I like to keep my house pest-free year-round. But I’m not ashamed to admit, this was not always the case. Before I learned how to pest-proof my home, I shared my living spaces with ants, spiders, roaches, fleas, ticks, and other common household pests.
Not by choice.
I didn’t know how to keep pests out of my house. It didn’t take me long to notice outside pests would rush to get inside my house when the weather changed.
Pests are just like you and me. They need food, water, shelter and they will do whatever it takes to survive.
This includes invading and taking up residence in your house when the weather gets too cold or too hot. Pests can be driven inside your home by an act of nature that makes the outside environment unsuitable for them.
Do you want to keep your house pest-free too?
It’s time for you to pest-proof your home if you are frightened or disgusted by the sight of rodents and cockroaches crawling around your house.
11 Effective Ways to Pest Proof Your Home
Let me tell you how to keep ants, cockroaches, mice, squirrels, raccoons, rats, and other pests out of your house when the temperature drops. It’s not as difficult as you would think. The first time around it may take you much more effort, but every year after the first it will become easier and easier to pest-proof your home.
Here are 11 of the cheapest and most effective ways to bug and rodent-proof your house.
1. Pest Proof Your Bedroom
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is to wake up to a bug, insect, or rodent crawling over me, biting me, or nibbling on a part of my body. That’s why it’s extra important for you to spend major time pest-proofing the part of your home where you spend your night sleeping.
A few of the most common pests you’ll find in your room include bed bugs, dust mites, and fleas. You might even encounter cockroaches and ants if you are guilty of eating in your room.
To keep your room pest-free just do the following.
- Don’t eat in your room
- Keep your bedroom clutter-free and vacuumed/sweep
- Wash your bedding, curtains, and mattress covers regularly
- Cover your bed and pillows with bed bug protectors
2. Pest Proof Your Bathroom
Do you know why ants, cockroaches, flies, and silverfish are attracted to your bathrooms? Come on, try to guess. “Moisture!” The pests hang around your bathroom for moisture. Much like you and me, pests need a constant water source to stay alive. They can go for days without food, but not water.
What you might see as drops of moisture in your bathroom is an abundant drinking source for pests like ants and cockroaches.
It’s not that difficult to keep pets out, you just have to keep your bathroom nice and dry. Here are a few other considerations and actions you can take to keep out bugs and insects.
- Fix any plumbing issues or leaks immediately
- Use a window or fan to vent steam after hot baths and showers
- Use covers to close off shower, tub, and sink drains when not in use
Excessive moisture is not the only issue with pests being in your bathroom. You also have to plug up any holes and crevices they could use to enter your bath from the outside. You should visibly inspect around your cabinets, tub, toilet, shower, and sink basin.
Look for any gap or opening a pest can use to enter your bathroom — we call these entry points. Seal all entry point openings with sealant.
3. Pest Proof Your Kitchen
The smell of food stored in your panty is too much for bugs and rodents to resist. This is especially true if you keep a well-stocked kitchen pantry. If you keep large amounts of food items that are boxed or bagged in commercial packaging you are just asking for your home to be invaded by roaches, rats and other bugs.
Pests love to chew away at bags of sugar, boxes of cereal, and potato chip packages which are their favorites. These food items are smell good and are so easy to get into.
The next logical question is how do you stop pests from chewing through your packages of food?
Read our article on “8 ways to pest-proof your kitchen“.
4. Pest Proof Your Attic
Much like the basement, the attic is another area in your home that can easily be overlooked. For many, the basement is out of sight and out of mind. This, however, does not stop pests from finding their way into your home through the attic.
In an attempt to find food, water, and shelter rodents and wildlife animals such as rats, squirrels, raccoons, birds, and bats will enter your attics and make themselves a home.
To prevent move-ins from happening you’ll need to take a few proactive steps.
- Screen off attic and roof vents
- Keep your attic clean and free of clutter
- Find and seal off all entry points with caulking or wire mesh
- Store your things in plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes
- Inspect the interior and exterior of the attic every few months and correct issues
Taking these steps and actions will minimize the likelihood of pests getting into your attic.
5. Pest Proof Your Basement
Basements can sometimes be the most overlooked place in the home. This is especially true when the basement is not used on a daily basis. When this is the case, there is potential for the basement to become the ideal location for pests. They will hang out and go unnoticed until they become a major problem for you the homeowner.
Any basement that provides food, water, and shelter will become a magnet for attracting pests. In order to prevent or get rid of basement pest, you must deny then food, water, and shelter.
To keep your basement pest free you must keep it clean and dry; you must also seal off entry points pest would use to get inside.
A few specific tasks you can take include:
- Repairing leaky faucets and dripping pipes
- Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in the basement
- Use caulk to seal off all entry points
- Eliminate available food sources
- Sweep, mop, and vacuum more often
There you have it. Take these activities to keep your basement pest free.
6. Pest Proof Your Pantry
You should store food products like cereals, pet foods, dried fruit, sugar, flour, pasta, beans, cornmeal and other grains in tightly sealed food containers with insect-proof lids.
Here is the reason why.
Your kitchen cabinets, cupboards, and pantry are home to many dry goods and staples you eat on a daily basis. The foods you keep in these areas are subject to be attacked and eaten by pantry pests. The most common pantry pests you have to be on the lookout for include:
- Indian Meal Moths
- Merchant Grain Betters
- Mice and Rats
These pantry pests will easily eat through the boxes and packages you foods come in and help themselves to a quick meal. Anytime this happens the food is now contaminated and something you’ll want to throw out.
Get your foods stored in the proper containers to prevent pests from eating away at your foods.
7. Pest Proof Your Dryer Vents
Some pests will use dryer vents to set up nests or gain access to your home. I have heard of many cases where birds would set up nests and lay eggs in dryer vents. Other animals like rodents can also crawl inside your dryer vent make a nest and even worst travel through the vent and chew their way into your house.
There are several ways you can go about sealing your vents so that they still work properly but prevent pests from entering your home or just setting up nests. You don’t want to be cheap and install some flimsy design that will break or clog you vent up with lint and dirt.
We recommend you install a dryer vent closure instead of just trying to cover the vent hole with wire mesh. Dryer vent closures are easy to install, allows for proper heat exchange & ventilation, and keeps the cold out during the winter. Best of all this devise will help to prevent bugs, birds, and rodents from entering your house.
8. Pest Proof Your Garage
A clean and pest free house can easily be overrun by pests that have moved into your garage and set up home. That’s why it is important that you take proactive measures to keep pests out of your garage, just like you would your home.
Rats, mice, chipmunks, and other rodent pests can do considerable damage to your home starting out in the garage. They will eat, chew, and gnaw on everything in sight and in time make their way into your home to do the same.
We advise everyone to inspect the rubber seal threshold at the bottom of their garage door. This seal wears out after some time and makes it very easy for rodents to squeeze underneath and make their way inside. Replace your garage doors rubber seal threshold every 2-3 years.
Another problem area is the rubber gaskets on either side of the garage door. These to become worn over time. Mice and easily chew through these gaskets without much effort and enter from the outside. We have seen the best results when homeowners install metal flashing at the bottom and sides of all doors leading into the garage.
You should also consider installing a pest control door sweep on any doors that lead into your garage from the outside.
9. Pest Proof Your Crawl Space
Have you stopped to consider that your crawl space may be attracting unwanted pests? Bugs, insects, rodents, and other wildlife animals find your crawl space appealing for a few reasons.
Crawl spaces are warm, damp, provide shelter from the elements, are easy to access and are secluded. Now let’s talk about how you can do you make your crawl space unfavorable for pests.
Here’s how to control and deter pests and rodents in your crawl spaces.
- Set and bait traps in your crawl space
- If your crawl space is a dirt floor add in a rat slab barrier
- Do not store stuff in your crawl space (i.e. food, boxes, etc)
- Eliminate water sources
- Lower the humidity
10. Pest Proof Your Yard
Don’t let mosquitoes, ants, fleas, ticks, and stinging insects take over your backyard. These pests, bite, sting, and make your life miserable. Keeping your yard pest-free is one of the easiest and most rewarding things you can do.
If you keep your yard properly groomed you will minimize the number of pests that want to live there. Here are a few things you can do to keep your yard well maintained.
- Cut grass on a regular basis
- Cut down the overgrown brush and weed
- Keep the yard free of debris and other yard waste
- Scrubs, bushes, and branches trimmed away from the house
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house
- Keep mulch away from the foundation of your house
11. Pest Proof Your Firewood
Carpenter ants, cockroaches, spiders, and termites are drawn to firewood like moths to a flame. If you keep firewood on your property it is a good idea to take extra precautions to ensure you firewood does not become home to many of the pests you want to keep away from your home.
To control pest around firewood you’ll need to do the following:
- Never stack or store firewood indoors
- Store your firewood away from your home’s foundation
- Stack your firewood off the ground
- Keep firewood stored away from trees
- Use the oldest firewood first
- Keep your firewood covered with a protective tarp
- Use only local firewood
By considering and following the advice listed above you will greatly reduce your chances of having pest problems due to improper storage of firewood.
How do I keep bugs from crawling under my door? The best way to keep bugs from crawling under your door is to install a pest control door sweeps. These door sweeps add in the extra protection you need to prevent pests from entering by squeezing underneath your door.
How do I keep bugs out of my apartment? The easiest way to keep bugs out of your apartment is to eliminate their food/water supply and get rid of their favorite hiding spots. More apartment pest control tips.
Why do bugs want to come inside? Bugs want to come inside for the same reason you do. They want shelter from the outside environment, they want food and water. To survive, bugs need all three things — food, water, and shelter. When left with no other choice or whenever given an opportunity that is too good to pass up they will make themselves at home in your house or apartment.