How Did I Keep My House Pest Free

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Written By Alex Deckard

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





Like humans, all animals have three common desires: food, water, and shelter. If your yard provides all three in abundance, there’s a very real possibility you’ll wind up with an infestation of some sort. If you find you have an excessive amount of wildlife in your yard, systematic limiting of food, water, and shelter can encourage them to go elsewhere. 

Below is a list of DIY habitat modifications that I did to protect my my yard from critters.

Eliminate Brush Piles

Over time, a few brush piles have developed in my yard. Before I nowed the grass, I would toss the sticks into a few piles around my yard.  Over time, the pile becomes quite large.

I didn’t know it, but I unwittingly created a shelter for animals like rats, mice, and snakes. I dismantled the piles and clear the area. Fortunately I didn’t find any snakes!

Keep Grass Cut

Mowing grass often can reduce mosquito numbers in the summer, since they crave the shade that tall grass provides. It’s also a good way to discourage snakes from slithering around your property because shorter grass leaves them more exposed to predators like owls and hawks.

Feed pets indoors—and let them spend time outdoors

I make sure to feed my pets indoors. I do not want to feed any of the local raccoons. Obviously, my dog enjoys time spent outdoors. An added benefit is his presence running around the yard is a deterrent to other animals from getting too comfortable. 

Install Decoys

I noticed that some squirrels had gotten very bold and felt comfortable exploring my porch. Usually, that isn’t a big deal, but it would upset my dog to no end. 

I found some decoys that look like owls online. They can be effective to deter squirrels and other rodents like mice and rats. The instructions said to move the decoy often otherwise the animals will start to ignore it. 

Use baffles on birdfeeders

I love my birdfeeders. This is the first spring American Goldfinches have been in my yard! Typically I see robins and blue jays. 

I’m struggling to keep the squirrels away and hope not to attract rats. I installed a baffle, which are devices that prevent non-birds from either climbing or hopping onto birdfeeders.

Protect my garden

I’m planting peppers, tomatoes, and garlic this year. Every year it’s a race to who gets the vegetables first — me or the rabbits. I found if I don’t harvest my garden regularly, it attracts more wildlife. 

This year I installed hardware cloth around my garden and buried in one foot down. That should keep any rabbits from digging into my garden. 

Store garbage in secure bins

Garbage should be kept in wildlife-proof bins, and secured so that animals like raccoons cannot knock them over. I made sure to buy a bear-proof box. 

My next steps

I want to build a bat box. Bats are on of the most significant predators for pests like mosquitoes, moths, beetles, and crickets. I have a tree that I can place a bat box on.