8 spring/summer pest prevention tips

By Jennifer Noble | May 16, 2018

As winter gives way to warmer weather, pests become more active. Insects that were hiding in safe places come out to feed, find mates and lay their eggs. They also find their way into your home and make your life miserable.

Common home invaders include ants, crickets, and stink bugs. These pests get indoors through holes in screens, tiny openings in your home's exterior or gaps around doors and windows.

Insects are more than just a nuisance. They can contaminate food, damage your belongings and generally make life unpleasant.

More Than a Nuisance

Crickets feast on fabrics and textiles, chewing holes in your favorite clothing. Their late-night chirping can interfere with sleep – and attract other crickets.

Stink bugs like to look for shelter in your home. The most troublesome ones are Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. These shield-shaped creatures often slip in under doors and windows. They get their name from the foul smell they give off when crushed or disturbed.

Ants come in search of food. When they find it, they tell all their friends. The result can be an endless stream of tiny bugs under doors, through gaps in countertops and into your cabinets. There are many kinds of ants, from tiny ants that prefer sugar to large carpenter ants that tunnel into wood. All ants search for food to take back to their colony, which makes them one of the most common household pests.

The good news is that you don't need to hire a contractor just to keep the bugs out. There are simple things you can do to make your home uninviting to pests – without breaking the bank.

8 Easy Ways to Keep Pests Away

  • Install door sweeps. The gap under your front (or back) door creates an easy entry point for bugs. A door sweep blocks this opening, stopping pests and energy loss.

  • Add weather stripping to windows. Windows can warp and loosen over time. Weather stripping is designed to prevent drafts, but it also keeps out insect intruders.

  • Inspect the outside of your home for loose siding and trim. Replace any damaged materials. Caulk any openings you find.

  • Check entry points for utilities. Phone and cable lines should be surrounded with plastic collars to keep out weather and insects. Outdoor water faucets or air conditioning links are also common weak spots. If you find any gaps, seal them with caulk.

  • Keep plants and shrubs away from the house. Insects can easily crawl from the bushes onto your home, when the can wander around until they find their way inside. Trim overgrown plants and leave a gap between bark mulch and your home's foundation. For added protection, use stone or gravel mulch close to the house.

  • Don't leave food out for pets. It might feel good to know that your dog or cat can have a snack whenever it wants. Unfortunately, this give bugs the same opportunity. Stick to regular feeding times, and wash the bowl afterwards.

  • Store dry foods in airtight containers. This doesn't just preserve freshness. It also makes it harder for pests to find a meal. Don't forget the pet food, though. A bag of dry kibble is no match for the food-seeking talents of hungry ants.

  • Use baits and repellents to control pests that manage to get inside. Repellents are ideal for keeping bugs away. Baits work differently. Put baits where the pests go. They'll grab a snack to take back to the nest. This gradually kills off the colony.

Pest Prevention Doesn't Have to Break the Bank

You don't need expensive gadgets or costly services to keep bugs away. Just a few tools and some basic supplies are all it takes to close the openings insects use to get inside.

Commercial ant baits and repellents are available, but you might be surprised to find out how many ant-busting things are in your pantry right now. Common and safe household cleaners can be used as baits. Herbs and spices that you and your family enjoy repel ants.

Don't let warm weather intruders bug you. Make summer pest prevention a weekend project at your house.


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