Pest control is an important aspect of homeownership. Many pests are not only disturbing to look at but carriers of dangerous disease. They may also cause extensive damage, costing you an unfortunate amount in repairs. Prevention is key. One of the best things you can do for your home this season is to upgrade your defenses against pests.
The following lists some easy tips to keep pests out of your home.
Seal entry points
Pests get into the home from the outside, so you can keep them out by blocking off their most common points of entry. Examine your foundation, siding, window frames, and door frames for cracks, then seal them off with the appropriate material. You can use silicone caulking for most cracks. Then, check if there are gaps beneath your doors and attach some weatherstripping to keep pests from crawling underneath. Fix or replace your broken window screens and stuff holes with steel wool.
You can also block off your weep vents with steel covers available at the hardware store. Wall vents can be protected with steel mesh. Simply fashion the mesh to fit over the vents, then screw the material into the wall. Contact a wildlife removal company for help covering your roof vents and chimneys.
Keep the house clean
Pests gravitate to cluttered areas where they can find food. While you cannot get rid of the food you eat, you can make it as inaccessible as possible. Vacuum the floors every week and wipe down your countertops to get rid of crumbs. Keep your appliances clean and use a lidded garbage can. Store pantry foods in tightly sealed containers. Don’t leave any dirty dishes out overnight and try not to clutter the home. Stay organized.
Tidy Up the Yard
Outside, move objects and debris away from the sides of the home. Leaves, firewood, and other obstructions are hiding places for insects and rodents. Clear out your window wells and gutters in the fall. If you can, clean up any debris that has accumulated under the deck. Rake the leaves and keep your hedges and vines trimmed.
Insects and other small critters love humidity. Keep the house dry by fixing leaky faucets and avoiding any standing water. Use the bathroom fan whenever you take a shower or take a bath. Try not to leave wet dishes in the sink for very long and replace your HVAC filter every few months. If there is an area in the house that is remarkably humid, like the basement, consider buying a dehumidifier.
When Should I Call an Exterminator?
You should call an exterminator whenever you are worried about pests. Did you know that professionals offer pest-proofing solutions in addition to removal? A technician can inspect your home and seal every entry point for you. Many companies offer warranties with this service, so if a pest gets through, they’ll come back and solve the problem for you.
If you think you may be dealing with pests right now, call an exterminator right away. The sooner, the better. Technicians use high quality baits and pesticides that work wonders. They can eliminate your pest problem quickly and safely.
If you’re not sure of what you’re dealing with, look for these common signs:
Pests leave droppings behind them. Finding them in the house is a telltale sign of an infestation.
Cockroach droppings are tiny and look a lot like black pepper. These are usually found in infested areas, such as the backsides or countertops and kitchen cupboards. Bed bug feces are nearly identical but appear on mattress seams and other crevices around beds. Mouse droppings are a little bigger and resemble dark grains of rice. Mice tend the leave trails of droppings behind them, along the edges of the floors.
Rat feces are similar to those of mice, but they are larger. Rat feces measure between 13 and 19mm in length. Squirrel feces are also similar but have rounded edges. These are usually found in higher places, like the attic. Raccoon feces may also be found in the attic, and these appear in large piles of feces that resemble dog poop.
The smell of stale urine may indicate a rodent problem. Mice and rats leave trails of urine behind them to help them navigate their territories. Larger animals, like raccoons, have droppings large enough that you may smell feces. While cockroaches are very small, they also create a bad odour that is musky and oily.
Note that these odours build over time. If you’ve gone a little nose-blind, ask a friend or family member whose opinion you trust.
Rodents like to burrow in the insulation found within the attic and the walls of the home. From there, you may be able to hear them scratching and gnawing at wooden beams. Mice and rats are especially noisy at night, while squirrels are up during the day.
Raccoons are much larger than rodents and therefore make a lot more noise. These animals usually den in the attic and sound a lot like a person walking or dragging their feet. If you’ve been hearing a ghost, it’s probably a raccoon!
Missing Food and Damage to the Home
Carpenter ants, rodents, and other pests are capable of putting holes in the wall or chewing through cables. If you have found inexplicable sawdust, roofing damage, torn attic insulation, or holes in your containers of food, you may be dealing with pests. Pests have no regard for the integrity of your home. Many creatures will cause a lot of damage and will require professional intervention. Contact a pest control company immediately for an inspection and treatment that works for you.