Naturally, our home is a place we want to keep well-maintained. We do that with nice furniture and decorations before everything else. However, there are always other factors that come to undermine our efforts. A major one is pests. They come inside to seek food and shelter, gnaw and defecate all over the place and create unsanitary conditions. It’s very important to learn how to make your home safe from pests before it’s too late. Otherwise, they can destroy it and everything you’ve worked for. Luckily, a few easy steps can help you prevent that.
Clean the premises regularly
The first and most important thing to do to keep pests away is to keep your home in good condition. Cleaning every room thoroughly and regularly at least once a week helps with that. Most pests are attracted to dirty and unmaintained properties because it’s easier to find food and a place to nest.
When cleaning your house, use a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom. Pests can easily run away from a broom, while the vacuum cleaner will suck them in and suffocate them in its bag. Make sure also to eliminate any clutter. A cluttered house is a breeding ground for pests. By hiding in piles of newspaper or in packed cupboards, pests, especially insects, can reproduce in large numbers before they’re discovered. Keeping the clutter to a minimum will prevent an infestation before it has even begun.
Besides your home, maintain your yard with the same amount of care. Yard maintenance can significantly impact pest infestations, especially for mosquitoes and fleas. While you’re working on your yard, remove any piles of leaves or debris. These are areas that are the perfect hiding and breeding spots for pests.
Don’t leave food out
It’s well-known that pests enter homes to meet their basic survival needs. Like humans, an important one is food. However, they aren’t as picky as most of us and can settle for bread crumbs on the floors and kitchen counters. Many people underestimate that and don’t deal with this problem right away. Bigger pests can also attack fruits, vegetables and other foods they find left exposed.
The solve this problem, always keep your food items sealed, preferably in metal boxes or air-tight containers, because rats can gnaw through the plastic. If you have a secure cabinet or a fridge, always store the food there. Keep food consumption to one area of the house, and immediately clean any spills and crumbs. By eliminating any potential food sources, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of pests taking up residence in your home.
Don’t also forget to take care of pet food. It can be tempting for ants and cockroaches. Put pet food away after mealtimes or store it in a container.
Take the garbage out
Garbage cans are a gourmet feast for cockroaches and other pests. To prevent them from feeding on it, store and seal it properly. Place your garbage in a bin with a lid and empty it regularly. Ensure exterior bins have self-closing lids and tight seals to keep pests out. Clean and sanitise all interior and exterior garbage containers and recycling bins regularly, especially if they’ve been exposed to spills.
If you have a compost bin, make sure it has a lid secured with a hardwire cloth. Remove fully composted materials every 3 to 6 months.
Some pests, for example, mosquitoes, need water to breed. If you have leaking pipes, it’s likely that a pest will find its way inside.
Check your pipes regularly and clean any moisture from the floor and walls. Eliminate any puddled water sources in your yard as well. This will both allow you to enjoy your time spent in the yard better and reduce the number of bugs trying to enter your home. Look for areas where standing water tends to accumulate. Aerating your lawn can reduce this problem and allow it to absorb naturally into the soil.
Besides inside the house and in the yard, maintain regular drainage channels, such as the gutters and drains. Remove leaves, grass clippings, and debris from them so they can function properly.
To make your home resistant to pests, ensure they don’t have a way in. They don’t usually use the front door. Instead, they find more convenient entrances, such as cracks and small holes in the walls and around windows.
Make sure that such entry points don’t exist at all by sealing and securing them. Use metal or stone to take care of them because rats can chew through silicone and other softer materials. Don’t forget to also check the exterior of your house. There are likely to be plenty of unsealed holes and gaps you’ll find that can make an easy entrance path for pests.
Install a threshold under your door to prevent insects from crawling underneath. For extra protection, add a door sweep. It’s a cheap device that can be found at most hardware stores. It helps cover the gap between a threshold and the door bottom.
Consider installing a door closer. It’s a hydraulic device that automatically closes and latches the door after it’s been opened and can be adjusted to control the closing speed and force. However, if you have children or other forgetful family members that constantly leave the door open, simply taking care of the gaps by sealing them will be ineffective.
If you rely on natural ventilation from doors and windows, especially during the hot and humid summer days, install screens on your windows and doors. Summer is when mosquitoes, fleas and other pests are more likely to invade your home, and screens are relatively easy to install to prevent that.
Pesticides, traps and conservation
If you think you may still get pests inside your home, buy pesticides and traps and set them over the house. However, the downside of this method is that pesticides can poison your pet or harm innocent animals. Be very careful when using them.
One of the safest ways to keep pests away is to attract their natural predators. For example, small insects are the primary food source for large birds and bats. To encourage birds to help you with pest control, provide trees and bushes in your yard or garden where they can nest. Add a fresh water source and change it regularly so that it doesn’t grow stagnant. Install a birdseed or nectar feeder to supplement their insect-based diet.
Generally, leave a layer of fallen leaves or mulch in your garden as food and shelter for worms and other tiny organisms. This will provide hedgehogs and shrew mice with more food. Planting nectar-rich plants can also help. This way, more natural predators will come to your garden for food.
If you aren’t entirely confident in your actions, hire a pest control expert to examine your home and deal with the problem if you have one. They can decide on the safest method of extermination without endangering you, your family or your pets.