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Dirty dishes

Dirty dishes
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Put dirty 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 of Preferred Pest Control. “Insect pests such as flies, ants and cockroaches are highly attracted to leftover food on dishes.”

Moisture

Moisture
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Dampness attracts many different types of pest. “We need water in our everyday lives, but so do pests,” says entomologist Cherie Hartzer. “Even small amounts of water dripping from an air conditioning unit may attract wasps that are foraging for water. Water that has soaked into wood is attractive to termites. Downpipes and gutters that hold water can be perfect habitats for mosquitoes. And a dripping tap may attract rodents, especially if it has been dry and there aren’t other water sources around.” The cure? Regular maintenance that fixes leaks that could provide pests with a water source.

Warmth

Warmth
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When the weather turns cold outside, many bugs look for a cosy winter home – and your place may just be the perfect spot. “Bugs and beetles are just looking for a protected spot to wait out the winter and your home fits the bill,” Hartzer says.

Crumbs

Crumbs
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Spills happen, but even a small mess attracts bugs. “Spilt food crumbs in your kitchen contain a veritable feast for insects such as cockroaches and ants,” Smith says. Regular clean-ups – including moving and vacuuming behind the stove and the refrigerator – can help make your kitchen a whole lot less palatable to pests.

After you’ve cleaned up your spills, make use of essential oils to improve your indoor space.

Unused drains

Unused drains
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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.”

Are you a mosquito magnet? Genes, exercise and beer could be to blame.

Garbage

Garbage
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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 rubbish to the wheelie bin, the lid can close tightly. That’ll also help keep other pests attracted by garbage, such as rodents and birds, away as well.

Research shows that everyday kitchen items can harbour germs. Here are 7 surprising germy kitchen items you never think to clean.

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Paper

Paper
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Piles of papers that are rarely touched can be a big draw for silverfish and cockroaches. To avoid having an infestation damage important papers, place them in sealed plastic containers.

Still air

Still air
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Keeping those ceiling fans running during the summer can do more than keep your air conditioning costs down – they help keep unwelcome critters at bay. “Many flies love still air,” Ricci says. “Fans don’t necessarily blow flies away, but they make the air turbulent enough to discourage them from hanging around too long.”

Clutter

Clutter
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Here’s another incentive to get rid of your extra stuff – all that clutter can make wonderful homes for insects you definitely don’t want hanging around your house. “If clutter is kept to a minimum, and a home is kept relatively clean, there will be few places for insects to hide,” Ricci says.

Although you indoor space may at times feel overrun with bugs, some insect populations are on the decline. If bugs disappear, what does that mean for planet Earth?

Overripe fruit

Overripe fruit
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That fruit bowl on your counter may be appetising – until one piece of fruit gets a little overripe and attracts fruit flies. “Don’t leave food lying around – place it in the refrigerator or sealed containers if possible,” Hartzer says.

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