With the winter months approaching, pests are looking for a warm place to stay — like your home.

There are many options for getting rid of pests, such as contacting professionals like pest control Arlington Heights, but most families try to get rid of pests on their own first.

The first option some turn to is harsh chemicals, but many have a desire to be more environmentally friendly within their home and want other options. On top of wanting to help the environment, many families also are averse to harsh chemicals because they have pets, small children, or the pest problem is somewhere near where their food is prepared.

Whatever the reason, there are plenty of things your family can try to help keep those unwanted roommates away. Here are a few options:

Pest-Proof Your Home

Before you ever reach the point of needing pest control, there is a lot of maintenance you can do around your home as a preventative measure. The U.S. Green Building Council has several suggestions:

  • Installing steel mesh or another physical termite barrier system to prevent termites
  • Sealing all external cracks, joints, penetrations, edges, and entry points with appropriate caulking
  • Leaving six inches between the exterior of the house and any landscaping materials like mulch, and 18 inches between the exterior and any plants
  • Using only pre-treated wood in any construction, or using another material that doesn’t attract pests like termites
  • Designing discharge points for moisture sources like gutters and air conditioning units that are at least 24 inches from the foundation

Non-Chemical Repellents

After you’ve taken some or all of the above eco-friendly precautions, the likelihood of having pests will be significantly less. But even if you take every precaution, there is still a chance that pests will find their way inside your home.

The best way to curb a pest problem early on is to locate and cut off their food source. Taking out the trash more often, ensuring all fruits and veggies are washed and stored properly, and sweeping up any crumbs at least once a week will go a long way.

If there aren’t too many pests, an old-fashioned fly swatter or sticky trap can be a good way to naturally get rid of all kinds of pests.

Another great natural pest control option is peppermint oil, which you can find in most grocery stores. Simply spray a small amount near any places in the house where pests can enter, and the smell will be enough to deter most would-be unwelcome guests. Peppermint oil also acts as a sort of air freshener, and is totally safe for pets and small children.

Another option is boric acid, which is effective against insects but safe for pets, children, and adults. Boric acid is available in some stores and online as a dust or powder, which you simply sprinkle along any areas where pests are entering in order to both deter them from coming in and kill them if they do make it inside.

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