2021 marks Western Exterminator’s 100th year of providing innovative and effective pest control solutions for homes and businesses. It’s quite the accomplishment, and one that we will be celebrating all year long!
Join our celebration with 100 of our favorite pest tips and facts. Conveniently categorized by pest type for optimal browsing, we’ve highlighted some of the most notorious pests and offered some advice on ways you can reduce pest activity and potential damage they cause in and around your property.
Protect your home from termite damage
1. Store firewood at least 20-feet away from your home and 5 inches off the ground to keep it away from species of termites that live in soil.
2. Keep mulch pulled back away from the foundation of your home. Mulch can serve as a source of food for termites.
3. Instead of using wood mulch for your landscaping, termite-proof it with gravel or rock.
4. Avoid any wood-to-soil contact near your home.
5. Remove excess wood from the yard, including construction materials, fallen trees, and stumps/roots.
6. Make sure you use treated wood for all decks, gazebo, shed projects, etc.
7. Get a professional termite inspection annually. Early detection is key to avoiding costly termite repairs.
8. Inspect wood on your property for signs of termites, such as the appearance of small openings on the surface of the wood.
9. Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termites, including mud tubes, cracked or bubbling paint, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
Mosquito protection for people and pets
10. Eliminate standing water on your property. Mosquitoes only need a tablespoon of water to breed.
11. Remove or tip over water-collecting objects outside: flower pots, birdbaths, equipment, pool covers, etc.
12. Talk to your doctor if you are traveling to countries prone to mosquito-borne diseases.
13. Speak to your veterinarian about heartworm prevention for dogs.
14. Have your yard treated with a preventative application to reduce mosquito populations – eggs, larvae, and adults.
15. Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent when outdoors.
16. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in light colors to prevent mosquito bites.
17. Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Tips to avoid tick bites
18. Have your yard treated with a preventative application to reduce tick activity.
19. After being outside, do a head-to-toe check for ticks. Check clothing and skin.
20. Examine your pets regularly for ticks after being outside.
21. Speak to your veterinarian about proactive tick protection for your pets.
22. When doing yard work, hiking, or spending time in wooded areas, wear long-sleeved shirts, and tuck long pants into socks.
23. When hiking, stay in the center of trails and away from vegetation to avoid ticks.
Stay safe from stinging insects
24. Inspect your home and property for stinging insect nests. Make sure you check eaves and overhangs, ceiling beams in attics, under porches and decks, in and around sheds, garages, and playsets.
25. If you’ve been stung by a bee, use the edge of a credit card to gently scrape the stinger, removing it from the skin.
26. It’s best to remove a stinging insect nest early in the season when their populations are lower.
27. Consider not planting flowering trees, shrubs, or flowers close to the entrances of your home to avoid attracting stinging insects to the area.
28. Use clear plastic cups outside, as cans and bottles are good hiding spots for stinging insects.
29. Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints which may be more attractive to stinging insects.
31. Avoid wearing fragrances that may attract stinging insects, like those in perfumes, colognes, deodorants, and lotions.
32. Carpenter bees prefer bare wood. Coating wood with paint or stain can sometimes help to deter them from boring into it to make a nest.
33. Routinely inspect wood on your property for signs of carpenter bee activity. Look for perfectly round, smooth holes about 3/8 inch in size.
34. Use caution or avoid handling items on your property that could house an Africanized bee nest. This species of bee is extremely aggressive and colonies can grow quite large. If you disturb the colony, see tips 35 and 36.
35. If you’re being pursued by Africanized bees, run in a zigzag pattern and seek shelter in a house or car.
36. Do not jump in the water if chased by Africanized bees. The bees will wait for you to come up for air.
37. Do not swat at yellowjackets. It’s perceived as a threat and increases your chance of being stung.
Avoid bringing bed bugs into your home
39. Thoroughly inspect your hotel room for bed bugs to avoid bringing these expert hitchhikers home with you.
40. When you get home from traveling, inspect your suitcase. Store all clothes in a sealed plastic bag until they can be washed and dried on high heat settings.
41. Examine secondhand furniture before bringing it into your home.
Prevent a rodent infestation
42. Regularly inspect your home for signs of mice, including droppings, gnaw marks, and damaged food goods.
43. Regularly inspect vehicles for signs of rodents. Especially if they’re not being used.
44. Look for greasy rub marks around entry points. This is caused by a rat’s oily fur.
Pest tips for the holiday season
45. Carefully inspect live greenery, such as wreaths and garland, for pests before bringing them indoors.
46. Use plastic bins with tightly sealed lids to store holiday decorations.
47. Give fresh-cut Christmas trees a good shake before setting them up inside. Spiders, ticks, ants, and their eggs, cling to and hide in branches.
48. Inspect boxes of holiday decorations for signs of a rodent infestation like gnaw marks and droppings.
49. Inspect holiday string lights to ensure wiring is fully intact, as rodents are known to gnaw through it, which could become a fire hazard.
Pest control tips for in and around your home
50. Clean behind and under appliances regularly, as these are favorite hiding spots for cockroaches.
51. Pay extra attention to ceilings, wall moldings, and high-hanging picture frames, as these areas are particularly vulnerable to brown-banded cockroach infestations.
52. Use a vacuum to eliminate stink bugs indoors. Seal up vacuum contents in a plastic bag and dispose of it immediately.
53. Don’t keep old books and magazines in areas where silverfish are usually found, such as basements, attics, and garages.
54. Clean up fruit that may fall from trees in the yard to avoid attracting pests.
55. Wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for long periods of time to avoid touching any pests.
56. Check items like boots, baseball mitts, skates, and gloves that are used less often for spiders that may be hiding there.
58. Keep your lawn trimmed. Tall grass provides a safe place for pests to rest, hide, and reproduce.
59. Do not use ant spray in your home – you will only kill the worker ants, while the other 95% remain alive in the nest.
60. Overseed grassy areas for dense ground coverage. Besides having a nicer-looking lawn, it will also deter ground-nesting insects.
61. Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
62. Seal gaps, cracks, and crevices around your home with silicone-based caulk to prevent pests.
63. Trim tree branches and bushes so they are at least 6 inches away from the house. Pests will use trees and bushes to gain access to your roof, windows, and awnings.
64 Cut back tall grasses and remove weeds in your yard to get rid of pest harborages.
65. Wash or dry-clean clothing before storing it away to get rid of moth and beetle eggs.
66. Rinse food containers before placing them in your recycling bin to avoid attracting pests such as ants and cockroaches.
67. Discard paper and cardboard boxes. These can attract termites, silverfish, and other pests that feed on organic material.
68. Install mesh screens on foundation or attic vents to keep pests out.
69. Store pet food in sealed containers to keep unwanted rodents and pests from accessing an easy meal.
70. Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Several pests prefer areas that offer moisture, especially house centipedes.
71. Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows. This is especially important to do before winter.
72. Clean up cluttered storage areas like the garage and basement to eliminate ideal hiding places for pests and rodents.
73. Replace the dryer vent and check the seal between the vent and the wall.
74. Check grout around bathtubs and toilets and seal any openings.
75. Don’t leave pet food or water out overnight.
76. Seal around conduits and piping where it enters the structure.
77. Keep the garage door closed and make sure weather stripping is in good condition.
78. Make sure trash can lids are tightly sealed and dispose of trash regularly.
79. Repair tears and holes in screens on doors and windows.
80. Keep your gutters clean and ensure water is kept away from your home.
81. Make sure door sweeps are installed and in good condition.
82. Vacuum floors, rugs, and upholstery regularly.
83. Clean up crumbs and spills in your kitchen to avoid ants.
84. Store dry food products in air-tight sealed containers.
85. Protect pets from fleas by keeping them on a leash when outside and bathing and grooming them regularly.
86. Clean and vacuum frequently to help remove flea populations and prevent the laying of eggs.
87. Inspect groceries for any signs of pantry pests before putting food away.
88. Ensure food is covered and sealed tightly.
89. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
90. Frequently inspect the inside of cabinets and pantries to ensure they are clean and free of crumbs.
91. If you can slide a piece of paper under a front door, a spider can crawl through!
92. Change outdoor lighting to yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lamps to keep bugs away.
93. Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags, and other packages brought into the home for any hitchhiking pests.
94. Use steel wool to fill larger gaps and holes around your home to deter small pests.
95. Wipe down sticky jars, especially any containing honey, syrup, soda or other sweets.
96. Keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. This will help to avoid fruit flies and other pests.
97. Inspect dried food packages (when possible) for worms, beetles, moths, and other pests before you buy them.
98. Before they come inside, check your pets for fleas. Once fleas are indoors, they can easily spread.
99. During parties and picnics, keep food covered or indoors until it’s ready to serve. Cover it up immediately after serving. Once pests arrive, it’s hard to get rid of them.
100. Apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent for the most effective protection while you’re outside.
Although some of these tips may seem like common sense, if only one tip helps you to detect or prevent a pest problem, then we’ve accomplished our goal of protecting people and enhancing lives.
Thank you for taking the time to look through our list of 100 pest tips and facts. If you need help with a pest issue, contact us online or call us at 888-444-6138, we’re here to help.