Keep gutters free of debris and downspouts unclogged. A good time of the year is after the fall when the majority of tree and shrub leaves have fallen. By keeping them cleared you are also preventing water from overflowing, causing damage to the eaves and soffits. Splash blocks placed at the base of all downspouts will divert water away from your foundation. All leaks must be addressed immediately. Keeping all sources of moisture away from your foundation will reduce your chance of attracting insects. This includes pipes, roofs and even leaky tub and shower enclosures. The moisture will attract insects and if not taken care of in a timely manner, will eventually cause damp rot. All cracks, holes and crevices need to be sealed. Around pipes, utility entrances, dryer vents, wiring, heat pumps, outdoor faucets, tub and shower faucets and foundations are areas to be watchful of. Keep your garage door closed when possible to aid in preventing rodents, birds and wildlife from entering and making themselves a new home. Keeping this area clean will help to limit attracting them and providing places of harborage.
Any earth-to-wood contact must be corrected. The contact encourages moisture to accumulate within the wood, which in turn attracts insects. Pressure treated wood reduces that possibility. Either replace the earth-to-wood contact with pressure treated wood or make sure that the wood is mounted on a concrete block. Repair any decaying exterior or interior wood.
SUBAREAS & FOUNDATIONS
Keep your subarea free of debris. Make sure all foundation forms are discarded and remove any debris that can be raked. Keep crawlspaces and basements well ventilated and dry. Keep foundation vents screened and open at all times, even throughout the winter. Their purpose is to reduce moisture levels by airflow throughout the subarea. When closed moisture levels increase. The theory that closing them will reduce the cold and increase the warmth of your home is false. Think about it; isn't there more moisture in the air during the damp winter months? A vapour barrier should be installed in your subarea. It must be 6 mil black plastic, covering all exposed ground to prevent the moisture level of the soil from reaching the timbers of your substructure. This will help in avoiding ants and beetles.
All pet foods must be kept in a sealed plastic container. It is helpful if a limited amount of food over a limited amount of time is provided for pets rather than left out to share with pests. Inspect packages when you bring them home from any store. Insects can be missed in intial inspection and ride along sometimes. This is especially true for produce. If you are a traveler, when you arrive back home inspect your luggage inside and out to be sure that you do not have any hitchhiker pests brought into your home.
If financially feasible, remove all Railroad Ties. Carpenter Ants love RR ties. The ideal situation is to never have these in your landscape. There are other alternatives, which might be more expensive initially, but a better environment to prevent ants, other insects and rodents. Watch all stumps on your property for insect infestation. The best scenario would be to eliminate them, but that can be pretty costly. Woodpiles must be stored away from your home and kept off the ground. Insects harbor within the wood and then they can transfer into your home. Trees, shrubs and all vegetation should be trimmed back from your home. This also includes cutting back all tree branches overhanging your roof. It can become a major highway into your home. Most call-backs have been to homes with vegetation in contact with siding or branches overhanging roofs. Ants can bypass the chemical barrier by using the trees and shrubs for entry. Ants just drop themselves off and make themselves at home. You have just then rolled out the 'Welcome Mat'! All soil and mulch must be kept clear from your foundation. Not only do insects enter your home that way, but the moisture from these will eventually damage your sill plate and siding, causing damp rot. Once damp rot happens insects infest and over time you are probably going to face an expensive repair. All garbage and recycling bins must be well sealed to prevent rodent entry. Keep them emptied frequently. Keep your windows properly screened and sealed around the window frame. This will aid in preventing insect entry during the summer months. Remove old tires which hold standing water. This is an ideal situation that encourages the breeding of insects like mosquitoes. Keep in mind that we do not spray for mosquitoes, so do your part in helping reduce the source of breeding.
Many pests go into an inanimate state during the colder months but not all activity stops. In fact, for many people, winter brings out a variety of pest problems.Rodents are extremely busy during the winter. Mice are the #1 pest problem when the temperature dips. The average female will have 4-8 pups per litter and will go into heat just weeks after giving birth. It is not hard to imagine a female having 40-50 offspring in just one year. Rats become a major problem on farms and in inner-city settings during this time.Ants varieties such as Pavement, Odorous House and Pharaoh are seen in many homes with slab foundations. They will come up from the pea-gravel searching for food and water even during the coldest months.Silverfish love warm, humid temperatures. So despite the fact that it could be 10-degrees outside, silverfish will be thriving in bathrooms or where there are hot-water pipes.Spiders are a problem year-round for any client living near a lake, forest preserve or wooded areas.
As Winter lets go of his icy grip, many pests will “wake up” out of their deep inanimate slumber and make themselves a nuisance.Flies can be seen in many homes during April and May. Flies will overwinter in attics or wall voids and will be one of the first pests you will see, even as early as mid-March.Ants love the spring. Carpenter Ants especially will make themselves known as they forage for food looking for any type of food to eat. They especially will be attracted to sweet-tasting food. Single-cone wasps will show up as early as May if the temperatures outside are constantly in the 50's or 60's. The pregnant queens will find a nice location, such as an eave or soffit to begin building their nest.Box Elder bugs and Asian Lady beetles are also waking up. They will overwinter under door stoops, under the bark of trees, in your attic or behind shutters. When there is approximately 12 hours of sunlight per day with mild conditions you will see them emerge. They will be busy laying eggs until June and then you won’t see too many of them until the fall.
Summer is the peak season for many pests. Single-cone wasps will show up in large numbers in June, baldfaced hornets in July (large cone-shaped nests in trees) and yellow jackets in August. Honey bees can be a nuisance any-time during the summer but they are not as common as the aforementioned stinging pests.Carpenter ants will be out in great numbers foraging for food or looking for new nesting sites.Mosquitoes will start in June (May if it’s warm for long stretches) and will be active through the end of September.Spiders can be a nightmare for residents living in rural areas.Clover mites will start out as blood-red dots on your door stoops, windows, siding, etc., and will turn a dark green as they feed on vegetation.Millipedes, pill bugs and earwigs will turn up in large numbers starting in May, hitting their peak in June and July. Earwigs will be a problem until it snows.
As the temperatures cool, many pests will look to move indoors or find other shelter.Box Elder bugs and Asian Lady beetles are the most common pest in September and October.Yellow jackets are very aggressive in September as the number of wasps looking for food becomes quite large.Spiders will follow their food sources indoors.Mice will become more noticeable in October and November.Flies can be seen throughout a person’s home but especially on the 2nd floor.