The weather is getting better. Flowers are blooming. Nature has once again announced herself – and so have many bugs and pests.
In spring, sanitation is key. It’s time to do a little extra cleaning inside and outside your home. Eliminate opportunities for nesting outside, like piles of lumber, bricks, and other yard debris. And reduce your clutter inside by storing clothing in plastic bags. Below are several bad guys to look out for.
The Argentine ant can be nearly impossible to eliminate completely, but regular treatments will help keep ants from entering the home. Here are some tips for limiting ant infestations:
- Keep landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
- Ensure that the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
- Seal cracks in the home’s exterior.
- Keep tree and shrub branches trimmed so that they are not touching the home.
- Avoid landscaping with plants that are prone to aphids or similar insects, and treat such plants for aphids regularly.
Sanitation is very important in reducing brown widow spiders around the home. Reduce clutter, and routinely use a vacuum cleaner inside the home and garage to remove spiders, egg sacs, and webbing. When finished, remove the vacuum bag and place in a sealed plastic bag for disposal. Potential hiding places – such as firewood, unused pots, building materials, and other debris – should be moved away from the structure of the home or disposed of. Any cracks, holes, or spaces around windows and doors should be sealed.
Carpenter ant control involves tracking down and treating satellite colonies inside and outside the home as well as finding and treating the parent colony. Accessing the parent colony may be difficult as it could be located in a tree or on a neighboring property. If conditions on your property create a high risk for carpenter ants, your Terminix service professional may recommend regular service to stop new infestations.
These tips will help you limit carpenter ant infestation:
- Store any firewood away from your home, and remove any dead wood or wood scraps from around the foundation.
- Trim dead limbs from trees and remove stumps, as these are potential nesting sites.
- Make sure that all plumbing or roof leaks are sealed, and check crawl spaces for excess moisture.
- Direct water from rain gutters away from your home and ensure that it does not accumulate near the foundation.
Obviously, regular pet grooming is critical to minimizing flea infestations. For this reason, customers need to keep pets groomed and treated with on-animal flea control products, under the direction of a veterinarian.
In homes that have an active flea infestation, a residual treatment combined with an insect growth regulator should be applied. Your Terminix professional can take care of this for you. Efforts should be focused on the areas where pets rest or sleep, as these are the sites where most fleas will be located. Outside, treatment should be applied to shaded areas and beneath shrubs and decks where pets rest or sleep.
Flea treatment will be most effective if the home is prepared in advance by completing the following steps:
- Remove all items, such as toys, clothes, and pet food from the floors.
- Remove all items from under beds and the bottom of closets.
- Wash or replace pet bedding.
- Vacuum all carpets and rugs thoroughly, including beneath beds and upholstered furniture.
- Clean all wood, tile, and linoleum floors by sweeping and mopping.
- Clean concrete floors with soap and water in the garage, basement, or enclosed patio where pets rest or stay.
- Remove all pets, including birds and reptiles.
- Cover fish tanks with a damp towel, and turn off the air pump.
- Replace any pet bedding outdoors, and make all shaded areas and crawl spaces are available for treatment.
- Arrange to be out of the home for several hours until the treatment has thoroughly dried.
Because of the health threat posed by fire ants, it’s important to take steps to control the ants around the home and in the yard. Over-the-counter fire ant baits can be effective if properly used, but regular applications are necessary because the ants readily reinvade from neighboring properties. Your Terminix professional can also provide fire ant services.
Here are some tips for dealing with house spiders:
- Regularly remove any webs from inside the home.
- Seal up cracks around windows and doors to help keep spiders out.
- Switch exterior lights to the yellow “bug” lightbulbs to attract fewer flying insects on which spiders feed.
- Treat exterior spider nesting sites to reduce the numbers of spiders as part of an overall pest management program.
Professional treatment, sealing cracks and holes, and removing breeding material should greatly reduce the numbers of millipedes, but repeat treatments may be necessary due to millipede migrations.
The following actions will help control millipedes:
- Reduce potential breeding sites and harborages near the home.
- Keep mulch and heavy vegetation, such as ivy, away from the foundation.
- Seal cracks and holes in the home’s exterior to keep millipedes from entering.
- Determine the area where millipedes are originating and remove the material, like leaf litter or mulch, in which they are breeding.
The best way to control smoky brown cockroaches is to find the source and treat it directly, usually with a cockroach bait product. To keep cockroaches from invading, follow these tips:
- Ensure that the attic or crawl space has sufficient ventilation, as this creates an unsuitable environment for cockroaches.
- Make sure all foundation and attic vents are equipped with tight-fitting screens.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home.
- Do not allow pet food to sit out overnight.
- Store firewood as far from the house as possible, locating it off the ground and covering it with a tarp or plastic.
- Eliminate piles of lumber and debris where cockroaches could harbor.
The best approach for controlling wolf spiders is to use sticky traps to capture spiders that may have entered the home. Keeping sticky traps behind furniture, to either side of exterior doors, and in the garage is an excellent way to intercept most spiders. Steps that should be taken to prevent new spiders from entering include:
- Remove or limit heavy ground-covering vegetation near the building.
- Seal cracks and holes in the building’s exterior.
- Install tight-fitting screens on all attic and foundation vents.
- Seal holes around pipes indoors to prevent spiders from entering the living spaces by following plumbing lines in basements and crawl spaces.
Where wolf spider invasions are persistent, your Terminix professional should be consulted to conduct a thorough inspection and recommend possible treatments.