How to Keep a Pest Free Home

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Keeping creepy crawlies out of your home isn't as tricky as it may seem. While one or two creatures are bound to share your home, the most serious of them require specific conditions to thrive. Prevent them early, and you'll avoid costly pest control later.

1. Block entry points

Some pests are like vampires: they won't come in unless they're invited. You can avoid making your home an open invitation by blocking up cracks and damaged areas. You may also find these help with your energy bills too! Make sure you:

Regularly check your roof for cracked tiles and damaged beams
Reseal damaged door and window frames
Plug cracks and gaps around openings, including pipe entry and exit points
Trim tree branches near your house
Keep net curtains over your windows in summer

2. Prevent pest nests

It's impossible to completely seal your house, but it's crucial that if pests get in, you ensure they have nowhere to stay. To prevent new housemates you can:

Keep your dishwasher clean, closed and sealed
Regularly move stashes of plastic bags and damp items like towels
Don't keep stacks of old papers or cardboard boxes
De-clutter your house regularly to cut down on hiding spaces

3. Remove excess water

Standing water and damp aren't just home insurance claims waiting to happen, they're a welcome oasis for pests. Keep critters thirsty by:

Fixing dripping taps as well as leaking roofs and gutter points
Clearing blocked pipes
Staying vigilant for dripping pipes and damp
Watering plants sparingly to avoid full drip trays
Not leaving your pets' water bowls out all night

4. Keep it clean

While some pests don't need to eat too often, slacking on the cleaning or improperly storing foodstuffs can unwittingly turn your home into a pest buffet. Readily available food encourages them to stay, and to breed. Here's what you can do:

Store food in properly sealed containers and keep food waste in a covered bin
Don't let fruit spoil, and clear up any spills immediately
Wipe the oven, microwaves and kitchen surfaces after each use
Regularly mop the kitchen floor and vacuum at least once a week to catch crumbs
Clean around the bin and bleach it every few months
Rinse containers before putting them in the recycling

5. Use household repellents

Before you turn to chemicals and contract killers, there are plenty of natural household pest repellents that you can use. Try:

Wiping surfaces with vinegar/water solutions to destroy ant and insect trails; add a drop of lemon to repel spiders from surfaces
Growing a herb garden: flies hate basil, ants hate mint
Installing a bird box: small birds eat insects, owls eat mice
Stopping killing spiders - they eat small bugs
As you can see, it's easy to keep your home pest free once you know how.

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