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Your 101 guide to pest control

Posted by AMH Team

5m read time

May 28, 2024

Does the idea of a pest invading your home cause you to shudder? You’re certainly not alone—these unwanted guests can wreak havoc, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. The good news is you can fight back against pests. By implementing preventative measures, you can keep pests away in the first place. Here are ten pest control DIY tips:


Clean up the kitchen


Kitchens and pantries can be hotspots for pests (and bacteria) because a lot of food goes in and out of them. Depending on the material of your kitchen countertop, you may need to adjust how to clean it slightly.  


Avoid leaving dirty dishes in and around the sink. Piling wet dishes in areas with standing water could lead to some unwelcome surprises the following day.


Need more tips to keep your kitchen sparkling? Our favorite kitchen cleaning hacks will limit the chances pests find their way indoors. Building a habit, gamifying your work, and easy homemade solutions will improve your cleaning game. 


Don’t leave food around the house, either


Have you brought food to your couch while watching TV and left the dirty plate or bowl on the end table (or even on the couch itself) because you didn’t want to return to the kitchen? It happens to the best of us, though it increases the chances of a pest entering the house.


Clean your plates or load and run the dishwasher before heading to bed. It takes a few extra minutes, but it’ll save you stress in the long run. Plus, it’s a nice way to unwind without looking at a screen.


If the idea of cleaning sounds overwhelming, we’ve got ways to clean your home more efficiently. It doesn’t need to be a chore—dare we say, it can even be enjoyable!


Do a deep clean


Now that you’re a cleaning expert, use that knowledge to do a deep clean.


Wipe down surfaces, mop hard floors, and vacuum carpets around the whole house. You might discover a hidden source of crumbs or standing water.


Other things to do during a deep cleaning include taking out the trash and bleaching your garbage can—especially if it’s starting to smell—and ensuring all food in the kitchen and pantry is stored in secure containers. Ants and other pests have odor receptors that can sniff out any food in the open.   


A deep cleaning is an excellent addition to a home maintenance checklist, and it delivers long-term benefits, including keeping unwanted pests away.  


Regularly replace common household items


You should replace some things in your house regularly. Doing so can help minimize the likelihood of pests entering your home.


Sponges, toilet brushes, shower liners, and bath mats all build up with bacteria over time. While you can and should clean them regularly, after a few months or years—or weeks, in the case of sponges—they’ll need to be replaced.


Not only will you reduce opportunities for pests, but you’ll also enjoy the freshness the new items provide.


Use a dehumidifier


Removing food sources is one of the best ways to prevent pests. If you’re specifically wondering how to prevent cockroaches, you’ll also want to limit sources of humidity. Cockroaches love damp, humid areas, which can serve as a hangout spot and breeding ground.


A dehumidifier helps keep away cockroaches, millipedes, and other pests that crave these settings. It also provides other benefits, like improving air quality, minimizing mildew growth, and avoiding warping and damaging walls and electronics. 


Check underneath containers and patio furniture


Moving a plant elsewhere in the yard or inside the house? Take a peek at the bottom of the planter. It could be crawling with ants or other critters.


This same idea applies to patio furniture, especially if you’ve recently had a heavy rainstorm. Standing water is another place where pests like to congregate, so removing those sources will curb the damage pests can do.


Add pest-repelling plants


Some pests, particularly mosquitoes, don’t enjoy unpleasant smells. Luckily, their sense of smell differs from ours, so you can use certain plants to repel bugs


Crush ageratum and catnip leaves to create an unwelcome scent for mosquitos and other pests. Additionally, positioning basil, rosemary, alliums, and chrysanthemums beside doorways can limit bugs from gathering nearby.


Consider natural pest control


Pesticides are often people’s first consideration when dealing with unwanted intruders, but there are natural options you can try, too.


Diatomaceous earth is the best of those solutions. It’s a completely naturally occurring sedimentary rock that’s crushed into a powder you can sprinkle around areas with infestations (or where you’ve seen pests before).


This product is especially helpful for dealing with ants, and you don’t need to use much for it to be effective. One bag could very well last your entire life! 


Don’t overuse or misuse pesticides


If you use pesticides around your home, take proper care in using and disposing of them. It’s easy to go overboard and use more than you need or use outdoor chemicals inside. Always look at pesticide instructions before using them, and make sure the label says if the chemicals can be used indoors. Keep kids and pets away from areas where you’ve applied pesticides.  


When you’re done, dispose of leftovers properly, such as through hazardous waste collections. Never move pesticides into different containers. If the pesticide needs to be mixed with water, use precise measurements in a cup or container you can throw away afterward. It might still contain pesticide remnants even after a thorough wash.


Looking for more homecare and maintenance tips?


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