Your home should be the place where you feel the safest and most comfortable. It should serve as an escape from all the outside stressors of life. Unfortunately, the sight of one tiny insect or rodent can be enough to put you on edge. Spotting more than one is enough to cause full-on panic. If you have little ones or pets in your home, keeping your house bug-free and spic and span may feel even more important. Luckily, you don’t have to be at the mercy of those filthy pests! Take a look at our 10-Step Checklist for a Bug & Pest Free Home and set your mind at ease today!
Understand What Attracts Bugs & Pests
First things first: you need to know what it is that you’re doing that might be attracting bugs and rodents into your home. There are many different factors that can attract these pests, so you have to watch out for a number of things. Leaking water, accumulating clutter or trash, food left out on the counters, easy access from the outside to the inside of your home – all of these things alone or combined equal a recipe for disaster when it comes to keeping your home bug and pest free. Once you learn what to look out for, you can discover how to remedy the situation. Keep reading to find out easy solutions for all of these issues and more!
Seal Up Any Cracks & Gaps
If there happens to be any space from the outdoors to the inside of your home, no matter how small, it’s almost guaranteed that bugs and pests will find their way in. If air or light can fit through it, tiny insects can (and will!) do so as well.
Install door sweeps on the bottom of all exterior doors. If there are any gaps around the tops or sides of your doors, use door seals to close them right up. If you have cracks in your foundation or exterior walls, this is yet another entrance for those pesky pests to come right in. Also take care to check plumbing and gas lines, TV cables, and exhaust vents.
The majority of these cracks and gaps can be fixed up with your own two hands and a tube of caulk. If you run into any large cracks that seem like too big of a job for caulking, give a call to an expert and get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Keep Your Yard Well Maintained
Insects are most at home outside, and if you’re not careful you could be creating the perfect home for hoards of them without even trying. Look no further than your flowerbeds – mulch is a big culprit in attracting pests, so keeping it away from your home’s foundation is important. Also, be careful not to let leaves pile up for long. These dark, damp piles are just begging bugs to come camp out. Be sure to keep your lawn mowed regularly, and keep the length short, especially close to your house.
You should also take care to keep all trees and bushes trimmed back and away from your house. Heavy vegetation near your home can trap moisture and cause your siding to stay damp. Don’t let limbs rest on your roof or bushes lean against your windows. And if you have a pile of firewood, be sure to keep it away from all walls. Ants, termites, and other insects are happy to make these areas their home.
Take Out the Trash
Trashcans attract insects like you wouldn’t believe. Not only should you be taking your trash out as often as you possibly can, especially if you have food in the trash, but you should also keep your trashcans clean. It’s easy to let trashcans build up dirt and grime more than other areas of your house. It is the trash, after all. But this makes it a prime location for bugs to set up camp. Recycling bins can be even worse since they are usually without a liner and contain things that may live a sticky substance behind. Wipe your cans down thoroughly every time you think about it.
Also, don’t forget your outside garbage bins. They can become absolutely filthy over time, and the smells emanating from them are sure to draw critters. If you keep them relatively close to the house, keeping them clean is even more important. Hose them down frequently, and consider using a bleach-based solution to clean them out several times a year.
Keep Things Clean – Especially the Kitchen!
A clean and clutter-free home is absolutely essential in the quest to be pest-free. Bugs love finding a good hiding spot, so it’s your job to make it much more difficult for them. Don’t leave your laundry out on the floor or items piled up all over the place – if you do this, you’re creating an insect’s ideal environment without even thinking about it. Keeping clutter to a minimum and the house free of dust, dirt, and grime is something that is incredibly important for insect and pest prevention.
This is even more true when it comes to the kitchen. If food and water is present, there’s a good chance insects will quickly find their way to the area. If something spills, wipe it up quickly to avoid a sticky mess that is sure to make the insects come running. Sweep up all crumbs from counters and floors as often as possible. Keep all of your appliances as tidy as you can, including smaller items such as toasters. It may take a bit of effort to keep things constantly picked up and put away, but it will be worth it to keep those pesky critters out of your space!
Make Sure ALL Windows & Doors Have Screens
Everyone loves to open up the windows and let the sunshine and fresh air into their home. But if you don’t have screens on your windows and doors, that is an open invitation for critters of all kinds to come on in. So needless to say, if you don’t already have screens, now is the time to install them. If any of your screens have holes, are torn, or are damaged in any way, replace them. The best type of screen will be one made of fine mesh – these screens will keep the smallest of the small insects away.
Watch Out For Moisture
The majority of all insects are drawn to moisture of any kind, and many need moisture to survive. So if you have a leak anywhere in your home, get it taken care of ASAP. Pay close attention to sink traps, bathtub seals, and any noticeable drips. If your home has a basement, keep a close eye on the situation there – basements are notoriously dark and damp, the prime situation for a number of insects to thrive.
There are many other places moisture may be lurking aside from just a leaky faucet, so keep your eyes open. Outdoors, mulch can accumulate and trap a great deal of moisture, and it’s often right up against your home. Be sure to turn your mulch frequently to keep this to a minimum. Check out your gutter system and downspouts to ensure that they are all functioning correctly to divert water away from your home.
Obviously, you know it’s probably not a great idea to just leave your dinner leftovers sitting around on the cabinets or your dirty dishes in the sink overnight if you’re hoping to keep bugs away. But you may not have thought about other food sources that you should consider.
If you have pets, leaving their food out in their bowls may be something you never think about. But, certain types of insects would love to get their grimy little hands on your pup’s chow. Put your pet’s food out only at meal times in order to keep things clean. You should also clean your pet’s bowls regularly, and keep their food stored in a sealed container instead of simply rolling up the bag – that’s just not a big enough challenge for a determined bunch of insects!
A fireplace is a lovely addition to your home, but it can also be the source of a major headache if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Chimney openings are like an open invitation to outside critters. Install a chimney cap if you don’t already have one in order to keep them away. It’s also a good idea to verify that you have a sturdy screen on your roof vents. If yours is missing or damaged this is an easy way for squirrels or rats to make their way in. Go outside and take a good look at your home to see if there are any large entrances that you might have missed. While you may have forgotten about them, the critters in your neighborhood certainly haven’t.
After you’ve taken all the precautions you can take on your own, it’s time to call in the professionals. Not only can pest control experts help you with immediate concerns such as infestations, but they can also be a great help for preventing future issues. Rodents and insects aren’t just a nuisance. They can also spread disease throughout your home and cost you thousands of dollars in damage – both things you absolutely want to avoid at all costs. Routine pest control is an important part of maintaining a bug and pest-free home.
By following the 10-step checklist above and beginning routine pest control, you will be well on your way to living in a bug and pest-free home. Call Eco-Max Pest Control today at (812) 378-5595 or visit our website to find out more about your pest control options!