The Lowcountry is known for being the home to many pesky critters. Have you ever gotten bugs, rodents, or other pests in your home? It is very unsettling, puts your family at risk for sickness and disease, and is a nuisance. Rather than waiting to play defense against these critters once they have already infiltrated your home, go on offense to prevent pest problems before they occur. Check out the below 5 ways to eliminate conditions conducive to pests both inside and outside of your home, which should greatly reduce the chance of them ever bothering you.
1. Minimize Plants & Mulch
Tree branches that overhang or touch your home – in addition to shrubbery – create bridges for pests to easily reach your house and eventually find their way in. Keep all trees and shrubs that are close to your house trimmed back year-round. Similarly, mulch in garden beds can provide ideal living conditions for pests. Instead of using mulch in areas that touch your foundation, opt for a less pest-attractive ground cover such as rocks in these areas.
If you absolutely must use mulch, to be on the safe side leave a 1-foot-wide swath of ground mulch-free all along the foundation of your home and make sure door and window frames do not touch the mulch.
Pro-Tip: The fewer pests you have living outside of your home, the fewer pest issues you will have inside your home!
2. Rinse Recyclables
Different municipalities have different rules regarding recyclable materials. It is preferable to store recyclables in a bin that has a tight-fitting lid, however some municipalities provide their residents with open bins. Regardless of the rules, it is always a good idea to thoroughly rinse all the food from your recyclables before putting them in the bin. This is especially important if you have an open bin.
Rinsing recyclables takes a little extra time, but it will ensure your bin remains pest free. For even better home defense, store the bin outside rather than in your home or garage.
3. Check for Crack & Gaps Both Inside & Outside
This is a biggie! The easiest way for pests to make their way into your home is by wiggling through tiny cracks and gaps – especially when doors and windows are not properly sealed. Regularly inspect these areas and promptly make repairs, including to tears in screens. However, pests can make their way inside through foundation cracks, loose siding, missing roof shingles, and gaps around utility lines including pipes, electrical and cable wiring.
- Expanding caulk is commonly used to seal, but it is not truly ideal because many (and most) pests can chew through it. Instead, seal openings with copper mesh, coarse steel wool, sheet metal or mortar.
- Lastly, make sure you routinely check inside – under and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, and stoves for signs of pests. Also check inside for gaps in trim and seal any that you find, especially if they measure ¼” or larger. If you can feel airflow then these gaps lead directly outside, giving pests a clear path of entry.
4. Clean Drains
Gunk and debris that accumulates in/around sink and floor drains readily attracts pests and provides an ideal breeding site, especially for small flies.
Make sure to not only regularly inspect these drains, but to clean them thorough including those in the laundry room and basement. A great homemade natural cleaning solution can be made by mixing baking soda and vinegar. When combined, they provide a strong foaming action that flushes out clogs.
Pro-Tip: Eliminating conditions in your home that appeal to pests will drastically reduce the attraction that brings them in.
5. Choose Your Exterior Light Bulbs Wisely
Did you know that the type of light bulbs used around doors and windows affects the presence of flying insects? Well – it does! To reduce flying insects from these areas, replace your standard mercury vapor lights with high-pressure sodium vapor or halogen lights. The bulbs of these lights have pink, yellow or orange tings and are least attractive to insects.