How to Prevent Pests in Your Home

10 DIY Pest Control Tips to Keep Your Home Critter-Free

How to Prevent Pests in Your Home

Finding ants crawling across your countertop. Catching a mouse scurrying under your sink. Lifting up your mattress to find bed bugs. Pests in the home are a common problem – and an annoying one at that.

Unwanted critters can damage your property, contaminate food, and even spread disease. But you don’t have to resign yourself to sharing your space with them. With some diligent preventative measures, you can keep pests out of your home or apartment.

Read on for 10 tips to get rid of pests and keep them from coming back.

1. Inspect your home for entry points

The first step is finding out how pests are getting into your living space. Inspect the interior and exterior of your home to check for potential entryways like:

  • Cracks or holes in walls, floors, ceilings
  • Gaps around pipes, wires, vents
  • Open windows or doors with gaps underneath
  • Cracked foundations

Seal up any openings with caulk, weather stripping, screening, or other materials to block pests from getting in. Pay special attention to areas around utility lines – these offer prime access for rodents and insects.

2. Clear clutter

Pests love hiding in clutter. Keep things clean and organized to eliminate places where they can nest:

  • Get rid of stacks of cardboard, papers, magazines
  • Store unused items in sealed plastic bins
  • Vacuum and dust frequently
  • Keep counters and floors clear of crumbs and debris

Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathroom – roaches and mice love hanging out in these areas. Keep them spotless to discourage infestations.

3. Manage waste properly

Pests adore trash and food scraps. Proper garbage disposal is key:

  • Take trash and recycling out frequently
  • Use bins with tight-fitting lids
  • Don’t let dishes with food scraps sit in the sink
  • Clean up crumbs and spills right away

Composting is great for your garden, but avoid doing it right next to your home. The smell of decomposing food can attract pests from yards away.

4. Prune vegetation

Bugs love hiding in shrubs, trees, and grasses next to your home’s foundation. Keep them away by:

  • Trimming trees/shrubs so they don’t touch your exterior walls
  • Pulling weeds
  • Keeping your lawn mowed
  • Creating a gravel perimeter around your foundation

This eliminates shelter and creates a buffer zone between your landscaping and home exterior.

5. Store food properly

An open box of crackers on the pantry shelf might as well be a welcome mat for ants and roaches. Try to prevent ways these unwanted pests can access food sources. Follow these tips for pest-proof food storage:

  • Keep food in airtight containers
  • Inspect packages before putting them away
  • Discard anything that’s already been contaminated
  • Buy only what you’ll use in a short timeframe
  • Clean pet bowls and store pet food securely

It’s also smart to store dry goods like flour, sugar, rice, etc. in the freezer for 48 hours before use. This kills any potential pests or eggs hiding inside.

6. Watch for signs of infestation

Catching pest problems early makes them easier to get rid of. Look for these clues:

  • Droppings from mice, rodents, or roaches
  • Chewing damage
  • Gnaw marks on food packages
  • Grease marks from roaches on walls
  • Small black spots indicating mold or mildew

Act quickly if you spot any of these – a small infestation is easier to tackle than a large one.

7. Block their water sources

Pests need water to survive. Limit their supply by:

  • Fixing leaky pipes, taps, and appliances
  • Emptying sinks and lids of stagnant water
  • Sealing openings where condensation collects

Make your landscape less hospitable too – get rid of standing water in old tires, gutters, and buckets around your property.

8. Set out traps

For existing pest problems, traps can help capture and kill invaders. Use glue boards and snap traps for rats and mice. Bait stations, gels, and other poisons work well on roaches, ants, and other crawling bugs (just be sure to keep them away from children and pets).

Change traps frequently to get rid of a whole infestation. Note that traps alone won’t keep new pests from entering – sealing up entry points is key.

9. Use natural repellents

Certain strong scents drive pests away without harmful chemicals. Try these DIY options:

  • Cotton balls soaked in peppermint or eucalyptus oils
  • Garlic or onion powder sprinkled along baseboards
  • Essential oil sprays made with lavender, tea tree, citrus, etc.

Refresh these regularly since the smell fades over time. Again, repellents aren’t a standalone solution, but they can discourage pests from lingering once they’re inside.

10. Call a pest control company if needed

Severe infestations often warrant professional pest control. Look for a reputable company that offers integrated pest management – a combination of methods tailored to your specific issues. This balances pest elimination with safety for people, pets, and the environment.

They can treat both the interior and exterior of your home. Professionals also know where pests hide and have access to stronger chemical treatments when needed.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some signs of pests in my home?

Look for droppings, chew marks, grease trails, small black spots from mold/mildew, holes in containers or walls, and sightings of live pests like roaches, ants, mice, or rats.

How can I find where pests are entering my home?

Inspect inside and outside your home for cracks, gaps, loose siding, openings around utility lines/pipes, and other areas pests can squeeze through. Seal up any entry points you find.

What smells repel pests naturally?

Strong scents from essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender), onions, garlic, and citrus can deter pests. Refresh natural repellents frequently as the smell dissipates.

What areas of my home should I keep the cleanest?

Focus on keeping the kitchen and bathrooms clean and dry. Pay attention to counters, floors, sinks, and garbage bins. Don’t let clutter accumulate.

 

Enjoy Your Pest-Free Home!

Following these DIY tips will go a long way in keeping your home free of common pests. At the first sign of an infestation, take action right away to kick them out. With diligence, you can outsmart invaders and enjoy a critter-free space.

For more advice, check out these articles:

  • 5 Natural Ways to Repel Ants
  • How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
  • Keeping Mice Out of Your Home