(Guest post by Ryan Tyson, image via Flickr by turkletom)
If you’ve spent months renovating your home to create the perfect living space for you and your family, the last thing you want to deal with is pests ruining your new palace. Pests are unhygienic, bad for your health, and just plain gross, but it’s possible to get rid of them on your own with a few strategic adjustments. Follow these five steps for DIY pest control.
Identify and Remove Standing Water
If you live in a rainy area, you could end up with standing water around your home. It can pool in birdbaths, in empty pots in your garden, and within artistic sculptures. While you see a harmless inch or two of water, mosquitos see the perfect breeding ground to make babies. By leaving the standing water around your home, you’re actually setting your friends and family to get eaten alive during your next outdoor barbecue.
Next time it rains, walk through your yard and empty all standing water that you see. From there you have two choices: you can repeat this routine every time there’s a shower, or you can adjust or remove these items from your yard. Make sure the landscaping drains water away from the house without creating puddles. This process reduces mosquito breeding grounds and makes them relocate elsewhere.
Develop Insect-Repelling Cleaning Habits
While cockroaches and ants can find their way into the cleanest homes, they’re more likely to return to places where there are food sources and great smells. To prevent this, make sure you adopt a cleaning routine that’s meant to repel insects from the start — and keep them away if they do come in.
Daily, wipe down your counters with a mixture of water and vinegar to remove odor and food particles from your home. Running over the counters with a sponge or towel means you often miss crumbs or spread smells around the kitchen. By taking an extra few minutes to spray down the countertops, you’ll eliminate odors that attract bugs to begin with.
Seal Your Dried Goods
Without the right insulation, you could end up replacing your sugar, flour and oats if ants keep finding them. This is more than an inconvenience; it also costs you money and can be a health hazard if they’re ingested. If you find ants in your dried goods, invest in a few sealed plastic food storage containers to store your ingredients. You might also want to expand this storage to cereal, chips, and other pantry items that might omit smells or have crumbs that attract insects.
Fix Leaks and Install Dehumidifiers
There’s nothing insects love more than dark, cool spaces like your basement and crawlspace. While they might be attracted to these areas initially, they might expand to explore the rest of your house. Start by installing dehumidifiers to control the humidity level in certain areas. This will keep your basement and attics dry and create an inhospitable space for insects.
After the big spaces have been taken care of, look under faucets and check your plumbing. Cockroaches just need a few drops of water and can live comfortably under your bathroom or kitchen sink. Any leaks should be sealed immediately, and you might want to replace the boards underneath if they’re showing signs of damage.
Install a Fake Wasps Nest
Wasps have the power to ruin outdoor activities and scare owners who find them by their homes. These nasty insects are dangerous to get rid of and inflict painful stings. However, they’re also incredibly territorial and won’t settle down near another nest. To keep your home safe, invest in a fake wasp’s nest or two and install them in historic problem areas. This might mean placing one on your patio or in a tree in your backyard. If your neighbors are close by, let them know that it’s a fake nest, so they don’t try to have it removed by a professional.
These are just a few tricks to reduce the potential impact of pests on your home, but good habits that repel them beat removal tricks any day. It’s much easier to keep them away for good than try to make sure every last insect is gone that has already moved in.