Everyone wants a home that’s welcoming to guests. Or at least to invited guests.
But what about those uninvited guests? We’re talking the creepy-crawly or furry kind who find their way into your house and move right in.
The time to close the door on insects, rodents, and other pests is now, before cold weather hits and they start looking for a cozy place to hole up for the fall and winter. Follow our simple tips to pest-proof your home for good.
#1: Seal Holes and Cracks
Cracks and gaps around your house are like a welcome mat for pesky pests. Check around your house for entry points that could be giving insets, rodents, and other wildlife a way into your home:
1. Foundation: Examine the basement and foundation for any holes or cracks, especially around pipes, laundry vents, utility meters, outdoor outlets, and water spigots. Save on expensive caulk by filling large gaps with Frost King’s Moisture Repellent Poly Foam Caulk Saver, then topping it off with a bead of caulk.
2. Roof, Vents and Chimneys: Gaps along roof vents, dormers, and adjoining rooflines can give bats, squirrels, raccoons, birds, and other rodents an easy way into your home—so seal these gaps with our easy-to-use Expandable Foam Silicone Weatherseal to keep pests from getting inside. You should also cut back overhanging tree branches or brush that give wildlife a “bridge” to climb onto your roof. Check for cracks and openings around vents and chimneys that provide an entryway into your home, too. As with the foundation, you can use our Caulk Saver to fill large holes and save money on caulk.
3. Doors and Windows: Gaps between doors and windows should be sealed with weatherstripping. If you’re unsure how to install weatherstripping, watch this step-by-step video before starting:
Next, check the bottoms of all entryway doors to make sure there’s no gap for insects and rodents to march into your home. Our Self-Stick Door Sweep installs easily and will keep pests at bay, and it can cut down on drafts to save you money on your winter heating bills. Just remember before you install the door sweep: measure twice, cut once.
#2: Check for Damp Spots
Many insects—especially roaches, silverfish, earwigs, and centipedes—need a moist, humid environment to survive, so make it your mission to eliminate wet spots that could be attracting them.
1. Caulk any leaks around tubs, toilets, and sinks.
2. Head to the basement to check exposed pipes. Fix any leaking pipes and wrap cold water pipes with one of our Pipe and Duct Insulation products to stop condensation.
3. A basement’s humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent. If the humidity level in your basement is higher, you may want to run a dehumidifier to suck some of the moisture out of the air. Not only will this make your basement less hospitable to bugs, but it will also make the basement more comfortable for you and can protect your basement from mold and water damage.
#3: Clean Up the Yard
Next, it’s time to head outside to check for spots that may be welcoming to pests.
1. Firewood: A roaring fire can make your home cozy in the winter—but that stack of firewood you’re storing outside gives termites, ants, and other bugs a cozy place to live. Firewood should be neatly stacked on an elevated rack that allows for plenty of airflow and stored at least 20 to 30 feet from your home. And don’t store firewood inside—once fire season has arrived, only bring in as much wood as you can use in a day to cut down on the chance of insects hitching a ride into your home.
2. Garden Beds: The mulch and soil in your foundation beds is a prime spot for termites, spiders, and other insects. Make sure there’s at least 6 inches of clearance between mulch and siding or windows to make access a little harder.
3. Enlist Birds to Help: Attracting birds to your yard by hanging a bird feeder and setting out a birdbath can help keep down the insect population because most birds feast on the bugs in your yard. Just be sure that you clean up spilled bird seed and regularly rinse out bird baths to avoid attracting other pests.
#4: Feed Pets, Not Pests
If you have pets, make sure their food doesn’t become an open buffet for mice, ants, and other pests.
1. Smart Storage: Transfer dry food from bags into a lidded, airtight storage container.
2. Dedicated Dining Area: Set up a food and water area for your pet, clean up any kibble that gets knocked out of the bowl, and if there’s any food left over in the bowl after feeding time, throw it away. If you still have a problem with ants after taking these steps, try putting your pet’s food bowl into a larger bowl filled with water—your pet can still get to his or her food, but ants won’t be able to cross the water to get to the food bowl.