How to maintain a Pest-Free House this Summer


Pests such as insects and rodents will begin to infest your home in the hot summer months in order to find a place to nest. With the loss of natural habitats, the best place for pests to find water and food is inside the walls and attics of buildings. When a heat wave occurs, the soil outside a home becomes dry, and the pests that normally live outside will invade your home. Rats and mice want to escape the intense heat outside, and if there is an easy way to get food inside your home’s kitchen, then you will find a rodent on the floor or inside cabinets. To prevent pest infestations, you need to understand how to keep vermin from entering a home.

Tip One: Perform an Exterior Inspection of a Home
Walk around the exterior of a home to look for holes near the foundation of a building where mice and rats can enter. Mix cement to seal these openings to keep rodents out. In addition, look at a home’s siding to check for areas where wood or vinyl has lifted enough to permit a rodent to enter. “Remember that rodents can squeeze into tiny spaces to chew through materials to make larger holes,” said Nail down the loose boards, and use caulking to fill the crevices around window frames and utility lines.

Tip Two: Check Your Home’s Windows and Screens
If your home has old windows that do not close properly, then insects such as cockroaches, ants and beetles can invade. You can repair window frames or replace old windows. It is easy for spiders and insects to enter through the rips on window screens, and you can replace or repair these to keep beetles and flies from entering a home. Some insects can invade through the tiny holes in a window screen, but you can deter gnats by spraying an insect repellent on the wire mesh.

Tip Three: Plant Flowers That Repel Insects
To deter pests, you can plant flowers or herbs that emit odors that insects and rodents dislike. Mice and rats are repelled by:

• Catnip
• Mint
• Lavender
• Amaryllis
• Daffodils

You can plant these flowers directly outside a home or use flowerpots instead. There are also several herbs and flowers that are offensive to insects, including:

• Basil – repels beetles, flies and mosquitoes
• Chrysanthemums – repels fleas, ticks and cockroaches
• Dill – repels spiders
• Lemon balm – repels mosquitoes
• Oregano – offensive to ants, cockroaches and beetles
• Tansy – repels flies, ants and beetles

Some of these flowers or herbs are also easy to grow inside a home to keep pests away.

Tip Four: Keep Your Home Cleaner
Rodents and insects are attracted to places where it is easy to hide, and if your home is filled with clutter, then mice and cockroaches might lurk underneath boxes and dirty clothing. Begin by cleaning out a home’s closets to get rid of excess items, and make sure to use plastic totes with lids to hold books, blankets and toys. Keeping your kitchen clean is vital, and you may need to transfer foods such as boxed cereal or bags of pasta into glass containers to keep out ants, mice and cockroaches.

Tip Five: Make Natural Insect and Rodent Repellent
When you are concerned about using store-bought insect repellents that contain dangerous chemicals, make your own homemade sprays. Use the essential oils that are derived from plants such as mint, rosemary or eucalyptus along with a few drops of glycerin and water to spray around a home. Great places to apply a homemade repellent include on the window screens or around doors. To deter rodents, make a mixture of peppermint oil, water and glycerin to apply to a building’s exterior foundation where mice and rats are more likely to enter.

Tip Six: Trim Trees and Shrubs that are Located Outside a Home
If you have trees and shrubs located outside a home, then make sure to keep the branches trimmed to help prevent pest invasions. Animals such as rats can climb on a tree’s branches to reach a building’s rooftop in order to enter a chimney. After invading, these animals begin to live inside a home’s attic and wall spaces, and within a few months, you can have a major infestation.

Tip Seven: Help Neighbors Eliminate Pests
When you continue to have problems with insects or rodents in the summer, then it is time to talk to your neighbors. There is a possibility that your home is located in an area where a particular pest is a problem, or you might have a home in your neighborhood that is infested with cockroaches or mice that travel to your home. If everyone in a neighborhood works together to eliminate pests, then you are going to have a home that does not have an infestation.