Bugs spark different reactions in different people. Whether you’re frightened or fascinated by these critters, they’re always unwelcome indoors. Bugs are unsanitary, annoying intruders who bite, sting, and leave behind nasty waste in their wake. Exposure to some bugs can even result in serious health problems.
Thankfully, there are some tried and true strategies you can employ to keep insects from invading your space. Give these tips a try when bug-proofing your home!
Seal Your Windows and Doors
You wouldn’t dream of living in a home without locks, so why live without properly insulated windows and doors? It’s a common-sense approach to bug-proofing that too many homeowners overlook. To get started, take a bug’s eye view of your home. Crouch down to examine weatherstripping, caulk, and any unsealed gaps in your home. Even the tiniest of holes can provide entry for critters.
Once you’ve identified problem areas, consider adding steel or aluminum thresholds under each door. Combine with a door sweep for ultimate protection against bugs. Of course, all the caulk and weatherstripping in the world won’t prevent bugs from entering open windows and doors. Talk with your family about your concerns and consider installing hydraulic devices to automatically close and seal doors behind you.
Prioritize Yard Maintenance
Identifying the source of your bug problem is key to solving it. Every yard is a unique ecosystem of insects, animals and plant life. Rather than waging war against those species, prioritize smart yard maintenance. Mosquitos, for instance, often breed in pools of still water. If you’ve been avoiding cleaning out your old potted plants, they may be gathering rainwater and providing the perfect setting for mosquito eggs. To eliminate pooling water, store empty pots and tools in your garage or shed.
Keeping your yard free of debris can also help minimize the insect population. Piles of leaves are the ideal place for bugs to hide out and reproduce, so it’s important to give your yard a proper clean up at least once a season. Even if you’re not much of a gardener, maintaining your yard is a must if you want to prevent infestations.
Store Food and Trash Properly
No matter how well you seal your home, bugs will always find another way in – especially if there is delicious food enticing them to enter. Any unprotected source of food or water can draw insects into your house. Whenever possible, store food in airtight containers behind cupboards or in the pantry. Your bowl of fruit may add a splash of color to your kitchen, but it’s also a giant advertisement for a bug buffet.
Storing trash properly is just as important. While you might think your garbage is safe enough in the can in your kitchen, a plastic bag won’t stop bugs from invading. Invest in a trash can with a lid to avoid any creepy crawling surprises, and take out the garbage at least once a day.
Keep Moisture Away from Your Foundation
Insects thrive where it is wet. Moist soil provides the ideal setting for bugs to breed and thrive. Moist foundations are especially appealing to insects, as they are close to the ground and often the easiest way to enter a home. To bug-proof your home, avoid stacking firewood, lawn clippings, or compost piles near your foundation. While you can’t prevent the ground from softening each time it rains, you can eliminate sources of food and shelter close to your foundation.
While you’re at it, check your foundation for gaps. The bottom row of siding may not be securely attached to the home, providing an insect on-ramp for bugs of all varieties. Use caulk to fill in any gaps you see.
Work with – and Not Against – Nature
It’s impossible to bug-proof a home without soliciting the help of a few natural allies. Bats, birds and spiders are natural predators, feeding on all the insects you’re hoping to keep at bay. Do some research into your region’s wildlife. Provide bushes and trees for birds to nest in, and install bat houses to encourage predators to dine freely. Birdseed and nectar can also help attract predators to your yard. You’ll be surprised at how effective these creatures can be at controlling the insect population on your property!
Online Homeowner and Home Inspector Education
Bug-proofing a home is more art than science. Not all strategies will work for every property, and in some cases, you may need to call in an exterminator to completely eliminate an infestation. Still, the best way to combat bugs is by understanding how they’re entering and why they’re so eager to get inside. Like most challenges faced by homeowners, education is key to bug-proofing your home.
If you’re eager to learn more about your home or are considering a career as a home inspector, ICA’s online home inspection course is the ideal way to train. Self-paced, easy to understand, and designed with industry best practices in mind, our class has set the gold standard for home inspection learning. Get started today!