Summertime is great, but as for the many pests it brings? Not so much. Because the warmer months bring so many creatures out of hibernation, homeowners across the country often see a spike in pest activity during summer.
Here are some of the most common summer pests, along with strategies to prevent their entry into your home and ideas to get rid of them once and for all.
How to Repel Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, they can transmit diseases like the Zika virus. Preventing them from getting inside starts in the yard — you’ll want to make it as undesirable to insects as possible.
Regularly check for sources of standing water: Stagnant water can provide a place for mosquitoes to lay eggs (and provide nourishment to other insects in general). Look anywhere that water could have accumulated from a summer rainfall.
Remove bird baths: Birdbaths will tend to work against your cause, but if you have one, empty it out and scrub it with a brush at least once every few days. Refreshing the water regularly means eliminating any mosquito eggs before they have the chance to hatch. You can also add an aerator or other rippling effects to create an unstable surface that mosquitoes can’t land on, but won’t affect the birds.
Ensure windows are secure: Make sure windows and doors are well-insulated, repairing torn screen if necessary, to keep mosquitoes and other insects from getting inside. If you’ve been noticing consistent indoor pest problems, search all around the house for cracks, gaps, or holes and seal them accordingly. The entire family should also make a conscious effort to limit the number of time doors are left open while they come in and out of the house — the less opportunity for the bugs, the better!
For persistent problems, reach out to Clements to learn more about our Mosquito Control Misting Systems and Event Sprays.
Keeping Ants Away
Extra strong sealing: Proper sealing around the exterior of your house is your strongest line of defense against ants, which can squeeze through all kinds of tiny crevices. Foam or caulk is often enough to keep even the tiniest of ants out.
Eliminate ant-temptations: Get rid of as many temptations around the outside of your home, as well; don’t leave half-empty soda cans out overnight, and keep food covered during summer barbecues and parties. If ants find food, they leave a scent trail for their friends to find, and the problem can escalate more quickly than you’d expect.
Seek natural remedies for small issues: There are all kinds of natural remedies that can not only prevent ants from entering your home in the first place but help address an existing problem. Lemon juice, cinnamon (in both powder and oil form), and peppermint oil can all help destroy the scent path left by ants, halting their entry into your home.
Shooing Away Fruit Flies and House Flies
Keep doors and windows closed: Keeping an eye on open doors and windows is perhaps the most effective way to keep flies from entering your home. Repair any torn screening, and if you have air conditioner units (instead of central air), make sure they are securely insulated all around. Natural repellants can be made from just about anything, including household herbs, essential oils, vinegar, lemon juice, and even pennies.
Reduce sources of attraction: Don’t keep ripened fruit or vegetables outside of the refrigerator. Keep garbage cans clean and thoroughly clean anything you put into recycling containers. Avoid leaving out juice, wine, and sugary beverages.
Getting Rid of Silverfish
Declutter: Decluttering your home and garage is a great first step in preventing silverfish, especially when it comes to old cardboard, newspapers, and stacks of mail. If you have any clothes in storage, keep them in a cool, dry place in sealed containers.
Reduce moisture buildup: Keep the house well-ventilated throughout the year — especially in bathrooms, basements, and attics. Additionally, clear the perimeter of your house of excess debris like leaves and branches to eliminate potential sources of moisture and insect shelter.
Avoiding Fleas and Ticks
Use repellent: First, make sure each person wears insect repellent before going outside for long periods of time, especially if you’ll be in wooded areas. Avoid interacting with any animals you aren’t familiar with, including strays, that could be carrying fleas, ticks (which may carry Lyme disease), or other parasites. Also, treat your dog with flea and tick repellent too!
Check yourself: When returning from time outside, check yourself, your family, and your pets for ticks. Inspect your clothing, shoes, and hats first, then look carefully through hair, in and around ears, under arms and behind your knees. Check especially small crevices, including the inside of belly buttons.
Shower quickly after outdoors: Shower within two hours of coming inside to make sure you wash off anything you could’ve missed, even re-checking areas to be sure you’re clear. Remove any ticks you do find with tweezers, pulling them straight up in a steady motion. Clean the area afterward with soap and water, iodine, or rubbing alcohol, and visit a doctor right away if you develop a rash or fever within a month of the bite.
Keep the house clean: A thorough cleaning is an important step in getting rid of fleas no matter how serious the problem. Vacuum all carpets, rugs, curtains, and furniture, and immediately discard the bag outside. Wash affected clothing and fabrics in hot water and dry in the hottest settings (take note of any items that might need special care). Keep in mind that if your pet(s) brought in the fleas, they’ll likely be spread all around the house, quite literally anywhere the affected pet has entered. Keep a lookout for bites and scratching for the next few weeks, and seek a professional if the problem persists.
Getting Rid of Roaches
Cleaning and home maintenance: In addition to sealing up potential points of entry for roaches, conscious cleaning and home maintenance are key to keeping them out.
Keep garbage controlled and taken out regularly: Some items are better off taken straight to an outside garbage can (like the packaging from raw meat that can quickly become odorous) or composted (like eggshells and vegetable scraps). Wipe down surfaces where you prepare food on a daily basis, especially after cooking. All food should be kept in secure containers, ideally in pantries or cabinets that are free of food particles and debris.
Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink: Also, make sure to thoroughly rinse them before placing them in the dishwasher — cockroaches can get in there more easily than you might think!
Eliminate all sources of standing water and messes: Whether it’s a pot soaking in the sink or a clogged shower drain – it’s got to go. Make sure your children’s and pet’s play areas, both inside and outside, are kept clean and tidy. Vacuum regularly, and if you have children or other messy eaters, be especially thorough with cleaning the pockets and crevices of your couch and dining chairs.
Say Goodbye to ‘Stinging’ Insects — Bees, hornets, and wasps
Unfortunately, your beautiful garden is what will make the most impact in attracting stinging insects to your yard.
Reduce the number of flowers and trees: If anyone in your family has insect allergies (or if you even suspect someone might), limit the number of fragrant plants and trees in your yard, as well as bright flowers that will attract bees.
If you discover you have a wasp and/or hornet problem, you can use a homemade repellent around your porch and outdoor seating to deter them.
Don’t let summertime pests kill your buzz — prevent what you can and address problems quickly so you can get back to enjoying the sunshine!
Source: Redfin.com (in association with Clements)