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How to pest proof your home before you go on vacation

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Here are a few key ways to help you pest-proof your home before you head out without a hitch.

It’s that time of year again when we can pack a weekender, hurry the kids into the car, and go on vacation. Summer is a great time to unwind and destress, and after the last few years, everyone deserves a chance to get away and take a break. However, you can’t leave your home prey to the elements, be it bad weather or the prospect of swarms of pests marching up to your door, unfettered. 

Whether you’re gone for a long weekend, or for a whole month, you need to protect your house from getting overrun by all too eager vermin hoping to break in without the human buffer. It really only takes one wrong move for pests to make themselves at home, and who wants to come back from a restful vacation to that ungodly sight? Here are a few key ways to help you pest-proof your home before you head out without a hitch.

Clean up
This is perhaps the most obvious step, but you really do need to clean up well before heading out. While we get ready for vacation, we’re also preoccupied with finishing up stuff for work and taking care of a lot of last-minute details before we feel we can finally take a break. You would also have to add a deep cleaning of the house to the list. As stressful as that sounds, it’s in your best interest to clean and tidy up as much as possible to avoid any unwelcome guests. 

Make sure to do simple but effective things like take out the trash, wipe down the kitchen counters, and clean your pet’s food and drink station. This can go a long way in keeping your house clean enough to ward off any nasty insects or vermin. Other important areas include the living room and bathroom, so make sure those are also as clean as possible before you leave. 

Call in the experts
If you think you’ll be gone for a long time, it might be wise to call the exterminators. Maybe there are unseen cracks and crevices that need to be filled up, and only a professional can help on that front. If you take the time to pest-proof your home fully, then you can eliminate the chance of creepy crawlies, who were previously too antsy to come into your house while you’re there, suddenly showing up as soon as you leave. Setting up an appointment with the exterminator before you leave will provide an extra bit of much-needed insurance. 

Repair leaks
Most pests love moist environments, and they are not only drawn to it, but they thrive and can multiply there. If you notice any leaks - no matter how small - then it would behoove you to fix them before you go. Leaky pipes and clogged drains can spell disaster if left unattended, and you definitely don’t want to leave the house with pools of standing water here or there when you’re on vacation for extended periods of time. 

Keep what you can dry before you head out, and if you’re unable to fix anything yourself, invest in an appointment with the experts. It beats coming home to an ugly surprise after a restful and idyllic time away, not to mention the long-term effects that water damage can cause to your home.  

Get rid of potential hiding places
Like most people, you’re probably still ordering a ton of stuff online - a pandemic-era habit that might not die down any time soon - which means that you have a lot of cardboard boxes littering the house. Certain pests, like cockroaches, love the dark and dry habitats offered by cardboard boxes strewn about in places like the basement and attic. So, if you have a ton that you’ve been too lazy to take out to the recycling bin, you should do that before you go on vacation. 

Making your home as inhospitable as possible to possible rodents or insects is the main goal here so that you can go out and enjoy your time away in peace.

Clear the food
It’s so easy to think that leaving a half-eaten apple, or a sandwich wrapped in a brown paper bag on the kitchen counter isn’t a big deal. You’re about to travel, and you’re in a hurry, so you figure, it’s ok! Well, that’s one of the worst mistakes you could make. Even if you’re gone for just the weekend, food left on the counter is a breeding ground for bacteria but also flies, ants, and if you’re really unlucky, cockroaches. Make sure to get rid of food waste and clean up your counters so that you don’t leave any crumbs. Also, take the time to tightly seal all of your pantry items to prevent insects from making their way in. 

Additionally, if you think you’ll be gone for a long while, you might as well take the extra time to clean out your fridge just in case the power goes out suddenly while you’re away. Coming back home to a fridge full of rotten food is a disgusting proposition, and if your power happens to go out at the same time, then things could get even nastier: maggots thrive in the midst of spoiled food, and that may be one infestation that will take you a long time to recover from.

Banish mice
Depending on where you are, you may need to go the extra mile to prevent mice from making themselves comfortable in your house while you’re gone. For that, you would need to seal shut all cracks and openings that can be big enough to let even small mice inside your home. You could also set up mouse traps both outside and inside the house - in any place where you think they could get cozy and create a space for themselves - to make sure that they keep their distance

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

A lot of this advice boils down to: clean your house as much as possible, and don’t leave the space open to any intruders. A deep cleaning, as well as a well-organized home, is bound to keep the pests at bay. All the hard work will be well worth it once you’re able to take a nice, leisurely vacation, and come back to a clean and well-maintained house. 


Main photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

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