This article was crafted with the help of Breda Pest Management.

According to Rodger Breda of Breda Pest Management in Atlanta, bugs are just like people: they have three basic needs. “To survive, you need food, water, and shelter. The same goes for bugs,” explains Rodger. Typically, the most popular places for unwanted pest guests are the kitchen and the bathroom, but be wary of any room in which you might accidentally be rolling out the welcome mat. “If you’re sitting in bed eating cookies and milk and you’re dropping crumbs, you’re inviting ants into your bedroom,” warns Rodger. But even if you keep a clean house, you may still be unknowingly encouraging insect infestation. Here are seven common mistakes homeowners make in their war against infestation.

#1: Not fixing water leaks. “You want your house, your foundation, and the area around your windows to be dry. Moisture problems attract bugs, especially termites,” warns Rodger. And it’s not only termites that benefit from your excess water; mosquitoes require less than one inch of standing water to reproduce, and rarely fly more than a few hundred feet from where their eggs hatch.

#2: Allowing mulch and pine straw to abut the house. Pine straw is a savior to homeowners in drought-stricken areas like Georgia who need help keeping water in their soil. However, the dampness creates an ideal habitat around the outside of your home for insects to breed. Simply pulling mulch and pine straw two inches away from the outside of the home can help keep bugs at bay. For added protection, treat the exposed dirt around the perimeter with your pest control agent of choice.

#3: Clutter against the outside of the house. Stacks of firewood, blocks, brick, and other outside debris draw spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and other bugs; and stucco that goes all the way to the ground creates a path for termites. Keeping a clean, clutter-free yard with regularly cut grass and well-maintained bushes will stack the odds in your favor in the war against pest invasion.

#4: Ignoring window and door upkeep. Simple things like caulking around windows and doors and installing screens in window frames will create a barrier against bugs.

#5: Leaving outside lights on more than necessary. In addition to lowering energy bills, turning off outside lights switches off a beacon that could be drawing pests right to your door. “You know how moths like to hang out near bright lights, and spiders build their webs on your porch? The glow from your light fixtures is attracting more than just spiders and moths; they choose the porch for their hunting ground because so many different types of pests are lured by your lights,” Rodger explained. Of course, if your outside lighting is near an entry point to your home, it increases the chance that bugs will stroll inside, seeking food, shelter, or water. “Inside lights can also attract bugs, especially lamps in front of windows—another potential entry point. Close your curtains at night to block some of the light,” recommends Rodger.

#6: Not closing food containers. Cat food and dog food bags are a common culprit here. Try moving pet food from bags to closed storage containers with secure lids. Also, wipe up crumbs and spills as best you can, and don’t leave food plates with food on them out overnight. “The sponge in your sink can also harbor bits of food or hold water long after it’s been used. Those are two ingredients for pest invasion right there—food and moisture,” explains Rodger.

#7: Open garbage. Purchase garbage cans with lids on them, and, of course, don’t forget to close them. That lid is doing you no favors if it’s sitting on the floor.

If, despite your best efforts, you still find yourself besieged with bugs, try not to take it personally. “Just because you have ants or roaches, it does not mean that you’ve failed as a housekeeper,” says Rodger. “You could be clean as a pin and still get pests. It just means that they’ve found a way in somehow, have reproduced, and now you’ve got to do something about it.”

This article was crafted with the help of Breda Pest Management, an Atlanta expert in Pest & Termite Control. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.

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