Ok, how many of you have kept your New Year’s resolutions? Every year we all resolve (me included) to make our lives better in at least a few categories. Although there is still time in 09 I wonder how many of us have broken some of the most popular. Let’s list them and see.
Remodel the bathroom.
Get out of debt.
Pest proof the house.
Ok, so maybe ‘pest proofing’ your home wasn’t on your list but you got to admit it is at least on a back burner. It may be that a door sweep is loose or there’s that nagging window screen that keeps flopping in the wind but almost every home has a few needed repairs to seal out lurking pests who are just looking for a place like yours to call home. In an earlier article we learned how pests enter our homes. I’d like to expand on that with some things that you may not have thought of.
First let me say that pests see the world in a completely different way than you or I. While some can trace a scent for literally miles others will travel to vibrations, light, dark, heat, color, sound, certain plants and yes sometimes just blind luck will place a bug at your door. If that isn’t amazing enough consider that bugs fly, hop, dig, squeeze, hitch hike, swim, float, crawl on any surface in any direction, chew, run, catapult and even are delivered with mail or packages. Put these facts together and it’s no wonder we find insects in our homes.
See what a bug sees when looking for places to seal;
Daylight; you see it as a harmless bit of light around the front door or under a sink where a pipe leads out. A bug sees it as Interstate 75 and a possible McDonalds off the exit. While it’s true some bugs shy away from the light, it’s all dark when you tuck in bed for the night and they come out to play. To find such areas simply close the curtains during the day and dim as many lights as you can, then simply walk the house looking for light. Check closets, cabinets and any connected sheds or additions. Conversely the same holds true for checking the outside except you do this in the evening with the house lights on. Walk the outside perimeter of the house and take note where the light escapes. Now the fun part, The attic and or crawl space. Both areas offer huge opportunities for pest entry and sealing these areas up could save you from seeing many creepy crawlies for a long time. Still looking for light, enter in and take note. Cable and phone guys are famous for drilling holes for their wires and not sealing them up. Loose nails or siding can offer entry points as well. Day light is usually very easy to see in these areas but not always easy to seal up. In my house I found a spot I could actually look down onto the dining room table very clearly. You may want to go in with caulk gun in hand and some steel wool or hardware cloth (for rodent size holes) so you don’t have to trek the dark abyss a second time.
Sealing out the light means keeping pest entry points to a minimum so you’ll want to do it right and make it last. Caulk is an excellent product to use for the smaller holes or cracks and some kinds are made to be painted over however it gets real hot in the attic so make sure it is heat tolerant. As mentioned steel wool is great to keep the rodents out (scratches up their nose as they try to nuzzle through) but it tends to rust if exposed to moisture and then falls away. Squares of metal or hardware cloth may be better suited for some holes. For doors and windows weather stripping or door sweeps usually suffice. Foam in a can is also very handy and expands to fill most any crack or entry.(messy though) Other entry points such as large garage doors may need more carpentry skills but be sure to make everything tight.
It’s no wonder I guess that pest proofing the house is not on anyone’s list of life enrichment, it can be a bit of work. You can make a huge difference though with just these simple tips. So hopefully you’ll ‘see the light’ but remember to come back and read our next little adventure in part 2.