Dealing with pests is a particularly unwelcome part of homeownership. Immediate, defensive action is important if you experience an infestation, because most homeowner’s insurance policies will not provide coverage from damage caused by critters. But the best way to avoid the situation altogether is to go on the offense, preventing pest problems before they happen.
Being proactive in keeping pests and rodents from infiltrating your home will likely save you a huge headache and loads of cash. There are a number of measures that can be taken to wipe out conditions appealing to pests both inside and outside of your home.
SEAL ANY GAPS OR CRACKS
Pests can make their way in through any small gaps or crevices in your home. Small gaps around electrical lines and pipes provide the perfect opportunity for pests to wiggle their way into your living space, so sealing up any of these openings can prevent the unwelcome visitors. Be sure to inspect your doors and windows as well, and repair any torn window screens.
DISPOSE OF TRASH PROPERLY
Many pests are naturally attracted to rubbish. Ants and rodents view household waste as a food source, so properly disposing of both household garbage and yard waste is an important step to take in combatting these critters. Invest in trash cans with tight-fitting lids, and be sure to clean up any spills or debris that may collect underneath them. In your yard, clippings from plants, dead plant material and standing water are all attractive to bugs, creating environments that allow them to thrive.
USE BUG LIGHT BULBS
The phrase “like a moth to a flame” infers that moths are attracted to light. The same goes for many insects, and placing a standard lightbulb in the sconce on your front porch creates a beacon that will attract swarms of these positively phototatic insects. The simple task of installing a yellow LED bug light bulb will attract fewer bugs, making your home less visible to most flying insects.
BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT YOUR LANDSCAPING
Using mulch in your landscaping can provide a suitable environment for pests to shelter in. Using an alternate material that is less attractive to pests, such as rocks, may cut back on the intruders. Trimming overhanging tree branches or bushes that touch your foundation can also cut off a bridge that insects can use to enter your home.
USE SEALED CONTAINERS TO STORE FOOD
Dry food, such as crackers and cereal, often come in containers that aren’t able to tightly reseal once opened. But transferring these opened foods to a sealed container will not only keep them fresher, it will prevent pests from sniffing them out and invading your pantry. Rodents have a particularly keen sense of smell, so properly storing any leftover food is important in order to evade their impressive olfactory abilities.
CLEAN YOUR HOME REGULARLY
Crumbs can provide a potential food source for pests, so vacuuming and sweeping on a regular basis will eliminate the buffet line. Mopping any sticky areas and keeping your sink free of dirty dishes will also disturb a pest’s search for a home. Regular cleaning may also shed light on any possible entrance points for insects and pests.
MAKE SURE GUTTERS ARE WORKING PROPERLY
Some pests, such as dampwood termites, are attracted to moisture, so keep water away from your home by ensuring your gutters are in good working order. Blocked gutters can cause water to pool up around the edges of your roof, potentially drawing in pests and causing water damage. The rainwater may also spill over the side of your gutters, leaking into your foundation, which could lead to the potential for basement flooding and subsequent mold damage. To avoid the possibility of a termite infestation or having to file a water damage insurance claim or a mold damage insurance claim due to clogged gutters, regular maintenance is key.
PUT AWAY PET FOOD AND WATER OVERNIGHT
Pests will search for any source of food they can find, so even if you’ve cleaned your entire kitchen and sealed up any open food, your dog’s food and water bowls can also draw in bugs or pests. If your pets haven’t finished their bowls of food before bedtime, put the remaining food back in its container and dump the water out of the bowl. Be sure to also sweep up any stray pieces of food that have spilled over the side of the bowl. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to remove your pet’s food bowls at night, there are special bowls you can purchase that discourage pests from crawling into your pet’s food and water.
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