11 Simple Steps to Keep Your Home Pest-Free

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated October 8, 2021
family spending time together in living room
bernardbodo - stock.adobe.com

Routine maintenance can help you outsmart pests season-to-season

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

From minuscule fleas to rats large enough to make you leap onto a dining room chair, pests can be a frightening discovery in your home. Not only is an infestation unhealthy, but it can also lower your home's value and marketability. Get ahead of potential problems by ensuring your home keeps pests out and remains void of temptations beckoning them indoors.

1. Seal Up Interior Cracks

What's the first step in DIY pest control? Keep pests from crossing over from the outside into your living space. Pests can enter through incredibly small cracks, including holes in your window screens or poorly sealed doorways.

Seal up interior cracks along your baseboards and other major joints such as eaves, corners, and below window frames. The majority of pests prefer to stay out of sight during the day, so they seek small places to hide until they need to find food.

2. Check Your Foundation

There's a reason why basements and crawl spaces are notorious for hosting large spiders, cockroaches, and other nightmarish creatures. The damp and dark atmosphere is an ideal place for many insects and rodents to thrive without being noticed.

Additionally, homeowners are less likely to spot small cracks and holes in their basement until issues like leaks and pests arise. Call a foundation repair company for an inspection if you suspect pests are entering your home from underground. 

3. Schedule a Roof Inspection

Like your basement, the hidden spots in your attic and roof can also brew up trouble. Rodents, squirrels, and even raccoons can make homes in your home through open entryways in your eaves. 

Other common roof pests include wasps, bees, hornets, and other nesting insects that need to set up a safe and warm space for the winter. Schedule a roof inspection at least once a year and request extra help pointing out pest potential.

4. Assess Your Landscape

Does your lawn look appealing to local pests? Piles of wood, uncovered compost, and other dense areas can become breeding grounds for pests throughout the year. In addition to clearing away any rubble or thick brush, consider adding pest-repellent plants that can keep insects like mosquitoes at bay.

5. Trim Unruly Branches

Take a look at trees that have stretched their reach to the roof or eaves of your home. Squirrels and other animals like to make the leap to your roof and burrow into the attic when they have easy access.

6. Remove Food Temptations

While keeping your home clean is the most obvious way to keep pests at bay, there are a few unexpected trouble spots many homeowners miss. For example, be sure to clear away pet food bowls after serving up a meal and keep dry food bags sealed and out of sight.

Get creative with solutions for your garbage and recycling bin. Tuck wastebaskets away behind cupboard or closet doors when possible, and always cover with a lid. If you toss something a bit smellier than usual, make sure to bring the bag outside before it attracts visitors.

Lastly, remember that not all pests need traditional food to survive. For example, pantry pests can cut through paper packaging, leaving you to deal with some kitchen bugs. Drain flies and gnats can also live off the organic material in plants and plumbing.

7. Look Out for Standing Water

We all know that mosquitoes need standing water to breed, but countless other pests love a humid and water-filled space just as much. Silverfish, earwigs, and even cockroaches love damp environments. 

In addition to trouble spots like basements and leaky attics, look out for standing water in your yard as well. Poor drainage or foundation issues could call for an expert to reroute excess water from a recent storm.

8. Check Your Packages

While not as common, bugs like cockroaches—and dare we say it, bed bugs—can come in through boxes and packages. Be sure to check the bottom and inside of boxes for signs of pests before placing the folded cardboard in your recycling area.

9. Consider Local Pest Species

Do you know what pests are common in your state? The EPA outlines the most commonly found house pests so you can determine which ones pose a threat to your health, comfort, and home's structural safety. For example, it's important to quickly identify signs of termites in or outside your home, especially termites common in your region of the country.

10. Know the Signs

Prevention is always the best pest control method, but knowing the early signs can keep a small issue from growing into a full infestation. Determine which types of insects could be biting you in your yard. When there are too many bugs outside your home, they are more likely to make the transition indoors, especially as the temperature starts to drop.

worker spraying pesticide in yard
New Africa - stock.adobe.com

11. Schedule Seasonal Treatments

Your local exterminator can also explain the best preventive treatments for seasonal pest problems. The majority of insects and rodents may use your home for shelter in the colder months then build nests and breed as soon as the weather warms up. 

Seasonal treatments can help you get ahead of common pest behaviors, as well as keep pest control costs low in the long run.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.