The same things that make your home attractive to you and your family can also appeal to pests like insects, spiders, and rodents. Don't just offer up easy access to your warm and protected space. Take action with these 12 easy fixes that can help keep unwanted pests outside.
1. Drain Buckets and Barrels
Standing water is a prime breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitos, so drain and clean any buckets, pails, barrels, or other containers you have laying around the yard. Then, either put them out of the weather or turn them upside down so water doesn't continue to collect. This will help keep mosquito numbers down in your home and yard.
2. Repair Leaky Fixtures
Leaky faucets and fixtures can be an attractive and convenient water source for many insects. Fruit flies, ants, and silverfish are some of the creepy-crawlies that you may find hanging out in the mini-oases these leaks can create.
3. Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can quickly overflow and cause water damage to your roof and fascia. This not only gives termites and carpenter ants a convenient source of food, but it also creates a vulnerable entry point for larger critters.
4. Store Food Wisely
You wouldn't intentionally set a buffet feast for bugs, yet storing food in unsealed bags, boxes, and containers is exactly that. Look for specially designed food storage containers with gaskets and seals to help keep bugs out and food fresh longer.
5. Cut High Weeds
High weeds can offer a protected place for rodents and snakes to live and travel around a yard while still staying out of sight. Keep any unused areas trimmed to help discourage these pests from taking up residence.
6. Fix Window and Door Screens
Window and door screens allow you to get fresh air in your home while keeping bugs out. However, holes or tears can easily let smaller insects pass through. Take the time to check screens for imperfections, and repair or replace them as needed.
7. Rake Fallen Leaves
Some home pests, like the smokey brown cockroach, feast on dead leaves and other plant matter. Keeping leaves and grass clippings raked up and away from your foundation will help discourage them from coming inside.
8. Stack Firewood Away From the House
The woodpile is a safe and cozy place for small rodents, snakes, and many types of bugs. Keep it stacked at least 15 to 20 feet from your house so they aren't encouraged to come in. Taking the time to look over firewood before you carry it in can help keep smaller bugs outside, too.
9. Cap Chimney Outlets
While you're thinking about the fireplace, it pays to look up at your chimney. Many critters like squirrels and birds will make a home in your chimney if it isn't capped. Having a simple metal chimney cap installed can save you the headache of having nests removed.
10. Keep Pets Clean
If you have pets that go inside and out, you will want to check them for fleas and mites that can quickly get into carpet and furniture. Keeping them clean and being alert to any changes in skin condition can help you stay on top of the problem.
11. Seal Cracks and Gaps
You know insects can get through tiny spaces, but mice can actually get through cracks as small as a dime. If you have any cracks or gaps going to the outside of your house, seal them with caulk or expanding insulation to help keep pests out.
12. Have Regular Inspections
It can pay to have a pest company come in for regular inspections. They are trained to detect signs of infestation and can help you get rid of any problems you may have. They can also help identify any potential trouble spots so you can avoid problems in the future.
Taking preventative steps to keep spiders, rodents, insects, and other pests from your home is often a lot easier than dealing with a problem later on. Many of these fixes require no more than a visual inspection, and the others are easy to incorporate into your seasonal home maintenance routine.