Whether you realize it or not, you are not the only occupant of your home.

From carpenter bees under the deck to spiders in the basement, there are many lifeforms that coexist within the confines of our property lines.

However, the last thing you want when your in-laws or old college roommate is in for a visit is an influx of unwanted insects, arachnids, or rodents.

With that in mind, here’s how to master the mice and banish the bugs.

Restrict Access

The most important thing you can do for your home is to seal off potential entryways.

Terminix suggests closing off any crack, hole, or opening wider than a pencil since mice only need about a quarter of an inch to slide their tiny bodies into your home.

So, spend an afternoon checking out the foundation and walls as well as anywhere utility pipes and wires enter the building.

Clear the Clutter

Just about any pest you can think of will be happiest in a cluttered home.

Roaches and rodents are especially at ease in disorganized chaos, as this provides them plenty of protection and, in many cases, an unexpected food source.

Cutting out clutter is a multi-step process that Angie’s List contributor Cathy Green explains involves letting go things that you don’t need and, perhaps most importantly, getting rid of old boxes.

Here’s a fun fact: Cockroaches, which carry disease, can eat cardboard. Instead of leaving things where they lie, buy a filing cabinet to store papers.

You will also want to get rid of old computers, furniture, and toys that are past their prime.

Opt for Plastic Storage Totes

Not only do your old cardboard boxes serve as a smorgasbord for insects, but they are also the most tempting retreat for spiders — especially brown recluses and black widows, which prefer dark spaces.

Once the roaches and rats chew through the cardboard, spiders have easy access.

Your best bet is to store your excess in plastic totes, or, if you want to keep your paper boxes, wrap them in plastic if you do not need access in the near future.

Ousting Ants

Bugs don’t have to be dangerous to be a nuisance, and ants are a perfect example of this.

However, depending on the species, you may find that the wood in your home (particularly around the deck) may become a new colony for carpenter ants.

Sugar-based ant traps can help, but ultimately, you will need to kill the entire colony if they have taken over your interior.

For this, you will likely need to call a professional and then make sure to clean any potential entry to eliminate the pheromones they leave behind, which act as a beacon for their brethren.

 Monster or Millipede?

There is no denying that millipedes, centipedes, and sowbugs are about as creepy and crawly as they get.

You can eliminate these multi-legged intruders by reducing moisture in and around the home and following the above advice, such as removing clutter and sealing cracks.

Keep in mind that the spring and summer months are the times when insects are most active.

They may try to come into your home as a way to seek shelter or, as is the case with water bugs, may decide your swimming pool is the perfect place to raise their young.

It doesn’t matter why they are there, you likely do not want your visitors to be greeted by anyone other than your family as you try to enjoy your time together.

A few roaches or rodents every now and then is likely not a major concern. However, an infestation of either can affect your family’s health and safety.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation.

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