Just because you don't actually live in your garage doesn't mean you should let pests come and go from it freely. Pests like rodents often carry diseases. Insects do too, and they will sting people to protect their turf. Larger pests can even scratch, bite or otherwise injure members of your household. There's no doubt about it: You need to keep pests out of the garage. How can you accomplish it, though? These tips should help:

De-Clutter - Pests love nothing better than finding dark, safe nooks and crannies. By de-cluttering your garage, you'll eliminate such areas and make it less attractive to pests.

Eliminate Moisture - Many pests are drawn to moist areas. When's the last time you checked your garage for signs of it? After de-cluttering, take a good, hard look. Dry up any moist areas, figure out where the moisture's coming from and address the issue.

Seal Holes, Cracks and Other Entry Points - Pests often get into garages through impossibly small holes and cracks. Use masonry sealer and silicone caulk to seal them up. Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows as needed, and repair torn screens too.

Cover Trash Containers - The garage is the perfect place to store trash bins, but they are often irresistible to pests. If possible, avoid putting food scraps in yours until trash pickup day rolls around, and keep them securely covered at all times.

What if pests have already infiltrated your garage or you're unsure about how pest-proof your garage is in general? In that case, hiring a professional pest control company is the only way to go. Once pests have made their way in, showing them the door yourself is an exercise in futility. An experienced pest control professional will eliminate them and take steps to keep them from returning.