Pests have an uncanny ability to find the weaknesses in your home and make their way inside. They have all day to infiltrate your space, and you only have occasional free time to mount a defense. Fight smarter, not harder, by learning the shortcuts insects, rodents, and other small pests take to breach your perimeter. Anticipatory prevention is the best way to protect your home.
1. Windows and Doors
Two of the most common ways for pests to enter get overlooked all the time. Even the tiniest opening around a window or a door is enough to grant access to all sorts of pests. Check all your door sweeps and thresholds, including any garage entrances, and replace them if you notice any cracks, missing pieces, or signs of wear and tear.
Use a flashlight to find cracks and chinks around windows and doors that could be letting bugs in. To do this, stand on one side of the door or window with the light and have someone on the other side. Carefully sweep the light around the edges of the opening, and ask the person to tell you where light is shining through. Use caulk to seal up cracks around windows and doors easily.
2. Fans and Vents
Look carefully around all your exhaust fans and your dryer vent. If there are other gas or plumbing vents, or if there's any ductwork going from inside to outside, be sure to check these areas for cracks.
Make sure everything is turned off, and the fans and vents aren't in use. Then, hold up a hand to see if you can feel air coming in. This can indicate a little opening that could allow pests to get in. Seal any cracks or gaps with duct tape or caulking.
This is a tricky problem—you clearly can't keep the chimney tightly sealed at all times. However, you can install wire mesh screen that can stop bugs and rodents while still allowing smoke to drift up the chimney. Check your screen at least once a year for signs of damage, and mend any small holes that may be allowing pests to get inside.
Take a survey of the outside perimeter of your house. Look for any places tree branches are touching your house and trim them back. Carpenter ants can march right into your home using these branches, and they're capable of causing serious wood damage. Tree branches can provide a bridge for other pests, too, so keep any foliage near your house well trimmed.
Remain Vigilant to Keep Pests Out
Look for the cracks and the chinks in your home’s armor, and seal them up to keep your home well-protected. Pests will use the smallest opportunities to infest your home, and once they’re in, you’re going to have to manage them. It’s a lot easier when you can keep them out of your home in the first place.