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The sight of a scurrying or crawling intruder making their way across the floor of the kitchen would launch most of us into a determined anti-pest crusade. In addition to wanting them out as soon as possible, we wonder how they entered in the first place.
Addressing potential entry points and sealing them off is known as pest exclusion, and this process can go a long way in dealing with any pest problem. Cracks in the walls, neglected repairs, and worn-out weather stripping all unfortunately allow pests to wander in at will.
Pest-proof your home with these tips and safeguard your family from pest infestations, big or small.
An Ounce of Pest Prevention
A large group of ants marching along the sidewalk is entirely different from the same group marching toward the crumbs left under the baby’s highchair. Once pests are within our midst, they can be notoriously tricky to evict. Exclusion methods, or creating barriers to prevent pests from entering or accessing places they shouldn’t, aim to be the solution to a pest problem before it even starts.
Pests do more than just disrupt the peace. They often transport and leave behind various bacteria and other pathogens that can contaminate the cereal, flours, and snacks they’re munching on in your pantry. Not only that, but their chewing, nesting, and burrowing can cause serious damage to structures, electrical cords, pipes, and the aesthetics of your home and garden. Doing the work to keep pests where they belong can save yourself a serious headache.
How to Stop Pests from Getting In
Insects, spiders, rodents, and other trespassing animals can be kept out of your home and garden with a little perseverance and a few, simple repairs.
WITHDRAW THE INVITATION
An important first step in sealing off your home starts with a thorough inspection—not only to discover the ways they got in, but why they’re there to begin with. There may be piles of leaves providing an adequate shelter or a spilled mess of pet food in the garage. Pests may have taken up residence next to a leaking pipe or by the crumbs that get kicked over to the baseboards after breakfast.
Our homes can easily provide pests things they are seeking (food, shelter, and water) and often in large amounts to sustain many of them at a time. Worn-out weather seals or holes in window perimeters can let the scent of even small crumbs or messes outside to entice pests inside, so take a moment to clean up obvious messes, store food in containers with tight-fitting lids, and do a thorough cleaning around the house.
SCAN AND PREPARE
Get ready to do a thorough investigation high and low, inside and out. Many pests can fit into the smallest of spaces, climb walls or vines, and even shimmy through pipes, so there are several potential spots to look for. Some of the most common areas to check are:
- Around doors and windows
- Near utility lines that connect to the building
- Under sinks and in cabinets
- On and around baseboards
- Around the foundation
- Under awnings and eaves
- In pantries and food storage areas
Pests find routes to the inside through spots less obvious to us. They find their way in through holes, climb on wires, or even swim through pipes to appear on an entirely different floor, room, or area in the house. Be certain to check both inside and outside of your home for holes and gaps that might be letting pests in, some of which could be smaller than ⅛ of an inch.
Assemble an arsenal stocked with caulking, sealant, new weather stripping, door sweeps, metal screens, screws, and whatever else you need to get repairing. Spend some time fixing all the loose seals, broken screens, leaking pipes, and holes and cracks you can find. If any bigger repairs require more of your time and energy than is feasible, don’t be afraid to outsource any of these repairs.
For repairs you can manage, note the materials that will provide the most adequate barrier. Caulking can be used for gaps a quarter of an inch or smaller, while sealant, metal screens, and spray foam are best for bigger holes. Steel wool can be used temporarily to plug small holes to deter rodents, and plants can be protected with mesh cages and other barriers. To seal up larger spaces, grab some exclusion fill fabrics, sheets of plywood, and metal screens or plates to put up that will block those areas to intruding pests.
PLACE SOME TRAPS
Despite your best efforts, pests may keep finding their way in. If you’ve got all the obvious entry points covered and bothersome bugs are still coming inside, traps might help you track pest activity.
Traps that collect a lot of pests are more likely to be near an unsealed entry point. For best results, check traps daily so you can see how often the pests are coming inside. It might take a few attempts to find and seal all the less-obvious entrances, but with some persistence, you can seal up your home and eliminate the pest entry points.
Exclusion methods for pest control are a highly effective, worthwhile process, though it can be a lengthy endeavor if there are many spots to attend to. If you could use another set of eyes to identify pest entry points and seal them up, give us a call. We’re happy to take your pest worries away so you can enjoy your home in peace.