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The developed world has come a long way when it comes to pest-proofing homes, but in many parts of the developing world, such as areas in South America and Africa, many humans still dwell within primitive structures that are made of materials that include untreated natural wood sources, sod, clay, bamboo, mud, animal skins, stones and even ice. Obviously, such structures do not provide inhabitants with much protection from arthropod pests, and this is a big part of the reason why developing countries see the highest rates of arthropod-borne disease. However, even in developing countries villagers make use of mosquito nets in order to prevent potentially dangerous mosquito and fly bites, and many other cultural groups around the world have made creative use of natural resources in order to protect their dwellings from arthropod infestations. In much of the western world, homes are outfitted with window screens, door sweeps and concrete foundations that are effective at keeping pests from infiltrating homes. Despite this, many westerners unknowingly create conditions that make their homes vulnerable to insect pest invasions.

Starting a few decades ago, states began to enact laws that require homes to be built in a manner that reduces the chances of arthropod infestations, most notably termite infestations. For example, in order to prevent subterranean termites from directly accessing structural wood, structural or cosmetic lumber cannot make direct contact with ground soil. Most states now require new homes to be surrounded with either a termiticide or physical barrier, like mesh, to protect a property from foraging subterranean termites. Numerous homes built before World War II are lacking these protective features, which explains why these homes often become infested with wood-boring insects. It is now common for homeowners to make use of UV light bulbs both inside and outside of homes in order to repel a number of nuisance pests that are attracted to standard artificial light sources. Some homeowners create air currents around their home to serve as a barrier that prevents flies from invading a home. The ideal air velocity for blocking flying insects is between 457–670 m/min, at a 15 degree angle. Keeping stored food at temperatures outside of the 75 to 90 degree range is enough to reduce pest activity in pantries and kitchen cupboards. However, the biggest mistake residents make today is allowing stagnant water sources to collect on their property. Stagnant water provides mosquitoes with a breeding area, which can cause mosquitoes to gather in great numbers within residential areas.

Is your home surrounded by either a physical or termiticide barrier?