Prevent Pests by Keeping Bugs Out of Your House
The goal of every homeowner is to ensure a pest free home with minimal inconvenience and pesticide use. Pest prevention is often the most effective form of pest control. The most successful and environmentally friendly pest control methods involve Integrated Pest Management techniques, also known as IPM. IPM encourages pest management professionals, and homeowners, to retire the idea that pest control is achieved by thoughtless indoor pesticide treatments of all baseboards, cabinets, and other surfaces. Rather, IPM promotes homeowners and pest control technicians to focus on keeping bugs and pesticides outdoors, and strategically placing low toxicity pesticides indoors if necessary.
The principles of IPM sometimes require out of the box thinking and an upfront investment, but the return in the simplicity of your pest control is worth the effort.
Prevent Bugs by Sealing Entry Points
While there are a few bugs that can live and breed indoors, most pest insects travel indoors from outside. Properly sealing these entry points can prevent roaches, ants, stink bugs, rodents (rats and mice), and many other bothersome insects from entering your home. Sealing your home against bugs is a worthwhile investment that will prevent many concerns in the future.
To properly seal your home a thorough inspection should be conducted. If you can look under a door or around a window and see even a small amount of light streaming in, roaches, ants, and possibly even rodents can sneak inside as well. Take a close look at all the screens on the windows and the pool cage. Any hole or cut in the screens are potential pest entry points. Walk around the outside your home. Viewing the exterior from the perspective of whether or not a roach or carpenter ant can enter, allows you to see how effective home sealing for pest control can be. Finally, if accessible, look at the vents for appliances and the attic located on or near the roof. If unsealed, these areas allow for rodents (rats, mice, and squirrels), and even birds, bats, opossums, and racoons to enter your home and nest in the attic.
Initially, if you cannot seal every potential entry point, start where you will gain the greatest advantage against the pests who are entering, and build upon that success.
Sealing Windows and Doors
A logical starting point for most people battling common household pests such as roaches and ants, is sealing the windows and doors. A simple trip to the hardware store may prevent palmetto bugs from flying at you in the night! The miniscule gaps under your doors can be sealed by installing door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior doors. Once properly sealed, no light should penetrate the base of the door. Garage doors can be fitted with rubber seal and sliding glass doors can be sealed by lining the bottom of the track with foam weather stripping. It should go without saying, but strongly encourage your children and others in the household to quickly and firmly close exterior doors behind them.
Damaged and broken window screens are an easy avenue of entry for pests of all sizes. In the spring and fall when we open the windows to bask in the fresh cool air, many insects are attracted to the light from our windows. Window screens with splits, tears, or holes give easy access for pests of all kinds. Take a walk through your house and repair or replace any damaged screens so you can enjoy the fresh fall air without worrying about insect invasions.
Sealing Exterior Entry Points
As you walk around the outside of your home with your pest inspection hat on, you will be amazed at the number of bug access points. Many homes have multiple holes drilled for various utilities through the years, such as a phone line, cable lines, power lines, plumbing and HVAC lines. Many of these lines are not even used any more… looking at you phone and cable company! Pests access your home via these holes and any small crack along the foundation or siding. Depending on the situation, there are various materials that can be used to seal these exterior entry points.
Any hole or crack should be filled with a material that fills the hole yet can blend in to the exterior of your home. Silicone or latex caulks are good options for small cracks near windows, but a larger hole may require expandable foam, copper mesh, or stainless-steel wool fill. If you take the time, effort, and expense to seal these larger holes, think about rodents and their knack for gnawing. They can chew right through some materials used for sealing, but not others.
Sealing Entry Points on the Roof
A truly pest sealed home, requires the entry areas up high to be addressed. Chimneys, attic vents, and soffits should be screened with pest proof mesh or hardware cloth. Never seal a laundry vent, which can cause a fire. Instead, the vent should lead to metal pest-proof piping to prevent pest entry. There are many specialized products for each of these areas that are easily installed. A common method is simply to install ¼” hardware cloth over these open areas to prevent birds, rats, racoons, and bats from nesting in your attic.
While you are inspecting or sealing these high areas, take a good look at any trees that are close to or touching the roof. Tree branches that directly touch the house allow for squirrels and other rodents easy access to your roof, but also provide a highway for ants and may encourage an aerial termite colony to spread to your attic rafters. For a myriad of reasons, keep branches trimmed off your roof. Keeping branches trimmed back at least 10 feet from the building will make access more difficult by talented jumpers like squirrels and rodents.
Nextgen Pest Solutions Pest Prevention
Our pest control technicians are experienced in the behaviors and habits of all pests. With years of experience, we know where and how insects and other pests are entering your home. Sealing pests out is an investment into your family’s health and safety and allows for a pest free home with limited chemicals. Here at Nextgen Pest Solutions, we adhere to the tenants of Integrated Pest Management and encourage all of our customers and friends to pest proof your home by sealing the bugs out. If you’d rather let the professionals handle the sealing of your home, call us today for a free quote and more helpful tips.