How to protect your biggest investment from the littlest invaders.
Summertime sends us flooding outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine, but along with those comes a variety of pests just waiting to descend on your home, yard, and barbecue. Here are some tried-and-true strategies for keeping bugs and other pests at bay during the summer months.
Circulate: Make sure any water features in your yard, such as pools, ponds, birdbaths, or fountains, have fresh moving water. Mosquitos won't lay eggs in moving water, so you'll cut down on future generations of pests.
Check: Examine your gutters, roofing, and siding for invading bees, ants, wasps, and hornets, who nest and feast on rotten wood. Clear any old organic material and replace rotten siding as needed.
Stack: Keep your woodpile away from your exterior doors. They're a prime habitat for nesting rodents and helps them get too cozy just inches from your entryways.
Repel: A lemon-eucalyptus spray can fend off mosquitos for up to 6 hours when sprayed on skin, clothing, and camping gear.
Blow: Keeping air moving will help deter mosquitos from hovering and buzzing in your ears—installing a ceiling fan for your porch will keep you cool and bug-free. Plus the breeze helps dissipate the odors and carbon dioxide humans emit that bugs are attracted to.
Store: Make sure pet food is stored in a sealed, dry container; otherwise, it will attract ants, opossums, raccoons, and flies. If Fido has a dish outside, wash it regularly and don't leave uneaten food sitting out.
Clean: Your grill and barbecue area attracts flies and other bugs (and even bears or raccoons!) when layered with sticky grease and sweet-smelling spills. Remove the grills regularly and scrub with hot water, soap, and a grill brush.
Cover: Make sure all food stays covered, whether that's during a picnic or party, to discourage flies and ants. Even drinks left out for too long will attract yellow jackets and bees, so be sure to rinse and recycle your empties.
Trim: Overgrown grass and bushes—especially near seating areas—provide havens for bugs, so keep your landscaping well-groomed.
Plant: Bug-repellent plants such as lavender, marigold, chrysanthemum, and lemongrass are known to fend off mosquitoes.
Build: A bat box is a wonderful way to let someone else handle the pest control. A single bat can eat between 6,000 and 8,000 bugs per night, so encouraging them to set up housekeeping in an appropriate bat house is a great way to keep insects in check.
While we can't promise a summer free of mosquito bites, these tips will help keep pests at bay so you can enjoy summertime to its fullest.