Our home pest prevention checklist helps you understand how you can prevent unwanted pests in your home. The best prevention is regular maintenance treatments; but there are additional steps you can take to further help prevent pest activity. Read our full list and download your printable PDF checklist.
Signs of Pest Activity in Your Home
Before we jump into the checklist, it's important to be able to identify pest activity in your home. Most pest activity indoors occurs hidden in wall and floor boards. If you’re seeing any of the following signs of pests activity in your home, you should contact Spidexx right away!
Live or dead pests
Seeing insects or rodents indoors is the surest sign of pest activity. If you’re seeing live pests indoors, you’re likely only seeing a small fraction of the pests inside the home. Insects and rodents rely on their keen ability to remain unseen. If you’re finding an abundance of insects, they’re likely overwintering within your home.
Seeing even one mouse could indicate an infestation. If you’ve been self-treating, you may find evidence of dead insects or rodents. Keep in mind, seeing them dead doesn’t mean all the insects or rodents, in your home, are dead. It’s important to utilize a pest professional who is trained in identifying and resolving pest problems.
Fecal matter droppings
Surely, one of the grossest signs of pest activity in or around your home is finding evidence of fecal matter. This can look different, depending on the type of pest. Mice leave small “droppings”, that are brown and the size of a grain of rice. They are often found in cabinets, basements, and garages.
Another example is bed bugs, which leave signs of fecal matter in mattress seams, furniture, and baseboards. Roaches also leave droppings on baseboards, cabinets, and floors.
Cockroaches lay eggs in casings that can be easily found in tucked away areas. The color of the casing can vary depending on species, but are often a light to dark brown, sometimes with a reddish tint. They vary in size. For example, German cockroach casings can contain around 50 eggs, light-brown, and are 7 mm long and 2 mm wide.
Signs of nesting
When pests move indoors, they create their own homes or “nests”. They are often built in areas of your home you are least likely to find. Insects and rodents want to avoid you, just as much as you want to avoid them!
Common signs of insect nesting include:
- Webs (spiders)
- Honeycomb nests (wasps/bees)
- Audible sounds (yellowjacket wasp)
- Holes / tunnels in wood (carpenter ants)
- Raised dirt mounds (ants)
- Wood shavings (carpenter ants)
Common signs of rodent nesting include:
- Shredded paper, clothing, or other supplies
- Greasy surfaces
- Chewed food
Strange sounds or odors
Both insects and rodents can produce strange sounds and odors. Mice nests have a foul smell that can take over the home, if the infestation is severe. Insects can also produce foul odors. Both bed bugs and roaches produce a musty smell in severe infestations.
Mice often make “scratching sounds” in the walls. Because mice are nocturnal, those sounds aren’t often heard until the infestation has become severe. Additionally, a large yellow-jacket nest can be heard buzzing inside of walls, if you press your ear against the wall where its located.
Exterior Home Pest Prevention
The first step to preventing pest activity starts outside. Insects mostly enter the home in the fall and winter, but it's important to keep your home free of potential entry points all year round.
Clean up leaves and twigs
If you have a lot of trees, the leaves and twigs can attract pests to your yard. These leaves are great places for insects to overwinter. It’s important to continuously ensure leaves and twigs are removed from around your home.
Trim & maintain landscaping
Spring and fall are the best times to trim and maintain your landscape areas. It’s important to keep your landscaping free of weeds and overgrown plants. They are safe spaces for insects and rodents to hide.
Additionally, if your property has heavy tree foliage, you will want to make sure no branches are hanging over your roof or eaves. Not only will your yard look better, but you’ll have less spaces that encourage insect nesting around your home.
Inspect eaves, gutters, and roof
Spidexx specializes in providing ground-level exclusion services, but many pest entry points occur above the ground level. It is important that you inspect and maintain your eaves, gutters, and roof. Gutters should be cleaned at least two times a year, more if you have trees above your home.
Replace broken window screens
Another great thing to inspect every season is your window and door screens. Seasonal storms can damage them. Broken screens are easy entry points for insects. Depending on your window, you may be able to repair the screen yourself, or hire a licensed contractor for the job.
Install wire-mesh vent covers
Installing wire-mesh vent covers is a great investment for your home. The covers only need to be replaced if damaged and will eliminate a possible entry point into your home. This can also help prevent wasps from building nests into your exhaust fans and coming indoors.
Paint and seal wood decks
It is important to paint or seal your deck at least every three years to prevent unwanted pest activity. The average age of a wood deck is between 15-40 years, depending on the level of maintenance it received over that time. Wood decks can attract pests such as paper wasps and carpenter ants. They both use the wood for their nests.
Paper wasps chew wood to build the honeycomb nests that often hang in the eaves. Carpenter ants will chew tunnels for transportation in wood decks, which can be used for the ants to travel for foraging, building, and hunting.
Eliminate standing water
One of the biggest ways to attract pests to your home is by providing a water source. Many water-loving pests like mosquitos, spiders, ants, and silverfish can be found in areas with standing water. If you have a pool, keep it covered when unused. Be aware of any low points in your yard where water pools, and level out the area.
Inspect and replace weather stripping
Weather stripping can be found around doors and windows, including the garage door. You should inspect your weatherstripping for signs of damage. Weather stripping should be replaced about every 3 years.
Interior Home Pest Prevention
There are many ways you can prevent pest activity indoors. These steps are best performed alongside recurring pest maintenance treatments.
Inspect for leaking water
Check all interior water sources regularly for leaks. Leaking water can attract water-loving pests like ants, spiders, silverfish, and mosquitos.
Clean and use chimney
If you have a fireplace, you should have it cleaned professionally annually. This will not only keep you safe from soot build-up but can remove any pest nesting. If you suspect you have insects or rodents in your chimney, you will need to light a fire and smoke it out. It is unlawful to apply pesticides inside of chimneys.
Replace cardboard storage boxes with plastic
We all have them… boxes we store out-of-sight, in the basement or garage. The safest way to store these belongings is in sealed plastic storage tubs. This will help prevent insects and rodents from damaging your belongings.
Turn off humidifier in the summer
If you run a humidifier indoors, make sure that as soon as temperatures outdoors warm up, you turn it off. Spring and summer already bring higher moisture levels and running a humidifier will only attract pest issues.
Use dehumidifier in the basement
Additionally, you may need to run a dehumidifier in your basement to reduce overall humidity levels. Not only will this prevent unwanted pest activity, but it will help reduce potential for moisture damage, including mold.
Clean HVAC ducts every 3-5 years
Pesticides cannot be applied to HVAC duct systems, so if you have a pest issue you will need to hire a professional HVAC technician to clean your ducts. It is recommended that you clean your ducts every 3-5 years, especially if you smoke or have pets.
Store dry food in plastic containers
Insects and rodents are always on the hunt for food. If you are finding signs of pests in your food, dispose of it immediately. To prevent nesting in food sources, store all dry foods in plastic, food-grade containers.
Deep clean your home
The last step in preventing pest activity in your home is regularly deep cleaning your home. Every home is different, so the amount you have to clean will depend on your needs and preferences. We recommend you deep clean your entire home at least once per year.
Enjoy Our Home Pest Prevention Checklist
No matter what time of year, you can take steps to prevent pests in your spaces. We hope you enjoy our home pest prevention checklist. Call our customer experience team at (844) 922-7732 to create a customized treatment plan for your home.