How to Clear Your Home of Bugs and Rodents

Your warm and well-provisioned home looks like an excellent destination for cold and hungry pests. No one wants a furry or creepy crawly house guest.  Let’s take a look at some ways to prevent those critters from making their nests in yours.

What Are the Signs of an Infestation?

Thankfully, rodents aren’t very subtle. They like to leave presents (droppings) wherever they go. They’ll also help themselves to a feast if they find one, so you’ll likely find torn-open bags of food, and if your cold-weather guests are of the fur-and-claw variety, you may even notice some teeth marks nearby.

With insects, you’ll typically find the dead bodies of their fallen scouts in large numbers; the more you find, the more likely you are to have an actual infestation. You may also notice more spider webs since they like to camp out in areas with a high concentration of bugs.

What Can Make a Home Attractive to Pests?

Depending on the type of house you have, you might end up as a prime target for new, wall-inhabiting tenants. Pests like termites and carpenter ants are drawn to wood construction, while wasps and ants sniff out food sources with high sugar content. Rodents are less picky, usually seeking food in low, easily accessible areas.

Maintaining clean household surfaces and storing food away from the floor wherever possible can dissuade hungry scouts from further investigating your home.

Where Did They Come from In the First Place?

While pests can be surprisingly intelligent and resourceful, they usually can’t gain access to your home without exploiting a vulnerability. Consider inspecting your house for probable areas of entry, such as cracked foundations, lifted baseboards or areas of separation near pipes or vents. Preventing future entry could be as simple as filling in a few gaps!

I Have a Pest Problem. What Did I Do Wrong?

Once you’ve determined that you have an infestation, it’s time to cut the clutter. A cluttered home gives insects and rodents plenty of places to nest or hide, as well as easy access to the things that drew them to your house in the first place. Cleaning your home provides less incentive for pests to linger or to come in the first place.

How to Get Rid of Pests

If your problem persists after you’ve cut the clutter and put food in safe storage, you may need to take more aggressive action. Hiring a licensed exterminator can eliminate your pest problem. If you’re looking for a more natural way to eliminate unwanted visitors, here are some ideas:

  • Ants: Spices such as chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, dried peppermint or tartar have all been proven to repel ants when placed near their entrance holes. Coffee grounds and lemon juice can also do the trick. Learn more about preventing ants.
  • Wasps: Nonessential oil sprays can dissuade wasps from setting up shop. It’s also imperative that you identify and destroy the nest or fill it with dirt before it gets too big.
  • Mice or rats: Mouse traps and catch-and-release traps can mitigate your existing problem. Sealing the holes and storing food in sealed locations can prevent new mice from entering. Get more tips for keeping mice out of your home.
  • Cockroaches: One of the world’s heartiest pests hates bay leaves. Placing them in areas where roaches are drawn (typically areas with food or standing water) will dissuade them from coming back. Borax has also proven to be effective.
  • Termites: Keeping wooden structures and wood piles away from your home reduces your risk of infestation. Borax, neem tree oil and orange oil are also effective termite repellents. Find out the telltale signs of a termite infestation.

Understand Your Coverage

Generally speaking, damage from pests is not covered by your homeowners insurance. That’s because pest infestations are considered a home maintenance issue, since the damage is gradual – as opposed to a sudden event, like your neighbor’s tree falling on your roof.

An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent can help you understand what your insurance does (and doesn’t) cover. When it comes to your home, there’s no place like it – and it’s yours, so make sure you protect it.

Find a local agent to ask questions or get a customized homeowners insurance quote.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of January 2024 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.


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