Summer’s here, which means so are the bugs. Vacationing visitors, BBQs, and late nights spent on the patio all make this season one of our favorite times of the year. However, bites, stings and bug infestations have a way of ruining the fun. Don’t worry—we’re not letting that happen to you. Follow these 5 tips to bug-proof your home naturally.
Maintain Your Home
Ants, fleas, flies, termites, roaches, mosquitoes and other common household bugs can all be deterred by taking the proper precautions—prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple preventative measures to keep bugs away from your home:
- Keep your home clean and free of clutter—particularly the kitchen, flooring, window sills and counter tops. Without a source of food, bugs will have no reason to enter your home.
- Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and food residues (Tip: wipe off all jam, sauce and honey containers, too).
- Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
- Take out the trash regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
- Most bugs are prone to moisture loss, and enter our homes to seek water and cool down. It’s important to remove any standing water and other sources of moisture, such as leaky plumbing, basements, crawl spaces and A/C units (do this outside, too!).
- To prevent smaller bugs like mites, be sure to also treat newly purchased indoor plants with an all natural, plant-safe pesticide.
- To prevent bed bugs, be cautious about bringing any used furniture, luggage, linens and clothing into your home. Treat all such items with a natural repellent to kill possible stowaways.
- Do not store lumber or firewood inside or right outside your home. Doing so attracts various types of bugs, including termites
Seal Your Home
Most insects require only the smallest of openings to gain entrance into your home. Checking both inside and outside, use caulk or other appropriate materials to fill all cracks and holes in baseboards, windows seals, doorways, light switches, outlets, fixtures, basements, roofing, utility lines, piping, attics, walls, foundations and the like. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows and doorways remain firmly closed as well.
Wild animals like birds, squirrels, possums and mice carry bugs such as mites, fleas, and ticks. Properly sealing your home will prevent these creatures from carrying additional pests into your home
Use Natural (Indoor) Bug Sprays
In the spring and summer months when bugs are particularly active, a regular indoor pest control regimen is recommended. Non-toxic, all natural indoor pesticides are your best option, as they are both highly effective and safe for use around family and pets.
Use these natural pesticides as both a spot killer and as a preventative solution. Regularly spraying window sills, doorways, baseboards, counter tops, attics, basements and other possible entry points will create a repellent barrier against insects and other bugs (we recommend doing this weekly during spring/summer months, or as needed). For serious infestations like fleas and bed bugs, fogging is the easiest, most affordable option.
Treat Yourself and Your Pets
Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our homes. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pet against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy.
Having guests over? Remember bed bugs often enter our homes through visitors’ luggage or clothing. Treating the outside of luggage with a travel size bed bug spray is a smart way to ensure pests don’t hitch a ride into your guestroom. If you and your family are traveling, it’s a good idea to treat your luggage before returning home to prevent accidentally introducing a bug population into your house.
Treat Your Lawn & Garden
Where do most bugs comes from? You guessed it: your yard! Not surprisingly, bug-proofing your yard is one of the most important steps to bug-proofing your home. During the spring and summer months, sticking to an outdoor pest control regimen is essential.
We recommend treating your yard with an all natural outdoor pesticide monthly or as needed. Cedarwood chips can also be used to create a repellent perimeter around your lawn and home. Simply sprinkle the chips along your home’s foundation and fence line, as well as any insect trouble areas. (Tip: Cedarwood chips can also be used inside dog bed coverings to deter biting insects, or hung in stockings and placed within closets to repel damaging bugs like moths).
From mosquitoes and ants to ticks and fleas, bugs can ruin an otherwise peaceful lawn. Pool parties, BBQs and other backyard festivities are much less fun once the biting insects and other creepy crawlies show up. They’re not just nuisances either, bugs like mosquitoes and ticks for instance carry harmful diseases that put both your family and pets’ lives at risk. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these family-safe, pet-safe tips to bug-proof your yard this summer.
Maintain Your Yard
Keeping a well-maintained and organized yard goes a long way toward protecting your lawn & garden against pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, chiggers and more. Here’s where to start:
- Remove all clutter from your yard: woodpiles, yard equipment, brush, leaves, lawn clippings, tree stumps, unused dog houses, furniture, tires, and anything else that could collect water (mosquitoes use stagnant water to breed).
- Engage in landscaping practices that expose your lawn to as much sunlight as possible (by trimming branches, tall grass, shrubbery, etc). Direct sunlight can be lethal to many bugs, like termites, chiggers, scorpions and more.
- Many bugs need lush vegetation to hide, so regularly mow, edge, weedeat, rake, and trim the hedges.
- When mowing, bag the clippings and dispose of them. Do not disperse them onto your yard—doing so helps create a bug-friendly environment, especially for ticks.
- Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or empty them during mosquito season.
- Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers, A/C units, and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water.
- Keep pools well-maintained.
- Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water, attracting bugs.
- Cover all trash cans and dumpsters.
Treat Your Lawn With Naturally Sourced Pesticides
Traditional pesticides threaten not only the health of your yard, but also your family and pets. When treating your lawn, it’s important to go with a naturally sourced alternative. (Tip: The best time to treat is early morning or in the evening—this helps prevent evaporation, and gives the natural repellent/pesticide sufficient time to soak into your yard). Follow these guidelines:
- Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
- When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard, including all fencing, foundations and brick barriers. This will prevent bugs from re-entering your yard after treatment.
- Spray front, back and side yards all in one session. It’s important that all areas are treated within a short window to prevent bugs from migrating to other sections of your yard.
- During the spring and summer months, we advise spraying your yard at least once per month, or more often as needed.
Use A Mulch Barrier
A repellent mulch barrier (like those made from cedar chips) is an easy way to repel bugs from your yard. For this approach: surround your lawn and garden with a thick perimeter of dry mulch (anywhere from 1-3 ft.). Do not use damp mulches, as these can actually attract some types of bugs.
Treat Your Pets (and Yourself)
Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our yards. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pets against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy process easy.
Deter Wild Animals
Wild animals are one of the primary ways bugs enter your yard. Treating and keeping your lawn maintained as discussed above is the first step to making your yard inhospitable to wild animals like bug-carrying rodents. From deer to possums to raccoons, here’s what you need to do to keep unwanted animals out of your yard.
- Become a dog owner. Dogs and dog urine deter wild animals, as canines are a natural predator to many animals.
- Consider installing fencing. If you already use fencing, check it thoroughly for holes, cracks and other openings animals might use to enter you yard.
- Consider replacing plants that attract animals to your yard: such as roses, apples, beans, peas, strawberries, corn, chrysanthemums, tulips and more. Or, install chicken wire fencing around your garden.
- Because ticks are especially dangerous, consider installing deer-repelling plants: such as iris, sage, chives, lemon balm, lilac, holly, and more.
- Remove or repair sources of unnecessary moisture—such as standing water, leaking plumbing, drains, gutters, and sprinkler systems.
- Firmly secure trash cans and trash can lids, or start storing trash cans in a garage or other outbuilding.
- For more tips on keeping animals out of your lawn & garden click here.