Keep Your Home Pest-Free in 2014 By: Nathan Woolf Date: January 1, 2014January signals a fresh start – 2014 is here, and many of us are planning to work on some New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s quitting a bad habit, or starting a good one, it’s a good time of year to take a look at our goals and get down to business.As a homeowner in Arizona, there might be a few home improvement projects on your list, too. Painting the house, making landscaping improvements, or finally repairing your roof might take the top spots, but we have some suggestions, too. In 2014, resolve to keep your home pest-free!There are lots of easy DIY changes you can make in and around your home to keep common Arizona pests like scorpions, termites and spiders at bay. We’ve compiled a few of them here so you can add them to your New Year’s resolutions. When you get in the habit of completing some of these simple home maintenance tasks they’ll eventually become second nature, and you’ll have to deal with infestations far less frequently.Clean Up Your YardOne of the most common problems we see at the Phoenix homes we visit is that there are plenty of places for pests to live and breed around the perimeter if the house. We call them harborage sites, and you can help control pest populations by decreasing the number of harborage sites on your property. Dispose of yard waste quickly, and don’t let piles of tree limbs or branches take up space in your yard. Make sure that bushes and shrubs are trimmed well away from the foundation of your home, and knock down any spider webs you may see around your property. Avoid allowing branches from trees to touch your roof, and clear climbing vines off your home. In the pest control business, we call vines and tree branches that come in contact with your home “pest highways” because they allow easy access!Stop Up the LeaksJust like everything else on the planet, pests need water to live. Make it harder for them to get at water supplies by regularly inspecting your property and home for leaks, both inside and outside the home. Make sure your sprinkler system or drip irrigation systems are functioning properly, and not leaving pooled water on your property or in flower pots. Indoors, check to make sure that faucets aren’t dripping, and bathroom and kitchen areas are clean and dry.Organize Your Storage AreasStored items, cardboard boxes, and piles of junk all provide common pests like termites and silverfish with ready food sources, and give many other insects an easy place to hide. Make the switch to large, sealed plastic tubs instead of cardboard boxes, and try not to keep piles of old newspapers or other debris in crawl spaces, attics or basements. Storing items like clothing in plastic tubs will help protect them from damage!Store Food ProperlyJust as with other stored items, you need to ensure that your stored food is out of reach from insects, as well. Common pantry pests like meal moths will make quick work of grains, spices, and even processed foods if they are stored improperly. Start your cabinets off fresh in 2014 by throwing out any old or damaged foodstuffs, and buy a new set of airtight containers to store things like pasta, grains and baking supplies. The same thing applies to your pets’ food, too – transfer bags of dry dog or cat food from its packaging into sealed bins so that it’s not an attractive food source for pests.Seal Up the EntrancesThoroughly inspect the areas around your doors and windows for potential passageways into your home. We like to say that if you can see daylight around your doorways or windowsills, pests can easily make their way in. A caulking gun can help you seal up entry points. An extra bonus is that it’ll make your home more energy-efficient, too! Inspect your window and door screens for holes, and replace or repair any that are damaged.Schedule Routine MaintenanceOne of the best ways to control infestations is to invest in a routine service plan with a professional. Ongoing integrated pest control treatments can keep a pest problem from getting out of control, and keep your home and family safe. Routine maintenance for destructive insects like termites will help you avoid extensive (and expensive!) damage to your home. If we work together to keep harmful pests away from you home, and get rid of the ones that take up residence, it’ll be easier to stay pest-free in 2014!