Tips for Preventing and Removing Common Home Pests

How to Keep Pests from Getting Into Your HomeA real pest infestation can do more than just ruin a family's dinner. Rodents can chew through wires and cause electrical fires, termites can destroy whole Fort Collins homes, and mosquitos can spread dangerous disease. Thankfully, the steps to prevent and remove pests don't have to be as frightening as their potential consequences. To keep pests at bay, homeowners should consider the following remediation tips.

Watch for Signs

Rats leave grease trails, mice leave droppings, and cockroaches will taint the rooms with their odor. Take a full tour of the grounds and structure to get a better idea of where pests might enter. A pool of standing water outside is the perfect breeding for mosquitos who will eventually come inside. Now is also a good time to inspect the home for gaps or holes where pests could potentially enter, and to clear any clutter in both the home and yard. Pests love to hide away, and clutter is the perfect place for them to live undercover for a while.

Lock It Up

All food should be kept off the floors and counters, and all trash should be kept in a relatively sealed cabinet. Homeowners should also be keeping an eye on the trash outside of the home. The longer it's left out, the more likely it is that critters will find their way over. The trash may lure them to the outside of the home before they manage to work their way inside of it. Experts recommend keeping trash contained in the home for as long as possible before trash day. Certain food odors, such as rotting meat, are pungent enough to break through the thick plastic barriers of an outdoor trash can.

Pest Proof Your Home

Once you remove all the possible food sources, focus on cutting off the entry points pests might use to get inside. Critter-proof your vents with mesh. Rats, mice, birds and squirrels may want to shelter in your home and vents are the easiest access point for them. And did you know that rodents may bring mites and fleas with them as well? Double trouble. Another common entry point are cracks in the foundations, walls and around windows and under doors. Inspect the foundations once a year and make sure all the cracks are tended to. Get some seal foam insulation tape and use it to block any holes under the doors or around window frames. If you have a fireplace, make sure the firewood is located away from the house and is elevated from the ground, because pests often hide in it and use it to get inside the house.

Start Up the Yard Work

From mowing the lawn to changing out the water in a birdbath, regular yard work can make it more difficult for insects to find places to live and spawn. Sweeping puddles will disperse the water so it dries faster, so insects will have to move on. Homeowners should also check any cables that run from the outside of the house to the inside. Sealing these cables off is just one more way to prevent smaller bugs from getting inside.

Taking Action

Here are a few ways for homeowners, doing it DIY, to tackle an existing pest infestation:

  • Traditional traps: Traps that eliminate the source of the problem (e.g., the queen, etc.) will always be more effective than sprays. Sprays can be used for sudden sightings of course, but they're considered a short-term solution in the case of a real infestation.
  • Ultrasonic repellant: For those who don't want to kill the rodents, these traps are designed to make sounds to drive the pests away. Live traps are also an option, though rodents tend to return if they're anywhere near the property.
  • Professional help: Sometimes only an exterminator will be able to root out every last trace of the pests, especially in the case of termites or other tiny creatures.

Pest remediation is a part of general home maintenance so homeowners should look for concurrent problems whenever possible. For example, gaps in doors or windows could indicate a foundation problem besides simply serving as a means for pests to enter the home. By paying attention to the state of the home as a whole, it's easier to multi-task or even fix several problems at once.

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