- Pamela Punzalan
How to Stop Bugs from Ruining Your Summer
With warmer weather arriving, you may be getting ready for outdoor get-togethers, alfresco dining, and gardening. However, the increase in temperature can also increase the number of bugs in and around your house. Say goodbye to these nuisances by using these tips to make your home a pest-free zone.
Inside Your Home
Depending on how you feel about bugs, the experience of finding them in your home can range from annoying to downright frightening. Use these tips to help evict them.
Close off entry points
The first step to eliminating bugs from your home is to stop them from getting inside in the first place. Start by filling any cracks or holes you find in your foundation with a vinyl concrete patcher, repairing holes in your siding with silicone caulk, and filling gaps around pipes with steel wool. If you notice holes in your windows or door screens, repair the holes before leaving them open regularly. While weatherstripping and door sweeps are excellent ways to keep out drafts, they can also block bugs from entering your home.
Clean your kitchen
Ants, beetles, and moths can all invade your kitchen searching for food. Be sure to keep your food stored in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers and purchase smaller packages of food that you’ll be able to finish quickly. Don’t forget about your pet’s food, as many bugs will indulge if given a chance, and remove any pet food before heading to bed. Clean spills immediately, wipe down your counters and shelves regularly, and sweep and vacuum your floors weekly to remove any food crumbs. Also, if you recycle, thoroughly rinse any items you’re putting into the recycling bin, and keep the bin outside your home or in your garage. If you have fruit flies in your kitchen, you can create a DIY trap by placing a mixture of apple cider vinegar and a small amount of dish soap in a Mason jar, covering the top with plastic wrap, and punching a few holes into the plastic. The flies will be attracted to the vinegar but won’t be able to escape once inside.
Dry up damp areas
Moisture can also attract insects to your home, and some bugs, such as silverfish and house centipedes, prefer damp conditions. Check for leaky faucets, pipes, or drains and fix them immediately. Also, check appliances like washing machines and air conditioners to ensure they are working correctly. If you have a basement, run a dehumidifier to help remove moisture from the space.
Outside Your Home
Spending time in your yard can be an enjoyable experience until bugs turn their attention toward you. However, you can strike first and reduce the number of pests in your yard with these tips.
Keep your yard tidy
Cut back tall grass, brush, and weeds around your property that can act as a habitat for insects, and prune away any branches touching your home to help eliminate easy access. Avoid a build-up of clutter, such as leaves and grass clippings, in your yard—these can be a refuge for various bugs. If you keep a woodpile in your yard for your fireplace, try to keep it as far from your home as possible, and check any wood you plan to bring inside for unwelcome guests.
Add bug-deterring herbs
You can use your garden to help eliminate bugs as there are a variety of herbs that act as natural insect repellants, including:
Basil: flies and mosquitoes
Bay Leaves: ants, flies, and moths
Lavender: fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and moths
Rosemary: flies and mosquitoes
Sage: ants, flies, and mosquitoes
Eliminate sitting water
Be sure to empty stagnant water from planters, buckets, and trashcan lids to help prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs near your home. Don’t forget to regularly clean birdbaths and pet water bowls too. Water features with moving water, such as koi ponds or waterfalls, are not attractive to mosquitoes.
Change your lighting
Moths, flies, and stink bugs can all be attracted to outdoor lighting, and spiders are attracted to this smorgasbord of bugs. However, you can change the bulbs to help reduce these nightly visitors. Some insects are attracted to bright white and blueish light, so add bulbs that produce a yellow light that is less appealing to insects.
Your local feathered friends can act as natural exterminators in your backyard. Many birds consume a diet of seeds, berries, and insects, so make sure to install a bird feeder and birdbath so they are encouraged to spend time near your home. You may also want to add some small trees or twiggy shrubs to act as a natural home for birds.
Install a bat house
While bats have a reputation for being creepy creatures of the night, they are a natural way to eliminate mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. You can place a bat house in your yard to attract bats in warmer months, but make sure to put it in a location that receives at least eight hours of direct sunlight per day.