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DIY Pest Control Tips for First Time Homeowners

If you are buying or have just bought your first home, it is surely an exciting time. You probably have a lot of things on your mind— from redecorating and remodeling to home maintenance needs. What you may not be thinking about is pest control. However, pest infestations can cause damage to your home, as well as have a negative impact on your health and overall quality of life. Modernize has put together our top DIY pest control tips for homeowners, so you can avoid pest infestations and having to call the exterminator. We will also cover how to deal with specific types of pests in the home.

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DIY Pest Control Tips

One of the best ways to handle pest control is to think about strategies to prevent an infestation before it starts. The following are some general DIY pest control tips you can use to help avoid infestations and keep your home free of animals and insects.

pest control for homeowners

Go on a deep cleaning mission

Before you settle into your home, be sure to go on a deep cleaning mission that will make it less inviting to pests. Deep cleaning the home will be much easier when it is empty, and without furniture and belongings. Leave no stone unturned as you deep clean:

  • Clean around and inside the refrigerator and stove
  • Scrub the walls, windows and floors
  • Wipe down the inside of cabinets and remove any liners left behind by the previous owners
  • Make sure the garage is thoroughly cleaned

Of course, your cleaning should not end there. Since pests love garbage, make sure that once you move in, you are regularly cleaning the inside and outside of your home and taking out the trash. The best way to prevent pests from infesting your house is by not providing anything attractive to them in the first place.

Cut off potential points of entry

Pests are not necessarily going to come through your front door or even the windows. But there still are several entry points they may exploit to sneak into your house, so you want to cut them off as much as possible.

This can be done by replacing cracked pipes, sealing cracks and holes that both large and small pests can fit into, and ensuring that any broken windows and screens are repaired.

Eliminate potential food sources

You can get rid of potential sources of food by not leaving out any food or water pests can get to. Store food in sealed containers and keep garbage in tightly-covered trash cans. Avoid leaving out pet food and water dishes overnight.

Remove stagnant water

Water around your home can be a breeding ground for pests. Check gutters, outdoor faucets, buckets, and other places that may collect standing water. Make sure gutters are not clogged after storms. Removing the water from these areas and keeping your home as dry as possible can also help deter certain pests from taking up residence.

Keep the yard well-maintained

Your yard can be the gateway for pests getting into your house, so make sure it is as well-maintained as possible.

Cut your grass regularly. Pull the weeds. Put any piles of leaves, branches, and other debris in trash cans and seal them up tight.

How to Handle Specific Pests

Different types of pests can cause different types of damage to your home. It is important to understand the threats and have a DIY pest control strategy to address each one. The following are some common pests that first-time homeowners should be familiar with, and how to deal with them.


If there are ants in your home, you want to nip them in the bud before they have a chance to multiply and create nests in the wood. To get rid of them, use safe household items in the infested areas to kill or repel them, such as white vinegar, cornstarch, pepper, tea tree oil, or hand soap.


Although cockroaches are primarily nocturnal, their evolution has made them used to living around people comfortably. So you cannot scare them away like other pests—making an infestation quite difficult to tackle.

The best way to handle cockroaches is to prevent the problem before it starts. Seal any interior or exterior cracks they may come through, as well as keeping your home free of food particles. If you do find roaches in your home, you can use traps to capture them, or kill them with baking soda, essential oils, or borax.


Fleas can be dangerous as they transmit disease to both pets and humans, so it’s imperative to treat an infestation as soon as possible.

If there are fleas inside your home, be sure to clean thoroughly, particularly in the areas where your pets spend the most time, and use an insecticide that is safe for your pets. Also treat the outside of your home by mowing the lawn and removing organic debris from your yard. After that, use an insecticide in these areas to discourage fleas from coming on your property.


Although we think of houseflies as mostly a nuisance, they can be dangerous because they may cause people to suffer from E. coli, food poisoning, and eye infections.

To prevent flies from congregating on the outside of your home, clean up after pets, keep trash cans sealed, and plant natural fly repellent in your yard – like mint, lavender and basil.

For the inside of your home, get rid of flies by using flypaper. Also, you can put a mixture of soap and apple cider vinegar into a glass, since the sweetness of the vinegar will attract them, and the soap will kill them.


Upon moving in, seal up areas where mice can get into your home. This will go a long way toward preventing an infestation.

Also, eliminate food sources as well as materials where mice can nest, such as cardboard boxes. If mice do get inside, you can use traps to catch them and throw them away, but your best bet is probably to hire a pest control company to handle it for you.


Mosquitoes are especially important to avoid, since they can carry dangerous diseases like West Nile virus. If you find mosquitoes outside your home, kill them immediately so they do not get the chance to come inside.

To prevent them from coming into your home, diffuse essential oils that act as a repellent, such as lavender, citronella, basil, sage, and rosemary. If mosquitoes still manage to find their way inside, use chemical repellents, a bug zapper, or mosquito traps to get rid of them.


Although snakes can eat rodents and bugs, unless you want one as a pet, chances are you do not want them hanging around your house.

In order to prevent snakes from coming inside the home, close up areas where they can slither in – such as pet doors, holes in the roof, and open crawl spaces. Although you can use traps to catch snakes inside and outside, since they may be poisonous, it is best to call animal control to handle it so you do not risk getting bitten.


Spiders often spin their webs on the outside of your house, but they can come inside through unsealed openings. Keeping your house free of dust, debris, and clutter is a good way to make the inside of your home less attractive to spiders. When you can’t keep them outside, they can be handled by vacuuming them up and putting out sticky traps to capture them and throw them away.


Squirrels may inhabit your garage or attic and cause damage by chewing through electrical wiring, walls, and insulation. You can keep squirrels away by planting repellent flowers, such as daffodils and geraniums.

Also, squirrels are deterred by the strong odors from garlic, pepper, and peppermint. Sprinkle these oils on flowers for added protection. If these pests do get into your home, traps can be used to catch them, or you can get help from a professional.


Since termites feed on wood, a colony can quickly ruin your home’s structure if you do not nip an infestation in the bud quickly. If your home has wood siding, you will want to take extra precaution to avoid termites.

Some ways to avoid a termite takeover are to ensure the wood of your home does not have direct contact with the ground, humidity and moisture are kept to a minimum, and wood chips and mulch are used as infrequently as possible. Note that spring is peak termite season, so perform termite inspections in the springtime.

If you are unable to avoid these hungry pests, the best way to get rid of them is by using products made specifically for killing termites outside of the home. You can also set traps and treat the inside with boric acid, diatomaceous earth, or essential oils.

Finding a Quality Pest Control Service

The stakes are high when it comes to pest control. As a first-time homeowner, you may not want to try getting the job done on your own. DIY pest control methods may not be effective enough to prevent damage to your home—not to mention your peace of mind.

By hiring an experienced pest control service, you can get a customized and effective solution to the problem. Pest control companies can also give you strategies for preventing issues in the future.

Dealing with pest control may sound like a daunting process, but the pros at Modernize can help. We have resources available to connect first-time homeowners with experienced and knowledgeable pest control services they can trust. Review our interactive checklist, which contains valuable pointers on evaluating contractors so you can make an informed decision.

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