Pest Control Prevention

12 Design Considerations for Pest Control Prevention

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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No one wants to host unexpected visitors, let alone pests that have managed to find their way inside without knocking. While small fixes like mosquito traps and mouse traps can cut down on pests, prevention is the best way to keep those creepy crawlies and stalking rodents at bay.

If you’ve recently purchased a new property or you’ve noticed an uptick in pests, there are many renovations you can make to your building, both small and large, that can prevent infestation. Plus, many of your options are inexpensive, easy to use, or can be completed via DIY efforts.

With that said, it helps if your property is set up to prevent an infestation in the first place. A property's exterior and interior design can do a lot to discourage pests from sneaking inside.

Design Considerations That Help With Pest Control

The team at Briostack suggests that you should hire a pest control service if an infestation is already underway. But, these design considerations should prevent one from happening.

1) Design a Property With Positive Airflow

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When a building is constructed, its air pressure is neutral. This is similar to the outside air. When the doors, windows, and ventilation systems are installed, the building is placed “under pressure.” This pressure can either be positive or negative, and you should avoid negative.

If more air is directed out of the building than in, the building has negative pressure. The building will make up for this by forcing air from every gap, door, window, and tiny crack.

In the building stage, contractors can make sure that there’s enough fresh air to keep a positive pressure. This forces more air out of the building and makes it harder for pests to come inside. If your building still has negative pressure, an HVAC company can install a make-up air system.

2) Create a Barrier of Gravel or Crushed Stone

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Pest control companies recommend installing a gravel or crushed stone barrier that’s at least 60cm wide (or 3 feet tall) to prevent pests from entering the property. Not only does this barrier protect most building materials from being cracked, but it also serves as a decent obstacle. 

Rodents won’t cross open spaces, and a wide rock barrier could make them feel vulnerable to attack. Roaches, ants, and other crawling insects will also have a hard time walking across it. This barrier will also make your building and landscaping look stunning from the street.

3) Choose the Right Building Materials

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Certain building materials are very attractive to pests. For example, stucco and wood are loved by termites. Flat roofs are also a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes, which can make their way into your property through vents. The right window screens can also help with that.

Be sure to avoid textured or rougher materials on piping and exterior-facing walls. These materials provide a good foothold for pests. Glossier, smoother surfaces are the best option.

If you’re building a new property, stick with concrete, stone, metals, and composites, as pests won’t be able to bite or chew these materials. You can also find bug-resistant woods and pressure-treated woods, but avoid any wood that includes preservatives like ACQ and CBA.

4) Design a Pest Resistant Shipping Area

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For local businesses, the shipping and receiving area is a common entryway for pests. In the design process, businesses should consider what type of dock level they’ll use. It’s ideal to install a dock level that’s high off the ground and adjustable. Avoid permanently slanted levels.

All entrances should be closed when the dock isn’t in use. Metal garage doors are the best defense against bugs and rodents. The dock should also close off access to trucks at night. Walls, floors, and ceilings should be made out of concrete or another pest-resistant material.

5) Keep All Garbage Away and at a Distance

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Both homeowners and business owners have little choice of where to put their garbage once the property is built. As a rule, you should move dumpsters as far away from buildings as possible. Alternatively, you could lock up all trash inside a garage or a pest-proof shed.

Keep in mind that the CDC considers trash cans rodent-proof only if there’s a small ¼ inch gap between the container and the lid. If the lid is broken, you’ll need to buy a new trash can.

If you use trash chutes, ensure that the chute is large enough for easy cleaning. Make sure the walls aren’t sticky or sharp to avoid broken trash bags or stuck-on foods. Consider installing a long extendable hose around the trash chute to allow for easy cleaning and maintenance. 

6) Add Screens

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Door and window screens are one of the best ways of dealing with pests. Screens are great because they let in light and sufficient air while keeping 100% of the pests out. Using screens for pest prevention is great for design because it does not take away the beauty of the house while keeping away pest infestation.

With screens, you can store food openly in cupboards without worrying about creepy crawlies. Screens can be added to any opening, which is the best thing about them. Be it vents, chimneys, windows, doors, fireplaces, and more. This is a huge advantage because most pests find the most unlikely openings and crawl spaces to get into the house.

7) Seal Openings

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Bugs are notorious because they will find any opening in the house to attack. This is why any property with structural damage is likely to get uninvited animals and insects in the house. To prevent this, the best thing to do is to seal openings.

Even with screens, there can be openings between hinges and beneath doors. Screens work well for flying insects. However, you can still get pest infestations from crawling insects.

To seal spaces beneath doors, you can use a door threshold, which does a good job of controlling pests. To make the plan more effective, you can add a door sweep that will stay in between the threshold and the door itself.

Other than the sweep, weatherstripping the door or using door seal kits will take care of the pest problem. If the seal can do a good job of keeping cold air out, it can sure keep insects and other pests out too.

There are openings that mostly go unnoticed, and this is where utility lines and plumbing pass through the wall. These spaces can create pathways for pests as large as rats.

If you can not immediately seal openings, you can use remedies such as coffee grounds or pest repellents in such spots to keep the pests at bay. A ball of copper mesh will do a good job of keeping pests away. All you need to do is stuff any holes with the mesh, and you will have a formidable defense.

8) Yard Maintenance

Landscaping is a huge part of the design, and one smart thing to do is to look at how the ecosystem around your house is affecting your living. If your yard is not well maintained, it might be a breeding ground for pests. For instance, leaving an overgrown yard unattended might lead to a lot of pest problems. From mosquito breeding grounds to harboring snakes and other animals.

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You can keep tree branches neat and trimmed and the shrubs as lean as possible. Maintaining the yard should happen on a regular basis and not when you have a pest infestation.

When maintaining the yard, do not focus on the plants alone. You can take care of things like stagnant pools of water, empty containers outside the house, and such opportunities for pests to breed.

9) Declutter

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Decluttering is a design move that not only gives your space a fresh look but gets rid of breeding grounds. What is the situation in your storage room, attic, or basement? Piles of magazines, tools, clothing, and the common things we keep in stores tend to be comfortable for pests. When you get rid of unnecessary clutter, you automatically cut down on the chances of pests staying in your house.

10) Trash Management

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Trash management is a huge part of design today, and many houses are incorporating trash compartments and waste management systems in home designs. Trash can make things go south really fast, from inviting fruit flies and other small flies to crows and pests like rats.

The best way to dispose of trash is to look at composting bin options that you can keep in your kitchen. You can separate your trash into groups, and you can recycle the ones that need recycling.

11) Crawl Space Management

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Raised foundations are design choices that come with a lot of challenges, including pests. Pests find natural homes under raised foundations as the houses provide warmth and protect them from rain and direct sunlight. For this reason, such spots are breeding grounds for pests.

There are many methods you can use to keep pests from crawl spaces, including keeping the area as clear as possible without overgrowth or debris.

12) Alternative Food Sources

While it is hard to incorporate this into a design, one way to control pests is by providing an alternative food source. If you have wastes that you know are attractive to pests, you can dump them in a spot that diverts the pests away from your house.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pest Control Prevention

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i) What are the six methods of pest control?

There are many different forms of pest control. While some people cap the number at five or six, there is no limit to the methods you can use to keep the pests away.

Here are some successful methods of keeping pests away.

a) Hygienic

A clean environment is a natural pest repellent that works like magic. While it can look like a lot of work, hygiene can be part of your culture, which in itself is a method of keeping pests away.

A clean environment can be part of your design, which can keep away pests like cockroaches. You can choose to go with options that are easy to clean, like granite countertops. Furthermore, you can add a waste disposal system that works efficiently.

b) Biological

You can use biological methods like other organisms to control pests. For instance, cats do a good job controlling rats and lizards to control flies. One way of doing biological control is by creating a thriving environment for predators to thrive.

Other biological methods include the introduction of nematodes to take care of termites on the ground. You can use BTI to control mosquito larvae among other biological methods to control pests.

c) Chemicals

Chemical pesticides tend to be a one-stop solution to getting rid of most pests give you trouble. There are chemicals that will target specific pests. However, chemicals tend to cause harm to the environment by harming other organisms that are not pests, and should be the last resort.

d) Physical/Mechanical Control

Setting traps and hunting down pests are physical methods of pest control. In such a method, one may need to set up a scarecrow or a deterrent of some sort to keep pests at bay. You can use fences on exterior walls or a screen to control pests. Keeping foodstuff in sealed containers can help keep the bugs away.

e) Fumigation

Fumigation involves the use of gas in an enclosed location to get rid of pests. Fumigation is a quick response to pests over a limited period of time, and often takes a period as short as a weekend.

f) Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is a lot like fumigation, but with no chemicals involved. Rather, heat treatment uses heat to get rid of pests. The temperature of a room is raised dramatically to levels that bugs and other pests can not survive.

g) Cultural Control

Cultural control is controlling one's own activities that could be encouraging pests breeding. For instance, you can make your garbage disposal better than before. Pruning trees to keep leaves from the roof and vacuuming the yard regularly helps keeps pests away.

H) Host Resistance

There are plant varieties that are resistant to pests. Growing such plants helps reduce the damage caused by pests as they naturally repel the plants without causing you extra.

ii) What is the most common way to control pests?

Traps or bait stations seem to have caught on as the most common ways to keep pests away. While some people go as far as hunting, traps are great because they do not require human supervision.

iii) What are the four non-chemical methods of pest control?

There are non-chemical methods like using traps, cultural control, biological control, physical control, and other methods. Most pest-control methods are non-chemical.

iv) Why is pest control so important?

Pests can be a hazard to human health, which is the main reason to keep them away. Pests can lead to a lot of property damage when they have to build their nest corners and create breeding spots or passageways.

v) What is the fastest way to pest control?

The use of chemicals will get rid of pests in an instant. This is why people get fumigation services that deal with pest problems in an instant.

v) What are key pests examples?

Depending on your activities, you can experience different kinds of pests. Pests can also depend on your geographical location.

Final Thoughts on Pest Control Prevention

Pest control is a booming business because pests are a problem. However, one of the best ways to take care of the problem with finality is to incorporate pest control measures in the design. Once your design does not favor pests, you will have won half the pest war.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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