Summer Pest Control Guide

Keep your home free of bugs and rodents all summer

When it comes to controlling pests, many homeowners opt to use pesticides. But the chemicals found in many pesticides can be health hazards, especially when they're sprayed in and around living spaces. Inhaling these chemicals can lead to health problems for children and adults alike.

Here are some tips for getting rid of the most persistent bugs and rodents of summer without using harmful chemicals.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and can often be found in high concentrations around any water source – even small puddles. To prevent mosquitoes from gathering near your home (and sneaking inside), be sure to regularly eliminate sources of standing water. Rainwater can gather in empty buckets, flower pots and other containers.

Citronella, which does not contain strong chemicals, is another effective mosquito control tool. Citronella candles and torches can make it possible to gather on the patio on a buggy night, and citronella spray will keep the mosquitoes away while you're on the go. Just be sure to apply the spray to your clothing, not your skin.

Ants and Roaches

Keeping these invaders away is often a matter of keeping your home clean and dry. Sweep, vacuum and disinfect regularly, taking special care to clean up food spills right away. Also, be sure to immediately fix leaks from pipes, dishwashers, refrigerators and other indoor water sources.

Since these critters often come in from the outdoors, carefully search your home for cracks, crevices and other openings around baseboards and cabinets. Fill in any openings with caulk.

Rodents

As with ants and cockroaches, one of the best things you can do to keep rodents at bay is to keep a clean home and make sure all your food containers are sealed. Pet food and water left out overnight can also attract unwanted guests.

You may not see the wily creatures themselves, but they'll leave evidence behind in the form of droppings. The most effective, pesticide-free way to solve a rodent problem is with spring or glue traps.

Fleas

At least once a week, vacuum the areas your pets frequent and dispose of the vacuum bags immediately so that the fleas can't escape inside your home. If possible, put washable blankets or towels on the floor in areas where your pets lounge; flea eggs will drop onto these materials, which can then go straight into the washing machine.

Another tactic that's both good for pest control and good for your pets is to give your furry friends weekly baths. This is especially important if your pet is prone to flea outbreaks, as this can instantly kill most fleas and bring relief to your pet.

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