The following are helpful tips to keep your house and property pest free. Some are specific to certain insects, while others are just general tips to cover a variety of problems.
All insects and rodents need moisture to survive. Subterranean termites will eat most hardwoods, but they must have moisture to survive. Although they wander and can find moisture from other sources, they must have a food source which is why they are often found near a moisture source. Carpenter ants are also pests associated with moisture problems. They never nest in healthy dry wood. They will seek out a window sill that has been damp from a leak or an area near a water leak and nest there. Inspect your home and fix any leaks or moisture problems.
It does not take a very big hole for an insect to gain entry into your home and mice can enter through a hole the size of a quarter. Especially check areas where phone, cable or gas lines (etc..) enter your home. If you can see any daylight seal it with caulk. Garage doors are notorious for mouse entry points. Often the weather stripping wears out on the corners. Replace them. Attic vents should have screens. If they are missing or torn, replace them. They are a favorite entry point for birds, squirrels, wasps and rats.
Porch and patio lights attract insects which in turn attract spiders, their food source. Then when a door is left open or the door is propped open while talking to a neighbor or paying the pizza person, the insects and spiders sneak in. Then you wonder why you suddenly have bugs. Try to help with the problem by keeping doors properly sealed and closed and if possible use yellow or non-insect attractive light bulbs.
Keep all window and door screens in good shape. Any hole or pulls should be repaired to prevent a variety of insects from entering.
Attics and garages are subject to clutter. Boxes and various other storage items are all subject to infestations of insects, spiders and rodents. Roaches and silverfish especially like the corrugation in boxes to breed. Spiders love to hide in areas that are rarely disturbed. Clutter also makes it difficult to inspect and treat areas. We all know it is difficult to avoid clutter. If at all possible, use plastic sealed tubes to use for storage. Stack them at least six inches away from baseboards to allow for inspections or treatments.
Clogged gutters are a problem we deal with each fall. Many times it is a chore we put off until the first heavy rain in the spring when we see the excessive rain creating waterfalls down the sides of the gutters. Not only does this cause wood rot, but it is a breeding area for many insects and other pests. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, Carpenter ants have moist wood and birds and rodents have a water source. Keep your gutters clean and make sure the slope is such that they properly drain.
Trees or shrubs that touch or overhang your home are runways for insects, squirrels and rats allowing easy access into your residence. Carpenter ants are especially guilty of this. Shrubs touching the house or windows allow a variety of insects access to the windows, and they don’t need much space to fit through to gain entry into your home.