Easy Tips for Pest Prevention
Seal all the access points
- Examine the exterior walls, cupboards, cabinets, and closets of your house for holes and cracks. Repair these with a wall-patching compound such as Spackle, caulking or patching plaster.
- Verify that pipes, utilities, and air ducts are properly installed and close off any gaps around pipes and utilities.
- Close doors that are not in use, and make sure that doors seal well. If there is even a small gap at the bottom or sides of a door, bugs can enter the home. Proper weatherstripping around exterior doors will ensure a tight seal.
- Fix cracked or loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
- Replace window screens if they are missing or damaged. Also, replace or repair damaged crawl space coverings.
- Remember, mice are known to squeeze through holes as small as a nickle.
Don’t leave food out for pests
- Keep food, including pet food, properly sealed and inside.
- Clean up sweet or sticky spills right away.
- If you have fruit trees, harvest ripe fruit and pick up fallen fruit immediately.
- Use a garbage can with a securely fitting lid and remove garbage from your property frequently.
- Bird seed will attract rodents. If you must have a bird feeder on your property, look for rodent-proof styles of bird feeders, and be sure to keep the area under and around the feeder clean and free of any spilled seed.
Remove nesting grounds
- Building materials such as bricks, and boards stacked near the exterior walls of the home create ideal nesting locations. The same is true of leaves and brush. Clear these materials away from your home.
- Don’t stack firewood near your house. Use a sealed, elevated cabinet to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
- Look for water damage and mold. Damp and moldy walls are also prime spots for nesting.
Tend outdoor plants and vegetation
- Keep shrubs, plants and trees away from the exterior walls so they don’t create access routes or lead to damp, moldy walls.
- Some bugs nest in organic ground covering such as grass, shrubs, mulch and wood chips. Consider a dry alternative like concrete or stone adjacent to your home.
- Control garden pests. Many common garden insects support large colonies of ants.
- Remove trees near the house if they harbor ants.
Regular home maintenance
- Have a professional inspect your roof every 2-3 years for signs of decay, water damage, and mold.
- Make sure that basements, attics, and crawls spaces are not susceptible to mold and rot by keeping them well ventilated and dry. Again, make sure that screens with no holes are in place in windows used for ventilation, and that air ducts are properly installed with no gaps around them.
- Fix any leaking fixtures in your house right away to prevent water damage. Water damage will cause the wood to become soft and moldy, creating an ideal habitat for certain bugs.
When to call a Pro
If you have signs of an infestation you should contact an exterminator. Note where the pests were first seen and any damage they may have caused. Calling a professional is also a good idea if you think you may have a pest problem, but aren’t sure or have questions. Untrained individuals should NOT attempt to handle pesticides. It is always best to call a professional who is trained to handle potentially harmful pest control substances.
What will the Exterminator do?
Qualified pest control professionals will carefully consider all control methods, and choose the best solution depending on the type of pest and nature of the infestation. They will begin with a complete inspection of the home and adjacent areas to determine the extent of the problem. They will identify the type of pest, as well as nesting locations, entry points, and food supplies.
The exterminator will show the homeowner how to get rid of food stores and habitats for vermin. A well trained professional will limit use of potentially hazardous chemical pesticide. The technician can safely apply pesticides as part of an Integrated Pest Management Program to resolve the problem and prevent future infestation.