Even though we know they exist, bugs and creepy crawlies are not what we want to see in our homes. The reality, however, is that bugs are masters of finding any and every possible entryway into your house—even if you think you have everything sealed off.

So how do we keep bugs out of the house? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Bugs and humans want the same things: shelter from the elements, good food, and fresh, plentiful water. You’re probably not going to stop providing those things for yourself and your family any time soon, and bugs aren’t likely to change their priorities.

You won’t be able to keep every single bug and critter out of your house all the time, but there are plenty of ways you can make your house harder for them to access. Keep reading to learn the ways you’re accidentally inviting bugs to make themselves at home as well as how you and your pest control company can work together to keep your house bug-free!

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Why Are There Bugs In My House?

Cockroach climbing down a bathroom vanity cabinetThe first step to keeping your home pest-free is understanding how critters are getting in to begin with.

Most people already know that leaving out uncovered garbage and food items is the equivalent of delivering an engraved invitation to your home to the local bug population, but there are several other ways you could be unknowingly welcoming pests.

Check out these more subtle ways that you might be rolling out the welcome mat for bugs:

1. You have a hard time throwing things away.

No judgment here! You’re certainly in good company. However, bugs and critters love a good hiding place, and there are several pests that consider paper and certain types of cloth to be the ultimate delicacy.

Take these preventative steps:

  • Try not to let old papers pile up. Develop a filing system; file what’s necessary and shred the rest.
  • Be diligent about culling your wardrobe of unwanted items on a regular basis. If it doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn it in a year, let someone else enjoy it.
  • Store out-of-season clothing and decorations in plastic bins with tightly fitting lids. Cardboard boxes will turn to mush if a pipe leaks or bursts, and pests find them especially tasty.

2. You have a tendency to leave pots and pans soaking in the sink.

Standing water attracts bugs, so be mindful of indoor humidity levels and any places in and around your house that tend to stay damp.  

Take these preventative steps:

  • Wash and dry any dirty dishes left in the kitchen sink at the end of the day. Bonus points if you wipe out the sink and dry off the counters.
  • Watch for leaking pipes in your bathrooms and utility areas. Even small leaks can attract bugs and cause significant damage to your home, so call in a plumber right away.
  • Use dehumidifiers in damp rooms, such as a below-grade basement. If you notice puddled water on the basement floor, however, you’ll need the help of a professional waterproofing contractor.

3. Your landscaping gets a little wild sometimes.

White house with overgrown yardIt doesn’t take much for shrubbery and other plants to get out of hand, especially at the height of the growing season. Unfortunately, trees and bushes that grow too close to your house turn into bug highways very quickly—and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing critters indoors.

Take these preventative steps:

  • Keep your lawn mowed during the warm months of the year and shrubbery and landscaping trimmed several feet away from your house year-round.
  • Contact a lawn drainage expert if water puddles in your yard or near your home’s foundation. Your lawn may need to be regraded to correct its slope.
  • Keep an eye on trees that are near your house. A tree service company should trim any branches or limbs that touch or hang too far over your roof.

4. Your pantry items aren’t always well sealed.

You probably know that fresh food items left out on a counter are especially attractive to bugs, but dry goods in your pantry can be just as delicious.

Take these preventative steps:

  • Seal open packages and bags or store them in plastic containers with tightly fitting lids. Don’t forget to do the same with your pets’ food.
  • Clean up spills promptly. There’s nothing quite like a dusting of granulated sugar or a few stray pieces of kibble to attract bugs and critters.

5. Your neighbors have pest problems.

If none of the above scenarios apply to you and you’re still having issues with bugs in your house, your neighbors may be part of the problem.

Take these preventative steps:

  • Talk to your neighbors to find out if they’re also dealing with a pest invasion. If they haven’t had the issue treated by a pest professional, recommend a few qualified pest and termite companies they can contact.
  • Tell your exterminator that your neighbors are also having pest problems. He or she may have additional treatment or exclusion techniques that can help you avoid infestations, even if your neighbors refuse to have their own house treated.

How Do Pest Control Services Help?

Professional exterminator spraying the perimeter of a patioPest and termite control professionals have a wealth of treatments and exclusion techniques to eliminate pest invasions and prevent unwanted critters from returning. The catch, however, is that these treatments are most effective when you do your part to keep your home from becoming a welcoming spot for bugs.

Beyond staying on top of home maintenance tasks and being mindful of your day-to-day habits, consistent pest control treatment is the next most important part of keeping your home bug-free.

Ask your pest control provider whether they offer a service plan. In most cases, a pest control service plan entails you paying a monthly membership fee for periodic (usually quarterly) visits from an exterminator who provides customized treatments for your home and outside space.

If you spot bugs or critters between scheduled visits, being part of a service plan typically means that the company will return for a complimentary re-treatment.

Remember that preventing a pest invasion is always easier than treating one—and it’s usually a much faster process. Some bugs and critters are persistent, especially if they’ve been hanging out in your house for a while, and your house may require multiple treatments to fully eradicate them.

A pest control service plan will help you stay ahead of any pests that have their eye on making your house their new hiding place.

The Bottom Line

Even though you would never intentionally invite pests into your house, the smallest, most (seemingly) insignificant actions can be the equivalent of opening your doors and windows wide to every bug in your neighborhood.

Do everything you can to make your home inhospitable to pests, and don’t let regular pest control treatments fall to the bottom of your to-do list. A pest control service plan makes your life easier—in many cases, the company will remind you to schedule well ahead of time, so the burden to remember to make appointments won’t be entirely on you.

Because the treatments are consistent, you’re far less likely to experience any type of pest invasion. And on the off-chance that you do see a bug skitter across the floor, re-treatment services are only a phone call away.