7 things attracting pests into your home

The best way to control pests in your house? Don’t make it enticing for them to live there. Use this list to help you reduce the odds that bugs move into your space.

Dirty dishes

Put washing dishes on the top of your to-do list if you’re passionate about being pest free. “You might want to think twice about waiting until the morning to do the dishes,” says Brad Smith, president of Preferred Pest Control. “Insect pests such as flies, ants, and cockroaches are highly attracted to leftover food on dishes.” Try these tips to bug-proof your kitchen.

Moisture

Dampness attracts pests of many different types.

“We need water in our everyday lives, but so do the pests,” says Cherie Hartzer, an entomologist for Orkin. “Even small amounts dripping from an air conditioner unit may attract wasps that are foraging for water. Water that has soaked into wood is attractive to termites. Downspouts and gutters that are holding water can be perfect habitats for mosquitoes. A dripping faucet may attract rodents, especially if it has been dry and there aren’t other water sources around.”

he cure? Regular maintenance that fixes any leaks that could provide a water source. Plus: These are the 10 worst insects for your garden.

Warmth

When the weather turns cold outside, many bugs look for a cozy winter home—and your place may just be the perfect spot. “Pests like stink bugs and lady beetles are just looking for a protected spot to wait out the winter and your home fits the bill,” Hartzer says.

Check out these 13 secrets about common household pests.

Birdseed

Birds can’t resist it—and neither can bugs. “Moths that feed on grains are a very common type of insect that invades homes,” Smith says.

“The Indian Meal Moth’s favorite food is bird seed. A homeowner inadvertently brings them into their home by purchasing a bag of birdseed that is infested, and within a few weeks, a home can become infested with moth larvae and adults."

To avoid an infestation, carefully check over a bird seed bag for moth larvae, adults, and webbing before buying—and then keep it stored in a tightly sealed plastic bin to avoid attracting animals. Is your city on this list of the most pest-infested?

Spilled food

Spills happen—but if even a little bit of the mess is left behind, the bugs simply can’t resist.

“Spilled food crumbs in your kitchen contain a veritable feast for insects such as cockroaches and ants,” Smith says.

Regular cleanups—including moving and vacuuming behind the stove and the refrigerator—can help make your kitchen a whole lot less palatable to pests. Find out simple ways to keep your house pest-free.

Unused drains

A dormant drain—especially one that has a little water and some organic material like hair and soap coating the insides—makes a perfect home for drain flies.

“Unused drains create a slimy film that creates an ideal breeding spot for drain flies,” Smith says. “If these flies are present in the house there is almost certainly a slow or clogged drain.”

Check out these 11 pest-control plants for your yard.

Garbage

The smell of garbage may be completely unpleasant to your nose, but for bugs like flies, it’s like a siren call. You probably already know the secret to stopping this—contain your garbage. “Make sure when you take out the trash it is bagged and the trash bin is tightly closed,” Hartzer says.

That’ll also help keep other pests attracted by garbage, such as mice and raccoons, away as well. What do you think is the most annoying pest in your state? Find out here.

This story was originally published by Family Handyman. Read more things that are attracting pests to your house here.