PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING
Hulett Environmental Services offers tips to help homeowners pest-proof their home
Spring is here and that means weekends throughout April will find homeowners opening windows, packing away the winter clothes and returning patio furniture outdoors. While partaking in these annual “spring cleaning” routines, Hulett Environmental Services is also encouraging people to add pest-proofing inside and outside of the home to their spring to-do lists.
“As the weather continues to warm, homeowners should expect to see increased activity from various insects such as ants, termites and cockroaches,” said Greg Rice at Hulett Environmental Services. “Taking preventive measures early in the spring season is the best approach to avoiding infestations and the subsequent health and property risks associated with these pests.”
Experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following steps homeowners can take to keep unwanted pests outside where they belong:
- Seal cracks and holes along the foundation of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Screen windows and doors.
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
- Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and on a raised structure such as concrete blocks or poles.
- Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
- Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
- Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects — typically found in the eaves under roofs.
If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit www.bugs.com
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The inside scoop on occasional invaders
Occasional invaders are pests that find their way into your home once in a while. They are typically looking for food, warmth, or just lost their way and stumbled into your home. Traditionally they are not disease-spreading pests and will not cause any kind of structural damage to your property.
Ladybugs, boxelder bugs, spiders, and cluster flies are all examples of this type of pests.
The good news about occasional invaders is that once they are inside they don’t reproduce or feed, but are just a nuisance with their presence. Some of these pests, like the ladybug, are actually beneficial pests! Remind yourself of this as you scoop them up from your windowsills during the winter months. Ladybugs feed on a wide range of insects making them a pest that you want to have around – just not INSIDE your home!
The best strategy for dealing with occasional invaders is preventing them from penetrating your home. However, once they are already inside, depending on your tolerance level you can remove small amounts of nuisance pests simply by vacuuming them up. If there are too many pests inside or if you have a lower pest tolerance, a pest control professional will be able to assist you in controlling your infestation. Just remember, if you vacuum them up you should remove the bag when finished. Seal it in a plastic bag and dispose of it with your normal garbage.
There are many steps homeowners can take to reduce the likelihood of occasional invaders:
- Keep all kitchen areas clean (including floors) and free of useless clutter. Kitchen appliances should be kept free of spills and crumbs. Clean shelves regularly and store foods such as cereal, flour, and dog food in resealable containers.
- Periodically sweep and vacuum floor areas in the kitchen, under furniture, and around dining areas.
- Keep garbage areas clean. Garbage should be stored in sealed containers and disposed of regularly.
- Seal cracks, crevices, and other gaps around doors and windows. Doors and windows should always be kept closed or well screened.
- Check pipes and pipe areas around the house for leaks, cracks and gaps and seal and patch any problems if necessary. Leaky faucets should also be fixed.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. If you have mold and mildew in your home or office crawlspace, it’s a symptom of an excess moisture problem.
- Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly. Insects have also been known to come in on potted plants and in luggage.
Insects and animals are amazing and they are incredibly fun to learn about in the classroom. It’s when they come indoors—into our homes and schools— that they can become pests. Some pests are simply nuisances, while others including rodents, ants, termites, cockroaches, stinging insects and ticks can become dangerous health threats and destroy our property.
PestWorldForKids.org and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) want to spread the word about the importance of protecting our health and property from household pests and we need your help! Using the Pest PSA lesson plan, students enrolled in grades 4-8 can create educational television public service announcements discussing the health risks posed by household pests.
Entries can focus on a single pest—i.e. cockroaches trigger asthma attacks, spread Salmonella and 33 different parasites, etc. Or, the TV PSA can focus on several pests such as rodents (contaminate food), mosquitoes (West Nile virus) and ticks (Lyme Disease). Videos can be up to 60 seconds in length.
Enter now for a chance to win $3,000 for your school!