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Pests and Cleanliness: discover the facts, half-truths, and outright lies

The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.

If I keep my house clean, why do I still have pests?

Have you ever found yourself dealing with a pest problem and asked yourself this question? If I am seeing pests in my home, it must be a sign of poor sanitation, right? Actually in most cases this isn’t true at all. But if my house is clean why would they choose my home and what can I do to help with this?

Photo credit: Donnie Ray Jones

In most cases, insects come into your home by chance. Most every home has tiny openings and cracks where pests such as ants, earwigs, and spiders can enter. Once inside, they may find that your home is a great place to live and feed. Even the cleanest people are going to miss some particles of food and in most homes, water (an essential part of any living creature’s diet) is readily available in the kitchen, bathrooms, and even the laundry room. Even if there is “no food,” did you know that some pests can feed on glue, hair, or even the oil from fingerprints?

So what can you can do to help prevent this from happening? First start by thoroughly inspecting your home. Remember to think like an insect. Start by walking the outside perimeter of your house. Look around windows to make sure they are completely sealed. Pay particular attention to where wires and pipes run into your home. Make sure you seal any holes or cracks that you find. If your home has a crawl space, make sure that the vents are secured and in good shape and the screen is in place and not torn or ripped. Take a look at doorway entrances and make sure that the weather-stripping is intact and in good condition. Pay particular attention to garage doors; these are notorious for not sealing properly. If you find major holes, you may need to hire a contractor to repair these issues.

Next, inspect the interior. Check under sinks where plumbing pipes come into the home. Pests, including mice, can sometimes gain entry into your home very easily through these. You may want to put steel wool in the holes where the pipes come into the house and caulk around it to thoroughly seal these areas. Inspect kitchen and bathroom counters to make sure that caulking around seams and cracks is in good shape. If not, you may want to repair caulking in these areas. Check all entry doors including the garage door from the inside to make sure that you can’t see light coming through these. If you can see light, these will need new weather-stripping.

These measures will not guarantee that you will not still encounter pests in your home on occasion. However, they will certainly help to prevent them from getting in. And remember, if all else fails, call us. It would be our pleasure to help you with your pest issues.

If the information and tips provided helped, share with us in the comment section below. For more expert pest control tips, check out our guide.

Do you have a question about bugs or pest control? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know on our Facebook page, in the comment section below, or by tweeting @insightpest. You may see the Bug Doctor’s answer to your question in a future post.

Posted in: Ask the Bug Doctor

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