Rainy springtime weather can have a big influence on the number and kind of pests that can enter a building. Warm and wet weather can cause pests to leave their outdoor shelters and head into manmade ones.
Many pests spend the majority of the winter months under rocks, logs, mulch and soil. By staying below the frost line, they are able to survive extremely cold temperatures. But when the warmer weather and April showers saturate the ground, most of these pests are forced out. That’s why ants and other pests often enter buildings following a heavy rain.
In addition to rainfall driving pests out of their natural homes, water also encourages termites, carpenter ants and other wood-boring insects, encourages mold growth, and serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.
How to Identify Moisture Issues Around the Home
Even if you don’t think there are any moisture problems around your property, it’s worth checking anyway. Eliminating moisture sources is one of the best things you can do to reduce insect and pest populations.
Here are some of the most common sources of accumulated moisture around the home:
Mulch and soil that come into contact with the foundation can attract pests like earwigs, termites, springtails and centipedes. Go around the perimeter of your home and make sure that any soil, mulch, or plants are trimmed back away from the siding and foundation.
- It’s best to maintain a minimum 2-foot buffer around the entire foundation. Mulch, leaves, twigs and any wood product around your foundation walls will attract wood-destroying insects.
- Every month, clear away any leaves, brush or debris around the perimeter of your foundation.
- Store firewood and other untreated wood as far away from the structure as possible.
- Consider replacing wood borders and enclosures with stones and masonry.
Spring weather means fast-growing plants and grass. Whether you do it yourself or call a professional, it’s important to trim plants away from the home, regularly mow the grass, and maintain your lawn and landscaping.
Landscaping and pest control go hand in hand. For the best protection, consider partnering with a professional that specializes in both.
After a heavy rain, it’s normal to have puddles and small pools of water, but if water doesn’t drain away after a few days, you could have a problem. If water is seeping into your home, you definitely have a problem.
Common causes of drainage issues include:
- Improper grading (slope of soil around foundation)
- Thick thatch (organic debris on your lawn)
- Soil and subsoil (hardpan) absorbency issues
- Water table is too high (level of water under the ground)
- Damaged gutter and downspout system
- Cracks in the foundation
Drainage solutions include:
- Extending downspouts
- Adding a French drain
- Installing a creek bed
- Using a catch basin
- Fixing the grading to slope away from the house
- Cleaning and checking gutter system twice a year
- Inspecting roof every year
- Fixing cracks in the foundation
- Contacting a professional for yearly inspections
Gutters and downspout systems are essential for protecting your home from the damaging and pest-attracting effects of water. While the shingles on your roof effortlessly shed thousands of gallons of water a year, without the gutters, water would run down the side, destroying paint and mortar, fostering mold and rot, and welcoming any nearby pests.
That’s where gutters come in. They are installed along the eaves of the house, channeling water to the downspouts and hopefully away from the home’s siding and foundation. If your downspouts are not long enough, install downspout extenders to direct water to a low spot or a storm sewer.
If you notice water or water stains along the side of your house, check the gutter and downspout system for damage. Make sure you inspect and clean your gutter system twice a year. Otherwise, water will overflow and damage your home.
Consider hiring a professional for regular landscaping maintenance and this chore will normally be done for you.
Bird Baths and Standing Water
Many homeowners love the ambient noise and activity. And since they spend their days eating bugs and insects, there is a practical reason to want them around.
Bird baths and bird feeders are a great way to attract nature’s beautiful pest-eaters. Unfortunately, bird baths (and feeders) are a frequent cause of mosquito and other pest problems.
Any source of standing water can provide the perfect mosquito breeding ground. Mosquitoes can breed in standing water the size of a bottle cap.
- If you do have birdbaths as a part of your landscaping, make sure you dump and replace the water every day.
- Another way to thwart mosquitoes is by adding a water feature that circulates the water regularly. Consider adding a fountain feature or agitator to your bird bath to keep the water moving. Make sure your fountains, pools, and ponds are circulated regularly.
- Additionally, remove all potential sources of stagnant water, such as toys, buckets, kiddie pools, flipped garbage lids, flowerpots, wheelbarrows, boats and grill covers.
Learn more mosquito prevention tips.
Sprinklers, Hoses and Irrigation Systems
One of the most common causes of spring pest problems is accumulated moisture around the structure. Standing and dripping water can attract mosquitoes, rodents, snakes, termites and other critters. Keep your foundation as dry as possible.
If you have a sprinkler or irrigation system, check your sprinkler heads every so often to make sure they are not leaking or spraying water too close to your home. Additionally, make sure none of your outdoor faucets or hoses are leaking. It’s also possible to reduce pooling water by switching from sprinklers to drip irrigation.
It’s a good idea to inspect your home for any signs of wood damage, such as rot. Use a screwdriver as a poking instrument.
Usually, the first sign of rot is a damp, musty or moldy smell. Whether or not the smell is coming from dry rot, it’s important to address any damp or moldy smells immediately.
A visual inspection may reveal white, cobwebby strands (mycelium), small mushroom-like bodies (the mature fungus form), rusty red spores, or sawdust from wood-boring beetles (ranging from 1/8” to 2”).
If you suspect rotting wood, apply direct pressure to the area with a screwdriver or other poking instrument. Decaying timber from rot will crack and crumble with very little pressure.
Usually, wood rot appears in areas vulnerable to moisture issues, such as the basement or areas close to the ground where water collects.
Prevention is the best way to avoid moisture damage to your wood and other building materials:
- Carefully inspect any wood materials before purchase.
- Use waterproofing and moisture control methods, such as vapor barriers, insulation and drainage, wherever possible. This keeps the moisture content of your wood low enough to prevent fungi and wood-infesting beetles from developing.
- Store fireplace wood outdoors, as far away from the home as possible.
- Maintain fresh coats of paint or varnish on any exposed wood in your home.
When dealing with a flooding situation, it’s important to go over this checklist and speak with a professional pest control company.
If you have any questions about diagnosing or fixing moisture problems around your home, contact the experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services. We’ll assess the situation and make sure that your home or business is not accidentally inviting a host of unwanted guests.
Learn more about our residential and commercial pest control programs.
Contact a pest professional who is trained and certified to solve and prevent infestations. Choose a pest control company that uses IPM (Integrated Pest Management) principles. ABC is committed to achieving the best pest control with the lowest impact possible.
To protect your commercial property from pests this spring, schedule a visit from ABC Home & Commercial Services.
Contact us today for your free consultation and a custom pest or lawn care program tailored specifically to your needs.