Whether they’re creepy and crawly or wild and winged, pests such as roaches, spiders, flies, mosquitoes and rodents are the last things you want in your home. While regular visits from a professional exterminator are the easiest, most effective way to control all types of pests in your home, there are many additional things you can do to keep unwanted critters at bay.
Seal All Entry Points – Make it harder for pests to find their way in by blocking all points of entry. Be sure window screens fit securely and are free of holes and excess wear. Find any drafty areas around doors, windows and switch plates, and have them sealed. Install door sweeps along the bottoms of doors – rubber ones work best – and install vent screens over large plumbing, dryer and furnace vents.
Practice Good Housekeeping – Pests come inside looking for a free meal, and stay when they can find a cozy, safe place to hide. Make sure you’re denying them both of these luxuries. Keep all food (including pet food) in sealed glass or plastic containers. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and wash all food containers before placing them in the trash or recycle bin. Also try to minimize clutter – silverfish love paper and cardboard, for example. And, roaches like to take up residence in undisturbed piles of dirty clothes or linens.
Don’t Bring Home Extra Souvenirs – If just reading the words “bed bugs” makes you itch, you’re not alone. These tiny, aggressive critters are a huge nuisance and very difficult to eradicate once they’re around. When you’re traveling, never leave your luggage on the floor, always use the luggage rack and hang up what you can. Pack a small flashlight and use it to check the perimeter of the mattress for any live bugs or old exoskeletons. Bed bugs can also come in on second-hand clothing, so if you like to shop at thrift stores or visit yard sales, be sure to run any clothing you buy through the hottest dryer cycle before you wash it – a high-temp garment steamer can also kill any lingering bugs or eggs.
Treat Pets for Pests – Four-legged friends are wonderful companions, yet they can also bring pests like fleas and ticks into your home. These pests aren’t only a nuisance, they can spread disease to your pet and to you, too. Ask your vet to prescribe the appropriate topical or indigestible flea and tick treatment for your pet’s age and weight. Also be sure to regularly wash pet bedding and use elevated feeders to keep food and water dishes off the floor and out of reach of crawling pests.