1. Remove standing water, fix leaks
Bugs enjoy hanging out in water. Any water sources close to the home will attract pests.
“Homeowners should address any roof leaks or other exterior leaks around the home as soon as possible,” says Vic Palermo, president and staff entomologist forUltra Safe Pest Management in Topsfield, Massachusetts. “Standing water in lawn furniture, plant containers and toys can become a breeding source for mosquitoes and harmful micro-organisms.”
Palermo adds that carpenter ants and termites can tunnel through moist wood, as can rodents and other animals.
Tip: Address any water sources before spring arrives. Palermo says this includes assessing any leaks around the home’s exterior.
One simple way to is by cleaning your gutters a couple times a year to ensure water flows properly. Tom Dieringer, owner of All Pest Control Company in Tigard, Oregon, says it’s also important to make sure the home drains properly and that all crawl spaces are dry.
2. Keep food where it belongs
Keeping food sources near your home’s exterior attracts insects. Palermo says this includes trash, bird seed, vegetables from gardens and pet foods.
Tip: Palermo recommends keeping bird feeders 100 feet away from your residence, pet food indoors and secured in a container and trash in closed containers. Consider adding fencing or netting around vegetable gardens.
“Common, every day items around a residential property can become active food sources for pests,” Palermo says.
3. Clean up that mess!
Yard debris, such as leaves and branches, can attract insects, especially ticks and biting and stinging insects, Palermo says.
Tip: Clean debris from your yard and also clean under decks, porches, basements and behind shutters.
“These dark, quiet spaces, if left unchecked, can become breeding ground of pest activity,” Palermo says.
4. Seal your home
Cracks and gaps in your home’s foundation are easy entryways for critters.
Tip: Use compound cement or caulk to fill the cracks, holes and gaps.
“Caulk all interior cracks and crevices versus only focusing on exterior openings and penetrations,” Dieringer says. “Employ window screens and close open doors even if the weather has turned nice.”
5. Treat the perimeter of your home
Spraying insecticide is a good line of defense against insects, as it will stop ants, box-elder bugs, Asian lady beetles, stink bugs, bed bugs and other invasive pests.
Tip: Generously spray pesticide around the perimeter of your home.