Your warm, cozy home provides you with shelter, a comfortable place to sleep and the ideal environment to raise your kids. Unfortunately, insects of all shapes and sizes will find any way they can to get into your house for exactly the same reasons. Instead of resigning yourself to waging an on-going war against these icky, tiny invaders, there are several, inexpensive ways you can discover more about bug-proofing your home. From your elegant patio doors to your kitchen to your bedroom and bathroom windows, here are a few easy ways to keep insects out:

Start With Your Yard

When it comes to turning your home into a "bug-free" zone, the best place to start is outside. It only takes a few hours and a little sweat to eliminate any issues that are making your home very attractive to several varieties of insects, from ants to silverfish:

  • Cut Back Your Out-Of-Control Foliage – If you have trees, shrubs and weeds that are growing unchecked around your home's perimeter, cut them back immediately. Not only are they unsightly, to an insect seeking food and refuge, they are five-star hotels.

  • Pick Up After Your Kids, Pets and Spouse – From your dog's outdoor food and water dishes to the plates of half-eaten sandwiches left on the steps by your kids, it's vital to make sure there is no food left sitting around outside.

  • Keep Those Trash Bins Clean – Chances are your outdoor trash bins don't smell too wonderful – at least not to you. However, to insects, the smell equals a potential regular food source. This is why it's vital to rinse out your outdoor trash bins at least once-a-month.

Keeping the lawn mowed and periodically eliminating any sources of standing water are two other simple ways you can keep your lawn's bug population under control.

Go On a "Search and Seal" Mission

Now that your yard is more inhospitable, it's time to eliminate as many entrances into your home as possible. The most effective method is to simply take a walk around the perimeter of your home and investigate any potential ways bugs are getting in.

Generally, the two biggest issues will be your doors and windows. No matter how new or top-of-the-line, insects can still squeeze through a tight space you probably didn't even noticed existed.

When it comes to your doors, How Stuff Works recommends installing metal door thresholds, a thin plate that eliminates any gap between the bottom of your door and the floor, and a nylon door sweep. Both of these are inexpensive options you can easily install yourself.

For the windows, examine them both inside and outside and if you notice any minor cracks, fill them with caulk. However, if the window frames are badly damaged, it's often better to replace them. Finally, if you don't already have window screens, install them. If your existing screens are damaged, replace them. This thin sheet of mesh can keep a surprising number of bugs out of your home.

Other Ways Bugs Are Getting In

Despite your best efforts, you'll probably still find a few stray bugs in your kitchen and bathroom, two areas that are constant sources of food and water. However, what you might not realize is those insects are hitching a ride in your grocery bags or the second-hand sweater you snagged at a garage sale.

Whenever you bring in a bag of groceries, especially produce, or used clothing, furniture or any other household items, it's important to inspect them for insects. If you notice any, take the item outdoors and eliminate the bugs before reentering your home.

Bugs are an unfortunate part of life, but they don't have to set-up residence on your couch or inside a box of your favorite breakfast cereal. With a little diligence and a few minutes spent cleaning-up after your kids and pets, you can help prevent bugs from calling your cozy house their home!