Special Interest

How to Protect Your Home or Commercial Premises from Pest Attacks

by Alexander Crawley Thursday January 23rd 2020

How to Protect Your Home or Commercial Premises from Pest Attacks-pests

Pests are one of the biggest enemies of every building, no matter if it’s residential or commercial.

They come inside to feed and nest, and they can destroy everything we hold dear in only weeks. This is why making sure your home or office are protected is a top priority.

Cutting off the entryways and taking away the temptations which make pests approach your property is a good start.

Here are 13 tips which will help you out:

Indoor Pest Prevention Tips

  1. Seal all the doors and cover large openings

Even though we close the doors regularly, there are often small gaps under them, and they are enough for all kinds of bugs to come through. Invest in a strong aluminum or steel door and threshold which won’t allow for any cracks to form. These doors are way better than wooden ones, which just turn to pest food after some time. A good budget solution is to get one of those door sweeps you can install at the bottom of the door. You can buy them in almost every hardware store and they cover the gap under the door very efficiently.

If your doors stay open for big amounts of time, you can consider adding screen doors, to prevent bugs and other animals from getting in. The same thing applies for all the large openings around the house, like the chimney, the windows and any vents. Install screens on all the windows. For the chimney and vent openings, you can get some wire mesh from your closest hardware store. They sell it in rolls or by the meter, and all you need to do is spread it over the opening and staple it. It will keep not only bugs out, but also possums, racoons and squirrels, which is important, because these animals often carry ticks, fleas and other unpleasant small creatures with them.

  1. Look for cracks and repair them

Even microscopic cracks and holes around the house are more than enough for small insects to get through. Inspect the property thoroughly on the inside and outside. Cracks often happen around windows and doors, as well as the foundations and siding of the house. A good rule to remember is – if a pencil can fit through the crack, so can a mouse, and lots of other small pests. Use cement or mortar to patch exterior walls and foundations. Remove and replace any rotting wooden elements, and consider applying a protective finish, if the area is prone to termite attacks.

Caulk is perfect for sealing the cracks inside the home, because it’s cheap, easy to apply and is very durable, so pests can’t claw through it. Place some caulk around the window frames, around any pipes and exhaust fans.

  1. Keep the premises clean

Cleanliness is the key to making the place unpleasant for pests. The kitchen is the most important room you need to keep clean, because this is where all the food is and most spills happen there. Disinfect all the areas where food is handled regularly. Clear out any food spills immediately and wash the dishes right after a meal, or store them in a closed dishwasher.

When it comes to the rest of your business premises or home, don’t allow for clutter to pile up and stay unattended for more than a few days. Get rid of any paper stacks, piles of junk, shelves filled document boxes, old furniture and soft furnishing and any other indications of clutter. Any Hard Rubbish from your office or business premises or your home, can be removed with a rubbish removal service like ours.

Don’t eat food at your office desk or in your bedroom. Even though it’s tempting, the crumbs invite cockroaches. Make sure all the drains are not clogged, properly treated and preferably covered with a lid when you not use them. Many pests travel through the sewer system and can even climb through pipes in residential and office buildings.

  1. Store food properly

Even if everything around the place is sealed off, pests can still find a way in, if they feel that they can live comfortably inside. Getting rid of the things they’re after – food, water and shelter – will help you stay on top of the situation. Apply some general rules when it comes to food in the premises. Limit the consumption of food to a certain area, so crumbs and spills won’t spread. Keep all the food in airtight containers and don’t let food stay in the open overnight. Store everything unsealed in the fridge, and get special containers for the bread and any cereals.

Pet food is also considered a treat by cockroaches and ants. Many people leave small amounts of pet food in the bowl all the time, which is a mistake. Try to put the pet food away after each meal, or invest in a bug-proof bowl, where the pet can reach the food, but bugs – don’t.

  1. Store your trash properly

The garbage may smell bad, but it’s like a delicious buffet for cockroaches, ants and rodents. Keep the garbage bins only in the kitchen and eventually the bathroom, don’t keep garbage bins everywhere, because this makes managing the waste more difficult. Invest in a heavy garbage bin with a lid, and empty it every evening before night-time. The exterior garbage bins need to have a heavy lid that self-closes, and you need to sanitise all the containers regularly, to avoid unpleasant smells, which can attract flies and other insects.

  1. Keep the roof, attic and basement areas neat

These three areas are often severely forgotten or just used as storage spaces. Every storage area whether its in a business premises or home is usually filled with boxes and bags of junk we don’t want around, but are still not ready to throw out.

It’s not a bad thing to be sentimental, but it’s also not healthy to keep useless items around. You need to declutter these spaces, throw away everything you won’t need or use, and place the rest in airtight containers. Store them away from the ground and try to inspect the place from time to time, so it doesn’t seem abandoned.

The roof and the gutters are very common hiding spot for rats and other pests. You need to clear the gutters from debris at least twice a year and inspect your roof for any cracks, rust and holes. The roofline is also the place where wasps and bees like to build their nests, so regular checkups can help you catch that problem before it grows. Add to your greenwaste collection

Outdoor Pest Prevention Tips

  1. Keep the garage clean and sealed off

The garage is an often preferred entryway for most rodents, racoons, possums, birds, spiders as well as various insects. The fact that we often use our garages are storage spaces doesn’t help, because pests thrive in cluttered areas that rarely see the light of day. To keep any garage protected, first you need to sort the clutter, get rid of anything unnecessary and properly dust and store everything you plan on keeping. It’s best to use plastic boxes with seals, so mice and rats can’t gnarl through them. Place the boxes in a space which is above the ground. You can either place some wooden pallets or install some shelves on the walls.

The next step is to make sure the garage door closes properly and there are no small cracks or crevices, where small animals can crawl through. If you notice any, make sure to fill them with builders foam or some other sturdy material. Don’t keep dog food or any other edible items in the garage, because they attract pests.

  1. Keep the foundations clear

Since the foundations of the house are closely located to the ground, they are a common entry point for all kinds of bugs. Keeping them in good condition is an important preventative measure. Spiders, termites, fleas, mosquitoes, ants, all these pests breed in moist areas. Protect the foundations by keeping the moisture away. Don’t store any organic products, like mulch, wood and grass clippings near the house. Check for cracks in the foundations near the ground, and use some foam or caulk to fix them. Make sure the gutters and downpipes work properly and drive the rain water away from the foundations.

Some homeowners also treat the foundations of their houses with chemical compounds to prevent insects, and especially termites from infesting them. Chemicals are never preferred, but sometimes they are unavoidable. A natural alternative, which can be effective in some milder infestation cases, is spreading some boric acid at the base of the walls.

  1. Trim any trees and shrubs

If you have trees or shrubs touching the outside walls of the house, you’re basically providing pests with an easy access point to your property. Many pests like mice, ants, squirrels and racoons live on trees and can easily access windows or the roof and find a way inside. Trim all the trees and shrubs around the house, and make sure there’s at least a half a meter between your walls and the outdoor greenery.

Same applies for the lawn, you need to keep the grass short at all times. The most cost effective way to do that, is to invest in a quality lawn mower and learn how to use it. Ticks, fleas and ants have the unpleasant habit of hiding in tall lawn grass, and using pesticides is not always a good idea, especially if you have pets.

Once you’re done with all the trimming and mowing, you can also take care of any fallen leafs by raking the garden. Then remember to dispose of all the debris by packing it and throwing it in a green bin. Many pests feed on green waste, so it’s crucial to cut off their food source. If you want to have your own compost bin, place it in a safe distance from the house.

  1. Don’t allow water stagnation

Water stagnation is never a good thing. Sometimes it happens naturally, when the water can’t reach the soil, because the empty spaces in it are already filled. And sometimes we just forget some water in a flower pot or a bucket lying around the garden. Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can carry all kinds of unpleasant diseases. To prevent them from settling around your property, make sure to empty the water from any buckets, pots and containers after it rains. If you notice any areas prone to flooding or you see puddles forming in certain areas, fill them in with a proper material. If you have a pond in your backyard, consider installing a pump to move the water in it around.

  1. Keep the firewood organised

Termites and carpenter ants feed on and live in cut wood, and they are considered a scourge for any home, according to entomologists. They can be often found in firewood, which usually ends up inside the house during the cold season. This is why you always need to store the firewood away from the house, and you need to keep it off the ground and properly covered. When it comes to burning firewood, always burn the oldest first, and never keep excess wood in the house. Only bring in as much as you’ll need to make the fire.

  1. Plant pest repelling plants

There are plenty of ways you can use a garden or some potted plants to protect your home or office space from pests. Bugs are repelled by strong-smelling plants like lemongrass, mint, lavender and rosemary. It’s also a good idea to plant flowers in your garden. They attract songbirds, and they are natural predators for all kinds of insects. If you build a birdhouse and leave out some seeds or suet cakes, you can also attract sparrows and chickadees. And once these start flocking around your home, the pests will realise they are not welcome.

  1. Get yourself a pet

Pets are the perfect way to make sure pests stay away from your property. Cats and dogs are not only perfect companions, but they also make sure to keep all kinds of bugs and vermin away. While cats are way more efficient in hunting mice and rats, as well as various insects and spiders, the presence of the dog also keeps vermin and other mammals at bay. Spreading small amounts of used kitty litter around the house is considered a good and natural way to get rid of mice and rats, because they sense the strong smell of a predator and stay away.

Alexander Crawley

is Senior Executive and Entomology Consultant at Fantastic Pest Control

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