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Summer is on its way…Guess Who May be Coming to Dinner?

As the weather begins to warm, many homeowners will be spending the next couple of weekends attending to their late spring-cleaning tasks ahead of the warm summer season.  You may want to consider those hot spots throughout your home where pests may be attracted, enter and feast.  Many of these pests can move indoors without leaving many visible warning signs of an infestation.  Simple tasks like screening windows, proper landscaping, reducing moisture and general kitchen maintenance will likely minimize your pest problems.

Let’s take a stroll through your home and check on some specific things you can do to keep the ‘beasties’ down to a minimum.

Kitchen

Ants, among other common warm weather bugs, are known to infest kitchen spaces because this room provides easy access to food and water. They enter single file without concern for detection while searching for crumbs left behind from dinner, sticky residues from liquid spills and overripe fruit sitting out on the countertop. Although you may be diligent about daily clean-ups in the kitchen, there are still a few tasks you may wish to consider making this area less attractive to pests.

First, let’s attack the cabinets and pantry; everything out onto the counters. Review each item discarding those that are stale or outdated, like flour, grains and cereals.  Baking ingredients are a magnet for pantry pests, including various beetles, Indian meal moths and ants. Next, wipe down the inside of your cabinets and re-install fresh shelf paper. Remove your appliances from the wall and vacuum behind them.  Don’t forget the toaster, toaster oven and microwave…crumbs have a way of finding crevices not always noticed on a day-to-day basis.  Kitchen counters are a must; residues from cooking represent a lavish meal for pests.  Don’t forget the hood above the stove as oil deposits and splashes are commonplace.  And last but not least, it’s time to sanitize the floor.  Use a mild detergent (not just warm water) and spend some attention on the grout between tiles as food particles and debris lodge within these spaces and are often overlooked. It is important to remove any grease buildup as this can be a delicacy for ants and other pests.

Bathrooms

Many springtime and summer pests like cockroaches and silverfish are attracted to moisture, so they are commonly found in bathrooms. Eliminating sources of water in the bathroom is the single best way to prevent pest infestations, especially because these pests can only survive for one week without water. In addition to washing the shower curtain and liner, clean out the medicine cabinet as many liquids are sugar-based and highly attractive to pests. You’ll also need to check under the sink and around the tub and toilet to ensure there are no moisture issues from leaky pipes or faucets.  While in the tub, check the caulk around tiles; if there are gaps, seal with a water-repellant product.

Basement

Spiders, mice and other rodents among many other pests can seek a home in your basement.  The basement is conducive for harborage as it tends to be often dark and cluttered; a welcome mat for rodents setting up a clandestine home. While painstaking at times, review your stored items discarding clutter whenever possible.  Cardboard boxes are a haven for roaches; opt for plastic bins with secure lids.  Check the perimeter of the basement carefully and seal any gaps or crevices with a silicone-based caulk.  Remember that you are trying to exclude mice and other small insects that can enter your home through the size of a buttonhole or less. Pay special attention to the boiler room and washing machines.  If there are leaks or residual water, they are certain to attract pests; seal or repair as quickly as possible.  You may also have that spare refrigerator downstairs…make certain to clean it out as you would in the kitchen checking to make certain there are no leaks or residual water surrounding the appliance.

Outdoor Space – Backyard

Now it’s time to go outside and check the perimeter of the home.  Due a careful inspection checking for damage incurred over the winter. Starting with the roof, repair/replace any damaged or missing fascia and rotted roof shingles, as some insects are drawn to decaying wood. Clean out clogged gutters and leaders to ensure they are properly draining.  Check all windows for ripped or missing screens, damaged weather stripping and loose mortar around the foundation and windows.  Repair and replace, as necessary.

Onto the landscaping; trim bushes and branches away from touching the home as they can be a gateway for pests to gain entrance indoors.  Remove rotted tree stumps and keep mulch and other debris at least 15 inches away from the home’s foundation – both of which could be magnets for termites.  This includes any firewood you may have stacked against the home.

Take Home Lesson

No one said the spring and summers arrival was all daffodils and crocus.  Maintain an environment that promotes healthy living for you and your family by avoiding or removing those items conducive for pests.  It may also be a good time to have Millette Pest Control visit your home, conduct a thorough inspection and make certain you’re ready for a fun summer. If anything needs attention, proactive attention will surely be cost-effective and reduce the anxiety associated with pest issues that intensify over time.

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