Updated: October 19th, 2022
With more than 300 species of bugs and insects living in Oregon, are you fighting an uphill battle trying to keep bugs out of your home?
Of course not! Tackling this issue on your own will take some work, but by following a regiment of preventative measures and partnering with an experienced pest control company, you’ll successfully keep insects away from your clothes, food, and valuables.
Keep reading for some important tips on bug-proofing your Portland home.
Before Getting Started
Keeping bugs from taking over your home and personal items is a two-step process:
- Eliminate any bugs already inside your house
- Prevent (more) bugs from getting inside your house
There’s no point in eliminating insects inside your home if you don’t immediately stop them from coming back, so do both of these steps in tandem.
Here is an initial checklist to cross off before you begin:
- Determine where in your house you have insect and bug problems
- Understand what types of bugs are in your home OR if you don’t currently have a problem, research what types of bugs your home is at risk for
- Find out how the insects are getting into your home
- Determine what in your home the bugs are attracted to
Once you’ve finished this sleuthing, you’ll have a better understanding of how serious your problem is. If you’re dealing with a full-fledged infestation, it’s always best to immediately call an experienced pest control company.
If your bug problem is less serious or if you want to do some precautionary bug-proofing, then it’s time to get started.
Bug-Proof Your Kitchen
There are a number of preventative measures you can take to keep bugs from crawling into your kitchen and dining area. Of course, prevention is only the first line of defense. You can also try some DIY methods for getting rid of small issues, like occasional Ants, Fruit Flies, or Spiders.
Don’t Leave Food Sitting Out
Creepy crawlers are attracted to food, so it makes sense that keeping your kitchen clean would be a good way to avoid a bug problem.
This isn’t a one-time fix, but rather a way of life. Adopt these tips to keep bugs from taking over:
- Get in the habit of wiping down your counters after every meal.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes stacked in the sink or on the counter.
- Keep your trash can sealed, emptying it regularly.
- Sweep your kitchen floor at least once a week.
- Don’t leave fruit sitting out for too long.
Seal Pantry Items
Take a look inside your pantry. Are your bulk food items stored in an airtight container? Foods like rice, flour, and even cereal are magnets for bugs when left open. Pet food is especially attractive to bugs, so keep this sealed, if possible.
Periodically clean out your pantry and cupboards. Wipe down shelves to remove any crumbs and check your food items to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.
Often bugs will enter your kitchen through holes or spaces you cannot see. These are commonly behind your kitchen appliances.
Carefully pull your appliances out to check the walls behind them. This includes your fridge, microwave, stove, and even under the sink. You don’t have to completely remove them from the wall– just enough for you to get back there and assess the situation.
Look for any holes or open spaces. Pay special attention to the area where pipes or plugs enter the wall– there are often gaps here. Use caulk to close off spaces.
Set Bug Traps
If you’re dealing with some occasional intruders, it can be helpful to leave out bug traps. Glue traps can work well at catching bugs like stink bugs and spiders. Plus, these are easy to tuck out of the way and are safe for you and your family.
You can also test out some natural bug traps in your kitchen. For example, to help get rid of fruit flies, set out a glass of apple cider vinegar and dish soap. The vinegar attracts the flies and the soap traps them.
Bug-Proof Your Closet
Bugs like dark, quiet, warm, or humid corners, so your closet is a natural place to find them. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Clothes Moths and Silverfish can get into the dark corners of your closet and chew away at your clothes.
There are a few things you can do to avoid these problems.
Clean and Vacuum Regularly
As you’re doing your regular house cleaning, don’t forget about your closet. Every few months, clear out your closet and give it a deep clean. Vacuum hard-to-reach corners, pick up any wardrobe items left on the ground, and check your clothes to look for bug problems, especially those with natural fabrics like wool or silk.
Store Only Clean Clothes
Before shoving your suit, dress, or other wardrobe item in the back of your closet, make sure it’s clean. Be especially careful about second-hand clothes. Always wash and dry woolen items bought from thrift stores or given as a hand-me-down.
For these items you rarely wear and store in the back of your closet, every so often consider getting them dry cleaned (without starch, which can attract bugs) or throwing them in the dryer on high heat to eliminate any insect eggs or mildew. Use garment bags made of cotton or vinyl only.
Though mothballs are an option, there are natural remedies you can take, such as a cedar block or cedar chips. Cedar loses its scent over time, so for this to be effective, you’ll need to sand the cedar lightly every few months.
Additionally, make sure your clothes do not touch the cedar directly, as staining can occur thanks to its natural oils.
Bug-Proof Your Living Spaces
We know bugs don’t just bother you in your kitchen and closet. Make sure to take some general preventative steps all throughout your home to keep bugs away from your valuables.
Close Entry Points
Just as locked doors help keep intruders out, a properly sealed door can stop pests in their tracks. Examine your entryway carefully to look for unsealed gaps– chances are, you’ll find some great entry points for unwanted insects.
Keep bugs from crawling under your door by installing an aluminum or steel threshold. You can take this a step further by also installing a door sweep, which covers the small gap between your threshold and door bottom.
Weatherstripping and caulking can also be effective around your doors and windows. If you really want to go above and beyond, purchase plastic outlet covers to plug up those outlets not currently in use.
Sealing off cracks and holes on your home’s interior and exterior can be a great way to avoid, and stop, a bug problem. A good rule of thumb is if a crack or gap is wide enough to fit a pencil, you should fill it.
Inside your house, look along your moldings,baseboards, flooring, and walls. Outside, look at your foundation and siding. If you notice cracks, rotting wood, or exposed pipes, take time to repair and seal these against bugs.
Partner with an Experienced Pest Control Company
Eliminating bugs and insects in your home is a big undertaking. While there are things you can do to prevent bugs from getting into your things, working with a local pest control company is always a faster, more effective solution.
At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Portland and Vancouver area eliminate bugs and insects for over 15 years. All our services are carefully designed to be safe for your family and tough on pests.
Whether you have an Ant colony taking over your kitchen or Silverfish bugs in your closet, we can help eliminate and insect-proof your entire home. Contact us today for a free inspection!