Keep Pests Out of Your Rental Property!

2015-02-21

Keep Pests Out of Your Rental Property!

This time, we’re not talking about the kind with two legs and a history of rental fraud.

A large cockroach standing on the top of an Apple computer monitor.Pests — roaches, ants, vermin, termites, and so on — can be an extraordinary annoyance at some rental properties (and then mysteriously never bother others.) If you’re dealing with a home that seems constantly plagued by pests and you’d like to wait three whole months before you call the exterminator back again, here’s a few simple tips:

Don’t Feed or Water the Pests
Simply enough, pests almost always go where they’re going because they’re looking for something — food or water, in the vast majority of the cases. Learn what your particular breed(s) of pest(s) eat, and eliminate any sources of that. Similarly, keeping your property dry is a good idea for mold and mildew purposes regardless, but if you keep it dry you also give pests one less reason to get inside — so keep up on that practice as well.

Keep Your Seals Tight
Doors, windows, and other openings offer inviting edges that roaches, ants, and other pests can wriggle through — and they will. Make certain that your weather stripping is effective, your caulk is free of gaps and isn’t coming up, and your door and window frames come at least a few centimeters up on the outside of the door or window in question. Keep a screen over every window, and if possible, install a screen door outside of every door.

Don’t Allow Stagnant Water Outside
Mosquitoes are the spawn of stagnant water. If your gutters aren’t flowing, if your downspouts don’t drain at least 16 inches away from the foundation, or if you have standing water in the yard, fix it. If you have a window box full of soil that doesn’t drain properly when it rains, fix it. Just keep the water near the home in motion, whatever it takes.

Keep Plants Away From the Walls
Plants, even thin plants and parts of distant plants (such as tree branches), are both breeding ground and highway for a variety of different pests. Don’t allow them to touch the walls — it’s best to keep them at least 15 inches away. The same thing applies to mulch, compost, fertilizer, or other high-bacteria-content material: put some plain rocks or other inorganic material between them and the walls or foundation to keep pests at bay.

Mind the Gap Between Wood and Soil
Similarly, soil is a common medium for pest travel, and wood is, too. If your home has wood siding or other wood parts, make sure they end at least a full inch above the soil line. Pay particular attention to porches, crawlspace entrances, and other parts of the home where wood can come father down than normal — it doesn’t take much for a termite colony to find a crack and take up residence.

Keep Trash In the Trash and Trash Bins Clean
Garbage containers are like a huge billboard that says “Pests eat here free!” Unless you want to be funding a bugs-and-rodents smorgasbord, ensure that your garbage containers close properly, seal properly, and don’t tip under the weight of an assertive raccoon. Once a season, empty them out, rinse them out thoroughly, and let them dry fully before putting them back into use.
You’ll still end up with the occasional pest infestation — it’s impossible to avoid entirely — but at least with these tips you’ll keep all of that to a minimum.

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