From small animals like mice to snakes and insects, nuisance pests can cause big problems. They carry illnesses and diseases and some can cause structural damage. Whether you own or rent your home, you want to take steps to avoid letting these nuisance pests inside.
1. Seal Cracks and Gaps
Nuisance pests have an incredible desire to get into the safety and security of your home. And, where there is a will, they will find a way. Limit their options by sealing any cracks or gaps around your house. Walk around the outside and note where any pipes or wires go through the foundation. Seal around them with caulk or spray foam insulation. No opening is too small to let pests in, wither. Consider that a common house mouse can fit through an opening as small as a dime, and you can quickly see how careful you need to be when inspecting and sealing your home.
2. Use Screens
Opening windows and doors lets fresh air into your home which can help increase air movement and reduce germs. However, it also sends an open invitation to the insects in your yard. Instead of keeping them closed up, install screens to let air through and keep bugs out. Most screens will keep bigger spiders and beetles out, while a fine mesh can even keep small ants and mosquitos from getting through. Fix any tears or rips in screens that you have since insects will take advantage of them.
3. Establish a Perimeter
Set up a boundary around your house to deter pests from approaching. Depending on what is native to your area, this can vary. Keeping grass trimmed will lower the travel paths of snakes, mice and other small critters. Removing leaves and debris from against the foundation will remove hiding spaces for insects and other crawling pests. You may want to have a chemical barrier or bait station system installed to keep termites or other wood bringing insects from damaging the structure. If your house is your castle, think of this as your moat.
4. Store Food Securely
Many pests will come into your home looking for food. Properly managing food sources for them will reduce the temptation and help keep their numbers down. Take time to organize your pantry and cabinets. Store food in sealed and lockable containers instead of bags and cardboard packaging.
You will also want to manage how food waste is handled in and around the house. Rodents, opossums and raccoons are all attracted to an open trash can. And once they find a reliable source of food they will continue to visit for more.
5. Fix Water Leaks
Insects like silverfish, gnats and termites may come inside seeking water in addition to food and water leaks are great places for them to find a steady supply. This is especially true if the leak is hidden within a cabinet or in a basement or crawl space. Be sure to fix any plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them. It will not only cut back on nuisance pests, but it also helps reduce mold growth, lowers your utility bills and conserves an important natural resource.
6. Keep Trees and Shrubs Trimmed
Landscape shrubs are attractive, but if left unattended they can be a great means for pests to get inside your home. Keep them trimmed to allow airflow around the foundation. This will also allow better visual inspections to ensure the early detection of problems. Trees can also be problematic. While they can provide shade and help control heating and cooling costs inside the house, they may also give small animals easy access to the roof. Keep them trimmed back at least six feet from any structures to avoid that.
7. Relocate Wood Piles
Although carrying firewood across a yard in the dead of winter isn’t a fun task, stacking it near your house is asking for trouble. Rodents, snakes and wood-boring insects like to make homes in woodpiles, so it is best to locate them as far away from the house as you can.
8. Set Humane Traps
Whenever possible you want to prevent nuisance pests from getting into your house or making themselves at home in the yard. However, sometimes the best efforts aren’t enough. Once you have a pest problem, it can be difficult to get rid of them. Humane traps are a solution for animals of almost any size. Raccoons, opossums, skunks and foxes can all be trapped and relocated. Wild animals can carry a host of diseases that can be transmitted to humans and domestic animals. Be sure to use any precautions against coming into direct contact with any animals that have been trapped. Children and pets should not be allowed to go near them, either.
Pests can cause problems when they get inside your home. Being proactive by removing food and water sources, sealing gaps, and reducing clear routes to your home can help you keep nuisance pests out. Sometimes chemical barriers or humane traps may be needed to reduce populations.