Thursday, 04 April 2013 14:35

As Warmer Weather Returns, So Do Common Pests and Insects

By Staff Report | Home & Garden

How to Avoid the Arrival of Annoying Pests

SARATOGA COUNTY — It seems that the warmer temperatures that have been evading upstate New York all spring (despite what the groundhog said in February) are at long last approaching. Blue skies, sunrays and growing greenery are all a sight to be welcomed—but they go hand in hand with the common household pests and insects that are returning along with the warm weather. 

Though the imminent approach of certain pests is inevitable, there are some things you can do to prevent them from infesting your home or business. 

Examine Your Home’s Exterior

Look around your home or office building for cracks or holes in the foundation and near any windows. This is especially a great way for ants to enter your home, so it’s best to seal any and all cracks possible before the infestation takes over the building. Look extra closely at plumbing and electrical openings and make sure they are sealed to reduce the access of ants, bees, wasps and other pets.

Reduce Plant Coverage Close to the Home

If grass is growing right up against your foundation, insects are more likely to be present, as well. In addition to proximity, poorly placed plants can exacerbate pest problems by weakening the structural integrity of your home’s exterior.

Many residential pests are fully capable of surviving in nature as well as inside your home, so make sure to reduce plant coverage as much as possible around the foundation. Remove leaves and other debris under decks, in window wells, and behind bushes to eliminate any decay that may provide food and habitat for sow bugs, centipedes and millipedes.  Sugar ants are naturally attracted to aphid plants due to the sweet substance they emit. Therefore, if any aphid-harboring plants are near your home’s exterior, chances are you’re going to need some ant pest control. Maintaining a clear, plant-free zone around your home is an excellent habit for pest prevention and control. 

Get Rid of the Firewood

Firewood piles are attractive to pests such as termites—to many insects, a stack of firewood acts as both shelter and food supply. To keep pests out of your home’s woodwork, make sure you move your firewood pile away from any buildings and store it up high or off the ground, if possible. Also make sure to replace any decayed wood to manage possible carpenter ant issues and help prevent future infestations. 

Keep gutters and roof lines free of debris to reduce wood rot. This reduces breeding areas for wood-destroying insects such as carpenter ants, termites, bees and beetles. Satellite carpenter ant colonies are usually in areas of moisture damaged wood.

Eliminate any other damp conditions around the house and try to increase ventilation if possible. Focus especially on cellars, crawl spaces and under dirt-filled porches.

Search for Stinging Insects’ Nests

Look around your property for any wasp or bee nests, including attics and outbuildings. Rafters and vents are favorite nesting grounds for these stinging insects. If you do discover a nest, call a professional pest control company—removing these unwanted inhabitants is just too dangerous to do on your own.

Once your home is bee-free and wasp-free, consider following up with annual pest prevention and control. Pest experts can recommend treatments to be applied along the roofline, on decks and in attics, and anywhere else wasps and bees tend to congregate.

Clean Up Leftover Food 

If food packages are not completely sealed, pests will be happy to eat their fill—even random crumbs can attract ants and other pests. Ants are especially vigilant about food left in the open; sugar ants can discover a few spare grains of sugar in mere minutes. To avoid an ant infestation in the kitchen, wipe down your counters, clean out your cabinets and keep a clean floor as often as possible. You can also vacuum all furniture and wipe down all jars in the pantry. Jams and jellies are especially common pest attractors because of their sweetness. Additionally, you’ll want to vacuum under the stove and sink often, as crumbs often wind up there. Don’t forget to clean and vacuum around your pets’ bowls and feeding areas.

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