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Pest control is, by its very nature, largely a reactive activity. You have a pest problem, and then you react to it by controlling it. Nobody (except us, we guess) wants to think about pests when they don’t have to. However, the most effective pest control is the kind that’s proactive. It’s far easier to keep pests out of your home than it is to drive them out after they get inside. There’s no better time to practice proactive pest control than spring. Pests are waking up just like everything else, and they’re hungry. Shoring up your defenses now can help make sure your house stays pest-free this spring--and beyond. In fact, by following these tips, you may be able to keep pests out of your home… permanently. Here’s how to get started:

Seal It Up

sealing gaps in windows to keep pests outFirst and foremost: pests can’t get into your home unless they have… a way in. Most pests use the same couple access points to infiltrate and infest your home. The single best way you can keep pests out is by finding and sealing these access points. Start with window sills, door frames, and other thresholds. Bugs and rodents alike often squeeze through the cracks and crevices between thresholds. Make sure windows and doors are installed and placed properly. Test weatherstripping for durability and proper seating. Use caulk to seal any cracks or gaps you happen to find. If you can feel a draft, there’s a gap big enough for pests. After you’ve patched up the frames and sills, check baseboarding, the foundation, insulation, and unfinished walls and flooring. Remember: pests can squeeze through smaller gaps than you’d ever think. If an opening is big enough for you to notice, it’s almost certainly big enough for a pest to use. 

Garbage Control

control your garbage to keep pests outThis might sound almost insultingly simple, but there’s more to it than you might imagine. Chances are, you take care of your garbage the way most people do. When you want to throw something out, you toss it into the nearest waste receptacle. There it sits, until either the garbage can fills up or you empty it out on garbage day. The problem is, the garbage doesn’t disappear when you throw it in the bin. Never underestimate the keen senses of the pests that want to get into your home. Rats, mice, and foraging bugs can probably smell your garbage, even if you can’t. If they sense an opportunity to get an easy meal, they’ll go to great lengths to take it. Keep your garbage in sealed plastic bags while it’s inside your home. Wash out cans and other disposable containers before you toss them in the bin. Take particularly pungent pieces of garbage, such as chicken bones or grease, out to your outdoor dumpster directly.

Water Watch

control moisture presence in and around your home to keep pests outIt’s weirdly easy to forget, but pests need water to survive just like everything else. In fact, pests like termites, carpenter ants, centipedes, cockroaches, silverfish, and sowbugs need constant humidity to remain active. One of the #1 things these pests look for when infesting property is a moist, humid living space. Pests don’t need much moisture to survive--in fact, many pests survive by absorbing moisture in the air. Moisture control starts outside your home. Make sure your gutters, storm drains, and downspouts are clear and working correctly. Proper drainage keeps water from seeping into your home and making a mess. Next, ensure that your sump pump is working to transfer excess groundwater away from the home’s foundation. Find and patch up drafts in particularly vulnerable areas such as basements and attics. Look for plumbing leaks in pipes, faucets, toilets, and p-traps under sinks. When in doubt, consider investing in a dehumidifier for problem areas.


Remove yard and basement clutter to keep pests outAfter food and water, pests choose where to infest based on how easily they can find shelter. Pests like cockroaches, centipedes, rodents, stink bugs, and more spend hours at a time hiding out. It’s hard to blame them; with predators, competitors, and you to worry about, being a pest isn’t easy! Many pests typically come out at night or in darkness to forage for food by darting between safe places. The safer they feel, the more often they’ll stop by. Like water control, decluttering takes place outside and inside. Trim branches, shrubs, and other plants regularly. If possible, try to keep a 3-5 food clear space between the perimeter of your home and ornamental plants. Collect fallen lawn debris regularly to keep it from piling up. Inside, avoid letting clutter build up, especially in at-risk areas such as your basement or attic. Try to keep things that could be used as cover on elevated storage such as cabinets.   Following these steps may not solve your problems overnight, but they will help prepare to keep pests out in the future.  If you need some help in the meantime, remember that you can call Plunkett’s anytime. Together, we can bring about the pest-free future today!

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