We have a lot to look forward to as spring approaches in Illinois: More sunshine. Flowers blooming. Birds singing. New life seems to be popping up everywhere you look. Unfortunately, that rule also holds true for pests. Because many insects are dormant in the cold months of winter, spring is when many homeowners realize that they may have a problem with pests.
Typically ants are the first bugs to reappear as temperatures rise. They come marching into homes in search of food. Sugar ants, carpenter ants, large black ants, winged ants and little black ants are all commonly spotted by homeowners. Other springtime pests include bees, wasps, spiders, crickets, mites and beetles.
Fortunately, by following the tips outlined below, you can prevent springtime insect populations from booming in the first place. Being proactive will make it much easier to prevent a pest infestation than it is to battle a full-blown insect invasion.
Inspect Property for Stinging Insects
Tour your property looking for wasp and bee nests. Don’t forget to look in attics and outbuildings. Rafters and vents are favorite nesting grounds for these stinging insects. If you do discover a nest, call a professional pest control company. Removing these unwanted inhabitants is just too dangerous to do on your own.
Once your home is bee- and wasp-free, consider following up with annual pest prevention and control. Pest experts can recommend treatments to be applied along the roofline, on decks and in attics, and anywhere else wasps and bees tend to congregate.
Examine your Home’s Exterior
Take time to scour your home’s exterior, looking for cracks and holes in foundation or openings around windows. Ant pest control problems can usually be traced to tiny fissures around windows. Remember, insects must enter your home before they can pose a real pest control problem.
Seal any cracks you find. By eliminating any openings in your home’s periphery, you’re taking the first step in pest control. Ants are especially diligent about locating new entry points, so you may need to conduct this tour several times a year, resealing as you go.
Trim Trees and Shrubs Away from House
Think of plants as the bridges insects cross to enter your abode. If grass is growing right up against your foundation, insects are more likely to be present, as well. In addition to proximity, poorly placed plants can exacerbate pest problems by weakening the structural integrity of your home’s exterior.
Many residential pests are fully capable of surviving in nature as well as inside your home. For instance, sugar ants actually farm aphids in order to gather the sweet, honey-like substance they emit. Therefore, if any aphid-harboring plants are near your home’s exterior, chances are you’re in dire need of ant pest control. Maintaining a clear, plant-free zone around your home is an excellent habit for pest prevention and control.
Keep a Clean Kitchen and Pantry
For pests, an unkempt pantry is like a buffet line. If food packages are not completely sealed, pests will be happy to eat their fill. And even random crumbs can be enough to create the need for pest control. Ants are especially vigilant about food left in the open; sugar ants will discover a few spare grains of sugar in mere minutes. Therefore, wipe down your counters, clean out your cabinets and keep a clean floor. All of these household chores also double as excellent preventive pest control.
Tight-Fitting Lids on Trash Cans
Really, any area that commonly holds food will act as a magnet for pests. The trash can is a common weak point in pest prevention and control. As you run through your springtime pest control checklist, take a good look at your trash cans to ensure they have tight-fitting lids. Also, lining bins with garbage bags is a good routine for pest prevention and control; the bag acts as an extra layer of defense.
Move Firewood Away from Home
Firewood piles are attractive to pests such as termites. Indeed, to many insects, a stack of firewood acts as both shelter and food supply. To keep pulp-eating pests out of your home’s woodwork, move your firewood pile away from any buildings. Store it off the ground, if possible.