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Keep pests out of your new place

Follow these tips for a pest-free residence.

Problems with raccoons, bats, bugs and other pests can turn your dream home into a living nightmare. They can cause health problems, endanger your family and just be a major annoyance that deeply affects your quality of life. Here's how to safeguard your home and yard after an address change so your new place doesn't open its doors to any unwanted creatures.

Seal the area around your home

The key to a pest-free home is blocking critters' access from the outside. If you were an animal trying to get inside for food and shelter, how would you enter? According to U.S. News & World Report, it's probably through your home's foundation. Even if your new place was only built a few years ago, the weather and other factors could have caused gaps to form between the ground and your house. Seal up any holes larger than one-fourth of an inch, as mice, snakes and other crafty creatures can slide their way into even the smallest openings. Pay special attention to the areas under decks and balconies, as they're often skipped over and can provide some of the easiest access to your home. The same goes for chimneys and gable vents, which can be difficult for you to access, but easy and convenient for unwanted animals.

Secure your yard

While there's no surefire way to completely prevent animals from accessing your back and front yards, there are ways of making it less comfortable for them. Consider installing a fence after moving, which will help keep out animals who would otherwise roam about. U.S. News & World Report also recommended securing garbage bins to ward off hungry critters and trimming branches that are close to, or touching, your house, as they could be used as a direct route to the inside of your home. Animals and insects could easily climb the tree and make it indoors. 

Practice good housekeeping

Cleaning up spills and regularly taking out the trash are key to a pest-free home, noted the Natural Resources Defense Council. While these tips are important for any standard housekeeping practices, they're especially helpful for keeping animals away. Be sure to secure bags of food with clips and keep produce refrigerated, since these items can attract flies and other insects if kept out on the table. Those with pets in the home should also be extra cautious, as they can carry fleas and ticks with them and possibly infest your home. Try using flea collars and other pet care products that keep them away, and regularly bathe your pet to make sure that he or she is clean and free of any bugs. Since many pests are also attracted to water, it's also important to always use the fan when showering, and allow dishes and pans to dry completely before storing them in your cabinets.

Use pesticides safely

​While many pesticides are effective in preventing and treating infestations, they typically contain hazardous materials and should be treated as such, explained the NRDC. Be sure to follow the instructions closely and wear eye protection, masks and gloves that serve as a barrier between your body and the chemicals. Always use the recommended amount of the substance, and seek help if necessary. When it comes to your safety, it's better to spend the money on a professional who can help than risk doing it incorrectly and endanger you and your family. Keep children and pets away from the chemicals, and don't let them into the room or house until it's safe to do so, per the instructions. Also, as always, dispose of the materials properly so they don't pose a threat to the environment.

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