Top 5 Most Pervasive Household Pests and How to Stop Them

Apartment Therapy's Home Remedies

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Cockroaches, mice, rats, termites, and ants, oh my! When it comes to the pests that affect daily life in our homes, then lions, tigers, and bears have nothing on these guys. Here are some top tips on how you can keep each of these common pests at bay:

According to the National Pest Control Association, cockroaches, mice, rats, termites, and ants are the top five most pervasive household pests. And the top way to keep all of them out of the house? It's number one in the list below, with four more tips thrown in for good measure:

1. Seal cracks, holes, openings in the exterior of your home. Steel wool is great for this, as is expanding spray foam or caulk. I can attest to the efficacy of this single solution. When I moved into my house, there was already a mouse problem in effect. On careful inspection, we discovered openings in the wall between the garage and the kitchen. We filled them with steel wool, then finished them with caulk and nary a mouse has been spotted since (and this was four years ago). This also helps to keep out smaller pests like termites and ants.

2. Install window screens. While window screens may somewhat obstruct the view and slightly reduce natural light, they also greatly limit the small pests that can enter your home. Fitting your windows with window screens allows you to enjoy fresh air without admitting pests into your home.

3. Take the garbage out frequently. Keeping your home's interior free of garbage that tempts pests, both large and small, to enter is a great preventative measure. Keep a relatively small, covered can in the kitchen and empty it when it is full.

4. Store garbage bins, fire wood, and yard waste away from your home. Sure, it seems handy to have the exterior garbage bin near your house or the wood pile right outside the door. But these things attract termites, rats, or any size of pest between. Keep bins and wood piles at a distance from your home so as not to attract pests.

5. Reduce standing water. Standing water is a potential breeding ground for flies and even attracts mice, as they're always on the lookout for a water source. Eliminating standing water sources in and around your home can only help in keeping the critters away.

(Image credits: Richard Jury/Shutterstock)