Homeownership is one of the most exciting parts of life, but it also comes with its fair share of complications. Between regular maintenance, cleaning, and remodels, owning a home is sure to keep you busy. That said, sometimes you’re going to have unusual experiences at home, like a pest problem. There are several possible reasons you’re finding creepy-crawlies. The best way to prevent pests is to stop the problem at the source, but you have to know the sources first. Below we compiled a list of the most common causes for pest infestations at home. Read on to learn more.

Trees or Shrubs Are Touching Your Siding or Roof

Obviously, most pests reside in the ground, mulch, rocks, and other natural hideaways. That said, allowing branches and debris to touch your home acts like a bridge that extends an open invitation for pests. You should always keep branches trimmed so they don’t touch your home. Otherwise, pests will travel their way to your roof or siding and find a crack somewhere.

Boxes, Papers, and Clutter—Oh My!

Pests aren’t big fans of people, so they typically look for dark and warm places to hide. If your home has a lot of clutter, like boxes, bags, and papers, you might want to declutter because pests love to hide in all those places. You should note that clutter outside is just as bad. A lot of homeowners store items along the outside of their home like sheds and firewood, which pests also thrive in. Try to reduce clutter or at least keep clutter as far away from your home as possible.

Water Leaks

There are several reasons water leaks lead to pest problems, but like other living things, pests require water to survive. Whether your leak is big or small, pests will find it. You’ll typically find water leaks in basements, bathrooms, and under sinks. The moment you see water or moisture forming in your home should be an immediate red flag. Not only do you want to avoid pests at all costs, but sometimes a leak is a signal of a bigger issue like a shifting or cracking foundation.

Door and Window Cracks and Gaps

Once the weather starts changing, you might notice drafts coming from a window or door. You’ll typically find a draft because of worn-out weather stripping, which is an extremely simple fix. Alternatively, the door or window frame could be worn out, and you need to replace it—not as easy a fix. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t notice these cracks and gaps until it’s too late and the pests have already made their way through. Inspect the weather stripping on your exterior doors and windows and replace the stripping if needed.

There are many other possible causes for pest infestations at home, but the few we mentioned are incredibly common. Of course, it’s easier to prevent pests when you know what to look for. Even better, most of these problems are easy and affordable to fix.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.