13 Tips to Bug-Proof Your Home

CleanStart Property Services offers pest control preparation and pest control treatment services for our customers across the Lower Mainland of BC. We often share information and resources on on how to avoid bug infestations with our customers, and so we thought we would share some info on the blog also. Our friends at Kapture Pest Control wrote an article outlining 13 tips to bug-proof your home. You can find the full article HERE

In all my years of providing pest-control services, one question I receive more often than anything else is: what can I do in between treatments?

While I’d love to tell you that keeping a pest-free home is something only a trained professional can do, the truth is, there are many different steps you can take in between regular treatments that will help.

Below are 13 tips to bug-proof your home that customers have found helpful.

  1. Doors and Windows

One of the most overlooked areas of your house can also be the number one cause of flying and crawling pest invasion.

Check to make sure your doors are actually closing all the way; if not, get that fixed ASAP.

If the doors are mostly there, but still not closing completely, buy some weather stripping to seal up that extra 1/2″ of space that can let all the critters come in.

Bottom door seals are cheap and not only help with keeping bugs out but also eliminate drafts in the home.

Check your windows for the same weaknesses, but pay special attention to the screens.

Unbeknownst to many homeowners, the screen facing inside of windows can have tiny holes in between the gaps that are just large enough for a mosquito to come in through.

A replacement screen is not very expensive and easy to install, so run your fingers over the screen to get a great idea of the structural integrity of your window.

  1. Holes in the Wall

Even if your home is not very old, holes in the wall can form as the foundation begins to settle, creating cracks in the brick and sheetrock that are large enough for an entire family of birds to nest in.

Look in the corners of the closets and laundry room for cracks, and perform a visual inspection on the outside of the house for any faults in the brick.

One of the most vulnerable areas is the holes where appliances are plugged in, especially in water lines behind the refrigerator and washing machine.

Pull those units out a foot to get a good view of the wall, and, if necessary, patch it up with a little bit of steel wool, caulk, and gauze material that you can lay over the top.

It might be frustrating to see where your builder was lazy in finishing up their job, but it will do wonders for your heating and cooling bill, in addition to keeping pests out.

  1. Water Works

Bugs love water more than just about any other area in the house (a close second would be the pantry), so make sure you check your pipes that are running inside and out of the house for any vulnerabilities.

Rather than just monitoring the appliances, however, look underneath the sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms to see if there are any gaps next to the piping.

If so, get some expanding foam and fill in the area directly next to the pipe. It won’t take long, and even a novice DIY’er will be able to fix it up in no time.

  1. Store Firewood Away From the House

Don’t store firewood close to your house. Even though it’s outdoors, a firewood stack is a haven for every sort of crawler and otherwise-stagnant bug on the planet.

If you don’t believe me, lift up a piece of wood that’s been in the ground for any length of time and you’ll see a cornucopia of insect life living on the underground.

The worst place for those little guys to be in is living up against your home, eating away at the lining of your house and crawling through the foundation while you sleep.

The most effective prevention technique might be the simplest one on this list: move the firewood pile.

Stack it up against the fence on the other side of the yard, invest in a firewood holder that you can place somewhere else, or, at the very least, get a bag to completely enclose it while it’s sitting in the yard.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the firewood at least five feet away from the house, and off the ground if possible.

  1. Clean Up the Yard

The best way to protect your home against invaders is to use minimize the number of bugs that take up residence in your yard, which means making the whole area as inhospitable as possible.

While there’s no way to completely remove bugs or insects from your yard (nor should you, for ecological reasons), you can limit their stay by removing the tree limbs, grass clippings, shrubs, and other paraphernalia from your space.

Though they might seem innocent, these spots are a perfect home for bugs looking to stay for a few seasons.

  1. Vacuum

While you most likely have some sort of regular cleaning ritual, make sure that you vacuum your floors at least once a week to get rid of the insects that have invaded your home without you knowing about.

Cobwebs in the corners, bug droppings, and food crumbs that have been left out attract bugs like, well…bugs, so eliminate their attraction to your home by keeping it neat and tidy.

  1. Give Your Pets a Dining Space

Dogs and cats are fantastic to have around the home, not just for companionship, but also to keep bugs and insects at bay.

Cats, for example, will have a field day chasing around cockroaches and mosquitos, but while that may be fun to watch, there’s no way for them to get every last bug that comes into your house.

If you have a pet, remember to put their food in a bowl or on a rubber mat, at the very least, and never put it on the floor.

I have walked into many customer’s homes that have complained about an ant problem for weeks, only to find dog food sprinkled all over the house from Fido eating it in different locations.

They had a bowl, but crumbs were left everywhere, which made the house appealing to critters of all stripes. In addition to vacuuming, use a food bowl for your pets, and teach them to only eat there.

  1. Fix Leaky Faucets

As mentioned before, nearly every type of bug is attracted to water, and if you have a leaky faucet, chances are you’ve noticed them congregating around the source.

But before you call a plumber to come in and fix the issue, head down to your local hardware store and grab a few tools: namely, a wrench and some vinegar.

First, turn off the water to the pipe itself and unscrew the line to the faucet. Then, remove all the parts – washer, seal, moveable parts, etc – and soak them in a bath of vinegar for a few hours.

Dry them all thoroughly, put them back on the pipe, turn on the water, and there’ll be one less problem area to contend with.

  1. Keep a Dry Home

Water damage is an expensive and frustrating issue to deal with, excluding the pest problem that can come with it, so examine every inch of your house where pipes are installed to make sure none of them are leaking.

While they can crack from extreme differences in temperature, age can also be a factor, so if you have an older home, be especially vigilant.

Leaking water can cause mold damage which can be damaging to your health, and can be caused by a hole in the roof, allowing bugs and other things to fly in unnoticed.

Check the caulk around tubs and the shower to make sure everything is draining properly; if not, take the necessary steps to fix it. Even if your house doesn’t even have any standing water, bugs and insects love a moist environment.

  1. Set Out Sticky Traps

Though they’re not the most attractive things to have displayed in your home, I have recommended to my customers throughout the years to use good, old-fashioned sticky traps.

The large flat ones can slide underneath your couch or bed and can do wonders in trapping every different type of pest that comes through, especially spiders and scorpions.

Sticky traps are relatively inexpensive, come in different shapes and sizes, and are perfect for placing in areas where chemical insecticides can do damage to plants.

If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own with a piece of cardstock cut to the exact dimensions you want, and coated with motor oil, petroleum jelly, or commercial-grade pest killer.

  1. Keep a Clean Kitchen

There is not a quicker way to lose your appetite than to walk into your kitchen and see a line of ants (or worse!) marching across your countertops.

While sealing the hole that they came in from can be the best way to ensure they don’t find their way into your home, you can also keep them from wanting to come in by ensuring that your kitchen is clean.

That doesn’t mean you have to do a deep-clean of your kitchen every day; the simplest way is just to make sure there’s no food left out for them to be attracted to.

Cover all of your foodstuffs with closeable containers, look for spills, rinse off the dishes in the sink, and check for food that sits out that may have spoiled, like fruit and vegetables. A tiny dose of prevention can go a long way in keeping a bug-free kitchen.

  1. Make a Homemade Flytrap

Similar to creating your own sticky traps, a flytrap can be placed on your countertop and attract fruit flies directly into the snare.

Not only are homemade fly traps extremely inexpensive, they are also very efficient and don’t require a ton of maintenance. Put a half-cup of apple cider vinegar into a small bowl and add a squirt of dish soap to the mixture. Stir it up, and leave it out in the open.

Just like a bug zapper, the flies will be attracted to the scent and get trapped in the concoction.

  1. Practice Mosquito Management

Mosquitos are some of the most annoying pests on the planet, but they also are some of the most dangerous as well. They can transfer viruses like Zika, and since they’re so tiny, they are almost impossible to see until they’ve already bit you.

As a pest control management specialist, these are some of my most common complaints.

Unfortunately, there’s no single sure-fire way to rid your life of mosquitos, but there are a lot of smaller things you can do that will add up over time.

For instance, get rid of all the standing water that you find in your home and yard. Mosquitos, like most bugs, love the moist environment that standing water provides, so make sure you eliminate as much as you can.

Use citronella candles and dump some citronella into your sunscreen to prevent mosquito bites when working outside.

Another enemy of mosquitos is garlic, so place as much of that as you can around the house to deter pests, and use fans as well.

The one thing mosquitos can’t stand is air forcibly moved around the room, so the more fans you have operating – even out on the porch – the better.

If you can apply these 13 tips to bug-proof your home, you may avoid the need for a professional service to treat your space. However, if you find signs of pest infestations, give us a call and we will provide an inspection to identify the root cause, as well as treat the infestation. You can find more information on our pest control services HERE.