Where Do Pests Get In? A Guide for Where to Look for Pest Entrances
With Integrated Rest Management (IPM) – the most eco-friendly and effective type of pest control – getting rid of pests and keeping them away requires approaching bugs and rodent management in multiple ways.
Part of this process involves getting rid of pests inside your home through a variety of different methods, such as trapping for rodents or pesticides from bugs. Next, you should make your home less tempting for pests by eliminating sources of food and moisture that attract many bugs.
The final step is a process called exclusion. In this part of the process, you – or a pest control technician – look for any openings around your house that bugs, rats, or mice may be squeezing through and seal off the openings. The single best way to prevent pests is to make it difficult for them to enter your home, and exclusion helps do that by sealing off potential entrances.
Without openings available to them, it becomes impossible for bugs and rodents to get into your home, significantly decreasing the chances of future pest problems.
However, this aspect of pest control can be one of the most difficult. The entry points can be small, numerous, and widespread. Even the best pest control technician may not capture them all, as a hole the size of a pencil eraser is big enough for all kinds of spiders and bugs to enter.
Still, the more holes you find and seal, the fewer pests you’ll see. That is why it is extremely helpful to know more specifically what you are looking for. This guide covers some of the most common pest entry points, where you look for them, and what solutions you can take if you find them.
What Types of Holes to Look For
Bugs can get in through a wide variety of spaces. A big part of what makes DIY pest exclusion so challenging is that nearly any crack or small space on the exterior of your home could be an entry point for pests. This leaves you with a relatively large area to check while you are looking for holes that are extremely small.
Both bugs and rodents can get into spaces that may seem much smaller than they are. For example, these pests can squeeze through spaces of the following sizes:
- Cockroaches can squeeze through spaces 1/16 inch tall.
- Stink bugs can get through a crack 1/10 inch tall.
- Certain ants can get through a space 1/25 inch wide.
- Mice can get through a hole ⅕ inch wide, or the size of a pencil.
- Rats can squeeze through holes ⅘ inch wide, or the size of a quarter.
As you look for spaces where pests are getting in, you should investigate any hole that meets these criteria and take precautions to cover it.
Locations Where Pests are Getting into Your Home
Your home can be besieged by several different types of pests, and each might try to get in in a variety of different ways and at different levels of your home. Finding all of the spots where pests could be coming in can require a thorough scan of your home from the foundation to the roofline, paying special attention to all of the following locations:
- Foundation – Your foundation can be a source of cracks. These often develop over time in a concrete foundation, making it worthwhile to regularly check your home for any sign that cracks have developed. You can effectively fill cracks with caulking or a concrete patch. During this inspection, pay special attention to where the wall meets the foundation as this is most prone to developing cracks. You should also make sure that there are at least a few inches of foundation above the soil so that soil or mulch is not directly touching your siding and clear some space if this is not the case.
- Crawl Space – A crawl space can be a haven for insects who generally prefer dark and damp conditions. If insects or rodents are able to get into your crawl space, it can be extremely easy for them to then get up through your floor and into the main area of your home. You should be sure your crawl space cover is in good condition and fits tightly into the crawl space opening.
- Siding – Survey all of your siding for any gaps or cracks. This is relevant for all kinds of siding, including masonry, wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Areas where siding connects with trim can be particularly vulnerable to gaps. If you see areas of siding that have black staining around them, this can be a good indication that pests are already getting in here and you should investigate further for a noticeable or for a hole or other damage.
- Exterior Fans and Vents – On any air vent or fan installed in your home, such as dryer vents, bathroom fans, kitchen exhaust vents, and others, check the fan dampers to be sure that they are not stuck in the open position and creating a pathway for bugs to get into your home.
- Cables and Utilities – At any location where your utility lines run into your home, be sure that there is no gap in the space around the wires as this can provide a space for bugs to easily crawl inside. Caulking is an efficient solution for sealing up these holes.
- Chimneys – When checking your chimney, look over all over the masonry or siding as this may have weakened over time and left a gap. If you do not already have a chimney cap, you should install one. This is one of the leading ways to prevent pests from gaining access to your chimney. If you already have a chimney cap in place, check it to be sure that it is still functional and attached securely to the top of your chimney.
- Doors – There are several aspects of your door that you should check for efficient pest prevention. First, examine the door frame for any loose areas and to make sure the door sits flush in the frame when closed. Next, check your door sweep, which should sweep along the floor and leave no gap. If your door sweep no longer meets these requirements, replace it. A door frame that is not aligned may need more extensive repairs.
- Windows – Windows should sit perfectly within their frame without any gap surrounding them. If there is a gap, caulk is a good solution to fill it. Windows should also have screens if they are open at any point. Look over screens for any holes they may have developed.
- Roofline – The roofline is a common space for bugs and rodents to get in. Replace any missing fascia or soffits, and check for any gaps where they connect. Some pests, mostly larger wildlife, will tear fascia to gain access to your attic. If you recently had a wildlife problem, it is especially important that you check for any holes that may be left over. On the roof, check for ridges where different roof lines meet as pests are more likely to get in at these locations.
- Roof Vents – Any roof vent should be screened to make it less likely for pests to get through them. Check to make sure that all screens are completely in place and have not come loose.
- Yard – Your yard is a final area to check. Here, the most important factor is that no shrubs or trees are directly touching your house. Tree limbs or shrubs that touch your siding or roof are like ladders to pests and give them an easy way to crawl into your home.
While some cracks can be original to a home, the majority develop in these locations over time, so it is best to survey your home once a year for any new damage that may have developed. These regular inspections and repairs will provide a reliable barrier against pests. Making time for exclusion every year you also make the process significantly easier with less work required every subsequent time that you perform an exclusion.
How Professionals Can Help with Exclusion and Pest Control
Exclusion is one of the best ways to keep out bugs, but is an extremely intensive process. In addition to the challenge of finding each area that can be an entry point for bugs and rodents, you also have to manage the repairs at those locations.
Working with a professional for pest exclusion is generally the best way to guarantee that you are locating all of the points at which pests can get into your home, and that you have implemented the best possible repair solutions against them for effective results.
Pest control can also exterminate all the bugs already in your home and create a treatment barrier. The barrier gives you a second line of defense in case an opening is missed during exclusion or a gap develops before you perform exclusion again.
ExtermPRO is a pest control company in Northern Virginia where many of our customers are up against a wide range of insect and rodent pests. Because we practice eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management, we are readily able to incorporate exclusion and other preventative tactics into our pest control. We offer both extermination and bi-monthly and quarterly pest prevention services to effectively get rid of bugs.
Learn more about our pest control in Gainesville, Haymarket, Bristow, and in the surrounding areas. Contact our team at ExtermPRO.