Banish the bugs: designing and maintaining a pest-free home

Bringing exterminators into the home is something nobody wants to have to do. It is incredibly disruptive, the smell always lingers and it can create hazards for children and pets. The good news is that most pest infestations can be prevented in the first place by good home design and maintenance. If you want to design a home where it is harder for them to get established, this article will help.

Common household pests

The most common household pests in the UK are the following:

  • Mice and rats – they can carry disease, they may chew through your food packaging and they can damage electrical cables, causing a fire risk.

  • Cockroaches – they can infest and destroy food and they often carry diseases.

  • Moths – their larvae will eat anything made of organic fibres, including clothes, carpets, rugs and curtains.

  • Flies – they can spread disease and sometimes breed in great numbers, literally swarming through your home.

  • Bed bugs – they bite, causing painful wounds, and sometimes spread disease.

  • Wasps – they sting and are often aggressive.

Designing a less pest-friendly home

In order for these creatures to infest your home, they first need to find a way in. The edges of doors and windows are a common entrance point, so make sure these are regularly checked and sealed and add steel thresholds underneath doors to the outside. Use mesh screens when you want to have doors or windows open in summer.

Check your walls and skirting boards for cracks or holes and fill these in as soon as you discover them. Make sure you don’t have missing slates or other damage to your roof that can provide easy access from above. Lofts and attics are popular spots for wasps, but their nests take time to build and if you catch them early they are easy to destroy.

Polished wooden floors and linoleum are far less attractive to pests than carpets. If you do have carpets or rugs, vacuum them twice a week. You should also be careful to vacuum underneath radiators and under the fridge as pests like to breed in warm places.

Pests often enter the house through pipes, and many are attracted to water. Make sure everything in your bathroom is properly sealed, and frequently check the taps and plugholes there and in the kitchen. Always keep your kitchen clean and make sure a lid is always on the bin.

Pets and pests

Often pests travel into the home on pets so, if you have animals that go outdoors, it is important to keep them properly groomed. Deflea your dog with an oral flea treatment if you see the dog scratching a lot, and make sure you wash bedding at least once a week. If pets appear to be neglecting their usual grooming, consult a vet.

Keeping your home pest-free requires constant maintenance, but this is far less trouble than dealing with an infestation once it has become established. Good design makes everything easier.

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