Unwanted Guests: Common Mistakes Homeowners Make That Invite Pests

posted by Chris Valentine

Trying to prevent pests from getting into your home can feel like an unending battle, whether it’s an ant infestation that won’t quit, or a family of mice chewing through your walls. Pests can be more than an annoying nuisance; many bring diseases and cause irreparable and dangerous damage to your home, but it’s often difficult to figure out where these unwanted guests are coming from or what’s attracting them.

It’s important to deal with outbreaks the moment they occur, but also to prevent future infestations by understanding what attracts pests to a home, so contacting a pest control expert as soon as possible is vital.

Leaving entry points unchecked

We keep entryways for humans tidy and well-kept, but what about entrances for insects and rodents? A small crack around a garage door or a window is a wide-open door for cockroaches, ants, and spiders, and larger pests like mice or rats can sneak in through small cracks in walls. Keeping a close eye for gaps in the walls, floors, and roof of a home can keep pests from finding a welcoming door into your home.

Leaving out food and water

A pest might sneak in through a crack under the door, but it’s what’s inside the house that makes them want to stay. Any available food or water, including dirty dishes in the sink or a leaky faucet, will entice a pest to make your house its home. Consider pest-proofing your kitchen to cut off their food supply.

… And other snacks

Untended food and water invite pests, but so do paper, cardboard, and wood. These particularly attract termites, who eat cardboard products for their cellulose content, and can cause devastating damage to a home. To avoid tempting a hungry termite either get rid of old newspapers and cardboard boxes, or invest in air-tight paper storage. Also, be sure to store firewood somewhere termites can’t get to it.

Forgetting to pest-proof your pet

Pets don’t like pests any more than we do, but unfortunately they can become an unwitting ally. Fleas and ticks are drawn to our warm-blooded pets, but also food and water left out for pets can attract cockroaches, ants, and mice, which can in turn spread diseases to your furry friends. To ensure that it’s only your pet getting the meal, feed them to set schedules, avoid leaving food and water sitting out, and try out special bug-proof bowls. But be careful with anti-pest measures such as chemical repellents around your pets.

Letting the garden overgrow

While every garden has its share of creepy crawlies, too many can cause a real problem for your plants and potentially your house. Rotting plants, plant debris, and standing water such as puddles invite hungry insects to your backyard. Houseplants are also a food source for hungry insects. Branches or other growth close enough to the walls of your house may offer a bridge for pests to move from the great outdoors and into your home, so it may be time to break out the clippers!

Bringing the pests home with you

When coming back from a trip, you might not be aware that you’re bringing home more than souvenirs. The most common pests that can hitch a ride in your luggage are bed bugs and cockroaches. Bed bug infestations occur most commonly in 1-3 star motels or backpacker lodges, but can be picked up anywhere. Make sure to check your accommodation for signs of pest infestation, avoid storing your luggage on hotel furniture, and be sure to check and wash your belongings on your return. If you think you might have picked up a few unwanted travelers, reach out to a pest control service for help in shaking them off before they make themselves at home with you.

Keeping pests out of your home shouldn’t be a Herculean task. The main things to keep an eye on are food and water sources for pests such as old newspapers and standing water, and close up possible entry points for pests seeking a new home. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your home remains a haven only for you and the guests you choose to invite.

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