Man vs Pests - An Never Ending Battle
Man vs. Pests - A never ending battle!
We all know that good screening techniques (windows, soffits, chimney, etc.) and sanitation practices are a major defense when it comes to keeping out unwanted rascals, but there are other very simple things that you and your client can do when it comes to winning the war:
- Speaking of wood, remove all other wood around the home that is not serving a purpose. This would include wood boards, tree stumps and any other type of wood debris. If you must store firewood near the home, stack it off the ground and don't allow it to lean against the building.
- Remove all piles of debris, large rocks/stones, and bricks away from the home. If these are near the home they serve as harborages to attract rodents. They can also serve as a simple step directly to the home should they be next to a wall opening or a loose piece of siding.
- Do not allow leaves to pile up against the home's foundation. This also serves as an attractive harborage for rodents - mice in particular.
- Trim all foliage so there is no direct contact with the home. By allowing plants, trees, vines, etc., to touch your house, you create a sure bridge for all pests to easily invite themselves in.
- All pests need water, so be sure that roof water run-off is being correctly channeled and adequately discharged away from the home. Gutters should be free of debris, water raceways should not leak, and downspout extensions should extend and disharge four-to-six feet (4'-6') away from the structure.
- Check the perimeter soil level of your home and fill in any low spots with new (compacted) dirt. Hollowed out ground serves as a natural pool/pond area for moisture to accumulate, literally, an inviting watering hole for the unwanted to wet their whistle.
- Inspect the outside of the home and fill in as many exterior cracks and holes with caulk or foam. For larger entrance points, use steel wool or wire mesh first. The same approach should be used on the interior where plumbing penetrates the wall into the living areas.
- Install a good thick weather stripping at the bottom of all doors. The garage door may prove difficult to seal completely so the door from the garage to the house must be sealed tightly.
- Ensure the attic and/or crawlspace has sufficient ventilation. Proper ventilation keeps humidity and moisture levels down, creating an environment unsuitable for insects and pests.
- Shuffle stored items regularly and try to stack boxes off of the floor (especially in garages).
- Porch and patio lights attract insects which in turn attract them to food/water sources. So when the kids leave the door open or the Pizza delivery guy is getting paid, they sneak in. To circumvent this problem buy yellow, or non-insect attractive light bulbs, and of course, try to keep the doors closed.
- If you see numerous sightings of the same type of insect or pest, then it's very likely that there's already an existing infestation problem. It's too late, you've lost the war, and now it's time to 'let your fingers do the walking' and call a licensed pest control professional (spoken like a true Home Inspector!).
There are other factors that can help keep unwanted roommates out of your home, but by doing the little things that almost anyone can perform, you've got a great head start in a pest-free home!