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Best 7 Tips to Pest-Proof Your Home

Posted on May 17th, 2017 at 9:16 AM
Best 7 Tips to Pest-Proof Your Home

If you’re like those of us in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, you’re ready for the sunny and warm days ahead.  But you might not be happy with the pests that come along with summertime!

When the temps start rising, those unwanted visitors begin waking up and are looking for food.  Will your home be their best source?  Even the best custom-built homes can fall prey to pests if we’re not vigilant.  The reasons why pests see you as an easy target might surprise you!  The apple pie sitting out on the counter isn’t the only trigger. If you take the following steps, you can prevent those creepy-crawlies:

  1. Repairs: Perhaps you had a new dryer installed, or plumbing or electrical work done.  Double-check to see what holes may have been made to the outside, not matter how small.  If you can see light, make sure the holes are completely sealed. Otherwise, insects and rodents will make their way inside—they only need a hole the size of a pin-head.
  2. Firewood: You may have a fire pit outside to enjoy cool evenings, or a wood-burning fireplace inside your home.  But, we humans aren’t the only ones enjoying firewood.  Store the wood at least 20 feet from your house.  Brush the wood off before going inside to prevent carrying in ants and other insects.  And be careful when reaching for the wood in the first place—snakes, rodents, and even skunks are happy to burrow inside wood piles.
  3. Doors & Windows: Remember when Mom or Dad would tell you, “Close the door! You’re letting the bugs in!”? While they were right, the pests could still get in even with the door closed. Check the weather-stripping around your doors and replace it if it’s loose or torn.  Caulk small cracks or use steel wool for larger gaps.  Replace torn window screens and be sure they fit snugly to the window.
  4. Centerpieces: Yes, the fresh-fruit bowl on the kitchen table makes a great Instagram pic!  And those freshly-picked flowers from your garden make the entry smell lovely.  They also attract insects.  Fruit is a great breeding ground and flowers make a tasty meal!  Fruit should be stored in sealed bowls or in the fridge.  Keep flowers in their natural environment—outside.
  5. Pets: Whether it’s prescribed or homeopathic, most of us use something to prevent our pets from suffering from fleas and ticks.  But did you know their food bowls are a prime destination for ants?  Keep your pets’ bowls clean between meals to avoid unwanted dinner companions!
  6. Water: Standing water is one of the biggest attractions for mosquitoes.  And it’s not just the water from ponds and puddles.  Be sure to regularly tip your kiddie pools, bird baths, fire pits, etc. Check for leaky pipes under sinks and cabinets.  Consider using a dehumidifier for damp basements and moist attics. Silverfish, centipedes, earwigs, crickets, and mold mites love these dark, damp places!
  7. Keep it Clean: With busy life styles, it’s tempting to “give it a lick and a promise”.  However, the food crumbs and juice spills that you may not see in the dining room carpet are a smorgasbord for bugs.  Thoroughly wipe up spills when they happen. Vacuum regularly and take out bags or debris at least once per week.  Keep your garbage bins covered and securely seal bags.  Clean your cupboards with vinegar—ants can’t stand the smell!

Once you’ve put these into practice, you’ll be able to feel more confident that only invited guests are enjoying your home with you.  By keeping your landscaping trimmed and away from walls and siding, you’ll not only keep four (or more) footed guests away; you’ll also make it less attractive for break-ins.

If you’re building a new home, be sure to talk with your builder about barriers and energy-efficient options.  Many of these materials will also help prevent pests. 

Now, barbecue anyone?