Everyone hates household pests. Whether you fear those whom walk on more than four legs, are repulsed by animal droppings in your home or are concerned about the transfer of harmful bacteria, pests can bring a lot of stress and potential danger to your home.

But what plagues the inside often starts outdoors, and you can take measures in your home to prevent stowaway vermin. Here are some tips at keeping your home free of pests:

Seal Openings and Cracks

Whether bugs or rodents, pests can slip through the smallest of openings when on the hunt for food, water and shelter. Whether you already have pests or aim to prevent unwanted tenants, check your window screens for any holes that may seem inviting for pests. Check cabinets and behind appliances for any holes through the wall that can be sealed. It’s also helpful to use weather stripping under doors–that’ll keep pests away that are able to squeeze under.

Keep Foliage at Bay

Store your firewood away from the home! Firewood is a haven for bugs that you want to keep outside–including termites, which can wreak havoc on a home. Pile your wood far from the house’s foundation. If you’re keeping a garden, trim your foliage so it doesn’t brush against your house; otherwise, you’re inviting the creepy-crawlies into your home.

Watch the Water Inside…

Pests are primarily in search of food, water and a place to live. Water is the most important to the survival of pests out of the three, and cleaning up still water can kill off even cockroaches in about a week. Be sure to drain your sink once you’re finished using it, clean spilled liquids immediately, and routinely check for leaky appliances so prospective or current pests can’t get a drink.

…and Outside

Still water outside of the house can also attract undesirable guests. Trade the birdbath in for a fountain; the constantly-moving water will be much less desirable than stagnant. If you still end up with mosquito larvae growing in your garden, try putting some cinnamon or vinegar in your fountain’s water to kill larvae and eggs.

You’ll also want to ensure that water from the home drains away from the home. And while we’re talking about draining, check that your gutters are clear of debris as well–leaves in a gutter are a boon for ants that can find their way into the house.

Keep Eyes on the Pantry

It’s possible you smuggled a pest into the home yourself while returning from grocery shopping. Check any boxed grain products in your pantry for any beetles that might have hitched a ride.

Ensure everything in the pantry is sealed as best as can be, including fruit and vegetables that might have a short shelf life.

Limit Places for Eating

The more places in the home you eat, the more you’re at risk of carpeting the place in crumbs–attracting all sorts of vermin. Limit yourself to the kitchen and dining room, and keep these areas clean by checking and sweeping at the end of each day. You won’t give any guests–except the ones you choose to entertain–a bit of your food to eat.