Pest Prevention: Tips for Keeping the Bugs Away This Spring

Spring is finally creeping its way into existence and it couldn’t get here soon enough. Outside the flowers bloom, birds sing and new life starts everywhere around you. Among the pretty birds and local wildlife are also pests looking for a new beginning of their own. Could be deer eating your garden or termites eating your house, the Massachusetts and New Hampshire area is home to an array of buzzing, biting, pesky critter. During the winter most insects will hibernate, die or find themselves someplace warm to live in.

Because insects are dormant during most cold months of winter, spring is when most residential, commercial or industrial property owners realize that they may have a pest control problem. Sugar ants, carpenter ants, large black ants, winged ants or little black ants are usually the first bugs to reappear with rising temperatures. Other springtime pests include bees, wasps, spiders, crickets, mites and ticks. Fortunately, by incorporating preventative pest controls, you eliminate springtime insect populations from becoming infestations. Remember pest prevention and management go hand-in-hand and it’s much easier to prevent an infestation than it is to eliminate one.

Spot-checking your property

Walk around your property and look around for any cracks that create the perfect homes for wasps, bees, hornets or other insect nests. Holes in your lawn, mounds of dirt near wooded areas, standing water and general refuse will also need to be inspected and eliminated. Once done with your outdoors inspection venture through your home or business in search of similar telltale signs of infestation. Broken window screening, cracked window moldings, unattended pet food and even the gaps between your front door and the floor beneath it are neon welcome signs for possible infestation. Remember, insects must enter your home before they can pose a real pest control problem.

Prune Trees and Shrubs Away from Buildings

Every outdoors plant, tree or shrub you have is a bridge for insects to cross and gain entry to your home or business, so trim away from contact with windows and structures to limit accessibility. Pests are quite capable of surviving inside your home and avoiding detection just like they can avoid predators in nature, so you must limit access to avoid living with them. Maintaining a clear, plant-free zone around your home is an excellent habit for pest prevention and control.

Keep a Clean Kitchen and Pantry

For pests, an unkempt pantry is like a buffet line. If food packages are not completely sealed, pests will be happy to eat their fill. And even random crumbs can be enough to create the need for pest control. Ants are especially vigilant about food left in the open; sugar ants will discover a few spare grains of sugar in mere minutes. Therefore, wipe down your counters, clean out your cabinets and keep a clean floor. All of these household chores also double as excellent preventive pest control.

Tight-Fitting Lids on Trash Cans

Really, any area that commonly holds food will act as a magnet for pests. The trash can is a common weak point in pest prevention and control. As you run through your springtime pest control checklist, take a good look at your trash cans to ensure they have tight-fitting lids. Also, lining bins with garbage bags is a good routine for pest prevention and control; the bag acts as an extra layer of defense.

Move Firewood Away from Home

Firewood piles are attractive to pests such as termites. Indeed, to many insects, a stack of firewood acts as both shelter and food supply. To keep pulp-eating pests out of your home’s woodwork, move your firewood pile away from any buildings. Store it off the ground, if possible.

April showers bring May flowers, right?

Well, the warmth of spring also invites ants and other pests into your home, business, and yard. Which pests should you watch for? Be on the lookout for spiders, aphids, wasps, ants, fleas, ticks, and pantry pests such as Indian meal moths are some of the common pests seen in spring months.

What can you do?

  • Keep soil away from wood and siding to reduce pest access. If there must be wood to soil contact (on a porch or deck) use pressure-treated wood or material that is insect resistant.

  • Eliminate damp conditions, increase ventilation and replace decayed wood to manage carpenter ant issues and help prevent future infestations. Focus especially on cellars, crawl spaces and under dirt-filled porches.

  • Add crushed rock around flower and shrubbery beds instead of mulch to eliminate food and habitats for sow bugs, centipedes, millipedes and many other insects.

  • Keep gutters and roof lines in good repair and 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.

  • Seal openings at plumbing, electrical, and telephone line entrances to reduce access for carpenter ants, bees and wasps, and other pests.

  • Reduce plant coverage around the foundation - Remove leaves and other debris under decks, in window wells, and behind bushes to eliminate decaying organic matter that may provide food and habitat for sow bugs, centipedes and millipedes.

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