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While in some cases you can’t avoid calling an exterminator, sometimes you are perfectly capable of handling the problem on your own, especially if it’s contained and hasn’t escalated yet. If you’re looking for ways to control pests and unwanted bugs and keep them away from your home for good, here are some of the ways you can do that without calling an exterminator right away.

Since they’re not the most obvious solutions you’ll think of on your own, you may not even be aware that you’re overlooking them or not executing them correctly, which is causing your pest problem to escalate or re-occur.

1. Stick to good garbage disposal practices

How you handle your garbage plays a significant role in keeping your home bug-free. It’s no secret that many bug and pest infestations are caused by improperly controlling your garbage, as it has a huge potential to attract unwanted pests. Pests are attracted to the dumpsters outside your building, the garbage bins in your driveway or garage as well as your indoor bins, such as the one in your kitchen. In order to keep pests out of your garbage, you need to control these areas properly, by keeping them clean, throwing out any household garbage regularly and washing the bins at least once or twice a month.

2. Store food properly and limit where you eat

Avoid leaving leftovers in the kitchen, bedroom and any other room in the home. Always store away open food in food containers, making sure they’re closed and sealed properly so that bugs can’t get into them. Store these items in the pantry or the fridge, making sure you don’t leave them out on the counter to spoil and attract unwanted pests. Wipe down all containers, glass jars and bottles from residue, after each use. Peanut butter, honey, oil and other similar residues can be particularly attractive to bugs, so make sure the containers and the lids are clean and closed properly before you store them in your pantry.

Watch out for fruits and vegetables that are close to spoiling and use or throw them out once they’re past their prime so they can’t attract any ants, fruit flies and so on. Limit where you eat as well, and try not to expose any other rooms aside from the kitchen and dining room area to crumbs and food residue.

3. Take care of your outside areas

In order to avoid inviting pests inside your home, you need to keep your outdoor area clean and well-maintained. This includes mowing the lawn regularly, taking care of leaves and other debris, pruning the shrubs, bushes and trees regularly and trimming them back to reduce infestation.

To further limit bugs from entering your home, you should avoid storing firewood inside the home, including the garage or even next to your front door. Store wood away from your home’s entry points in a dry and well-aerated space so it can dry faster, which will make it less appealing to bugs.

Another important step in securing your home from pests is repairing or replacing any broken or torn screens on doors and windows. Additionally, you need to patch any holes and gaps in your attic and garage, as well as any unsealed gaps around pipes and electrical line openings. Use expanding foam or caulk to close these gaps and prevent bugs and other pests from entering your home.

4. Provide other sources of food

There’s always a kinder and more humane way to deter pests away from your home that doesn’t include traps and pesticides. One of those simple and effective ways is to provide alternative food options for them outside your home, so they don’t have to look for it elsewhere. This will prevent them from entering your home in search of food sources as they’ll be able to find what they’re looking for outside. While this isn’t the most effective way to keep pests out, it is a great way to deter pests and bugs away from your plants and draw them out from your home as well.

5. Reduce moisture and humidity levels in your home

Believe it or not, some pests are actually more attracted to moisture than food. Such pests include cockroaches, silverfish and other creepy crawlies. These pests are attracted to damp areas, which is why it’s important to reduce any moisture problems you have in your home in order to make it less inviting to them. You can achieve this by installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom, checking your plumbing and fixing any leaks you may find, as well as allowing good air circulation throughout the rooms. Remember than any space or area in your home that retains moisture is a perfect breeding ground for cockroaches, so keeping moisture and humidity levels down is a great way to make your home less appealing to them. Moisture issues can also lead to termite infestations and other common pest problems, which will require pest control services to intervene so that these household pests can't cause substantial damage to your home's structure.

6. Keep your pets safe from fleas and ticks

Protecting your pets from fleas and ticks not only keeps them safe, but it also keeps your home flea and tick-free. Flea and tick prevention treatments will help you avoid dealing with these critters in the first place, but it will not always stop them from finding their way to your pets and with them - your home. To make sure you and your furry friends are safe, you need to check your pets regularly, wash their bedding and toys and make sure you keep your yard maintained properly to avoid tick infestations.

7. Accept the fact that you can’t keep your home 100% bug-proof

No one can promise to get your home 100% free of bugs, not even professional pest control companies. The truth is that no matter where and how your home is built, you’re likely sharing it with some insects. No matter how clean you keep it, some insects such as bedbugs and fleas can always find their way in your home. They can enter through luggage, clothes and shoes, which is why it’s sometimes impossible to keep them out. The sooner you come to terms with this fact, the less stress and frustration you’ll feel when you notice you have a pest problem on your hands.