Even if you live in a spotless, brand-new home, insects can easily invade your living areas through gaps in windows and doors. They can even hitch rides on pets. These pest control strategies can help keep unwanted bugs and rodents from getting inside your home.
1. Keep windows and door tightly closed. Gaps or cracks in seams are major entryways for insects. Make sure all screens are in good repair.
2. Trim branches and shrubs away from the house. This will eliminate direct paths that insects and other pests can use to enter your home.
3. Cover trash. Help get rid of bugs by getting rid of temptation — use tightly covered trash containers both outdoors and indoors.
4. Take out food-based garbage daily. Consider purchasing a small kitchen trash can for food scraps or starting a compost pile.
5. Use airtight storage. Store fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, and grains, such as flour, rice and pasta, in airtight containers or in the fridge.
Termite, flea, tick and cockroach infestations are difficult to control on your own. To take on tough insects, consider working with a professional exterminator. Follow these tips to ensure you get the best help:
1. Seek references from people in your area. Insect problems are often similar in the same geographic area. Avoid pest-control operators that have failed your neighbors.
2. Get a detailed bid in writing. Don't accept any price over the phone. Have the exterminator visit your home and discuss costs and the number of recommended treatments. Monthly contracts are not usually necessary for most household infestations.
3. Understand all the chemicals that will be used. Ask for copies of Material Safety Data Sheets for each chemical and have the exterminator explain each chemical's purpose. After the consultation, do your own research online before agreeing to the contract.
The invasion of rodents is often triggered by the arrival of cold weather. Typical entry points include garages, attics, porches or basement windows. Follow the steps below to keep rodents out of your home.
1. Look for signs of trouble. Don't wait to see an actual critter before dealing with the problem. Clusters of feces and evidence of chewing damage to your home or its contents are indicators of a rodent infestation. Rodents can cause considerable property damage and carry diseases such as salmonella and rabies.
2. Button up all entry points. Seal all cracks and replace or repair all screens. Block the space under porches and crawlspaces with lattice or decorative screening.
3. Lay traps. Whenever possible, rent or purchase humane traps, and then release the animal outdoors. The Lowe's Garden Center has several options.
4. Remove bats humanely. Bats are beneficial rodents, consuming several times their weight in mosquitoes and other pests daily. However, you may not want them hanging out in your home. Seal all entry points but one so bats can exit. Seal the remaining entry with one-way flaps, available at Lowe's, that allow exit only.
Bees, wasps and hornets will stake out areas around your home to build their hives and nests. These winged creatures are attracted to garbage, so keep trash cans covered and position your compost pile as far from your home as possible.
As soon as a hive or nest begins to form, take the following actions:
1. Wear protective clothing, including a hat.
2. Purchase a pesticide spray that's formulated for the insect you're targeting.
3. Work at night when insect activity is lowest.
4. Spray the entrance to the hive or nest thoroughly.
5. Wait until daylight to determine if all insects have been killed, then remove and dispose of the nest or hive.
6. If a hive or nest is large or you're uncomfortable doing the work yourself, consult with a professional exterminator.