Protecting your home from creepy crawlies is a year-round job. Each season brings its own unique set of elements to contend with, and along with them, their specially tailored assortment of pests.
While they are impossible to avoid all together, there are strategies homeowners can use to ward off the majority of these unwanted visitors. Here is a list of tactics to fortify your property against each season’s signature pests:
Springtime: Rain, Rain, Brings the Pain
Spring is a time for renewal and growth, but unfortunately, this is true across all living things, including the most annoying ones. Mosquitoes quickly multiply once the weather warms and their eggs begin to hatch. As they require temperatures between roughly 50 and 95 degrees, the higher temps of April and May welcome the first broods.
The added precipitation of springtime provides an optimal breeding ground for these painful little pests, as well. Females prefer to lay their eggs in standing water, so ridding your property of areas where rainfall can collect is important when limiting populations. Consider adding smaller decorative stone to depressions in the landscape to help water filter into the ground or contact a landscaping company to tackle problem areas. Avoid slow-moving and still water features or bird baths were mosquitoes love to congregate.
This is also the time where ants begin to hunt for food, so expect to see more of them trying to get inside. Deploying ant traps once spring hits is a great way to ward off an infestation. Earwigs are another bothersome bug that enjoys an indoor visit. As they feed off decaying organic material, keeping your yard free of wood or leaf piles and dead vegetation is key. Additionally, making sure water properly drains away from the house to prevent unnecessary moisture is a good idea. These tactics will also help deter termites as they thrive in damp environments where wood is present.
Tent worms are another situation that often needs remedied. While a few caterpillars do little harm, larger colonies can destroy the deciduous trees on your property. To stop them before they get started, scrape the egg nests from the tree trunks in early spring before they hatch. Then, discard the eggs in soapy water before disposing of them to ensure they do not survive. For more ideas, check out Planet Natural’s additional list of suggestions.
Summer: Summon the Bees & Biters
With summer comes the onslaught of biters. Black flies, mosquitoes, spiders and all types of flying, stinging insects start to swarm. One of the most effective ways to keep numbers down is to invest in a monthly pest control service that hones in on specific nuisances in your area. For a more affordable approach, pick up insecticide spray at your local hardware or big box store instead. One monthly application around the base of your home and along windows and doors is typically enough to help control numbers throughout the summer season.
Tick activity also ramps up as the weather warms. These tiny blood-suckers love to catch a ride on pets and people whenever possible, easily latching on and sneaking inside. Spray yourself down with a preventative product before setting off into the woods or long grass, and do a full body check upon your return, removing jackets or shoes before entering the house. Maintaining well-trimmed grass and green areas around your home also helps minimize the problem.
Bugs aren’t the only bothersome creatures with a knack for home invasion. Be on the lookout for bats, as well. These flying rodents often follow the cool air currents from air conditioning to try to find their way out of the heat when summer temps hit their high. Making sure your home is well-sealed and free from cracks and openings is the best way to combat these pests.
Fall: Offsetting the Autumn Breeze
When the chill of fall descends, creatures start their search for shelter, and unfortunately, that typically means your house. Spiders are known for this behavior as autumn beckons these bugs to head indoors. Applying a round of insecticide in late summer will create a barrier to keep numbers down. Stink bugs try to sneak in during this time, too, and while they are resistant to most insecticides, there are alternative ways to keep them at bay.
Fleas are another annoyance that can become a larger problem in the fall. Those with pets should use a routine flea and tick medication to ensure their pet is protected at all times, discouraging these tiny biters from taking residence in your home. Rodents looking for a place to nest are also happy to bunk up in attic or crawl spaces. Again, checking your property for cracks or small holes and then properly sealing them is one of the best ways to block these invaders.
Winter: Welcomes Unwanted Visitors
Rodents are persistent. Mice in search of food or a warm, safe nook for their nest will take any opportunity they’re given. The arrival of winter increases their efforts, and oftentimes, these little rodents finally find success. Garages, barns, and storage sheds are easy targets, so protect these buildings (and your belongings) with an assortment of traps.
Roaches cannot withstand the cold, so the continued drop in temperature sends them fleeing through whatever tiny crevices they can find around your home. They require dark, damp areas, so controlling moisture levels in and around your property is a great step, while limiting food sources is another. Roaches will feed on nearly anything, but keeping a clean kitchen and making certain all trash is properly stored are two ways to help. Additionally, cardboard boxes should be disposed of as they allow comfy spots for these bugs to hide and breed.
There are lots of ways to keep common household pests out of your home, but the best ways by far are vigilance and prevention. Whatever the season, eliminating food sources, ensuring your home is properly sealed, and utilizing regularly applied insecticides and traps are the key measures you can take to prep your home despite the elements.