If you have unwanted visitors in your home — like actual pests — you’re probably living on eggshells. This makes sense because it can be hard to relax if you know a mouse is hiding somewhere in your house or you’re constantly hearing the buzzing sound of winged creatures flying around.
You’re certainly not alone in this situation. Residents of 14 million homes reported seeing roaches in their dwellings, while 14.8 million spotted rodents and 2.9 million spotted both, according to the 2019 American Housing Survey.
Understandably, you want to get rid of these pests as quickly as possible. Or, perhaps you don’t have any at the moment but want to take precautions to ensure it stays that way.
Either way, you’re not looking to hire an exterminator, as doing so can be notably pricey. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to critter-proof your house on a budget.
Easy and affordable, taking these steps will keep pests outside where they belong. Here are five inexpensive tips that will make a big difference.
Store Firewood Away From Your House
Having a wood-burning fireplace is great, but storing firewood next to your house is not. By doing so, you’re inadvertently giving pests easy access to your home.
Specifically, termites, other insects and rodents are drawn to firewood, according to Orkin. Therefore, it’s best to keep the wood at least 5 feet away from your home, stored in above-ground racks.
Moving the firewood might be a labor-intensive job, but you won’t regret doing so. Don’t forget to get a firewood rack, such as the Panacea Black Powder Coated Steel Log Rack at Ace Hardware to store it on.
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Seal Up Exterior Cracks
What might seem like a miniscule opening to you is still big enough for many pests to slip into. Therefore, it’s important to seal up all openings, so they can’t get in.
Specifically, you’ll want to seal openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation and siding with caulk, urethane expandable foam or copper mesh, according to Terminix. You’ll also need to seal cracks around windows and doors with good-quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk/sealant.
Additionally, adhering weatherstripping to the sides of your doors — this wears away over time, so you may need to replace it if your strips are older — will help keep bugs out. Pair this with a door sweep at the bottom to fully seal.
Make Your Pantry Inaccessible to Pests
It’s beyond disgusting to think bugs are living in your dry goods, but it happens frequently. However, you’ll be relieved to know a few simple steps can change that.
Instead of keeping food in its original packaging, place it in sealable, airtight storage containers — preferably glass, plastic works well too, but might not be completely rodent-proof — according to No Bugs, a pest control company. If possible, you’ll also want to store all food items at least 18 inches off the ground.
Heighten Your Pet’s Dining Area
You wash your plates and glasses after every use, and they’re not even sitting on the floor. Giving your pets the same courtesy is both important for their health and your pest situation.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recommends washing pet food bowls between meals every day and the water bowl at least every other day. It can also be wise to invest in a pet bowl stand, as keeping food and water off the floor can also keep pests at bay.
Keep Your Kitchen Clean
If cleaning isn’t really your thing, bugs probably love your kitchen. Of course, even if you do clean high-use areas often, places like the back of countertops might still be housing hidden crumbs.
Pests like ants and roaches are drawn to unattended food and crumbs, according to Clements Pest Control Services Inc. Therefore, it’s important to clean countertops and stoves with soap, water and liquid cleaning solutions after each meal — in addition to sweeping the floor.
Pick up a bottle of Method All-Purpose Cleaner at Target to keep your kitchen delightfully bug free.
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