Spring is here in full force, and summer is well on its way. Most pest control experts recommend a pest control inspection at least twice a year (if not quarterly), so consider this your friendly reminder. Of course, there’s a lot you can do on your own to help keep pests away this spring and summer. The best defense is a combination of practical DIY measures and a little help from the pros. So give one of these TrustDALE certified pest control experts a call today for your seasonal check-in!
What to Do Now to Control Pests
Now, in the spring, is a great time to take some steps to prevent spring and summer infestations. Whether the pests are as small as ants or as large as raccoons, a few simple precautions can help keep them away. In general, most pests are looking for three things: food, water, and shelter. In addition, some pests are looking for a place to lay eggs or have babies. If you can deny them these necessities, it will go a long way toward keeping your home pest-free this spring and summer.
Get Rid of Standing Water
All life that we know of needs water. And the pests you are trying to keep away from your home are all looking for that life-giving elixir. Standing water is not just a welcome drink for pests. It also provides habitat and a place to lay eggs for many types of insects. Mosquitoes, for example, can lay eggs in as little as a bottle-cap-full of standing water. So hunting down standing water and draining it or treating it is a crucial first step in the pest control process.
Look around your yard or the area around your home. Do you see old buckets, tires, or other trash? All of that trash can hold pockets of standing water, so get rid of those. Even piles of leaves can collect life-giving water or serve as insect hatcheries. Also, look at any patio furniture or outdoor toys to see if they are holding water. Check your trash and recycling bins to make sure they are sealed shut and don’t have holes that let in rain. Your gutters are also a prime spot for standing water. Clogged gutters, or even just dirty gutters, can hold lots of standing water. It’s not a fun job, but it’s time to get a ladder and clean out those gutters. Make sure water is flowing freely and out the downspout. Also, check the bases of your downspouts to make sure water isn’t collecting there.
If you have water that you either can’t or don’t want to drain—for example, a birdbath—you can treat it. Your local hardware or home improvement store should carry insecticide tablets to treat standing water. The tablets contain bacteria that feed on insect larvae and are harmless to birds and mammals. Just make sure that what you are buying is non-toxic to larger animals before you buy.
Don’t Leave Out Food
After water, the most important thing every pest is looking for is food. So if you’re trying to keep pests away, don’t leave them a buffet dinner. Different pests eat different things, of course, but there are some common human items that attract lots of pests.
First, let’s talk about animal food. If you have pets, feed them indoors. If you have to feed them outside, take their food dish in as soon as they are done and carefully clean up any spills. And don’t store the food outdoors. Animal food should be stored in sealed plastic containers indoors. Again, if it must be kept outside, make sure it is in sealed thick plastic or metal containers. Many critters can chew through thin or even medium-weight plastic. So if you need to store food outdoors, go for the thickest, most pest-proof containers you can get.
The same is true of birdseed. Birdseed is attractive to more than just birds. Lots of animals love birdseed, so you need to keep it away from animals you don’t want congregating around your home. Hang bird feeders on metal poles that most critters can’t climb, not off of a tree branch or your eaves.
Secure Your Trash
Have you ever heard the saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Well, your trash is a gourmet meal to many pests. From raccoons and rats to bees and ants, the food and food residue in your trash cans can attract all kinds of pests. So if you want to keep your home pest-free this spring and summer, make sure that all of your food garbage is sealed in tightly-tied trash bags and kept in secure trash bins. Never leave trash bags, even sealed bags, outside of a bin. Ants can get into tightly-sealed bags, and rodents can chew right through them.
Seal Your Home
Critters outside are one thing, but critters inside are what you really want to avoid. To keep out pests, you need to seal your home. Small pests like ants, cockroaches, spiders, and termites can get into your home through even the smallest cracks. Mice can get into small holes, too. A mouse can squeeze through a hole as little as a dime.
Take a walk around your home and look for any cracks in the siding, walls, or foundation. You can use caulk to seal small cracks. For the sort of holes that a mouse could squeeze through, first fill the gap with steel wool, then fill it with caulk. The steel wool keeps mice from chewing through the caulk.
Clean Up Your Home
Pests don’t like to be out in the open. It leaves them exposed to predators. Instead, pests hide where they can stay warm and unseen. In particular, many pests find homes in trash or inside your walls. If you have a basement or an attic full of cardboard boxes, you are offering a safe, comfortable home to a wide variety of unwanted visitors, from bugs to rodents. Many pests will actually crawl or chew their way into your cardboard boxes to make a cozy nest. So if you can swap out your cardboard boxes for plastic bins, critters will have a harder time getting in. In general, the cleaner you can keep your storage spaces, the less opportunity there is for bugs, mice, and rats to find that perfect hiding spot.
It’s important to stay tidy outside your home, too. Piles of trash, yard waste, or even a stack of firewood make great homes for unwanted pests. As much as possible, keep unnecessary items from piling up around your home. Things that you want to keep, such as a woodpile, should be kept 20 feet from your home if possible.
Schedule an Inspection With a Local Pest Control Expert
The most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for the spring and summer pest season is to schedule an inspection with a local pest control expert. There are plenty of choices out there, so how do you know who to trust?
Luckily, you’ve already found your home for all the best, most reliable businesses in your area. TrustDALE takes the guesswork out of hiring professionals to work in your home. Dale investigates each company with a rigorous 7-point inspection to ensure they meet the high standards of the TrustDALE Circle of Excellence. You can find TrustDALE certified pest control experts in your area here.