PUBLISHED ON March 23rd, 2011
Spring is almost here, and that means it’s time to prepare your spring cleaning checklist. Many homeowners do not realize that if you want to practice preventive pest control, it’s important to start before the pests have arrived – or spawned, in some cases.
Many pest control companies these days are adopting Integrated Pest Management systems that not only treat pest infestations after they occur but are focused on preventive pest control. Thoroughly cleaning and maintaining your home is an important aspect of Integrated Pest Management.
Adding a pest control routine to your annual spring cleaning marathon will go a long way toward preventing pest problems year round. This makes spring the perfect time to start the next year of preventive pest control off right. Here are a few suggestions:
As with any puzzle, start with the outside of your house and work your way inside. Naturally, pests tend to make their nests in dark and moist places, so clean up the outside of your home to limit these locations.
Clean up all leaves and yard debris, such as fallen branches, dead plants, fruits and weeds, and trim all overgrown bushes, shrubs and excess foliage. Pick up any unnecessary containers around your yard that could become sources of standing water, which can create hatching grounds for insects. Mosquitoes, in particular, will lay their eggs in just about any undisturbed water source they can find.
Here comes the tough part: cleaning out all that junk you’ve been shoving into your closets and storage spaces all year. Besides getting rid of old boxes and containers where pests can hide, this will also clear space so you can clean all the corners and nooks of your home that often host spiders and other insects.
Once you have cleared away space, give all the secluded sections of your home a thorough dusting, mopping and sweeping. Cockroaches, for example, can live off of bits of dirt and dust. Also consider cleaning your box springs and mattresses-a good way to prevent bed bug infestations before they become a problem.
Another major cause of spring and summer pest infestation is leftover food. Now, this doesn’t just mean the leftovers from the night before that you left out on the counter. It actually pertains to the food bits and crumbs that have worked their way into the fabric of your home; for example, carpets, rugs, cupboards, pantries and places like under the sink or stove are common areas where pieces of food collect. Make sure to vacuum and clean these areas thoroughly. Clean your pet bowls and feeding areas, as well.
While cleaning every nook of your house, check the premises for general house degradation that could lead to a pest infestation. Keep an eye out for cracks in the foundation, rotting wood, mold growth and excess moisture. Seal any cracks you find-not only will this keep your house better insulated, but it will limit the number of ways pests can enter your home.
Cracks can also lead to water leaks from winter snow melt and spring rains. If water is leaking into your home, then it is likely that pests will enter, too, looking for a dry place to nest. Rotting wood and mold are other signs of moisture problems. Many pests feed on mold, and almost all insect life cycles rely on a water source. Some homeowners even invest in a de-humidifier to keep certain rooms dry, such as the basement, pantry or attic.
Spring is a time of renewal and fresh starts. It is also a good time to begin practicing Integrated Pest Management techniques with a clean slate. A thorough spring cleaning will make it easier to keep up on your preventive pest control throughout the year, and this means less work for you in the long run.