Stay One Step Ahead of Household Pests
Photo: © Andresr - iStockphoto
No one likes sharing their home with unwanted visitors, especially the creepy-crawly kind. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep insects at bay. Use the following tips to prevent infestations.
1. Eliminate Entry Points.
Walk both the interior and exterior of your home looking for red flags such as cracks, holes, deteriorating weather stripping, and poorly sealed windows and doors. Correct any such problems as soon as possible. Cracks and holes, often found around the entry points of pipes, can be sealed with inexpensive copper mesh or steel wool. Also, make sure your landscaping does not encroach upon your house or its foundation; tree branches, mulch, and shrubs provide a way for insects to sneak past your defenses. Trim unruly foliage and use stones instead of mulch in the beds closest to your home. Another good tip is to check all boxes, bags, and luggage before you bring them into the home. This will help you catch any hitchhikers that may be hiding inside.
2. Eliminate Food Sources.
Bugs, like all other organisms, need food to survive. Store garbage in tightly sealed containers and remove it from your home often. Don't leave food out for long periods of time and store it properly. Also, try to keep pantries and cabinets as clean as possible to keep raiders away.
3. Eliminate Stagnant Water.
Many insects breed in water. Check for leaky pipes and toilets, and try to keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces dry and well ventilated.
4. Take Care of Your Pets.
Insects often make pets unknowing partners in crime, snagging rides on them to get inside. Make sure your pet's flea and tick medications are up to date, and keep your furry friend and his bedding clean.
What If You Are Faced with an Infestation?
There are many do-it-yourself and professional ways to treat for bugs. If you decide to tackle the problem yourself, make sure you keep some important points in mind:
Know the type of pest problem you have so you can buy the correct type of pesticide
Read all directions and warning labels on products carefully
Use only household-approved products inside
Use baits and traps instead of sprays whenever possible
Keep kids and pets away
If you don't feel comfortable taking on the problem yourself, call a professional for advice and treatment options. Remember, prevention is key, so try to stay one step ahead of the problem whenever possible.