Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pest-Proof Your Home

Few things can ruin your peace of mind as much as finding pests in your home. Whether it’s a mouse running across the kitchen floor, wasps setting up shop in your rafters, or a spider in your bedroom… an unwelcome guest in your home can ruin your month! And exterminating them can ruin your pocketbook, too.

Rats and cockroaches are some of the biggest contributors to allergens and disease in the home. Wasps and spiders can threaten our safety. Termites undermine the foundations of your home. Moths and mice ruin food stores and treasured property. 

Bed bugs are just straight-up creepy. Pests also tend to thrive more in houses with elderly residents, since there are big areas that are largely neglected, and so we miss the signs of infestation. 

Luckily, there are measures that you can take to minimize the likelihood of having pests in your house. Not only do these improvements raise your quality of life and safety, but they also have a great ROI on the value of your home. Read on to learn more…

Keep tidy outsides

The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of pests is to keep your front and back yard clean and unattractive to pests. Do regular sweeps of your yard to ensure that you don’t have standing water that can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

Store garbage far away from your house and keep a lid on it so that you don’t attract scavengers and flies. Having stacks of wood by your home can draw termites, especially when it gets wet over the winter. 

Check for beehives, wasp’s nests, and anthills around your yard and in surrounding trees.
Minimize habitats for pests around your yard by installing soffits on your house’s rafters so that birds and wasps can’t build nests there, as this article argues

Trim back trees and hedges, especially around the bases, and keep them well-groomed so that pests can’t get comfortable there.

Keep inside tidy too

Don’t feel discouraged: if you have pests in your home, it doesn’t mean that you’re a slob! 

Even a squeaky-clean home can become subject to an infestation. However, careful cleaning can greatly decrease your chances of attracting bugs and rodents.
  • Clean all crumbs from the counters and floors. 
  • Avoid clutter. The fewer places pests have to hide, the better. 
  • Speaking of clutter, raise things off the floor. This can be especially smart for your garage, where letting your boxes and sporting equipment congregate on the floor can create an ideal living space for spiders and raccoons. 
  • Keep a cover on your trash can. The smell can attract flies and ants. 
  • Seal up your food in airtight containers, even dry goods like cereal and flour, which can be wonderful habitats for moths. 
  • Vacuum really regularly. Many professionals recommend once a week, in order to lower the risk of bed bugs, which are on the rise clear across the United States. 

Keep dry

Moisture is one of the biggest siren calls to pests. Termites love wet wood. Cockroaches thrive in moist areas, which accounts for their alternative name, water bugs. 

Flies find breeding ground in wet, warm areas. Simply eliminating reasons for excess water can go a long way in preventing an infestation in your home. 

Take swift action to correct causes of excess water in your home. This might mean checking for leaks in the plumbing, which includes watching for spikes in your water bill and checking creaky floors and stains in the walls and ceiling. 

Look under your sinks regularly to make sure that everything is sealed up tight. Be on guard against leaky sprinklers in the yard, especially if they run the risk of leaking into your house. Install fans in your bathrooms, or crack the windows to let the humidity after a bath or shower dissipate.

Keep all holes sealed and cracks repaired

Sometimes, no matter how clean your home and yard is, insects and rodents will climb into your house, just for the sake of shelter and warmth. You can minimize the entry points that they have, though.

Our homes are riddled with more holes than we realize. Some are tiny cracks in the walls and baseboards that insects creep into. 

Others are large vents and holes that were side effects of a utility installation, perhaps in order to wire in the internet or satellite. In order to keep your house snug as a bug in a rug (excuse the expression) take these measures:
  • Put a mesh barrier over ventilation holes and large pipes. 
  • Treat cracks with caulking. 
  • Weatherproof doors and windows. Install weather stripping around the borders, and a door flap at the base of the door in order to keep bugs from creeping in. 

Call in the pros

Home remedies can’t do everything, which is why we have professionals. A home inspector or pest control technician can notice signs of infestation that you don’t. 

Get regular checks, especially for termites, and if you have a high risk of infestation, or children that could get hurt by stowaways, consider pest barrier treatments around your home. Although it requires regular maintenance, it’s often worth it for the peace of mind.

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