Pest Control: How to Keep Bugs and Pests Outside the Home

Ants and mice and termites, oh my! Learn how to keep your home free of destructive critters with 10 tips for pest prevention and control.

Published on
April 17, 2024
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Pest Control: How to Keep Bugs and Pests Outside the Home


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Your home is supposed to be your safe space where you can find comfort and peace, but it becomes much less relaxing when bugs and other critters invade. Many of us struggle to keep these pests under control, which can be frustrating and stressful.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best tips and tricks for getting rid of insects, mice, and other creepy-crawly creatures we’d rather not encounter. Check out these 10 tips to limit unwanted pests and keep your home safe! 

  1. Dispose of Garbage Regularly and Properly 

Many insects and pests are attracted to food waste, so disposing of your garbage frequently is a basic step to keep these critters away (Grainger, 2023;, 2023). It’s best to dispose of indoor trash daily. You can store this trash outside or in your garage to keep pests out of the house. Ensure your garbage bins have lids and clean them regularly to remove any leftover residues that might attract insects or other animals (Glover, 2022; Lupo, 2022).

Additionally, be sure to rinse your recyclables before tossing them, especially if your recycling bin doesn’t have a lid. You should also store this bin outside or in your garage if possible (Lupo, 2022). 

  1. Remove Food Sources or Create Alternatives 

Due to heightened smelling abilities, pests are drawn to all food sources, including food waste or incorrectly stored food (Grainger, 2023). To prevent these critters from invading your pantry, keep food (and pet food) in resealable bags or airtight reusable containers to block the smell (Glover, 2022; Good Housekeeping, 2023; Lupo, 2022).

You can also create alternative food sources in your yard to deter pests from entering your home. Setting up a bird feeder in a far corner of your backyard will attract animals to this spot instead of to the food sources inside your house (Stanley, 2023). 

  1. Seal Exterior Cracks and Holes

One way pests can sneak into your home is through tiny holes in the exterior of your house. These could be gaps created by utility lines and pipes, cracks in the foundation, missing or damaged roof shingles, and loose siding. Any holes should be patched or filled immediately to prevent pests from getting inside (Glover, 2022; Grainger, 2023;, 2023). 

You should also be wary of cracks or misalignments in your doors, windows, or window screens, as pests can crawl through these gaps (Lupo, 2022). Try using copper mesh to block exterior holes. Simply stuff the mesh into any gaps and use foam sealant overtop to keep pests out permanently (Stanley, 2023). 

  1. Be Aware of Lights

Insects such as moths and beetles are attracted to light, which means they often gather near doors and windows, flying in whenever you open them (Good Housekeeping, 2023). Instead of using the exterior lights directly by your doors, put a light farther away from the door on a pole or table so insects won’t swarm by these entrances at night. 

Alternatively, you can replace standard light bulbs with halogen or high-pressure sodium vapor lights, which can help repel insects. Light bulbs with a yellow, orange, or pink tint will be less attractive to insects (Lupo, 2022). 

  1. Manage Humidity in Basements, Attics, and Crawl Spaces

It’s important to keep your home dry and ventilated, especially in areas like the attic, basement, and crawl space where critters like to take up residence (, 2023). Spiders especially love these kinds of cold, wet areas, so deter them with a humidifier to regulate the humidity of your spaces. A 40% humidity level is ideal for keeping spiders at bay (Stanley, 2023). 

In all parts of your home, you should try to maintain good air circulation. Ventilate your home by opening the windows when possible and ensure air vents aren’t blocked (Good Housekeeping, 2023). 

  1. Clean Your Home Regularly 

One of the best ways to prevent pests from entering your home is by cleaning thoroughly and regularly. Consistently vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, and sanitizing will disrupt spiderwebs and other critter breeding grounds. Plus, you can remove any dirt and crumbs that may attract pests before they enter your home.

You should also clean soft surfaces such as beds, rugs, couches, and other furniture regularly. Mattresses, rugs, and couch cushions can be vacuumed and sprayed with disinfectant, while sheets and blankets should be tossed in the washing machine often (Glover, 2022). A quality vacuum cleaner can also help to prevent and dispose of pests like carpet beetles or fleas. Look for a vacuum with an S-class filtration system or a HEPA filter to improve air quality. Don’t forget to discard the dust bag or clean out the dust canister in an outside garbage bin often. After each use, wipe down the vacuum cleaner to make sure no small critters are left clinging to the surface (Good Housekeeping, 2023). 

Pests can also hide in cluttered places, such as stacks of newspapers, magazines, or cardboard. Keep these items in your garage or dispose of them entirely to prevent them from becoming a pest breeding ground (EPA, 2023; Grainger, 2023). Additionally, certain insects like small flies can thrive in the dark, damp environment of sink and shower drains, so remember to clean these often! Try using a store-bought drain cleaner or a DIY baking soda and vinegar mixture to remove clogs, gunk, and debris (Glover, 2022; Lupo, 2022). 

  1. Keep Plants Trimmed Away From Your House

Many pests thrive in plants, mulch, and grass, all of which can attract these critters to your home (, 2023). Trim shrubbery and tree branches down so that they don’t touch the outside of your home and act as a bridge for insects such as ants (Stanley, 2023). Also, replace mulch or wood piles with decorative rocks, which are a much less appealing ground cover for pests (Lupo, 2022). 

Keep track of any damage you observe to your home’s foundation, roofing, or siding, as these could be a result of pests utilizing your landscaping to attack the outside of your home or create holes to enter through. If you can identify these places where insects may be causing damage, you can seal up any holes and prevent future destruction (Glover, 2022). 

  1. Store Seasonal Clothing Properly 

If you have seasonal bedding or clothing that you pack away for part of the year, make sure to wash it thoroughly before putting storage, and before wear, as bug eggs can infest these materials (Stanley, 2023). In particular, moths are attracted to woolen items like sweaters, socks, and blankets, so these should be inspected for infestations and carefully washed or dry-cleaned before storing or using (Good Housekeeping, 2023). 

  1. Upkeep Weatherstripping 

Weatherstripping refers to the sealing around doors and windows meant to keep water from leaking into your home. Another important function of weatherstripping, however, is to prevent insects from squeezing in through the cracks and crevices between the door or window and its frame. Like any part of your home, weatherstripping is subject to wear and tear, and this can lead to gaps forming around your doors and windows that allow insects inside. Therefore, you should make sure to replace any worn weatherstripping to keep these barriers intact (, 2023; Stanley, 2023).

  1.  Know When to Call a Professional 

The above tips are all excellent for preventing pests from entering your home and dealing with minor infestations, but in more extreme cases, it’s best to leave extermination to the professionals. To determine whether you require professional pest control services, you’ll need to evaluate what kind of pests you’re dealing with, how widespread they are, and where they’re located in your home. 

While seasonal fruit flies are simple to control on your own, recurring infestations or pests that cause more damage to your home — such as termites, which can eat away at your support beams — should be dealt with by professional exterminators (Glover, 2022;, 2023). 

There’s nothing more annoying than having to deal with pesky pests in your home. We all envision our home as our sanctuary, and termites or mice are the last thing you want to see in your oasis. When dealing with an infestation, it can be difficult to determine the root of the problem, making it all but impossible to find a solution and banish these unwanted critters for good. By implementing these 10 tips, you can preserve your peace of mind and enjoy a clean, pest-free home. 

For more information on home maintenance, check out our blog!


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