Bugs and other pests need food, water, and shelter to survive, just like any other creature. According to The Entomological Foundation, the ratio of insects to humans on earth is 200,000,000:1. That’s a lot of bugs! Chances are good that at least some of those bugs are hoping to hide out in your house or grab a snack from your kitchen! Eliminating their entry points and hiding spots will go a long way toward keeping creepie crawlies from taking up residence inside your home. To best improve your chances of staying bug-free, you need to take special care to seal up any cracks or gaps on your home’s exterior and eliminate their favorite hiding spots.
The experts at the National Pest Management Association recommend taking steps to pest-proof your home every spring. It’s a good idea to take these steps again in the fall as well, because bugs and other pests will be looking for safe shelter for the winter.
10 Ways to Protect Your Home from Creepie Crawlies
- Window Screens
Everyone loves to have a nice cool breeze flowing through the house, so window screens are an important first line of defence in keeping bugs out of your home. You should regularly inspect your screens to make sure they fit tightly and are in good shape. It’s important that there are no gaps around the outside of the screen and no holes in the screen itself. Screens with holes or gaps need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to keep bugs, like flies, mosquitoes, and gnats, out of the home.
- Exterior Doors
It’s very common for bugs to sneak into the home through exterior doors. Close your exterior doors and carefully inspect the edge of the doors to see if there’s any daylight coming through anywhere. Gaps around doors can not only be an easy entry point for bugs, they can also lead to higher energy bills. Replace any thresholds that are in bad condition and fill any gaps around the door with weather-stripping. Also, make sure that every member of your family gets into the habit of closing the door quickly when they enter the house. The easiest way for pests like flies and mosquitos to enter the home is through an open door.
- Exterior Walls and Foundation
Now, take a walk around the perimeter of your home and inspect it for cracks in the walls or foundation. Check the fascia and eaves for any holes that bugs could enter through. Inspect the caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows for gaps or damage. All openings should be repaired with the appropriate weatherproofing material. Caulk, spray-foam, or concrete can be used to repair most issues in the foundation. Fascia that is damaged will probably need to be replaced.
- Outdoor Furniture
When it comes to the end of the season and you get ready to store your outdoor furniture in the garage or basement for the winter, clean it well and inspect it for bugs. Bugs that are looking for a safe place to hide from the cold and other harsh elements will take shelter in all the little nooks and crannies, so be sure to inspect them carefully. Usually hosing the furniture down with a strong jet of water is all that’s needed to dislodge the bugs.
Get your pruning scissors out and do a walk around the perimeter of your home looking for any plants that are touching the house or hanging over the eaves. Bugs will use any plant that touches a structure as a bridge to access the house, not to mention mice, rats and squirrels. Look for tree branches that are hanging over the gutters and cut them back because squirrels, rats, and mice will climb across them looking for a way in. Cut back any shrubs or plants that touch the foundation, too. Bugs love to hide in vegetation, especially when it’s sheltered by your house or porch.
- Utility Line Entry Points
Now it’s time to grab that caulk again. You need to check the entry points for all of the utility lines that enter your house. Carefully caulk around the openings to make sure there’s a tight seal. Remember, caulk will crack and dry out over time, so you should check these areas at least a couple times a year.
- Attic and Vents
Go ahead and climb up into your attic and inspect any vent covers. Check the seals and add caulking where needed. Ensure that the screens covering the vents are tight fitting, secure, and don’t have any holes. Repair or replace the screens as needed. While you’re up there, go ahead and do a thorough check for signs of birds, bats, mice or squirrels nesting in the attic. Faeces littering the floor is usually the most obvious sign, but you might see little piles of food or nests, as well. Dealing with critters once they’ve taken up residence in the attic is challenging, so calling in a pro like BroadwayExterminating.com is probably your best bet.
Everyone hates to clean out their gutters, but it’s necessary to keep them debris free if you want to keep bugs and other pests from taking up residence. Small critters like mice and squirrels, as well as bugs, love to use the leaves and other organic matter that collects in the gutters and roof valleys as bedding and shelter. Your gutters should be cleaned out at least twice a year in the spring and fall.
- Inside Your Home
Since most pests are seeking food when they enter your home, be sure that all your food is stored in bug and rodent proof containers. Don’t forget to keep pet food in sealed containers as well. As part of your normal spring and fall cleaning routine, move your kitchen appliances away from the wall and clean under them.
Talk to your veterinarian about a monthly flea and tick preventative for your pets. Remember prevention is key!
Following these 10 steps will keep the creepie-crawlies out of your home. A bug free home is safer and more pleasant for you, your family, and your pets!