Pests thrive when there is no one around to scare them away or eviscerate them with a rolled-up newspaper, which means your house is at risk of a pest invasion every time you leave for vacation. Of course, no one wants to get home after a trip and find out that pests have taken over. So if you want to return from your vacation without a problem waiting for you at home, include pest prevention in your pre-trip to-do list.
As you pack your bags and book your tickets, here are the best ways to ensure pests don’t take over your house while you’re away:
1. Address current pest problems
If you already have a pest problem in your home, it is crucial that you address it before leaving for vacation, lest you want the problem to get worse. For example, if termites are already taking a good chunk out of your home, call in a termite control service as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may just come home to even worse termite damage and a bigger pest control repair bill on your hands.
2. Install motion-detecting lights
Insects are drawn to lights, meaning if you leave one or more of your outdoor lights on, they will serve as a beacon for all sorts of creepy crawlies. Instead, install motion-detecting lights around your home to avoid attracting insects, as well as keep home intruders at bay.
3. Clean your home
Coming home to a clean house after a tiring trip is definitely better than walking in the door and seeing the same mess you’ve made before leaving. Moreover, cleaning your home before leaving for vacation is one of the best ways to avoid attracting pests.
Of course, you don’t have to clean your home from top to bottom. At the very least, vacuum all of your floors to remove crumbs, wipe down all kitchen countertops, clean the couch (if you eat in front of the TV), and wash the sink and dishwasher to get rid of any food residue.
4. Take out the trash
Almost all types of pests love trash. Hence, leaving trash in your home while you’re away is one of the easiest ways to attract pests. To avoid this problem, gather up all the trash in your home and leave it by the sidewalk if it’s trash day. If it’s not, throw it in the nearest dumpster before leaving for vacation or ask a neighbor to take your garbage can out when it’s trash day.
5. Don’t leave food out
This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of vacationers still forget about this important anti-pest precaution only to come home and find that pests have feasted on the food they’ve left on the counter. That said, be sure that you don’t leave any food lying around before you leave. Keep opened packages in airtight containers before storing them in the pantry. The same goes for opened packages of dog food, non-refrigerated produce, and food items with paper packaging (rodents can easily rip open a paper bag).
6. Get rid of moisture
Aside from warmth and food, moisture is another component that makes the ideal pest environment. To avoid pests making a habitat out of your home while you’re away, get rid of moisture as much as possible. This could mean washing all dishes (as they can collect water), fixing leaky faucets or pipes, closing all toilet lids, and removing standing water in your yard.
Another good tip is to turn off your water supply completely if you’re going to be away for more than a few days. Aside from avoiding pests, doing this will also prevent flooding in case a pipe bursts while you are away.
7. Close the drains
Drains serve as the perfect entrances for creepy crawlies. And when no one has been using the showers and faucets for quite a while, insects have a better chance of coming up the drain and entering the house unharmed.
If you’ve seen a bug or two coming up your shower or sink drain, you may have a cracked pipe in your system that’s allowing these insects to creep through. Before you leave for vacation, find the source of the damage and fix them as soon as possible. If you don’t have time to do this, at least close your drain with stoppers or with sponges inside plastic bags.
Don’t allow bugs to take free rein of your house while you’re away on vacation. With these strategies, you can keep your house pest-free, allowing you to enjoy your trip without worrying about what’s happening at home.