Pests in your home can be a stressful problem that causes an unhealthy environment for you and your family to live in. Once you see a rodent or cockroach in your home, it is a sign that you have an infestation problem.
Most home-owners only start using pest control tactics when they spot unwanted animals and insects roaming around the house. This is a huge mistake as the best way to prevent pest infestation in your home is to take action before pests actually invade your home, rather than waiting for them to start destroying your property bit by bit.
Panther Pest Controllers recommend the best tips to pest-proof your home:
Seasonal Pest Control
Every season possesses factors which make it one way or another – a susceptible target for different pests.
Spring and summer are months of high insect activity – breeding and young insects emerging.
Autumn is still quite warm so your problems with these pesky creatures are set to continue for a while longer yet. Insects such as flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes usually hibernate but only when temperatures have dropped considerably. The problem with autumn is that it’s the time pests start to look for somewhere warm and cosy to spend the winter months.
#1 INSPECT YOUR HOME SEASONALLY
Different pests infest homes during different times of the year. This is why you should always check your home seasonally. If you are not sure about where or how to start, take a look at our pest control calendar. It is especially important to check every corner of your home and property during the winter months as this is the time when rodents and other critters look for shelter.
#2 THE CHRISTMAS TREE
You may have found that insects have been brought into your home via your Christmas tree! The smell of pine needles is an attraction and pre-harvested trees are also vulnerable to fungal infections. After you’ve responsibly disposed of your tree any problems may solve themselves but if you’re at all concerned you should contact a pest control company for advice. If you are wondering about what kind of hitch-hiking bugs you might have brought in, take a look at our Christmas Tree Pests blog post.
#3 THE SWIMMING POOL
As the Christmas tree is a hidden ally for pests, so are swimming pools or other common outdoor water sources. This is because outdoor water sources act as a vital part of insect habitat – many insects rely on these water sources not only to survive, but also to breed. To pest-proof your swimming pool, always cover it a proper pool cover. The same principle applies for all other water sources – outdoor sinks, hose, fish ponds might be tricky.
Regular Property Maintenance
#1 HOLES, CRACKS AND OPENINGS
Have you noticed small holes on the walls or roof of your home? Well, it is time to seal them up! Even the tiniest of openings in your home can be an entry way for rodents, squirrels, raccoons, etc. For example, holes in doors can easily become wasp hives, a scenario in which you end up having to change a whole door. Sealing and caulking all holes, whether they are on walls, windows or doors, can go a long way in keeping pests away.
Do an outside survey of your property looking for any holes or cracks that would allow rats and mice from getting in. It’s quite surprising how small rodents can make themselves to squeeze inside. Take a close look at where pipes are attached to buildings as loose seals can be an ideal point of entry. Any loose cement around the foundations should be replaced alongside any putty on window surrounds.
- Cover any air vents with wire mesh;
- Sealing/caulking holes on walls, windows, doors and etc.
- Loose seals around pipes and the cement foundation;
- Doors and windows that don’t close completely must be fixed;
- Consider putting automatic door closers on doors that tend to be left open;
- Plug gaps and openings where wires and conduits come through walls, ceilings, floors, the backs of cabinets, etc.
- Fly screens act as a brilliant barrier so fit them on your doors and windows;
#2 REGULAR ROOF MAINTENANCE
Keeping your roof well maintained throughout the year will mean there are no spaces, gaps or holes for pests such as squirrels to get into your attic. It will also prevent the accumulation of water, which provides rats, carpenter ants, mosquitoes and other pests with more suitable conditions to thrive in. Pests in the kitchen or other rooms of your home should not become an issue if you follow our advice.
- Roof drains and waterspouts should be regularly unclogged in order to be open and free-flowing;
- Gutters to be cleaned and unclogged;
#3 PIPES AND DRAINS
Crawling pests such as ants, cockroaches and fleas are all attracted to warm, moist conditions. Leaking pipes and blocked drains provide an ideal breeding ground. By keeping basements and roof spaces warm and dry you’ll help prevent infestations.
- Insulate pipes in areas that might be prone to condensation. Condensation is a significant source of water for pests.
- Leaking pipes and faucets must be fixed immediately. A five-gallon bucket under a slow leak is not a solution to a plumbing problem!
- Clogged or slow drains should be unclogged as soon as possible.
#4 BRIDGES TO YOUR HOME
Is there a tree outside your home with long branches? Can these branches be used by critters and insects to access your home? If they can, it is best to trim the branches before an infestation problem starts. If you have cut down tree branches and limbs before, you can do it yourself or hire a tree service company to do the job for you.
Eliminate Clutter and Food Sources
#1 A TIDY HOME IS A PEST FREE HOME
Many of these unwelcome pests love clutter and mess so it pays to keep your home clean and tidy. Clearing up will ensure there are no places for rats, mice and cockroaches to breed. A regular schedule of vacuuming and dusting will remove dust mites from your carpets, upholstery and soft furnishings.
#2 SEAL ALL CONTAINERS
Trash cans and other containers where you keep waste and unused items should be sealed up properly as they create safe hiding places for rodents, insects and other critters. Make sure your trash cans are kept away from your home so that pests are not attracted. One of the first things that pest control companies do is check your home for any unsealed containers and boxes to make sure that there are no pests hiding in them.
- Equip storage bins with tight fitting lids;
- If possible, use metal bins. Pests can gnaw through many types of plastic containers.
#3 KEEP KITCHEN AREAS CLEAN
This is very important as cleaning all the surfaces and washing all dishes will prevent pests from having a buffet in your kitchen. You should also make sure that you sweep up all crumbs, etc. from the kitchen floor.
- Don’t leave any food out, put left over food into sealed containers and put it away;
- Cooking areas should be regularly cleaned, any food remnants, grease, especially of animal origin are the perfect meal for pests;
#4 GARAGE AND STORAGE SPACES
Rodents will happily hide in rubbish stored in garage or outside areas so keep boxes on shelves and clutter to a minimum. Squirrels can cause huge amounts of damage to property with their chewing and biting to cables, pipes and furniture. Take advantage of squirrel control services that take away the squirrels without harming them as they’re a protected species.
- Keep your firewood store well away from the house, at least 20 metres, and keep your shrubs and trees trimmed;
- Arrange for all recyclables to be picked up as frequently as possible. Make it impossible for pests to use them as shelter or breeding area;
#5 FOOD WASTE
Ants are also attracted to any kind of food waste and sweet items in particular. They’ll also need to be controlled in a proper manner if a colony infests your eating areas. Occasional pests such as bugs, crickets and earwigs often come into your home to escape the winter weather but actually can’t survive for any length of time indoors. Silverfish are wingless insects and an infestation is hard to spot as they tend to come out at night. They’re normally harmless but you’ll need the help of an extermination team to ensure full elimination without using substances that may harm your health.
- Clean bins weekly with detergent and hot water;
- If you compost, make sure it’s unreachable for pests;
Other Factors That Make Your Home Susceptible to Pests
#1 PROPER VENTILATION
Mites and fleas love a damp environment so it is important to ventilate your home and remove this problem. Damp can also be caused by faulty plumbing so you should have any plumbing issues fixed properly. Plug any leaks so you’re not encouraging visits from silverfish that are often found in kitchens and bathrooms.
#2 BIRD FEEDERS
Many of us like to throw crusts onto the lawn for foraging birds. Have you thought that these crusts will also be very tasty morsels for rodents, foxes and other pests? It’s much better to put up a high bird table or suspend bird feeders.
#3 PETS AND THEIR FOOD
Pets may be a source as well as means for hitch-hiking bugs to infest your home. Parasites like fleas and ticks are regular nuisance for companion animals and their owner. Remember to vaccinate the animals you share your home with and regularly perform an anti-flea treatment. Fleas for instance can live in carpets for up to two years and can multiply very quickly. It’s very difficult to get rid of them yourself as they’re so tiny!
It’s also important to never leave pet food open or outside containers, as it is a high animal protein food which is a favourite food for cockroaches and many pest critters. Others, like bed bugs, can hitch-hike on your pet to get inside your home and infest it. If you start to suffer from itchy bites you may need to call in the experts to examine and treat your property. Treatments may need up to four days to work effectively.
The Damage Pests Can Cause
Unwelcome pests can be a nuisance but they also pose a health and damage risk as well. Pesky rodents can chew and gnaw their way through electric wires and cables leaving your home open to a risk of fire. They also carry some very nasty diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus. They don’t always travel alone either. On their backs they bring mites, fleas and ticks.
For allergy or asthma sufferers pests such as cockroaches can increase symptoms of the illness. It doesn’t take much effort to keep pests at bay and the time you spend will be repaid in full.
Spiders, ants, mice, mosquitoes and wasps, to name just a few, can bring misery to a household if they’re allowed to get in. If you’ve tried everything without success, you can call for professional help. You’ll be guaranteed a successful outcome and be able to sleep soundly in your bed once more.