10 Ways to Bug-Proof Your Home

You Can't Keep Out All the Bugs But You Can Make it Harder for Them to Get In

Flyswatter (fly-flap), dead flies

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Let's be honest: It' pretty much impossible to bug-proof your home completely. Like it or not, some insects are going to find their way inside. Although an occasional ladybug or stinkbug is inevitable, you don't have to make it easy for them to breach the perimeter. You especially want to avoid biting insects, but don't have to worry as much about the ones that don't bite, like clover mites. When bug-proofing your home, the goals is to keep out as many bugs as possible and to make your house inhospitable to the few that do find their way in. You're going to need to do two basic things: prevent insects and spiders from getting inside in the first place and eliminating existing habitats in your house. By investing a little time and money into some simple maintenance and housekeeping tasks, you can greatly reduce your chances of a serious pest infestation.

01
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Install and Maintain Screens on Doors and Windows

Cicada
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Use fine-mesh screening to prevent all but the tiniest insects from entering your home. If you don't have screen doors, install them. Inspect all window screens regularly for tears and holes and promptly repair or replace any damaged ones.

02
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Seal Around All Doors

Man screwing brush seal to edge of door

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If air or light is getting in around your outside doors, bugs can get in too. Install tight-fitting thresholds and door sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors and use door seals to fill in gaps around the sides and top of each door as well.

03
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Seal Cracks in Foundation, Walls, and Vents

Foundation crack
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Any crack in an exterior wall of your home is like a welcome sign to insects. Grab a tube of caulk and inspect your home from top to bottom. Seal any cracks you find. Insects can also get in through tiny gaps around your dryer vent, gas line, or even a cable wire. Seal these areas from the inside using a spray foam product or caulk, as appropriate.

04
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Take Out Garbage Often and Rinse Recyclables

Dutch woman throwing plastic garbage in thrash bin
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If you can smell it (even a little), it's going to attract bugs. Even if you can't smell it, bugs can. Insects are much more sensitive to odors than humans. One of the best ways to keep pests out of your home is to empty the garbage often. Line your cans with plastic garbage bags and make sure to tie them tightly before you take them outside for pickup.

Don't forget the recycling bin; it's a smorgasbord for bugs. Soda cans, beer bottles, and pet food cans all attract insects if they aren't rinsed out thoroughly. Rinse each item before dropping it in the can.

05
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Install Critter-Proof Mesh on Vents in Attics and Crawl Spaces

Louvered heating and cooling vent for indoor climate control

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Raccoons, squirrels, mice, and even birds may make themselves at home in crawl spaces and attics if you don't install barriers, such as mesh, to keep them out. These animals may carry mites, fleas, or other pests that can infest your home.

06
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Eliminate Moisture by Fixing Leaks

Leaking Pipe
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Most insects require a certain amount of humidity to survive. Any source of moisture can attract them, even condensation on pipes. Fix any plumbing leaks, however minor, promptly. If your basement or crawlspace takes on water during heavy rains, you're asking for insect problems. Install an effective drainage system and run dehumidifiers as needed.

07
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Keep a Tidy House

Retro armchair in bright interior
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Where there are food and water sources, bugs will happily make themselves at home. Do all you can to keep your kitchen clean. Wipe up crumbs, sweep or vacuum the floor, and clean up spills right away. Don't leave dishes in the sink overnight. Clean out the toaster and microwave regularly. Scrub down your stovetop every day. Throw away food scraps and packaging. Store cereals, grains, rice, and other pantry items in airtight containers. Keep opened food containers in the refrigerator.

Insects also need places to hide, making a cluttered home is a bug's paradise. Recycle unneeded boxes and newspapers promptly. Keep laundry in clothes hampers, clear the floor clear of belongings, and put things away as soon as you're finished using them.

08
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Clean Up After Your Pets

Closeup side profile of calico cat face looking at mess on carpet inside indoor house, home with hairball vomit stain and woman owner cleaning
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Some bugs like pet food, and others like pet waste. Clean your pets' food dishes regularly, and don't leave extra pet food accessible. Store dry food in airtight containers. Scoop and clean your cat's litter box daily. Wash your pet's bed or favorite blanket regularly.

09
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Scrub Your Trash Bins

Woman Standing In Kitchen Emptying Waste Bin
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Even with your garbage in plastic bags, there's bound to be a spill or torn bag now and then. Scrub all of your trash bins to eliminate smells and sticky substances that may attract insects. Several times each year, use a solution of bleach to clean your outdoor cans thoroughly, especially if you keep them close to your house.

10
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Keep Your Yard Tidy

Idyllic Home With Covered Porch
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Mulch, leaf litter, and garden debris can all harbor insects. Keep mulch away from your home's foundation, and clean up any accumulated organic matter. Mow your lawn regularly and keep it short close your house. Remove annual plants at the end of the growing season and trim back perennials as appropriate in the fall.

When trees and shrubs come in contact with your home, they function as highways for insects on the move. Keep tree branches pruned so they don't rest on your roof. Prune shrubs away from windows and doors.