An Ounce of Prevention

A few precautions can go a long way toward reducing pest traffic and preventing home invasions. Here are some proven strategies:

Do These Things to Prevent Pests Before they Become a Problem

  • Seal off the entryways. Bugs and rodents can get in through tiny cracks and gaps. Inspect house walls and foundation, around doors and windows (including screens), and at pipe and wiring access points. Check indoors around kitchen cabinets, at vents, and where walls meet flooring. Seal openings with caulk, metal mesh, steel wool (mice don’t like it), mortar—whatever best fits the situation.
  • Eliminate pedestrian walkways for pests. Trim tree branches and shrubbery so they don’t offer a direct route to the walls and roof of your home. Don’t stack firewood (or other supplies) against the house. Avoid using wood chip mulch next to the house.
  • Repair plumbing leaks. Minimize standing water outdoors.
  • Reduce clutter, indoors and out. Okay, we all know we should do this.
  • Keep it clean! Wipe up all evidence of food after cooking and eating. (That goes for outdoor meals, too.) Use sealed containers for food that’s not refrigerated. If you can’t wash the dinner dishes, put them on hold in soapy water. Take out trash daily, and make sure garbage cans are properly sealed.
  • Inspect fruits and veggies when you bring them home. A quick rinse can help eliminate fruit fly eggs.
  • Check pets regularly for fleas and ticks. Launder pet bedding often.
  • Replace white outdoor lighting with yellow or pink light—it’s less likely to attract flying insects. Ideally, mount lights on poles so they’re directed toward doors, rather than on the wall alongside doors.