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Advice From the Pros – Steps to Prevent Indoor Pests

By Chris Williams on June 26, 2013.

Ants drinking waterIf you’re having a problem with indoor pests like cockroaches or ants, or if you want to make sure that you don’t have a problem with indoor pests, there are steps you can take to make your home less desirable to insects.

Insects become “pests” when they invade our space and share our food. Pests have the same basic requirements for life as people: air, moisture, food, and shelter. You can prevent or control pests by removing these elements that they need to survive.

Remove Water

Don’t let water accumulate anywhere in or around your home. Don’t leave water standing in buckets, in saucers under house plants, or in trays under refrigerators or air conditioners. Fix leaky plumbing and remove or dry out any water-damaged materials in your home. Many pests infest damp wood or other damp items. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.

Remove Food

Store your food in sealed glass or plastic containers, or in the refrigerator. Don’t leave pet food out for long periods of time, especially not overnight. Keep your kitchen clean of crumbs and grease—those feed pests, too. Keep all garbage and food scraps in a tightly covered, animal-proof garbage can, and empty your garbage frequently.

Seal or Block Pest Hiding Places

Avoid storing newspapers, paper bags, and boxes. Caulk cracks and crevices that insects hide in. Caulk openings where pipes enter walls. Seal any openings or access points between the attic and living areas.

Block Pest Entry

Most pests get into our homes from outside. Install screens on all windows, doors, vents, and floor drains to keep crawling and flying pests from entering your home. Install weather-stripping on doors and windows. Make sure doors, especially garage doors, have a tight threshold or sweep at the bottom. Caulk and seal any openings around doors and windows, around plumbing lines or conduits, or any other openings to the outside. Keep doors shut when not in use. Check for pests when bringing plants or purchased used items into your home.

[Source: EPA-Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety]

Photo credit: flickrPrince / Foter.com / CC BY

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