It’s often easier to keep insects out of your home than to get rid of them once they’ve decided to move in. So if you’re moving into a new house, proactive pest control measures definitely deserve a spot on your to-do list. Follow these steps while moving into and settling into your new home, and you’ll have fewer issues with insects going forward.
Place Wood Piles Far Away From the Home
If your new home has a wood-burning stove or even just a fire pit in the yard, you need to be very careful when choosing a location for firewood storage. Firewood is very appealing to termites since it is often moist and laden with moss and leaves. If termites settle into your wood pile and it’s close to your home, it won’t take long for the termites to start invading your home’s wooden structures, too.
Stack your firewood as far from your home as possible. Try to rotate through it, using the oldest wood first, to avoid letting it get too rotten and attractive to pests. Only bring wood inside as you need it rather than storing a large amount inside your home.
Fill Any Cracks
All sorts of insects, from ants to earwigs, can crawl in through cracks in the walls. If you ever do end up with an infestation, it will be much harder to treat if your walls have cracks where the bugs can hide. Before you paint your new home, take the time to fill any cracks in the walls.
Filling cracks in standard drywall is quite easy. Cover the crack with mesh joint tape, and then apply a layer of joint compound. Allow it to dry, and then apply a second layer. A day or two later, sand down the joint compound. You’re now ready to apply primer, followed by your paint.
Dry Out the Basement
If the basement is at all moist, it’s best to dry it out now before you start moving items into the home. If you put items into a moist basement, the items themselves will absorb moisture and become more appealing to an array of insects, from centipedes to silverfish to earwigs.
For small moisture problems, opening a few boxes of desiccant may be sufficient. If you’re noticing ongoing humidity, consider setting up a portable dehumidifier. These devices typically only cost a few hundred dollars. They’ll pull moisture out of the air as needed, depositing it in a tank or bucket that you can empty every few days.
Devise an Impenetrable Food Storage System
When the time comes to organize your new kitchen, pay close attention to food storage. A cardboard box or plastic bag is no match for a hungry cockroach. It’s best to store all of your food in thick, well-sealed plastic or glass containers. Consider investing in a matching set of storage containers for items like flour, cereal, and snacks.
Also, wipe down all of your cupboards and shelves before you start putting your kitchen items into place. If the old owners did not clean thoroughly, there may be some crumbs left behind that could attract ants, roaches, and other pests.
Buy Used Furniture With Caution
Furnishing a new home can be expensive, and there’s nothing wrong with purchasing used furniture from friends, yard sales, or thrift stores. But if bed bugs happen to hitch a ride on this furniture, you may end up spending more on pest control than you would have on a new couch. Be proactive and check every piece of used furniture for bed bugs and other pests before bringing it inside.
To check for bed bugs, place the piece of furniture on a white sheet. Run gloved fingers along any creases and crevices in the furniture. Keep your eye on the sheet—the white color should make it easy to see any bugs that fall out. Also, use a flashlight to check corners and seams not only for bugs, but also for tiny red or black stains. These may be bed bug feces, and if they are present, you should say “no, thank you” to the furniture.
Treat Your Pets for Fleas
Getting a flea infestation under control can be tough when the home and the pets are laden with fleas. Whether or not you suspect your dog or cat actually has fleas, it’s a good idea to give them a flea treatment before you move into your new home. This way, you’re “starting fresh” and fighting against any pests your pet may have picked up in a kennel or when staying with a friend during your move.
Spot-on treatments, which you place at the base of your pet’s neck, are often the most effective. Your vet should be able to recommend one that will meet your pet’s needs safely.
If you do notice signs of an insect infestation in your new home, consider contacting an exterminator before you start moving in. It will be easier for the experts to rid the home of insects before your furniture and other items are in place.