Rodents, insects and other nuisance animals do not find human habitations by happenstance; it is the food, water and shelter that people provide that attracts these pests. If you remove these resources from your home and yard, you can convince many pests to seek out greener pastures. Depending on the pest species in question, you may be able to reduce the number of pests plaguing your home with a few simple steps.
1) Leaving Garbage Cans Unsecured - Garbage cans contain a bounty of foods for rodents and bugs, as well as larger pests, such as raccoons. In extreme cases, spilled garbage can even attract dogs, cats, coyotes and bears. You can purchase a critter-proof lid from commercial sources or you can use several strong bungee cords to keep the lid on tight.
2) Leaving Debris around the Yard - Debris—including everything from old flowerpots to children's toys—provides hiding places for insects and spiders. Because most pest species eschew wide-open spaces in favor of dark, damp locations, homeowners should keep their yards as clutter-free as possible.
3) Stacking Wood on the Ground - When placed on the ground, stacked firewood produces a cool, moist microhabitat in which rodents, roaches and termites can thrive. Avoid this problem by elevating the woodpile, which will allow air to pass under the wood, effectively drying the microhabitat.
4) Installing Plants Next to Walls - While your home may look more beautiful with ivy or rose bushes climbing up the walls, these plants provide a number of places for insects to hide. Install plants at least 3 feet from your home's foundation.
5) Allowing Wood to Contact Dirt - Bare wood in contact with the soil is sure to become a termite highway. Always make sure that a plastic or concrete barrier lies between wooden boards and the soil.
6) Leaving Birdseed on the Ground - While a healthy population of songbirds can help you reduce the local bug population, the seed that spills onto the ground often attract rats. Avoid this problem by using a catch tray to collect spilled seed before it hits the ground.
7) Allowing Objects to Collect Water - Mosquitoes seek out standing water when it is time to lay their eggs. Accordingly, clogged gutters, old flowerpots, children's toys and wheelbarrows often fill with water and become mosquito nurseries. Store items upside down to prevent them from filling with water and have your gutters maintained regularly.
8) Allowing Branches to Grow over the Roof - Branches that hang over your home may provide rodents and insects with access to your roof. Have an arborist trim your trees every other year, each time ensuring that branches do not come within 10 feet of your roof.
If you continue to have pest problems, be sure to contact a company like Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management Services for assistance.