Warmer weather brings everyone out, including plants and animals. They look forward to spring just as much as we do. That’s why April has been designated as National Pest Management Month by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
People often think of spring cleaning as a way to declutter and improve indoor air quality, but regular cleanings and inspections are also important for keeping pests away. When tackling your spring cleaning to-do list, don’t forget about these common pest hot spots.
Indoor and Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips to Keep Pests Away
Whether it’s ants, termites, beetles, spiders, or rodents, use these pest-proofing tips to help keep the pests away. Let’s start with the outdoors.
Outdoor Spring Cleaning
Professional Pest Inspection
There are many ways to prevent pests from entering your home. Perhaps the best way is to contact a professional, and spring is the ideal time to do it.
In many cases, a barrier insecticide around the perimeter of the home can help stop pests and insects from getting any further. Learn about professional pest inspections and why you should hire a green company for the job.
One of the best ways to prevent pests and detect problems before they happen is to walk around the perimeter of your home. Look for any trouble spots, such as broken screens, aging weatherstripping, loose mortar and gaps around utility connections.
Don’t forget to rake and mow the lawn, pick up branches and put everything back where it belongs.
If you notice any existing pest harborage, such as rotting wood, nests or dirt holes/hills, contact a professional.
Inspect all of your outdoor faucets, sprinklers, drainage system and any other place where there could be water leaks or moisture accumulation.
Fixing your outdoor plumbing leaks will definitely help keeps the bugs and pests away. If your main water meter has a leak detection dial, you can instantly tell if your plumbing system has a leak somewhere. Save water and prevent pests by getting all of your plumbing leaks fixed as soon as possible.
Plants & Landscaping
Plants can provide easy passage for pests to enter the home. Make sure all of your plants are trimmed back from the walls and foundation.
When planting any new ones, make sure you place them at least 3 feet from the home and keep mulch at least 12 inches away from the foundation. Also, take into account how large the plants will grow. Trees, for instance, should be planted much farther away.
If you notice any leaves, rotted tree stumps or weeds near your home, remove them and consider hiring a lawn care specialist.
Outdoor HVAC Unit
As you walk around the perimeter of your home, take note of your outdoor heat pump unit. Pest problems are bad enough without them also damaging your HVAC unit.
While it may be tempting to hide the unit with plants, they not only present a pest problem, they can also restrict much-needed airflow for proper operation.
Make sure the unit is free and clear of any dirt, leaves, grass clippings, twigs and other debris. There should be a minimum 3-foot clearance around the entire unit. This not only prevents pests, it also increases energy efficiency and allows room for your HVAC technician to work. If you notice any chewed or frayed wires, contact a professional right away.
Before April showers show their force, clean your gutters. Over time, leaves and other debris clog your gutters and downspouts, causing potential water damage and pest problems. Overflowing gutters can also ruin nearby plants.
Ideally, your gutters should be cleaned twice a year — once in the fall and once in the spring. Since cleaning your gutters can be dirty and dangerous, consider hiring somebody for the job.
Sealing gaps and cracks around your home not only improves your home’s energy efficiency, it also gets rid of potential pest passageways.
Spring is a great time to reassess the perimeter of your home and find and seal any air leaks. Some common air leaks around the perimeter of your home include:
- Areas around where pipes and wiring enter the home
- Plumbing and HVAC vents
- Construction joints between wall materials
- Gaps between and around windows and doors
- Porch roof and recessed lighting
Indoor Spring Cleaning
Pests love the kitchen, and can you blame them? All those crumbs, open containers and sticky residue can tempt any small creature.
As part of your spring cleaning, go through your fridge, pantry and all of the cabinets. Look for expired food items, open containers, dirt, dust and crumbs. Throw large items away, then wipe everything up with warm water and dish soap.
And don’t forget behind the fridge and under the oven!
While you’re cleaning, check for any leaking faucets, showerheads, toilets and pipes. Get rid of excess humidity problems to prevent pests and moisture damage.
Make sure you have a working exhaust fan and don’t forget to clean out the medicine cabinet, under the sink and behind the toilet.
Basements are a favorite refuge for pests of all types. The darkness and moisture provides rodents and insects a place to hide and thrive.
Take the time to deep clean your basement, paying special attention to hiding places and areas where pests can enter.
- Get rid of any stacks of old newspaper and cardboard.
- Declutter as much as possible and make sure all plastic bins are sealed tight.
- As with the other parts of your home, find and fix any plumbing leaks you may find. Call a plumber immediately if you notice flooding or a bad leak.
- Inspect the entire perimeter of your basement for any cracks, gaps or crevices.
- Use weatherproof caulk for any gaps smaller than ¼” and expandable foam spray for gaps and holes that are larger than that. Remember, a mouse can enter a hole as small as a dime.
- If you notice any broken windows, doors or foundation damage, contact a professional.
Closets serve as our indoor storage units, a place to put things away for the long term. At the same time, you don’t want moths and other pests to take up residence.
At least once a year, remove everything from your closets and inspect everything for droppings and signs of bug damage. Before you return the items to the closet, vacuum and clean the floors and shelves.
If you notice any signs of water damage, contact a professional right away.
Windows & Doors
Time can take its toll on your windows and doors. Use a lit piece of incense or a damp hand to feel around the perimeter of all your exterior-facing doors and windows for air leaks.
If necessary, replace worn weatherstripping or reseal with caulk. In addition to keeping pests out, this will also save you money and energy.
Spring Pest Management
Warmer weather and April showers remind us to take steps to deter pests from invading your home. By including pest prevention in your spring cleaning plan, you can greatly reduce your chances of pest problems. Luckily, if you do encounter a pest, ABC has your back.
Contact ABC for your professional spring pest inspection and prevention!