new_homeowner_600x400From seasonal temperature fluctuations to excess rainfall, pests find any excuse to enter homes. The homes of new homeowners are especially prone to attracting pests, says Ron Harrison, entomologist with Orkin, partly because they are unaware of the best preventative measures.

If you’re a new homeowner, avoid these 5 “pesky” mistakes.

1. Overlooking Tiny Cracks – Even miniscule cracks and crevices in the foundation, doorways and walls can invite pests inside, including rodents, which are able to squeeze through openings as small as a coin. To keep pests from entering your home, promptly clean up all water and food spills, seal any openings around doors, windows and pipes, and install weather stripping around and under all doors, including garage doors.

2. Furnishing with Second-Hand Items – It may be tempting to save money by purchasing furniture from a thrift shop or garage sale, but pests have been known to hide in second-hand upholstered furniture—and once inside, they can spread from room to room. To keep this from happening, inspect and quarantine (for several months, if possible) all second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home.

3. Ignoring Insulation – The attic can be a gateway inside the home for pests that nest in insulation. Inspect insulation for pest activity and damage on a regular basis. Consider installing new insulation that incorporates materials specifically designed to deter pests.

4. Neglecting Flooring/Siding Damage – The foundation, wood framing, furniture and shelves are all possible feeding sites for termites. Signs of termite activity include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings that appear to have slight water damage. Have your home regularly inspected by a licensed professional to avoid potentially extensive (and expensive!) termite damage.

5. Forgoing Repairs – Leaks may appear minor, but when combined with condensation, they create ideal conditions for pests that are attracted to damp areas. These areas are most likely located in an attic, crawlspace, basement, kitchen or bathroom. To keep pests out, fix leaking faucets, water pipes or HVAC units as soon as possible, and eliminate standing water on the roof or in gutters as soon as the weather dries up.