While pest control companies are excellent at ridding your home of unwanted critters, there are ways you can pest proof your home that are easy on both you and your wallet.
1. Fix all openings. Inspect your basement, attic, windows, all doors with an outside entry/exit, laundry vents, utility meters, piping, and exterior of your home. If any cracks or gaps are present, seal them. If you have screening on your doors or windows, you’ll want to repair any holes present in these as well, as this makes quite an easy entrance for bugs. It is advised for you to keep your garage door shut as often as possible, especially at night when raccoons and other night crawlers are out and about.
2. Designate a feeding area for your pets. Place a rubber mat underneath your pet’s food and water bowl, and don’t leave it sitting out overnight.
3. Maintain a clean kitchen. Store all leftovers in airtight containers, clean up any spills of sugar around your coffee maker, keep counters clean of sugary residue (such as PB & J), store fresh fruit away from direct sunlight and toss any old produce into the trash, sweep and vacuum on a regular basis, rinse all recyclable containers before placing into the bin.
4. Check for leaks. Inspect the areas around your tub, toilet and sinks, as well as the basement, for cracks, drips, water stains, and loose fitting pipe work. Pay close attention to your ceiling as well – if water spots are present, you may have a hole in your roof.
5. Make lawn maintenance a regular part of your schedule. Trim branches and shrubbery, keep the grass cut, rake all leaf piles and remove debris from storm damage, keep trash bins closed and away from your home, and clean up pet waste left in the yard.
6. Keep an open mind about birds. Birds love to eat bugs and are nature’s own form of pest control. It’s as simple as putting up few bird feeders around your yard, they will take care of the rest.
7. Keep your firewood supply away from your house. Wood piles are the perfect living space for termites, ants, and cockroaches. Keep the pile away from your house and stored on an elevated platform. A firewood rack is always a good choice, as it allows you to keep your stack neat and away from the ground. Of course, you can always use a wheelbarrow or bench – but make sure you use a tarp for coverage.
8. Make your own fly trap. No matter what type of fly, we can all agree they’re annoying to have around. You can make your own fly trap by applying some dish soap to a half a cup of apple cider vinegar in an open container. The flies will be drawn to the scent of the vinegar and the soap will break the surface, causing them to drown. Don’t place them near open doors or windows, though, as this will draw more flies into your home.
9. Trap mice rather than kill them. Dead mice can attract insects and create bacteria. There are cheap but effective traps online and in local stores that are re-usable. Of course, the best way to keep mice out of your house is to seal all holes and openings, especially those near baseboard heaters and your dryer.
10. Be proactive in mosquito prevention. This includes:
a. Removing standing water. Turn over water that has collected in open containers, throw mulch or soil over puddles.
b. Hide minced garlic around your porches. This smell will repel many insects, especially mosquitoes.
c. When doing yard work, choose sunscreen that has citronella, eucalyptus, cinnamon, or castor oil in it. As with the garlic, these smells will keep the bugs away.
d. Turn on an oscillating fan when sitting on your porch. The breeze will keep the bugs away from you.