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How to Make Sure Your New Place Stays Bug-Free

Aug 24, 2022

Arguably, one of the best parts of moving into a new place is the feeling of a fresh start. In most cases, the new place is completely empty; free of messes, clutter, and, most importantly, bugs. Bugs in a living space usually start as a small annoyance but can quickly turn into a complete nightmare. To ensure that your new place stays as bug-free as you found it, we’ve outlined the most important precautionary measures to take and important daily habits to follow.

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How to Move Without Taking Bugs With You

Bugs are essential to the ecosystem, so it’s impossible to have a completely bug-free home. However, you don’t want your living space to become an environment infested with critters.

Insects are usually attracted to a space the longer you live in it, as the clutter and crumbs build up over time. If your previous home had traces of unwelcome bugs, it’s easy to tarnish the clean slate of your new home by accidentally bringing them with you. So, before you worry about how to bug-proof your home, make sure you don’t unintentionally give them a free ride in.

Be Selective of Your Moving Supplies

Using old cardboard boxes that have been sitting in the garage, or getting cheap used cardboard boxes from elsewhere, is the smartest way to move with consideration of finances. However, if you’re not careful this is a quick way to unintentionally welcome bugs into your new home.

Cardboard has a corrugated texture, meaning there are lots of little grooves and ridges, providing tons of small spaces within the cardboard where bugs can live, nest, and lay eggs. To ensure no bugs get a free ride into your new home, you might want to consider an alternative to old cardboard boxes despite the practicality.

If you plan on using plastic containers to pack your items, we recommend thoroughly cleaning them before placing your belongings in. Whether these containers are new or old, bug eggs come in a variety of shapes and sizes making them difficult to point out.

Spending a few extra minutes during your packing process to clean your moving containers can save you the endless headache of having to deal with an inadvertent infestation.

Check Your Belongings

Bugs can find their way into every crack, crevice, and corner of homes, furniture, and other household items. The worst part? They aren’t always easy to spot, and their eggs can be even harder to point out. In most cases, it’s unreasonable to go through everything you own with a fine tooth comb, but we highly encourage focusing your efforts on:

Mattresses, Rugs, and Cushions

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​​Inspect any mattresses, rugs, or cushions for both bed bugs and fleas. These critters are small, so do a close inspection to make sure you don’t bring over any eggs or live bugs when you move. Bed bugs and fleas are most commonly found on these softer surfaces, but if the infestation gets bad, they can end up just about everywhere.

If you’re concerned about how to move without bed bugs, the EPA provides great information on how to spot them. For fleas, Healthline offers helpful advice.

Organizers, Drawers, and Wardrobes

Organizers, drawers, and wardrobes get the brunt of our built-up belongings. From forgotten items to piles of old clothes, these types of furniture create endless burrows for insects to hide in.

Additionally, some bugs, such as American Cockroaches, like to plant their eggs on hard surfaces in enclosed spaces. So, even though it might be easy to leave the junk drawers intact and pack up the furniture whole, it may be in your best interest to completely clear out and clean these furniture items to ensure you don’t accidentally bring an infestation into your new home.

Start With a Deep-Clean

When you move into your new, empty home, the lack of furniture and decorations means there’s nothing hiding away from your vision. However, as you fill your new place with belongings, you create blind spots.

Before you start the process of unloading your furniture and other belongings, make sure you deep clean your new place from top to bottom so you have a clean foundation as you start to make your new home yours.

If you’re worried about the tedious process of a move-in cleaning, you can check out the professional cleaners on Moveout.com to handle all your moving cleaning needs.

How to Bug Proof a New House

A total bug proof is impossible, but there are certainly preventative measures you can take, during and after your move-in, to make sure bugs are a rare occurrence rather than an everyday annoyance.

Bug proofing can add extra time and money to your regular process, but in the end, it will prove to be a worthy investment considering the time and money that will be saved when you won’t have to hire an exterminator. Follow the preemptive steps below on how to prevent bugs in your house.

1. Seal Entrances

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In most cases, all insects found in homes enter through spots that connect the inside of your home to the outdoors. The most important step in uprooting a bug problem before it exists is to take extra measures to make sure they don’t have an accessible entrance. We recommend focusing on these possible entrances:

  • Windows: Torn screens, cracked frames, or the absence of a screen
  • Unsealed gaps under doors: Absence of door sweeps or large thresholds at the base

2. Repair Cracks

Especially for older properties, window frames, walls, door frames, and roofing can start cracking. These cracks can easily become entryways for bugs, so it’s important to do a careful inspection of your new home’s interior and exterior to ensure you can make all necessary repairs.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture recommends using caulk to seal any small cracks and expandable polyurethane foam for larger cracks.

3. Check Pipe Penetrations

All homes come with utilities, and all utilities come with utility openings. When pipes and wires are installed into your home, holes are drilled in the exterior of your home to run these lines into the interior creating entryways for pests. For example, clothes dryer vents, telephone and cable wires, water, gas, and electrical piping can create wall penetrations.

Small holes can be filled with sealants, whereas larger holes can be repaired using copper mesh or steel wool.

4. Clean and Declutter Regularly

It’s important to remember that even after sealing all obvious entry points, bugs will often still find a way in. To make your home less welcoming to bugs, and to ensure bugs don’t make themselves at home, you have to establish good housekeeping.

Even if you seal every crack, leaving food out, not properly sealing food products, letting dirty dishes pile up, or neglecting spills will encourage insects to find a way in while also encouraging them to overstay their visit. Likewise, an excess of cluttered items creates accessible breeding grounds for any bugs that find their way in.

By keeping attractive food sources and breeding spaces unreachable for bugs that find their way in, they will move on as they won’t find the means of survival they need within your home. Keeping your living space clean and uncluttered is one of the best ways to keep your home bug free.

The Difference Between Bug-Proofing a House and Bug-Proofing an Apartment

Although houses often provide larger spaces that are harder to maintain, extra precautions often have to be taken when you live in an apartment and want to pest-proof your home.

Houses are singular units that have a controlled amount of entryways, and a decent amount of space separating them from neighboring homes. However, apartments are a part of a larger unit that have excessive amounts of entryways and house many people in close proximity.

If community spaces are left unkempt, or you have a neighbor that has bad habits leading to the attraction of insects, your space can easily become affected.

Though the condition of your surroundings can create issues beyond your control, having good cleaning habits can help mitigate bug issues specific to your space. If you live in an apartment, cleaning habits such as taking out the trash, mopping, decluttering, and deep cleaning regularly along with bug-proofing measures are all the more important.

Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping Bugs Out

Do new homes have fewer bugs?

Contrary to popular belief, even the newest homes can have bugs lurking. Homes are not built in a controlled, factory-like environment, and construction is very open to the outdoors. This means that you should approach even the newest of properties with a keen investigation followed by the correct precautionary steps in order to prevent bugs in your house.

What smell drives bugs away?

Bugs come in all different shapes and sizes and likewise are repelled by different elements. That said, the most common smells known to drive away the majority of common insects include common household items.

If you’re concerned about how to get rid of bugs, many essential oils such as peppermint, lemongrass, cedarwood, lavender, and tea tree are known to repel insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and other common insects found in homes.

Does every house have bugs?

According to Wired, “on average, more than 93 different species lived in each home.” All homes will house silent roommates, but most of these unavoidable bugs prove no harm and are out of sight and out of mind.

Still, despite the inevitable existence of small bugs in your house, it’s important to stay up to date with precautionary bug-proofing measures to make sure that the more dangerous and troublesome critters stay out.

What keeps bugs away from your house?

As mentioned, practicing good cleaning habits and sealing entrances are the best way to keep bugs out and away from your house. However, if you feel that it’s really necessary, there are insecticides made specifically to create a boundary around your home.

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End an Infestation Before It Has the Chance To Begin

Like all big problems, bug infestations have small beginnings that normally involve having an unkempt home, accessible entry points, or a combination of both.

No matter what measures you take to prevent bugs from getting into your house, the best measure is to make sure the home is clean before your move-in starts. Deep cleaning your new home from top to bottom will ensure that no remnants of live bugs, bug breeding zones, or bug eggs create larger issues after you’ve moved in and can’t find them so easily.

Although deep cleaning before you move in can be a tiresome and overwhelming process, it’s crucial to creating a good foundation for your life in your new home. Find trusted, reliable, and affordable move-in and move-out cleaners on Moveout.com.


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Article written by Megan Phung

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March 2023

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