bug-cartoonWe spend significant time, money, and effort making our homes and businesses comfortable… and pests think so too! As with any living thing, pests need three major things to survive: water, food, and shelter. All of which can be found within almost any home or business. You may be inviting pests to come on inside without your even realizing it! Pest control isn’t always about breaking out the sprays and baits and going on a rampage to soak down every surface. Just as important is finding those things that attract the pests in the first place and helping to eliminate them. Remove the reasons they are coming in the first place and you will, by default, cut back on the level of pest problem you will see.  Here are a few simple tips to help make your home a little less inviting to them and keep pests out!

1-Repair Leaks

Water leaks in a home can not only cause damage due to rot and mold, but it is also a major attractant to most all insects and rodents! Everything needs water to survive, and what better source for a pest than that dripping sink, water pipe, or drain?

2-Clean The Gutters

When leaves build up in your gutters they provide a perfect environment for pests to nest in. Moisture gets trapped under the leaves and isn’t able to drain out or evaporate providing easy access to something for pests drink. Some types of insects will even eat the decaying leaves providing them a source of food. And finally, many insects will hide under the leaves as a form of shelter or, if left long enough, the leaves can compost into soil providing an excellent place for ant colonies to thrive.

3-Cut Plants And Trees Away From The Home

When bushes and trees touch the side or roof of your structure it can provide an easy bridge for rodents to use for getting onto the roof. From there its a simple matter of finding a builders gap around the edge of the roof line and you have a nice new visitor living in your attic. Ants are also well known for living in or around trees and using the touching branches as a way to find easy access to the structure when foraging for food.

4-Seal Openings

In order for utilities to be run inside any building holes must be made to allow the pipes/wires to be run inside. These holes are often much larger than they need to be causing a gap to be left between the pipes/wires and the edges of the hole itself. Foundations will also crack at times when the earth underneath them settles. These openings may not seem like much to you, but to an insect or rodent they might as well have a giant neon sign above them saying “Come right in here!” Using steel or copper wool along with a foam sealant or caulk to close off these openings can slam that open door right in the face of those pests. Remember the “Rule of Thumb”  If you can fit your thumb in a hole, a rat can get in that opening. If you can fit your pinky finger in the hole then a mouse can get in there. Insects require even less of an opening to enter.

5-Take Out The Trash

It may seem gross to you but to insects and rodents, your trash can is a veritable smorgasbord of tasty delights. All those scraps and leftovers are just what they are looking for when it comes to a meal. Be sure to take trash out every night if possible and keep outdoor cans lidded and  away from the structure.

6-Do The Dishes

As with taking out the trash, it is important to keep dishes washed and not allowed to sit overnight in the sink. Left over food stuck to dishes provided a welcome meal to any unwanted visitor that finds its way into your kitchen. Pests can be difficult enough to control without giving them a free meal.

7-Keep Fruits And Vegetables In The Fridge

It is a common practice to keep a bowl of fruit or raw vegetables out in the open for easy access. Often these are natural food sources for insects and rodents and provide an extremely attractive and tasty reason for them to want to come into your home.  Keeping these items in the fridge will help protect them from the unwanted attention they attract.

8-Pick Up Pet Food

Leaving a bowl of pet food out may seem convenient for your pet, but it is just as convenient for those pests. Its best to only give your pet as much as they will eat within 20-30 mins and then remove the bowl. A dog or cat won’t miss too many meals before they learn the routine and begin to eat while the getting’s good. It is important to point out that while it is not great to leave water out for pest control reasons, pets should have constant access to water and therefore you should leave their water bowls within their reach even when you pull up the food bowls.

9-Clear Clutter

Piles of clutter and scrap should not be left near or inside a structure. It provides much needed shelter from the elements and protection from predators that many pests are constantly on the look out for. Once safely set up in their new home of clutter, its only a short hop inside your structure to look for some food and water and they are all set. Keep clutter piles clear and if it is impossible to remove them then keep them a good distance away from the structure until they can be removed.

10-Be Careful What You Bring Inside

Shopping at yard sales and thrift stores can be a great deal but often times you’re bringing home much more than you bargained for. Many pest infestations can be attributed to just a few hitch hikers that tagged along into your home on a recently purchased or inherited item and quickly bred themselves into a real problem. Be sure to closely inspect any item before you bring it inside with you to make sure there are no signs of pests inside of it. Look in the cracks and between joints with a flashlight for signs of droppings or the insects themselves. A few moments of inspection can save you months of dealing with a pest infestation that is difficult to get rid of.

In Conclusion

I hope this tip guide has been informative and while these tips are a great way to start making your structure a less attractive home for pests, they are in no way guaranteed to ensure you will never have a problem. Sometimes the only way to rid yourself of an infestation or to help prevent a problem in the first place is to simply turn the situation over to a trained professional. If you decide you would like to consult a professional to assess your pest situation, give us a call for a free quote at (205) 401-3410.

-Marksman Professional Pest Control