Avoid These 21 Common Household Habits That Attract Pests

Written By Babatunde Sanni

You definitely don’t want pests to be a nuisance in your home. But, sadly, there are many things you do every day that invite them in. We’ve compiled 21 of the most common habits you need to drop to make your home pest-free and more comfortable.

Leaving Food Out in the Open

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When you fail to cover up leftovers, you attract pests like ants, cockroaches, and rodents. Even small crumbs and spills on counters or on the floor can leave your kitchen infested with these unwanted creatures. And, hence, it’s important to always store food in airtight places and clean up while and immediately after eating.

Storing Firewood Indoors

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With firewood stored indoors, you don’t just attract pests like termites and ants; according to Purdue University, you may also be hitchhiking them into your home yourself. Unlike harmless centipedes and ground beetles, termites could cause severe structural damage to your home, and simply keeping firewood outdoors saves you from this.

Overwatering Indoor Plants

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The Tampa Bay Times shares with us that “larvae and adult fungus gnats are attracted to moist soil. The presence of these flies usually indicates that the plants have been overwatered.” Simply put, overwatering attracts flies into your home as it gives them a great place to breed. Water plants only when needed to reduce the chances of this happening.

Not Sealing Trash Properly

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Improperly sealed trash bins are a magnet for pests. Flies, rodents, and raccoons can easily find their way into loosely covered bins, creating a mess. Ensure your trash is always sealed tightly with a lid, and also take it out regularly. You should consider using trash bags with odor control to further deter pests from having an interest in your waste.

Ignoring Leaky Pipes and Faucets

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Leaky pipes and faucets provide a constant water source for pests such as cockroaches and silverfish, as they thrive in damp environments. Fix any leaks promptly to cut off their water supply and reduce humidity levels, and also use dehumidifiers in particularly damp areas of your home to make it less appealing to them.

Skipping Regular Cleaning

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Regular cleaning is essential for deterring pests as well. Dust, crumbs, and spills should be addressed frequently to prevent them from becoming a food source. While vacuuming and mopping floors, pay special attention to less obvious places, like behind the refrigerator and under the stove.

Letting Clutter Accumulate

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Clutter provides hiding spots for pests. Piles of newspapers, boxes, and unused items can become nesting grounds for insects and rodents. Hence, you should keep your home organized and clutter-free by regularly clearing up areas like basements, attics, and closets. Use storage solutions that keep items off the floor to further reduce hiding spots.

Leaving Pet Food Out

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Pet food can invite rodents and insects into your home when left out for extended periods. To avoid this, always feed your pets at specific times and remove any uneaten food promptly. You should also store pet food in airtight containers to keep it fresh and clean pet feeding areas daily to remove any food residues.

Failing to Clean Drains

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Dirty drains are a breeding ground for pests like drain flies and cockroaches, which are attracted to the organic matter inside. It’s important to regularly clean your kitchen and bathroom drains with appropriate cleaners or a vinegar and baking soda solution. Consider using a drain cover to prevent food particles from going down the drain as well.

Ignoring Gaps and Cracks

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Gaps and cracks in walls, windows, and doors provide entry and safe breeding points for pests. Hence, you should also seal any openings with caulk or weatherstripping to prevent pests from getting inside them. Also, regularly inspect your walls for new gaps, and don’t forget to check for gaps around utility lines and pipes.

Keeping Overripe Fruits on the Counter

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Overripe fruits emit strong odors that attract pests like fruit flies—flies known to multiply rapidly. What you should do instead is store fruits in the refrigerator or consume them before they become overripe to prevent an infestation. You can also regularly check your fruit bowl for any signs of spoilage and remove affected items immediately.

Not Ventilating Properly

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Poor ventilation creates a damp environment that is conducive to pests like mold mites and cockroaches. It’s best to use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to reduce humidity levels and improve air circulation. Proper ventilation helps keep your home dry and less attractive to such pests that thrive in moist conditions.

Using Cardboard for Storage

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Cardboard boxes can become a haven for pests, and Texas A&M says this is especially true for pests like silverfish, termites, cockroaches, and rodents. You put yourself at risk of mold growth by using cardboard for storage, too. Therefore, you should opt for plastic storage bins, as plastic is more pest-resistant.

Failing to Maintain Your Yard

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An unkempt yard can attract rodents and insects, as it usually provides them with food, water, and shelter. Regularly mow your lawn, trim bushes, and remove debris such as fallen leaves and branches. Maintaining your yard reduces hiding spots and food sources for pests, keeping them away from your home’s perimeter.

Leaving Dirty Dishes Overnight

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Dirty dishes left in the sink overnight provide a feast for pests like cockroaches and ants with something to feast on undisturbed. To avoid this, simply wash your dishes promptly after meals, or at least rinse them thoroughly if you plan to wash them at a later time.

Ignoring Window and Door Screens

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Damaged or missing window and door screens allow pests, particularly flying insects like mosquitoes and flies, to enter your home easily. It’s safer to regularly inspect and repair any tears or gaps in screens and also install new screens if necessary to keep pests outside where they belong.

Using Outdoor Lights Excessively

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Outdoor lights can attract flying insects, and these can then find their way inside. Use yellow or sodium vapor light bulbs, as they are less attractive to insects, and also keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. Install motion sensors to activate lights only when needed, further helping to reduce pests and energy bills too.

Not Cleaning Up After Pets

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Pet waste can attract pests if not cleaned up promptly, and this is because it is a common food source for them (particularly flies). Regularly clean litter boxes and outdoor areas where your pets relieve themselves to maintain hygiene. An added advantage of this is that it keeps your environment clean as well.

Allowing Standing Water

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Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests that require water to reproduce. You should regularly check and eliminate standing water in birdbaths, plant saucers, and gutters to prevent breeding. Also, ensure that any outdoor containers are emptied regularly, and fix any drainage issues to keep your home free of standing water.

Leaving Laundry Piles

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Piles of dirty laundry can become a hiding spot for pests like bed bugs and silverfish, which thrive in dark, undisturbed areas. House Digest reveals that some signs they’re already in your laundry room include musty smells and egg-like droppings. You should always wash your clothes regularly and avoid leaving laundry on the floor to maintain a clean environment.

Ignoring Seasonal Pest Control

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Neglecting seasonal pest control gives you less control over infestations, as certain pests are more active during specific times of the year. To keep your home protected and minimize the risk of a pest problem developing, schedule regular pest control treatments, especially during peak seasons when pests are most active.

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