Even if your property is brand-new, one improperly sealed window or siding panel could lead to a pest infestation that would demand attention. If you’re looking to maintain a successful rental property, you’ll need to know how to handle pest problems when they occur.
If you’re landlord, it can be tempting to ignore a pest problem. A few ants can’t hurt anything, you’ll tell yourself.
However, this way of thinking could be one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make. A few ants can quickly turn into thousands, and before you know it, you’ll be seeking a new tenant for an ant-infested property.
Ants aren’t the worst problem. Termites, spiders, moths, wasps, rats, mice, bed bugs, and even possums can find their way into a residence through the smallest of crevices.
It’s much easier to take preventive measures than it is to pay for the fumigation and damage when it’s too late to block an invasion. Keep your properties pest- and bug-free with the help of the prevention guide below.
Pests can get into your home in a variety of ways. Here are just a few.
• Open Orifices: Leaving your doors and windows open for long periods of time is a sure-fire way to invite pests in. Vermin and bugs will expect your windows and doors to be open, and soon you’ll have a major problem. Likewise, doors and windows that are improperly sealed can be an excellent gateway.
• Damaged or Weak Siding: A single crack, hole, or weak spot in your siding will offer an open door to animals and bugs. Some animals will even chew through wood and vinyl siding to get inside.
• Food Left Out: Pests can actually smell improperly stored food from outside your house. This is generally what prompts them to chew their way through the wall or worm their way through a crack.
• Places for Critters to Hide: If you have a woodpile, standing water, unruly vegetation, or piles of junk near the house, animals and bugs treat that as a perfect place to nest. Once they begin to congregate outside your home, it won’t be long before they try to move inside.
If you catch a pest problem early enough, you might be able to eliminate them without the help of a professional. Use some of these do-it-yourself pest control tips to protect your property from unwanted vermin.
• Over-the-Counter Sprays: Spray pesticides you can buy at any home improvement store often do the trick. Spraying the exterior of a home with over-the-counter sprays can keep insects at bay for several days or even weeks. Just be sure to take proper health precautions when using sprays around the house.
• Seal Everything: Have a professional contractor check your home for cracks, crevices, and improperly sealed holes along the exterior walls. Ask him or her to seal each fissure and reduce infiltration.
• Clean Up Crumbs and Improperly Stored Food: Keep your home clean and free from the odor of exposed food. Store dry goods in airtight containers and wipe up spills and crumbs immediately. Pests won’t linger if there’s no food.
• Line Windowsills with Coffee Grounds: A neat trick for keeping bugs from climbing in through the windows is line your sills with coffee grounds. For some reason, bugs can’t handle the smell and will stay away.
• Clean Up Your Yard: Eliminate hiding places for pests by keeping your yard clean. Mowing the lawn regularly will remind you to remove debris from the ground and reduce the amount of junk that collects there. If you have a woodpile, move it away from the house. Watch for tree branches and bushes that scrape the house. Trim back the branches and vegetation to limit the direct contact pests can have with your home.
• Seal Trashcans: Pests are also attracted to the smell of trashcans. To reduce that potential problem, use trashcans that have a tightly sealing lid. You might also want to tie cinderblocks to the lid to keep pesky raccoons from getting inside.
• Install Window and Door Screens: If you love having your windows and doors open, install screens. This will keep the worst of the pests out without sacrificing your way of life.
• Lay Traps: Sometimes no amount of preventive measures will keep pests out. At that point, it’s time to resort to traps. If you can’t stand the thought of killing animals, look for humane traps that won’t hurt them. There are a number of DIY natural pesticides that will do the trick, as well.
• Install Insect-Repelling Plants: Some plants are actually genetically formulated to dispel insects. Basil, lavender, lemongrass, lemon thyme, rosemary, and mint are all tremendous natural insect repellants.
When to Bring in a Professional
When preventive measures aren’t sufficient, it’s time to call in a professional. Here are some of the biggest reasons you’d need to bring in a pro to handle the job.
• Major Infestations: If you have pests coming out of your ears, you’re past home remedies. The only thing that can solve the problem is a professional pesticide service. They’ll use industrial chemicals and techniques to rid your home of the unruly beasts.
• Sealed-Off Areas of the Home: Sometimes the infestation will be so bad that you can’t even enter a certain area of your home. For example, a wasp’s nest near a basement window will make it very risky to enter that part of the house once they’ve found a way inside. It’s best to leave that section to a professional who has the proper protection and materials to handle it safely.
• Bed Bugs: When you have bed bugs, there’s nothing to do but call the exterminator. People will try to sell you over-the-counter remedies that help to reduce the problem temporarily, but the little insects breed so quickly and copiously, that the only way to completely rid your home of the problem is to eliminate them via exterminator.
Let Green Residential Handle It
Having a plan in mind for dealing with pests is very important when you’re a landlord, but it doesn’t eliminate the stress. If it all becomes too much, hand it over to the professionals at Green Residential.
We have 30 years of experience handling everything to do with property management, and we can make sure a property stays pest-free and your tenants are happy. For more information about the specific services we provide, contact us today!