It’s a bug’s world, and we’re just living in it.
Keeping bugs out of your home can seem like a losing battle, which is understandable when you consider that there are an estimated 10 quintillion bugs in the world (that’s ten followed by 18 zeros – 10,000,000,000,000,000,000). Fortunately, knowing what attracts bugs to your home can help you make changes that will end their invasion.
How do you know you have bugs?
If insects are living in your home, there will be signs. Dead insect bodies, especially on window ledges and in the basement are a good indicator of an infestation. Also look for lots of spider webs and even insect droppings.
Why do bugs want to be inside?
Insects need food, water, and shelter to survive. Buildings are a great source for all of these.
How do I get rid of the bugs?
By eliminating their food supply and getting rid of their favorite hiding spots, you can reduce the risk that insects will take up residence in your home.
Here are 10 steps to make your home unattractive to bugs:
- Put Food Away
Store all food in airtight containers or in the refrigerator whenever possible. Limit food consumption to a single area of the home and clean crumbs or spills. Wash dishes immediately after use, or put them in the dishwasher. Pet food can also attract ants and cockroaches, so keep it is airtight containers as well.
- Eliminate Clutter
Hidden by piles of newspaper or in a packed closet, insects can reproduce in huge numbers before they’re discovered. Roaches in particular love to hide in corrugated cardboard boxes for food, shelter and reproduction. Keep clutter to a minimum, recycle papers, magazines and cardboard boxes, and dust and vacuum frequently.
- Seal Your Doors
Install a metal threshold under the door along with a door sweep, which helps cover the gap between the threshold and the door bottom. Add weather stripping to the perimeter of the frame and use clear caulk to seal the joint where the doorframe meets the wall and along the bottom of the frame.
- Add Screens
Open windows are an open invitation to flying insects, so install screens that are a 20-mesh or finer to keep them out. Repair holes quickly and check the seal between the screen and the window frame for gaps.
- Repair Cracks
Examine the exterior of your home for damaged or missing sections of siding, cracks in foundations, loose or crumbling brick and rotted wood. Use mortar or cement to patch foundations and masonry walls. Replace rotting wood or trim, and repair or replace damaged sections of siding.
- Seal Around Pipe Penetrations
Some common types of through-wall penetrations include water, gas, electric, or air-conditioning piping. Fill smaller gaps or cracks using pipe sealants or caulk. For larger openings, look for expandable polyurethane foam.
- Cover Large Openings
To fill larger openings such as chimneys, use very fine wire mesh, often called hardwire cloth. Wire mesh should also be installed over holes in crawl spaces and basements, as well as over grilles, vents, and registers.
- Maintain Your Yard
Eliminate pooled water in your yard to reduce the mosquito population. Make sure your yard has proper drainage and keep gutters and drains free from leaves, grass clippings and debris so they’re able to operate effectively. Also be sure to remove piles of leaves, limbs, or other debris.
- Store Trash Properly
Keep food trash in the kitchen and not in wastebaskets throughout the house. Trash should be placed in a container with a lid and should be emptied each night. All interior and exterior trash receptacles and recycling bins should be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
- Encourage Natural Predators
Small insects are the main source of food for a large number of birds and bats. To encourage birds to help with your pest control efforts, provide trees and bushes where they can establish nests. Encourage bats by installing a bat house or roost in your yard.
What if these actions don’t work?
If your insect problem continues after you have followed these steps, you may need to take more aggressive action by hiring a licensed exterminator to eliminate your pest problem.