Guest Post by Shyam Bhardwaj
The first reaction when finding a pest in your home or garden is most likely panic — and rightfully so! When it comes to invasive pests, the culprits are often ants, rodents, bed bugs, and spiders. Even one stray bug can be enough for people to reach for the chemical spray or call an exterminator. Before you think about traditional, chemical pest control methods, why not try natural and preventative options that can help eliminate infestation in simple ways.
Although there are no full-proof methods to keep pests out, there are proactive steps you can take to pest-proof your home. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank or use unhealthy chemicals in order to do so. Below listed are some key problem areas where pests typically sneak their way into homes as well as tips on what you can do to prevent them safely and effectively.
That small crack under your door is like a welcome mat for bugs. In order to prevent invasive pests from entering the cracks under your doors, install door sweeps that will create a protective seal around your door. Once installed, check for light or air that comes through the base of your door. If any cracks remain, adjust the door sweep or add additional protection like weather stripping.
The most common occasional invaders include earwigs, house crickets, centipedes, millipedes, boxelder bugs, silverfish, and stink bugs. Usually found by themselves or in small numbers, these creatures typically enter a home during wintertime. You may find them near food sources, in basements, or hiding in other cool, dark, or damp places.
To prevent these invaders from taking over your home, begin by eliminating moist harborage sites around the perimeter of your property such as leaf piles, overgrown vegetation, and mulch. Pests are usually drawn to moist environments, and if they are too close to your home, chances are they will find their way inside.
Although bed bugs most often infest your bedroom duvet covers and sheets, hence their name, they can also infest several items in your home. These include beds, sofas, clothes, power outlets, and even cracks in your walls and floors. Knowing where to look for bed bugs in your home will make the detection process much easier. In order to perform a thorough inspection for bed bugs, check any of these items or areas that might be a home for bed bugs in addition to your bed.
When looking in these areas, use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to spot bed bugs as they might be immature or still in their eggs and harder to spot. Initially, they are tiny pests without wings, but after feeding, they take on a dark color (mostly red). Typically, bugs are oblong and as wide as they are long, nearly 1/4". Nymphs bed bugs are usually crystalline and harder to locate, and range in size from 1.3 mm to 4-to-5 mm in length.
Another important area to check is in second-hand furniture you have or plan on bringing into your home. Bed bugs often enter a home through these second-hand items, so be sure to check both inside and out before you bring them in your home.
Like doors, even small cracks around windows can be enough for pests to enter your home. If your windows are letting in air, they are letting in pests as well. Cover up these cracks with a good quality acrylic latex or silicone caulk. As an additional perk to preventing bugs from climbing in, sealing windows can help you reduce your energy bill — air will not be able to pass as freely through these open cracks.
Flies, gnats, mosquitos, and moths can enter your home through broken or torn screens in windows and doors. This is especially evident during the warmer months of the year when you leave the doors and windows open in your home. If you notice the screens in your home are beginning to break down, replace them to keep flying pests out.
Some natural scents can act as pest repellents, plus they don’t include any harmful chemicals. Rather than reach for chemical traps and deterrents, try placing bags of lavender, cedar chips, and citronella in problem areas of your home to naturally deter pests. Not only will this keep pests out, but it will make your home smell nice as well.
Pests may invade your home for many reasons, but the primary one is most likely due to food. Make sure all food in your home is stored and sealed to ensure pests aren’t drawn to enter your home. Also, be sure to take out your trash regularly and place it in a covered can outside your home.
Multiform pest species infest food and non-food products of plant and animal origin, usually located in homes. Collectively, we refer to them as stored product pests or pantry-pests.
Eliminating sources of food, water, and shelter for pests is the best pest control advice you'll hear. If you haven't limited food in the store, the total count of stored product pests can grow quickly and sustainably. During their life, these insects can produce 100 to 1000 eggs, resulting in multiple generations per year.
Birds and raccoons love to enter a warm attic to nest and once they are inside they can make a lot of noise and damage. One way they can enter your home is through holes in your roof, either already present or created by the animals themselves. Be sure to check your roof for holes that might act as entry points for invasive pests. If you are concerned you won’t know what to look for, contact a local roofing company to check for you and repair any holes.
Ants tend to swarm pet food because the area is usually full of over spilled food that’s easy to access. To reduce these pests from swarming your pet’s food dish, place a rubber mat under the food dish that acts as a natural deterrent to ants. Also, keep the area around your pet dish clean by picking up any loose food regularly.
By taking preventive measures and using natural deterrents, you can help keep unwanted pests out of your home without relying on harmful chemicals. Although each of the aforementioned steps will help reduce the probability of pests entering your home, each home is unique and requires a thorough inspection of problem areas. If you notice unwanted pests in your home, do a thorough evaluation of how they may have entered your home, then take the necessary steps to keep them out.
Shyam Bhardwaj has over seven years of experience in marketing and branding space. With background experience in software engineering, he also deals with IT and web development areas. He often writes about entrepreneurship journeys, start-up success stories, marketing hurdles, and business operations.