There is no upside to having pests in your home. Not only are they irritating, but they can also spread germs and diseases. While there’s no good time for mice, ants, roaches and other pests to infiltrate your living space, you especially don’t want them scurrying around when you have guests over. Luckily, there are simple ways to keep this from happening. Here are six practical tips for preventing pests from taking over your home:
1. Call an exterminator
First things first — if you think you might already have a pest problem, it’s important to take action quickly. Sometimes you actually see the little critters, and other times you only see signs. With mice, for instance, food debris, feces, and scratching sounds are indications you could have an infestation. You can set traps out and hope the pests go away, but it’s typically a quicker and safer process if you call a mice exterminator. Looking online is the best way to find the highest-rated exterminators near you.
2. Shape up the landscaping
One way to keep pests out is to do some minor landscaping around your house. When shrubs and tree branches are touching your house, it gives easier access to unwelcome rodents and insects. Trim plant life to be at least 6 inches away from the house. While you’re outside, look for any potential entry points that need to be sealed, such as cracks, holes or pipes.
3. Take out the trash
Many pests, especially mice, roaches and fruit flies, are drawn to food trash. This includes the trash in your kitchen. Be sure to take it out regularly, because overflowing garbage is like an all-you-can-eat buffet to hungry pests. Also, consider investing in a trash can with a locking lid and scented trash bags to minimize odor and repel pests.
4. Seal dry foods
At some point, all of us have grabbed a late-snack and left the wrapper or box out on the counter. After all, we’re tired and will worry about it in the morning! However, little instances like this can attract pests in no time. Make sure all dry goods (e.g., potato chips, cereal, pasta, candy, etc.) are sealed in containers and stored away when you’re not using them.
5. Wash the dishes
Similar to overflowing trash, a sink that’s full of dirty dishes can draw uninvited guests to your kitchen. Try to wash dishes regularly. If you have a dishwasher, rinse dishes after each use and put them immediately in the dishwasher. If you wash your dishes by hand, we all know how time-consuming it can be and how quickly the dishes can stack up. In this case, try to at least rinse off any food that’s stuck on the dishes before leaving them there.
6. Use vinegar and water
Another way to deter pests is to use a simple vinegar and water solution. Mix half vinegar, half water in a spray bottle to clean countertops, appliances, floors and other surfaces. This is an effective way to rid the surfaces of unseen food particles, and it will help neutralize the odor in your home. Also, cleaning with vinegar will repel ants and spiders, and it will attract fruit flies; you can trap fruit flies by setting out a plastic cup full of a similar vinegar/water mixture.
Whether you’re planning to have people over or you’re just tired of intermittent pest problems, there are simple ways to keep rodents and insects out. First, bring in an exterminator if you currently have an infestation. To prevent pests from overtaking your home in the future, start by trimming any tree branches or shrubbery away from your house, and regularly take out the garbage. Also, be sure to seal and store away all your dry goods, and keep the sink free of dirty dishes. Finally, regularly clean your home with a vinegar/water solution.