How to keep those darn pests out of your home

Have you had any pest problems in your home yet?

If so, here's how to prevent their visits - and spook 'em out of house 'n home if they've already started to creep in.

The best way to stop pests from gaining entry is by pest-proofing your home:

* Install door sweeps at the base of all exterior doors (mice can pass through gaps as small as ¼ inch). Apply caulking along the edges of door thresholds. Fit garage doors with a rubber seal at the bottom.

* Seal openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation and siding.

* Caulk cracks around windows, doors, and fascia boards.

* Repair gaps and tears in window screens.

* Install 1/4 inch wire mesh over attic, roof and crawl space vents.

Now here are some tips for getting rid of common pests once you have them. In general, the cleaner you keep your house, the less pests will have to eat and the more likely they'll be to go elsewhere.

* Ants. Every time you see a lone "scout" ant, kill it before it alerts the rest of the colony to a potential food source. For large numbers of ants, sprinkle non-toxic diatomaceous earth near entry points.

* Silverfish. Since water is key for silverfish survival, reduce humidity and water sources. Ventilate attics and basements, and install dehumidifiers. Repair leaky pipes and faucets. Make a habit of drying off any overspray on the floor after you shower.

* Roaches. Make sure dirty dishes and pet food aren't left out. Several baits, sprays, and natural remedies are available, but sometimes an exterminator is the most effective solution.

* Mice and rats. Again, there are a wide range of traps and baits - some that kill, others that harmlessly trap - but if you have a serious infestation, call a professional before things get out of hand.

And if all else fails... creep up behind 'em when they're not looking and yell.... BOO!

Your trusted mortgage advisor,

Jeff Kerwin


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