Nobody enjoys finding cockroaches, ants, or termites in their home. If you do find these pests inside your residence, you have to worry about contamination and structural damage, and you also have to take the time to hire an exterminator.
Rather than face off against invading pests, why not be proactive about pest control? Here are seven steps that almost every homeowner can take to make their home less appealing to insects — from termites to field crickets.
1. CLEAN TOUGH-TO-REACH PLACES
Most homeowners keep visible surfaces like their floors and counters pretty clean. However, if you look a bit deeper, you’ll find some food crumbs in the corners of cupboards, behind the fridge, and perhaps even under the couch cushions. Insects love visiting these spots because they are secluded, so keep the small hidden areas clean just as spotless as the visible, open spaces.
Try scheduling a once-a-week session where you do a little deep cleaning, addressing hidden areas you tend to neglect. In addition to the spaces mentioned above, some good areas to target are inside the microwave, along the baseboards, and the cupboard where your toaster is stored.
2. KEEP FOOD SEALED
A determined cockroach can chew through a cardboard box or a plastic bag, so the containers your pantry items come in aren’t really protecting your food.
Instead, store your food inside sturdy plastic or glass containers. Make sure you close each container after use.
3. IMPROVE YOUR TRASH STORAGE
Most indoor trash cans don’t seal nearly as well as they should. Insects can easily gain access after being attracted to the food waste inside. Here are some simple ways to improve your trash storage:
- Clean your garbage can with bleach and water every week or two in order to get rid of odors that insects find appealing.
- Close the lid on the trash can. Even if it does not close tightly, some barrier is better than no barrier.
- Keep your outdoor trash can farther away from your home so any bugs it attracts don’t migrate inside.
- Take your kitchen garbage outside every day.
Buying a smaller indoor trash can may help you remember to take the trash outside more often.
4. KEEP YOUR DRAINS CLEAN
The kitchen drain can become laden with food bits and other debris that is attractive to roaches and ants. Make sure you rinse food down the drain when you’re finished doing dishes. If you have a garbage disposal, let it run with the cold water on for about 30 seconds after you’re finished grinding food to ensure all of the food is washed all the way down the drain.
To keep your drains clean and odor-free, try putting a cup each of vinegar and baking soda down the drain every few weeks. This helps neutralize odors and is kinder to your pipes than drain cleaner.
5. SEAL HOLES AND CRACKS
Termites, roaches, earwigs, and other pests often enter the home through small cracks in basement walls or floors. Luckily, sealing these cracks in concrete is easier than you might think. Just follow these steps:
- Remove any loose debris from the crack using a chisel or screwdriver.
- Vacuum the area around the crack to remove residual dust.
- Use a bottle of pre-made concrete filler purchased from the hardware store. Squeeze a bead of the filler into the crack, and then use a trowel to smooth it out.
- Let the concrete rest and dry overnight.
- Apply a concrete sealer according to instructions on the package. This will keep water from damaging the concrete and reopening a crack.
If you have larger cracks in your foundation, hire a professional to come seal these defects. When you repair these problems you can keep bugs from entering directly and also help deter water leaks.
6. KEEP YOUR HOME DRY
Insects don’t just need food to thrive. Bugs also need water, and they are easily drawn to homes where moisture is in good supply. Basements are a common source of moisture that attracts bugs. Install a dehumidifier to keep your basement dry, and have a plumber come immediately if you notice any leaking pipes.
Also, keep your bathroom dry by running the exhaust fan after you shower and drying up any spills. Repair any dripping faucets, as they give insects a nice, steady supply of water.
7. PRACTICE PROPER FIREWOOD STORAGE
Termites eat firewood, so if firewood isn’t stored correctly, you increase your chances of termites calling your property home. Improperly stored firewood can contribute to ant and spider infestations. Always store firewood outside — ideally at least 20 feet from your exterior door. Never stack wood next to your home or another structure, as any insects in the wood will then have a direct route into the building.
Follow the tips above and you’ll reduce your chances of a serious pest infestation. In addition, consider signing up for quarterly service from American Pest Control, Inc. Every season, our technicians will pest-proof your home, spreading granular treatments and knocking down spider webs to keep your home a bug-free environment.