It’s that time of year again! All of the creepy crawlies and furry scavengers are ready to come out of hibernation. Just like you, they enjoy the warm spring air. Nothing is more frustrating than walking into your clean kitchen and seeing a counter full of ants or doing your yard work and noticing some sharp toothed vermin has chewed through your porch. For pet owners or the environmentally conscious homeowner, chemicals aren’t an option. Here are four ways to help you prevent these critters from making your home theirs – and none of them involve harsh chemicals!
Most homeowners love that moment when they can throw open a window and enjoy the fresh spring air. Winter is over and the joy of spring is in the air, but so are the pests. While opening your windows can ease your energy bill, if your screens aren’t in excellent condition you might be paying a heavier price. Screens are a form of last defense from many pests and the slightest tear or hole can be an open door. If your screens aren’t in the best condition, then almost any other form of pest control will be for naught. Some repairs can easily be done by you. Use a screwdriver or scissors to carefully push any broken wires back into place. A clever hack to repair small holes is a coat of household cement or clear nail polish to seal the holes and prevent pest entry. If the screen has simply come loose along one side or corner, use staples or a splining tool to reattach it to the frame.
Birds, and even bats, can be your best friends. Birds and bats live off small insects. They love to eat wasps, flies, spiders, mosquitoes and even scorpions. Larger birds, like owls, will help keep mice, rats, and raccoons away from your home or garden. You might be hesitant to encourage bats in your yard, despite their ability to help control insect populations. There is a natural fear of disease, but bats sleep during the day and only fly at night. As you’re sleeping they’ll be hard at work getting rid of bugs before they can crawl their way into your home. Also, bats are more afraid of you than you are of them. Encourage more bird activity in your yard with a simple bird bath or bird feeder… and encourage bats by installing a bat house or roost in your yard!
One of the more popular nesting places for animals and bugs is your gutters. Gutters, of course, catch water and if they clog it will become a trough for animals. Mosquitoes love to lay their eggs in stagnant water and rodents are always looking for fresh drinking water. Rodents can chew into drywall, gnaw on important wires, and fill your home with droppings. From carpenter ants to termites and potato bugs, there are a wide variety of material-eating insects that you want nowhere near your home. Wasps’ nests, mosquitoes and spiders can threaten your family’s safety and provide a serious scare too. Consistently clean gutters will prevent any unwanted pests from making your life miserable. Unobstructed, free-flowing gutters will wash away any pests that are trying to settle in.
Landscaping and Home Maintenance
The best way to discourage pests is to make your house and garden inaccessible. The best way to do this is to have a well maintained yard or landscape. Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring someone to do it for you, here are some guidelines for a landscape that will keep the pests away.
- Cut back overhanging tree branches and brush so critters can’t get onto the roof. If pests don’t have a path of entry, they won’t get it in.
- For those with chimneys, make sure your cap is in working order. Chimneys make for a great home.
- Remove moisture-wicking soil and mulch away from the window frames and low wood. Insects and small pests are looking for a cool wet place to live in the coming summer months.
- Plant citronella grass or other pest repelling plants in your garden.
There are obviously other ways to get rid of pests, but a lot of those involve chemical pesticides and lethal animal traps – not always ideal for the health conscious pacifist. What are some interesting ways you’ve found to rid your humble abode from pests?