Maintain a Pest-Free Home

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Having a problem with moisture, pests and odors around your home?

There are many reasons – fire protection, air circulation, drainage, attractiveness and safety — to keep the outside walls of your home clear and free of debris. Another compelling reason is that piles and stacks of tools, lumber, ladders, yard waste and toys create a haven for spiders, rats, mice and wood-boring insects. Take some time to survey your home outside, removing anything touching the structure. Donate, discard or store what you’ve removed.

Firewood is one common hiding place for pests. Stacking firewood under the eaves of the house keeps it dry, but there’s a price: The wood creates a home for spiders and invites them into the house. Also, woodpiles trap moisture against the siding and prevent air circulation. If left long enough, the dampness can rot siding and trim. Instead, store firewood at least two feet from the house and 18 inches off the ground. Keep it dry by building a shelter over the top of the pile, or covering with a waterproof tarp. In addition, discourage pests from becoming houseguests by clearing out vegetation under decks that might give them a place to hide.

Seal garbage cans tightly. If you’ve had problems with rats, dogs or raccoons getting into the trash, make sure the cans have tight-fitting lids. Tighten the lids by linking a stretchy tie-down from handle to handle. Store pet food in containers with tight lids. Also, if your bird feeder is attracting pests, try moving it farther away from your house to discourage critter invasion by way of the bird feeder .

Standing water around your house makes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Change the birdbath and wading pool water at least weekly. Toss water out of pet dishes, flowerpot saucers, cans, buckets and anything else lying around that collects water. Keep gutters clear of debris that will keep moisture trapped.

Take some time to rid your home of these breeding places for pests. You’ll be glad you did!