Prevent Pests From Entering Your Home
Seal Inside To Prevent Entry. Lock Pests Out.
Pests make their way into homes because they can. Although some are transported there, most come inside from your yard through exterior gaps and openings. They are enticed by food, water and secure hiding places. So, the best way to keep cockroaches, spiders, mice, centipedes, scorpions, and other bugs out of your home is closing gaps, eliminating moisture, keeping food items secure, and practicing cleanliness.
When people find pests, typically their first reaction is to grab toxic pesticides but they should always be the last resort. Although toxic chemicals will usually kill pests, they will simply keep reloading if you do not take preventative measures.
A crucial component of a pest management plan is sealing the inside of your home so they can’t get back in. Preventative pest control is all about eliminating their food supply, preventing access to water, and closing entry points.
Sealing The Inside of The House
INTERNAL CRACKS and GAPS
If you can see daylight through a gap or crack, it absolutely must be sealed. Even if you do not see light, they should be sealed because a pest could enter via another larger gap and make its way through a the smaller opening. Check every square foot including baseboards, ceilings, and walls in every room including the garage and attic space. Particular attention should be given to kitchens and bathrooms.
So, grab a flashlight, a caulking gun, some putty, hammer and nails and fine mesh steel wool to seal larger openings. Sealing putty can cover steel wool. Your local hardware store can help with any items you may need. Although at his stage, you should avoid chemical pesticides, “puff”some boric acid on the steel wool before squeezing it into any large openings.
- Electrical, cable and phone plates. Remove them and puff a light coat of boric acid into the voids behind the plates. Reinstall tightly back on making sure there are no gaps along the edges.
- All plumbing pipes where they enter the home. Pipes come through wall voids. Puff boric acid powder into the voids before tightly sealing the gaps. Roaches will usually use those voids under kitchen and bathroom cabinets as nesting spots. Make sure there are no leaky sinks, pipes or faucets.
- Caulk gaps around floor molding. Include molding where it meets the drywall and floor because those gaps usually lead to wall voids.
- Check cover caps on plumbing clean-outs.
- Repair any holes in drywall. Caulk cracks around bathtubs, sinks, and shower stalls.
- Exhaust vent and air conditioning registers. If there are no mesh screens covering internal vents, registers, and ducts, install them. Pests including insects, spiders and scorpions will enter homes via exterior open vents including those on roofs. They also will enter through air conditioning and heating ducts. This includes attic and basement vents for “home breathing”.
WINDOWS, DOORS and SCREENS
- Caulk any gaps around windows.
- Look for torn window or door screens. Check to be sure window screens fit tightly. Local hardware stores will usually remake them to fit accurately. They are fairly affordable.
- Close doors leading outside and look for penetrating light. It may be time to replace door molding and weather-stripping, Make sure door sweeps extend tightly to the floor.
- Don’t overlook garage doors. Because of the wide expanse, they are a crucial point of pest entry.
- Doors into food pantry areas should also be weather-stripped. Install protective molding at the bottom of the door to help prevent pest entry.
Food sources are the biggest attraction to cockroaches, ants and mice. If you have insects, they are a primary food source of spiders and scorpions
Filth and food scraps are the number one attraction.
- Dirty dishes should never set all night. Wipe down all counters. stove tops and refrigerators with all-purpose cleaners that are likely to harbor food residue. Check kitchen floors, particularly under dining tables for food scraps and residue.
- Never leave standing water in sinks overnight. This will entice roaches who need water to survive.
- Secure open boxes of food in sealed containers that prevent pest entry. This includes pet food. Empty and clean all pet food bowls every night.
- Wipe down bottles and jars after each use before returning to the pantry. The outside containers of syrup, honey, cooking oil, and jams are targets of pests.
- Never leave dirty dishes, food scraps or open food containers in bedrooms. In fact it is best to limit eating to the kitchen and dining areas.
- Keep all trash in bags and empty it every night. Garbage containers should be thoroughly washed and applied with a disinfectant at least once per week and sooner if residue is obvious.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter. It gives pests places to hide. Includes cardboard boxes, old newspapers and etc.
- Dirty clothes attract bugs. Keep laundry current and keep dirty clothes hampers tightly covered. Out of season clothing should be washed or dry-cleaned, and sealed in containers before storing.