According to the Smithsonian Institution, at any given time there are at least 10 quintillion — that’s a 1 with 19 zeroes behind it — insects alive in the world. Given this astonishing number, it’s no surprise that you will find a few crickets, ants, ladybugs and roaches in your house from time to time.
Of course, while you understand that some bugs are common, you don’t necessarily want them to set up house in your kitchen or bedroom. The same goes for other pests like mice or rats. Fortunately, with a little vigilance on your part, it is pretty easy to keep pests outside. Check out the following ideas to keep your house as bug and pest-free as possible:
Keep Wood Piles Away from Your Home
Many kinds of bugs and small animals love to hide in dark areas like wood piles. As Angie’s List notes, if you heat your home with wood, keep your supply of firewood as far from your home as you can. Pests also like to nest in debris like leaves and mulch; so try to clean up fallen leaves sooner rather than later and don’t pile a lot of mulch or soil around the foundation of your home.
Keep Your Kitchen Extra Clean
With kids, keeping the house tidy can be a challenge, but try to at least keep the kitchen as clean as possible. Clean food crumbs and juice spills from the counters and floors, and aim to do the dishes every other night. Shake out the toaster regularly to remove crumbs, and make sure you have a garbage pail with a secure lid. The less food you provide for insects and other critters, the less likely they will be to visit.
Hire an Exterminator
If you have found a trail of ants parading through your kitchen or a cockroach or two in the bathroom, it might be a good idea to call in a professional for help. Unfortunately, for every insect you see, there are usually a bunch more hiding in your home that you cannot, so hiring a trusted and reliable animal and pest control service is often a good idea. In addition to spraying for insects and other critters, the exterminator can check your home for areas where pests are entering — for example, cracks in the foundation or doors or windows that are not properly sealed. In many cases, the exterminator can seal up these holes and other entrance spots. Mention that you have small kids and pets to be sure they use something that is as safe as possible for your family. You can hire a company one time or set up a regular service plan.
Eliminate Water Sources
Some pests, like mosquitoes, will breed in water, and all bugs and critters need water to survive. Make sure you are not accidentally providing plenty of it to creepy crawlies by avoiding leaving dishes and standing water in your sink. Then hunt for other, less-obvious sources. For example, check under every sink for leaky pipes and head outside to look for standing water in garden buckets, wading pools filled with rainwater and other places.