Most pests are naturally outdoor insects, and for the most part, that is where they like to stay. But when they need food or shelter, or when you take them in, they come inside.
Other pests come into the house because people carry them in. Bed bugs are a good example. After the government outlawed harmful chemicals like DDT, many hotels never found an effective way to control bed bugs. As a result, they may be in bed with you when you travel. If these bugs get into your luggage, they could multiply greatly when they get to your house.
How They Get In
Tiny insects, like ants, only need tiny openings to come inside. Many times, these openings may not be much thicker than a fingernail. Here are some common entry points:
- Doors: The seals should be essentially airtight. Step outside at night when the lights are on inside. If any light leaks out, pests can come in.
- Windows: Excessively worn weather stripping is often a culprit here. Weak spots give tiny pests just enough wiggle room to come in after a food source.
- Dryer Fans and Vents: Dampers should move freely, but sometimes they get stuck in an open position. Also, the rush of air often knocks the vent out of place just enough for pests to come in through the gaps.
- Siding: Gaps between the foundation and the wall are perhaps the most common pest entrance. Gaps between the trim and siding invite lots of pests inside as well.
Bed bugs often stowaway in luggage. So, when you are away, do not put your clothes in hotel room drawers. Keep them in your suitcase or a hanging bag.
How to Keep Them Out
Window screens may be one of the best ways to keep pests outside. Fine mesh screens are the best kind. They usually keep out even ant-sized bugs. Be sure the sides of the screen are flush against the windowsill. Use caulk if necessary.
Overall, caulk is also an excellent way to bug-proof your house, at least to a great extent. The aforementioned siding gaps are a good illustration. Caulk both the inside and the outside. On a related note, airtight door sweeps should prevent bugs from crawling into your house.
Watch out for household garbage as well. If you can smell it, pests can smell it too. So, empty garbage cans frequently, especially in the kitchen. Also, do not randomly drop soda cans and other items into the recycling bin. Rinse them first to remove any sugary residue.
Finally, moisture often attracts pests. Address any dripping faucets or other leaks straightaway. Even a drop or two could attract unwanted pests.