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How to Keep Insects Out of Your House

A person’s home is supposed to be their castle, but when nasty bugs start working their way inside it’s like having invaders at the gates. More than just unsightly and alarming (honestly, is there anything worse than leaning in to inspect a spot of dirt only for it to suddenly skitter away on a hundred teeny tiny legs?), even the smallest infestation can be a real problem.

While some insects are harmless, others can damage your home and belongings, cause painful bites and rashes, and even spread disease. Fortunately, you’re not unarmed. Keep creepy crawlers out of your castle with these time-tested tactics.

Know Your Enemy

Do you know the difference between a cockroach and a house centipede? Or what time of year should you watch out for stinkbugs? Or what part of the country ticks are most common? Probably not, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be a bug expert. But keep your eyes open for telltale signs of infestation, like anthills, gnaw marks on food packaging, trails of grease along walls, or visible holes in wood (a telltale sign of termites). If you see insects in or around your home, take a minute to look them up online. A quick Google search of their basic appearance should help you get an idea if you’re dealing with a problematic pest.

Protect Yourself

The best offense is a good defense. Cliché but true. First and foremost, eliminate as many points of entry as you can. Seal up gaps in the walls with caulk. If you don’t have screens for your windows, get some. If you do, check regularly for tears. Second, keep your household hygienic. Insects are attracted to unprotected food and water sources, so keep your leftovers in sealed containers and do your best to clean up crumbs and spills. Instead of many smaller wastebaskets get one or two larger cans with lids, and empty them nightly. Finally, remember: less clutter means fewer places for bugs to hide.

Go to War

Whenever you see an insect indoors, don’t hesitate to smoosh on sight. If more pop up in the same areas, pull the furniture away from the walls and investigate. Trace the perimeter of the floor with a residual spray that will continue killing bugs after initial application. Sticky traps and chemical bait are great for luring and catching sneakier pests. And if you really want to be sure, total release foggers (AKA “bug bombs”) can fumigate entire sections of your house relatively easily. Just be sure to follow proper safety precautions. Ultimately, if the infestation is serious, don’t be afraid to bring in the big guns. A good exterminator can rout even the most persistent creepy crawlers.

Stay Vigilant

The battle is over, but not the war. There’s a reason people compare things to cockroaches whenever they keep… coming… back. Once you’ve finished following the steps above, take a breather and give yourself a pat on the back. Then start back at the top and do it all over again. Never assume your home is safe, regardless of where you live or what time of year it is. Bedbugs, for instance, are known to be attracted to hot, humid climates. Yet they turn up just as often in Midwestern states like Ohio as in Southern ones like Florida. Just because you’re sitting on a prime piece of Dayton real estate doesn’t mean you’re not sitting on a pest problem, too.