Pests, insects and rodents belong outside. Unfortunately, they often make their way indoors. Although you won’t find a foolproof way of keeping all pests away from your home, you can take some steps to protect your home from unwanted guests.

Check Your Doors and Windows

Image via Flickr by srqpix

Carefully look at each door and window in your home. Seal any holes with caulk and repair or replace screens with tears or holes. If a gap exists between the bottom of your door and the floor, install a door sweep. If you observe any rotted or damaged trim, replace it. Pay attention to rotted, damp wood as this wood condition can be a sign of termites.

Look at Soffits and Siding for Entryways

Walk around the exterior of your home and look upward at the soffit, the area between the edge of your roof and the house. Missing soffit panels can serve as a doorway to pests. Rotting wood may signal that gaps where pests can enter exist. Replace with new soffit panels where needed.

As you walk around your home, look for any loose siding, which can also provide an entryway for pests. Reattach any loose siding to your home.

Trim Trees and Plants

If you have trees close to your home, trim the branches so that they are away from the house. Branches touching your home act as a bridge for animals to climb across into your attic.

Also trim back any shrubs or overgrowth around the perimeter of your house. Overgrowth is a breeding ground for insects. Keeping plant material trimmed will help reduce the number of pests entering your home. Use rock and stone in garden areas that touch your home’s foundation rather than mulch, which can provide shelter for pests.

Replace Outdoor Lights

Anyone who has spent time outdoors in the summer knows that insects are attracted to light. Replace outdoor lighting with bulbs in pink, yellow, or orange tints, which are less attractive to flying insects than white lights. If possible, change to pole lights positioned a few feet away from the house rather than having lights shine on an exterior wall of the house. Position the pole lights so that they shine on the doors for added safety.

Clean Up Around Your Home

Cleaning up around your home can help prevent an ant infestation. Pick up trash, litter, and outdoor clutter from yards, patios, and garages. Keep these areas neat and tidy to eliminate places where rodents can hide. Dump any water that has accumulated in containers and repair drainage in areas where water pools.

Organize Trash and Recycling

If your recyclables are kept outdoors, make sure to rinse all bottles, cans, and other containers before placing them in the recycling bin. Use a bin that has a tight-fitting lid. Make sure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids and clean your trash cans regularly. If possible, keep the trash cans and recycling containers away from the side of the house.

Cleanliness is the best safeguard against insects and rodents, both inside and outside the house. The cleaner you keep your yard and outdoor space, the less attractive it will be for pests and the better chance you will have of pests staying away from your home.