The fact that bugs were here first is no consolation when you find pests living inside your home. While some are harmless, others do considerable damage to your home, its contents, or your family’s health. Preventing the pests in the first place does involve some effort, but it’s far less than eradicating it down the road.
1. Exterior Cracks and Gaps
Use caulk and expanding foam to seal the holes, cracks and gaps between your home’s exterior and the outdoors. Start with the foundation and work up. Most bugs crawl inside and lower levels are most vulnerable.
If you’re unsure where they are, inspect the perimeter of your home at night. Ask someone to follow you from the inside and point a bright flashlight around the foundation wall bases, window frames and exterior door frames. If you see light shining through, make a note of its position. Come back during the day to seal the crack.
Besides cracks between the window frames and the exterior wall, insects can crawl into your home through gaps around the screens and the frames. Sometimes screens warp and won’t fit tightly, leading to a bug infestation. House flies and ants can easily enter your home from these gaps.
Make sure window screens are intact. Holes in the screens let flies, mosquitoes and gnats enter. You can buy window rescreening kits or take them to a home improvement store.
3. Limit Food Waste
Make sure that your garbage can seals tightly, indoors and out. The smell of food attracts insects and rodents quickly. Make sure that you keep the kitchen clean and don’t leave dirty dishes in bedrooms or other rooms. Containers with tight-fitting lids keep flours, cereals and crackers fresher, and eliminate any odors bugs could smell from distance.
Some pests, like grain, pantry, or larder beetles, are difficult to eradicate in the kitchen once they’re present. These pests hatch from grain products, like flour, crackers, or some cereals. Besides keeping the shelves clean, storing susceptible items in tight-fitting containers prevents them from spreading throughout your cabinets.
4. Repel Them
Gardeners know that companion planting works well to prevent insect damage for plants, and you can do the same in your home. Dried plants and herbs like bay leaves, mint, lavender, marigolds and lemon grass are effective against a multitude of insects. Sprinkle the herbs in small bowls and place on the counters or shelves.
Bug lights placed outdoors also prevent nighttime flying insects from congregating near your doors. Use the yellow bulbs, or take it a step further and install illuminated insect killers that zap approaching bugs with electricity.
5. Use an Exterminator
Professional, licensed exterminators use pesticides that are highly effective against insects. They provide emergency and maintenance services for homes and buildings using chemicals not available to the unlicensed public. They also provide expert advice and advanced techniques to eliminate the bugs altogether.