Bugs Be Gone!

BY JESSE DARLAND ON AUGUST 1ST, 2017

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Summer has arrived. For many homeowners, that means that mosquitos have arrived, too. Depending on where you live, peak mosquito season can last around 5-7 months.

According to a recent poll conducted on behalf of lawn care company TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans will curb their family's outdoor activities during mosquito-heavy months. And in the same survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents are worried about the diseases that mosquitos can carry – including Zika.

While a majority of those surveyed said that they use bug spray on themselves and their family members to keep mosquitos away while at home, only about half said that it’s the most effective method to keep from getting bitten.

“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” says John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover.”

So what is a family to do? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following:

1. Remove standing water.

Because mosquitos lay their eggs in water, eliminate any potential breeding spots. Buckets, birdbaths or even toys left out in the yard can attract mosquitos. Securely cover things like rain barrels or cisterns with a fine mesh.

2. Check your landscaping.

Tree stumps or shrubbery also can pool water, so try to remove or prune back if necessary.

3. Consider a broad-based insect spray.

This can kill mosquitos in hard-to-reach (or unexpected) places around your yard.

4. Regularly check your yard.

You should plan to make a weekly check of your entire yard to check for potential problem spots, such as standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.

Ants, cockroaches, fleas and termites are among the most common unwanted houseguests when temperatures rise. Aptly named stink bugs are the new kids on the block in many Mid-Atlantic and Eastern Seaboard states, and they’re likely to show up in more geographic areas as their numbers increase, according to Missy Henriksen, vice president, public affairs, National Association of Landscape Professionals.

The best way to get rid of crawling insects, she advises, is not to let them get inside in the first place.

Most critters come into our homes the same way we do, through the door. If the weather stripping or the door strip aren't creating a tight seal, insects can and will come inside.

Other effective bug deterrents include sealing entry points for utilities and pipes, trimming trees and shrubs, and directing moisture away from your home’s foundation.

“Check to make sure your screens are intact after the winter months. As you’re gardening, keep mulch at least 12 to 15 inches away from your home,” says Henriksen.

Another area pests may gather is the kitchen. To keep the bugs away from your own food supply, “keep your counters cleaned, make sure your trash is sealed, and don’t let pets graze all day on pet food [on the floor]. It’s a very tempting pest buffet too,” Henriksen says.

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