Pest infestations are definitely annoying, but they can also cause a lot of anxiety and potential damage. Pest infestations can often be difficult to control, due to the shear number of pests involved and extent of the problem. However, as with many things, prevention is often easier than the cure. Indeed, many pest problems can be prevented through good hygiene practices and a bit of home maintenance, even without using pest control products. So here are the top 30 pest prevention tips for inside and outside the home.
Pests are almost always outside trying to get in. Whereas you cannot eliminate pests completely from your yard, you can certainly make the area around and under your home less attractive for pests.
Garden beds adjacent to the house are pest havens. They create lots of places for pests to live and hide (bushes, mulch and soil), with lots of food and moisture. If you create a pest haven right next to your home, it’s perhaps not a surprise when you get a few unwanted visitors inside your home. So here are the tips…
1) Remove garden beds adjacent to the house and replace with alternative landscaping such as pebbles and plants in pots
I accept that many won’t want to do this due to aesthetics or cost (but it is the best way to keep termites and other pests at bay!). So if you keep the garden beds in place….
2) Keep plants well pruned and away from the house, so you can walk along the exterior wall (or at least see the exterior wall clearly)
3) Avoid or minimise watering the garden beds
4) Use a non-organic mulch such as pebbles
5) Don’t use organic fertilisers (such as manure or blood and bone) in the garden bed.
Pest entry points
There are a number of pest entry points that should be blocked off
6) Fill any cracks or holes in walls and around doors and windows
7) Make sure insect screens and draft excluders are well fitted and in good condition
8) Fit weepholes with pest protection screens (metal are best). DO NOT seal weep holes up with filler or block with soil / ground level. They are there for a reason!
9) If your home has vents, the newer style with its open wire mesh is already rodent proof. If you have older style brick vents you will need to cover with rodent proof wire (preferably on the inside as it looks better). DO NOT cover with fine mesh to block out insects as this dramatically reduces airflow (the reason they are installed). For insect proofing you will need to spray inside the vents.
10) To stop rodents getting into the roof, trim back any overhanging branches and block off any small holes into the roof void with rodent proof material
For homes with a sub-floor
11) Make sure there is sufficient drainage / airflow (ie. low humidity) in sub-floor.
12) Throw out any rubbish in the sub-floor
13) Minimise stored goods in the sub-floor – they create lots of insect hiding places and prevent complete inspection for termites
If you must store items in the sub-floor...
14) Keep all stored items raised off the floor
15) Store items in sealed plastic containers when possible
16) Avoid using cardboard boxes, a favourite hiding place (and food source) for many insects
17) Get rid of any waste wood / unwanted building materials
18) Eliminate sources of standing water (potential mosquito breeding sites)
19) Ensure all rubbish is places in bags, in solid bins with well fitting lids (ideally away from the house)
20) Check any incoming boxes for insect pests
21) Avoid using cardboard boxes for storage (preferred insect hiding place and food source)
22) Do not leave dirty dishes, spilt food and food waste lying around
23) Clean potential kitchen pest hiding places on a regular basis; cooker, dishwasher, toaster, microwave and pantry
24) Store food in sealed, insect-proof containers
25) Do not leave pet food out / on floor
26) Regularly vacuum, especially around edges of room and under furniture / dark places
27) Keep clothes and shoes off the floor
28) At the end of each season, wash clothes before storage and store in an insect-proof container / case
29) Fix any leaks in kitchen, bathroom and laundry
30) In rooms / cupboards that suffer from high humidity, try and locate the cause of increased humidity and remedy if possible. Otherwise use fans / dehumidifiers
Of course, once you have done your clean up / maintenance, a preventative pest spray works wonders and sets you on your path to a pest free home.