Common household pests like rodents, cockroaches, flies, ants, and others can be nuisances and can sometimes lead to harmful infestations that may be unsanitary and potentially damaging to your home. While pest threats can vary according to your region of the country and your type of home, there are some basic steps that you can take to help prevent pests from making themselves at home:
- Don’t tempt pests with food or food particles. Keep food items stored securely in the refrigerator or airtight containers. Clean the kitchen thoroughly after cooking and clean tables after eating. Remove crumbs from counters, sweep floors, and clean food debris from stoves and sinks. Wipe down pantry and cabinet shelves frequently.
- Empty the trash and garbage on a regular basis. Make sure all trash receptacles, inside and out, have securely fitting lids. Keep exterior trash cans as far as possible from doors and windows.
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- Store firewood away from your house and foundation. If possible, stack wood off the ground and keep it several feet away from structures and trees.
- Solve moisture problems right away. Fix leaky faucets that drip and seal areas around drains and pipes. Don’t leave standing water in basements or garages. Wipe up water spills immediately, and avoid leaving moisture in sinks or on countertops.
- Seal cracks, crevices, and openings to prevent pests from entering. Even tiny holes and fissures can be large enough for some pests to sneak through. Check weather stripping on doors and windows for signs of cracks or wear.
- Make sure all windows and screens close securely. Check screens for holes or gaps that could provide pest entry points.
- Keep grass mowed and trim trees, landscaping, and ornamental plants away from your home’s structure. Pests can hide in your lawn and yard, waiting for a chance to sneak in. They can also use tree and shrubbery branches to reach parts of your house and roof. By maintaining your home’s landscaping, you can help minimize hiding and access spots.
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- Keep pets free of fleas and ticks. Consult your veterinarian for effective control products.
- Pay attention to unusual sounds and smells around the house. If you hear scratching, rustling, or squeaking in walls or on the roof, you may have a rodent or squirrel problem developing. A musty or sharp odor could signal cockroaches or vermin.
Some pests can establish large infestations surprisingly quickly. When you spot pests or signs of pests, it’s a good bet that others are likely lurking nearby. That’s why it’s important to act quickly if you suspect that pests have infiltrated your home and to call a qualified pest control professional if you can’t get a handle on pest problems.