How to Keep Pests Out of Your Home

There are many ways to keep pests out of your home. Good housekeeping helps, as do keeping crumbs and spills from becoming a source of food for insects.

Caulk and seal cracks and gaps that allow insects into your home, such as around plumbing and vents. Stuff steel wool into a few of those openings for extra security.

Pest Identification

Pests are living organisms that cause damage to crops and other plant species, or animals or domesticated plants. There are many different types of pests, and identifying the species is important for determining the best course of action to control them.

The identification process focuses on morphological characteristics, including the structure of mouthparts, wings, legs, or antennae. This helps to separate insects from other organisms, such as fungi or bacteria.

It is important to scout for pests early in the season, especially in areas where they have historically been a problem. It is also important to scout in representative sections of the field.

Leafminers, for example, can be a significant pest to ornamental plants because they can damage plant tissue and produce large, twisting mines in the leaves. There are three species of leafminers that are a problem in the Southeast: Vegetable leafminer, Liriomyza sativae; pea leafminer, Liriomyza peaster; and serpentine leafminer, Liriomyza trifolii. These flies are about the size of fruit flies and can be easily seen on the undersides of leaves.


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a comprehensive approach to managing pests. It is based on scientific data and experience.

It is used to control a wide range of pests including insects, mites, rodents, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and weeds. It is a holistic strategy that minimizes the risks associated with pest damage to human health, property, and the environment.

IPM is a systematic, information-intensive approach that combines multiple control tactics to manage pests in a way that makes production safer and more economically viable. It can be implemented in a continuum from reliant on prophylactic control measures and pesticides to multi-strategy biologically intensive approaches.

IPM includes cultural controls and natural enemies of pests. These techniques include preventive measures such as crop rotation and planting pest-resistant varieties of plants, promoting natural enemies like lady beetles or spiders in the garden, and minimizing use of broad-spectrum pesticides. It also includes chemical controls that pose the least hazard to human and environmental health.


Agricultural production depends on pesticides to prevent or control diseases, weeds and other plant pathogens in an effort to maintain high yields. However, many concerns have been raised about pesticides and their health and environmental impacts.

In the United States, farmers use a wide range of pest management strategies to protect crops from insects, fungi, viruses and bacteria. These methods include cultivating soil, tilling it, rotating crops and applying both organic and synthetic pesticides.

When using insecticides to control pests, be aware of the toxicity (LD50 or LC50) of each pesticide to people and pets. Select a pesticide with the lowest toxicity that will help you achieve your goals without causing harm to your family and pets.

The use of pesticides is regulated by strict laws and regulations. Regulatory agencies consider a variety of factors when deciding whether or not to register a new pesticide. They look at a range of human health and environmental effects, including toxicity to people and animals, leaching and runoff into the environment, residues on food and drinking water, and toxic effects on other organisms.


Exclusion is a form of pest control that uses materials to prevent pests from entering structures. It may include a variety of methods such as sealing doors, screening windows and floor drain screens or one way valves.

In addition to preventing entry, exclusion can reduce a building’s attractiveness to pests. This can be accomplished through methods such as bird proofing ledges, vegetation free barriers around foundations and reducing the amount of attractive landscaping in a site.

Rodents and other rodent species are common pests that invade buildings during the winter months. Sealing and securing entry points will help keep these pests out all year round.

Rodent exclusion is a simple process that can be accomplished by using a variety of materials. Galvanized sheet metal (24 gauge) is a good material for this purpose as it is too hard for rats to chew through and can also be used as kick plates or door edging.