While the majority of insects are harmless or even beneficial to humans, some bite and sting. A few carry diseases that can sicken humans or pets, and others contribute to asthma attacks and allergies. While it is impossible to keep all insects from entering the home, there are steps homeowners can take to keep most of these pests outside. Basic home maintenance, in particular, plays an important role in insect pest control.
Many insects, such as centipedes, springtails and earwigs, enter the home through openings under the door. To deter them, thresholds and door sweeps should be installed at the bottom of all exterior doors. Applying weather stripping to the perimeter of the door will thwart insects seeking entry along the top and sides.
Windows, doors and ventilation and utility openings should be screened. Holes and tears in screens must be addressed immediately. Some insects, such as aphids, are small enough to pass through standard mesh, however.Homeowners relying on physical barriers for insect pest control may have to close windows to prevent insect entry.
Cracks in foundations provide entry to many types of insects, but mortar effectively seals up these openings. Caulk should be applied to window frames and used to seal smaller cracks in the foundation and siding. Areas that will be painted require treatment with latex rather than clear silicone caulk.
Families should restrict eating to the kitchen and dining areas. Cleaning the floor frequently, addressing spills and washing dishes promptly will help keep insects away. Because they may attract insects seeking water, sluggish drains and leaky pipes should be repaired. Homeowners should also thoroughly rinse recyclables awaiting pickup.
Shrubs, bushes and flower beds that touch the home can act as bridges for insects. Trimming foliage around the home plays an important role in insect pest control, deterring spiders, ants and termites.
Bats consume between 600 and 1,000 insects per hour. Providing a fresh water source and installing bat houses will attract bats to the backyard. Bat houses should be installed on the sunny side of a tree or shed. It may take several months for bats to take up residence.
Many homeowners apply an insecticide perimeter treatment to prevent pests from entering the home. While this insecticide effectively deters many pests, it will not help against large infestations of insects or house-destroyers such as carpenter ants and termites. These situations require the expertise of pest control professionals, who are trained to deal with complex insect problems and have access to effective low-toxicity products. Hiring professionals also relieves the homeowner of the problem of disposing of leftover pesticides in a safe and responsible manner.
Home maintenance is only one aspect of insect deterrence. For more information on insect pest control, please explore our site.