Imagine you find a comfortable, spacious home with great food and lots of it -- all of it free for the taking. You'd jump at the chance to move in, right?

That's what an ant (or stinkbug or cricket) does when it finds your home. And while it's hard to begrudge a bug this slice of heaven during its short time on Earth, you're not about to hand over the house keys. Insects can bring germs into your house, and miniature trails of ants by your kitchen door is not exactly the best way to welcome guests. They tend to pop up in ways that make guests and small children squeamish.

As they say in sports, the best offense is a good defense. You can stop invasions before they start by putting up barriers and monitoring traffic around your home. Any opening that admits light and air is a possible portal for bugs. Here are some quick tips for keeping small spaces closed:

  • Caulk around window frames, plumbing pipes, dryer vents and air conditioning units
  • Repair gaps in siding and cracks in mortar
  • Install door sweeps at thresholds
  • Use fine mesh screens in windows

How can you stop the little guys from intruding in the first place? Find out on the next page.