Pest control doesn’t have to be a defensive service; prevention is key to keeping a small pest problem from becoming a big infestation. Go on the offensive when it comes to protecting your home from unwanted invaders. Here are 8 DIY pest control tips you can use inside and outside your home.

1. Maintain Landscaping

Less pests outside means less pests that make their way indoors. Keeping your yard less inviting for pests will reduce the incidence of pests indoors, as well. Trim back tree branches and shrubbery so they don’t touch your home. This eliminates “bridges” that pests use to make their way indoors. Mulch also provides an ideal shelter for pests. Consider using a less attractive cover medium like rock instead of mulch. Clean out leaves and other debris from gutters to prevent standing water.

2. Inspect the Exterior

Keeping pests out starts with identifying ways they can get in. Routinely inspect the entire exterior of your home for cracks, crevices, and gaps pests can use to enter. Check the foundations, cracks, loose siding, missing shingles, and gaps around utility lines (including pipes, wiring, and cable). Seal any openings you find with copper mesh, steel wool, sheet metal, or mortar. Avoid using expanding caulk because some pests can still chew through this. Check for signs of termites like mud tubes, damaged wood, or cracked and bubbling paint. Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles. Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar. Make sure windows, attic vents, and chimney openings are screened.

3. Use Appropriate Lightbulbs

Bugs are more attracted to standard mercury vapor lightbulbs. If possible, replace your standard lightbulbs with high pressure sodium vapor or halogen lights. Check the color of the bulbs, as well. Bulbs with pink, yellow, or orange tints are less attractive to pests.

4. Take Out the Trash

Garbage attracts pests like ants, roaches, and rodents. These pests are also attracted to yard waste which can provide both a food source and a nesting site. Use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids. Clean the cans and the area where they sit on a regular basis. Remove any debris and spills these pests can feed on. Keep your yard, patio, deck, and garage free of leaf litter, plant clippings, and standing water. The same goes for recycling bins. Use tight fitting lids when possible. Rinse all food from the recyclables before putting them in the bin. Store garbage and recycling bins outside whenever possible.

5. Inspect the Interior

Inspections aren’t limited to just the exterior of the home. The interior should be inspected regularly, as well. When checking inside, make sure to look under, inside, and behind cabinets, the fridge, and the stove for signs of pests. Look for gaps in the trim, around pipes, vents, and cables. Seal any gaps you find, especially any that are 1/4″ or greater in size. Check under sinks for moisture and repair leaky pipes. Use a dehumidifier in damp basements, crawlspaces, and attics.

6. Clean the Drains

Sink and floor drains hold moisture and also accumulate debris and gunk. This attracts pests and provides them with an ideal breeding ground. Routinely inspect and clean all your drains, even those in the laundry room and basement. You can also use a DIY cleaner made of baking soda and vinegar in your drains – it’s foaming action flushes out clogs and clears up gunk.

7. Make Cleaning a Routine

Always store food in sealable containers or resealable bags. Never leave open food out overnight. Clean out the pantry regularly to get rid of spoiled food or other items. Wipe down countertops daily and keep ripe fruit in the fridge. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Sweep, vacuum, and mop on a regular basis. This not only disturbs areas pests may frequent but also gets up any crumbs and debris they can use as a food source.

8. Don’t Forget Your Pets

Your pets can also bring pests into your home. Clean pet bowls and clean up spilled food and water immediately. Wash your pet’s bedding in hot water weekly. Keep pet food stored in a sealable container. Use appropriate flea and tick prevention on your pets.

Keeping pests out of your home can be a full time job. If you suspect you have a pest problem, contact a professional pest control company to help identify what kind of pest you have, how they are getting in, and the best way to eliminate and prevent them.