Whether you see insects, rodents, small mammals, or bats at home, dealing with pests can be an unnerving experience. You can sleep soundly with proper pest control and prevention, knowing that pests won’t invade your space. Some pests can carry diseases, while others can wreak havoc on your home, potentially causing all types of expensive damage. Thankfully, a few pest-proofing tactics can be used to keep your home safe and pest-free. This guide offers more information about different types of pests, how to pest-proof your home, and ways to control them so your home and garden will stay safe and healthy.
Pest prevention strategies
The best way to avoid dealing with pests is to prevent them from entering your home and garden in the first place. Let’s take a closer look at various pests and how you can pest-proof the exterior and interior of your home.
Pest proof your home
- Types of pests: Pests come in a variety of sizes and species. The most common household pests include ants, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs, and spiders. But pests also come in the form of animals, including mice and rats, bats, raccoons, and even squirrels. It’s important to know exactly what types of pests you’re dealing with to properly prevent them from getting inside your home. Anything that can spread disease, damage items, and property, or cause you stress and fear is considered a pest.
- Exterior proofing: Pest-proof the exterior of your home by sealing all doors and windows, and look for any gaps where pests can come inside. Close off fireplaces at the roofline during the warmer months. Look carefully at your roof and flashing, making sure there are no points of entry. You should also look closely at your home’s foundation, sealing any cracks or repairing broken bricks. Remove debris and leaves from the perimeter of your home, and make sure there is no standing water. Stagnant water is a pest magnet, particularly for small mammals and mosquitos.
- Interior proofing: Make sure that the inside of your home is clean and free of crumbs and food that isn’t stored in a sealed container. Check your plumbing to ensure that no pipes are leaking, as this can be an easy source of water for thirsty pests. Remove piles of clothing, newspapers, and clutter in general since many pests like to build their nests in dark, dingy places. Clean up pet food regularly and make sure that your home is generally as clean as possible. Keep windows closed when you’re not at home, and look in your attic to ensure that there’s no easy way for pests to get inside. If you want an extra layer of protection, use a pest control barrier spray, but make sure that it is child and pet safe.
Yard and landscape issues that can make pests worse
Surprisingly, there are some things that humans do that may attract pests to your lawn and garden. Here are a few common problems that can contribute to pests in these areas.
- Standing water in old tires, birdbaths, and ponds will attract pests to your lawn and garden, particularly mosquitoes and biting flies.
- Piles of leaves and dead plant matter are a significant pest attractant, as well as piles of firewood.
- Leaks around the foundation may entice pests to come near your home to find water.
- Trash that is not secured with a tight-fitting lid is a surefire way to attract pests to your yard and your home.
- Dirty grills will tempt pests to come closer to find food.
- Bird feeders filled with birdseed will bring more than just birds: they’ll also tempt various other animals to come and eat, such as mice and insects.
- Leaving a porch light on at night is another pest attractant.
- Gaps in your doors and windows will be an open invitation for pests to visit your garden, porch, and inside of your home.
Learn how to recognize garden pests
Some garden bugs are actually beneficial, while others can cause serious harm to your landscape. Here are some examples of friendly and unfriendly garden insects, so you know the difference between them.
Insects That Benefit Your Garden: Some insects are actually beneficial to your garden, including ladybugs, butterflies, and honeybees. Any insect that is a pollinator will help your flowers, fruits, and vegetables flourish. Praying mantises and some species of spiders are also beneficial, as they prey upon the pests that can harm your lawn and garden. Other beneficial insects include ground beetles, earthworms, and carpenter bees.
Insects That are Bad for Your Home and Garden: Many insects like to feed on the plants in your garden or the grass in your yard, causing a serious threat to your hard work. A few examples of harmful garden pests include aphids, chinch bugs, cutworms, mole crickets, and spittlebugs. Pests that are bad for your home include bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, and termites. These pests can spread diseases, and some, such as termites, can cause serious damage to the structure of your home.
How to control pests in your garden naturally
Most pests can be controlled using insecticides, but these typically contain harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals and toxins. Here are some ways you can practice DIY pest control in a safe, natural way.
- Look for special pests and disease-resistant seeds that will help your plants thrive while keeping pests at bay.
- Keep your yard clean and remove weeds, debris, and dead plants frequently.
- Add some beneficial insects to your garden, such as ladybugs, which will eat aphids, mites, and other garden pests.
- Plant a few strong-scented plants that repel pests naturally, like garlic, calendula, chives, and thyme.
- Create a habitat that will encourage beneficial pests to lay their eggs and stay in your garden so they can help you kill nagging pests.
- Rotate your crops frequently and keep the soil moderately moist and well-tilled.
How do you know if you already have pests?
If you suspect that you already have pests in your home and garden, there are some red flags to look out for:
- Leaves with holes or jagged edges may indicate that a pest is eating the plants in your garden.
- Shredded paper or small piles of sawdust could mean that you have termites, carpenter ants, or some other wood-boring insect.
- If you notice small round or elongated white, black, or brown spots in your home and garden, it may be an egg sac of a pest.
- Spider webs in and around your home are a sign that there are already pests there.
- Strong, unusual smells indicate that you have a pest problem. Musky odors or ammonia smells are common if pests are near.
- Rotting wood near doors and window frames could be a sign of termites.
- Gnawed furniture or frayed/damaged wiring could signify that you have mice or rats somewhere in the home.
When should you call an expert?
The occasional pest here and there can be eliminated by normal means. However, an infestation or serious damage to your home means that it’s time to call the professionals. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to hire an expert to help with your pest problem.
- If you see visible feces or small waste piles, this is a common indicator of an infestation, and a pest control company should be contacted immediately.
- Bed bugs are almost impossible to get rid of without professional help. Contact the experts at the first sign of a bed bug to get rid of them as soon as possible.
- Larger pests like raccoons or bats require a pro to trap them safely and remove them from your home without hurting them. You could risk getting bitten or contracting rabies if you try to remove them yourself.
- Swarms of termites are difficult to eradicate without professional help. Call the experts ASAP to prevent further serious damage to your home.
- The odors mentioned above indicate that you have more than just one pest and that a serious infestation is highly possible.
- If you hear scurrying, squeaking, or gnawing sounds and can’t identify the source, it’s time to contact a pest control company right away.
If you’ve tried proofing your home from pests and used some of the methods listed, but the pests return, call an expert to help you eliminate them once and for all.
Pests can be a serious problem in your home and garden. From causing damage to your home’s structure and wiring to eating your precious plants, they’re a real threat to your well-being. With the proper pest prevention and some DIY pest control, you can get rid of them and enjoy your home without worrying about pesky insects and other such creatures. Keep these tips and strategies in mind, so you can continue to enjoy a safe and healthy pest-free environment.
Originally posted on Porch.com