. Ticks and fleas are common pests found on pets. Look for signs of pests underneath your pet’s collar, on their bellies, armpits, and base of tail for any pests that may be hiding in your fur.
11. Avoid Straw and Wood Chips for Mulch
Materials like straw and wood chips are good for your garden beds, but they also provide food, moisture, and shade for pests in your yard. Instead, opt for rocks or gravel to keep pests from getting too comfortable in your outdoor space but still make for neat-looking landscaping.
12. Install Door and Window Screens
Leaving your windows or doors open to air out your home has a lot of benefits when it comes to your mood and air quality, but pests may venture inside if you don’t keep watch. Adding screens is a simple trick for keeping pests out. Prevent rodents, spiders, roaches, and other critters from coming in by installing a fine mesh screen.
13. Keep Soil Healthy
Having healthy soil in your yard can fight off pest infestations better than unhealthy soil. It will also do better at staving off weeds and diseases, too. Know when to fertilize and the type of soil you have in order to make sure it’s less susceptible to pest threats. If you’re not sure how to get healthy soil, start off by testing your soil’s pH levels for an idea of what needs to be from there. FYI, we provide routine soil testing with all of our lawn care services!
14. Attract Beneficial Insects
Not every insect you see is bad. Dragonflies, ladybugs, and praying mantises are carnivores that eat a lot of menacing insects you don’t want in your garden. Use these good guys to your benefit and encourage them to come to your yard for natural pest prevention. You may also wish to attract critters like native lizards and frogs to keep the pest population down.
15. Band Your Trees
Prevent cankerworms from destroying your trees by banding them every fall. You can DIY this project or have our lawn care specialists do it for you as part of your lawn care. To do it yourself, use a roll of banding plastic and wrap it around the trunk of each tree. Coat the band with an adhesive to trap the insects as they climb up to lay their eggs. In the spring, you can unwrap the trees but will need to redo the process in the fall.
16. Replace Outdoor Light Bulbs
Did you know, white light bulbs tend to attract insects more than yellow bulbs? Replace all of the bulbs in your outdoor lighting fixtures to reduce the amount of moths and other flying insects that keep coming to your porch outdoor areas. Plus, the yellow light tends to provide better ambiance for outdoor spaces.
17. Remove Moisture
Certain moisture-loving pests may be at home in your birdbath, fountain, pond, and other water features. After storms, they can even be in mud puddles, standing water, and gutters. Clear all standing water from your property and correct any drainage issues so that pests, like mosquitoes, won’t be able to breed in the water and make your outdoor space less enjoyable.
Beyond the Point of Pest Prevention
These 17 tips for pest prevention are meant to be performed before pests are an issue. If you are already dealing with an infestation, professional intervention is the first step. Infestations can get out of hand fast and most DIY pest efforts don’t work and usually make things worse.
Need help managing pests? Our expert pest control is the answer! Regardless of what you’re dealing with, contact us below to get started on scheduling your first pest service.
This blog post was originally published in 2018 and refreshed in 2020.