11 DIY Tips To Prevent Pests

There are many ways to make your home and property less habitable for scorpions and other pests. All Eleven of these tips are simple and can be completed in a matter or hours at any home for very little cost. By pruning your landscaping, removing pest habitats and repairing entry points you can limit pests in your home and yard.

If you are thinking about buying a home check out our post on How To Tell If a House Has Scorpions.

If you are finding many pests inside your home please read our Post on Home Sealing. Sealing your house is a great option for someone who has an infestation inside their home.

Pruning Landscaping

It is important to maintain a well groomed landscape. Unattended bushes and trees can be perfect homes for pests, a single Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) can harbor dozens of scorpions.

Clear Ground Cover

Untrimmed Landscaping
Untrimmed Landscaping at a Home in Green Valley, Arizona

Plants that hang over the ground are perfect for almost all pests. They provide protection from the sun during the day. The organic materials provided by the plants are perfect for pests to eat and thrive. Irrigation of plants is a suitable water source for most pest, these three elements combine for a perfect habitat for arthropods.

Removing branches of shrubs and trees that are within eight inches of the ground will force pests to find other shelter during the hot daytime hours.

Trim Overhanging Branches

Overhanging Tree
Overhanging Tree in Peoria, AZ

Trees that hang above your home and other structures provide pests access to roofs. Roof rats (Rattus rattus) often find themselves with access to your roof and attic by using these branches as access points.

Trees foliage will accumulate on roofs providing a food source and shelter for pests. The best prevention for any pest is eliminating their food source. If a pests’ food source is eliminated the pest population will be eliminated quickly. Consequently, any species that are higher in the food chain, like the scorpion will see population decreases as well.

Trim Palm Tree Bark

Untrimmed Palm Tree
An Untrimmed Palm Tree in Gilbert, Arizona

Palm Trees are a great habitat for scorpions and other pests. Scorpions will often spend daytime hours sleeping at the base of palm tree bark. The shade and moisture from the plant is the ideal habitat for scorpions. The Arizona Bark Scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) is named for its ability to live and blend in with the bark of trees.

Trimming this bark will not only remove scorpion habitats it will also lower the amount of leaf litter the palm tree creates. Palm trees are one of the best habitats for scorpions on any property. If you have a serious scorpion infestation you may want to remove all palm trees. Scorpions have been found from the leaf litter all the way to the top of the tree. This tree can create an oasis for scorpions and other pests in an other wise seemingly inhabitable area.

Repairing Property

Many times pest will enter your home or property through degraded structures like walls and foundation. By fixing these issues you can eliminate the entry points to your home. If the pest cannot enter your home they cannot populate it. A few dollars and some elbow grease are all it takes to seal your home against pests.

Repair Property Walls

Scorpions in a Crack in the Wall
Four Arizona Bark Scorpions in a Crack at a Home in Paradise Valley, Arizona

In the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, property walls are often the main habitat for Arizona Bark Scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus). Hundreds will aggregate during the winter months in these dark, small, cool and humid environments waiting for the temperatures to rise. Scorpions will live in these walls for years breeding making it nearly impossible to eliminate an infestation. Some neighborhoods in Tempe, Arizona are so inundated with scorpions that you can find twenty or more scorpions along a single property wall.

Sealing cracks and crevasses with a concrete patch will prevent the scorpions from entering the wall and eliminate their shelter. These homeless scorpions will then look for other habitats lowing the numbers living in your property. Some homeowners will seal their property walls with a coat of paint, stucco, concrete or other weatherproof substance to eliminate entry points to the inside.

Fill Cracks in Driveways

Scorpion in a Crack of a Driveway
An Arizona Bark Scorpion in a Crack of a Driveway in Glendale, Arizona

Many homes in Phoenix have rock driveways composed of pavers evenly spaced with small gaps in between. These gaps can collect organic materials, water or provide shelter for pests. Filling these gaps with sand or a weatherproof grout will prevent things from collecting keeping your driveway pest free.

When garages have a scorpion infestation we will often find many scorpions just outside the doors in these cracks. Moths are attracted to garage and motion lights providing an ample food supply. The driveway is often one of the first spots someone will encounter a scorpion. Because of their nocturnal nature humans interact with them when taking out the trash or arriving home late.

Repair Damaged Screens

Broken Screen
A Damaged Screen at a Home In Tempe, Arizona

Holes in screens can provide entry points through open or improperly sealed windows and doors. Even a small tear can provide enough space for an American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana) to enter, this single cockroach then can lead to hundreds infestation your home in a matter of months.

Some infestations are caused solely because of a gap in window or door. Black Carpenter Ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) will enter the home from one of these points and then colonize somewhere in the walls, slowing destroying your home.

Screen Air Vents

Screen Air Vents
Air Vent at a Home in Tucson, Arizona

All homes have air vents in the attic to prevent over heating. On some properties these vents are uncovered providing a huge entry point into the attic. Attics provide shelter from rain and wind they are a perfect places for Wasps, Hornets and Bees. Huge Americanized Honey Bee (Apis mellifera scutellata) hives can be created in an attic in a matter of weeks, these colonies can go unnoticed for years until someone gets attacked.

These holes are essential to prevent mold in attics so it is best to cover them with a screen rather than filling them in. Any opening into your home should be covered or sealed in some way. Screen are a great way to let air flow in and keep pests out.

Keep Doorways Flush

Sealed Garage Door
A Sealed Garage Door in Chandler, Arizona

Small gaps in door frames allow many species to enter your home. An Arizona Bark Scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) can fit through a gap that is as thin as a sixteenth of an inch. A good way to check if an opening is large enough for a scorpion to pass through is to see if a quarter will slide through. Placing a door seal under doors will eliminate this entry point.

Garage doors should also be flush, pests can thrive in a garage especially if prey items are able to come in and out as they please. Door seals are available for garage doors as well. Many home infestations start in the garage so it important that your garage stay pest free.

Removing Pest Habitats

Eliminating pest habitats will force them to find new places to live. There are many places in any backyard that are perfect habitats. When these are identified and removed populations of pest decrease considerably. Many forms of landscaping while beautiful are habitates for pests allowing them to thrive on your property.

Removing Rocks

Large River Rocks
Large River Rocks in a backyard in Cave Creek, Arizona

Large rocks provide shelter from the sun and a space for pests to hunt. The many nooks and crannies that are created by those landscaping features supplies an almost endless amount of living space. Scorpions will use the rocks during the night to ambush prey. Many pools are surrounded by rocks, be very cautious while playing around pools as they are often prime locations for scorpion activity.

If you have a bad scorpion problem rocks should be replaced with grass. Scorpions have a very hard time traversing grass, it also provides very little habitat for them. If you must use rocks in your landscaping use many small rocks about the size of a quarter. These rocks will provide little shelter and are hard to traverse.

Clean Leaf Litter

Leaf Litter
Leaf Litter in the Front Yard of a Home in Peoria, Arizona

Piles of organic material around a yard provided shelter and food for pests. German Cockroaches (Blattella germanica) can often be found in massive numbers underneath yard debris.

This organic matter is at the bottom of the food chain and can provide enough food to support an entire ecosystem of pests. Cleaning up leaf litter does not only help prevent cockroaches, ants and beetles but the other pests like spiders and scorpions that feed on these species.

Remove Piles of Extra Materials

Stack of Bricks
Stack of Bricks at a Home in the Ahwatukee Section of Phoenix, Arizona

Stacked wood, concrete blocks, shingles, rocks or brush can be hotels for pests. An entire population of a species can be supported by just a few stacked shingles. These piles often go unattended for months or years allowing leaf litter to pile up underneath leaving an ample food source for House Crickets (Acheta domestica).

Be careful when removing these piles, venomous creatures may be resting on the undersides of items and sting you when you pick them up. Be sure to wear gloves, closed toed shoes and long sleeves to avoid bites, stings and scratches.

    Ben Holland

    Pest control expert Ben Holland is the owner of Scorpion Sweepers, located in Scottsdale, AZ. Founding a pest control company based on continued research, his methods are innovative and effective. Qualified Applicator #: 30873 Applicator Licence #: 120561

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