Sweeping Out Pests With A Good Spring Cleaning

It’s Spring and pests are on the ground and in the air. As the temperatures climb, pests are awakening from their winter slumber and looking for new sources of food, water and harborage – items that are found in abundance in and around your home.

From ants seeking access to the sugary, sweet foods in your pantry to stink bugs clinging onto curtains or window screens, pests will aggressively pursue the necessities of life anyway they can. How can homeowners prevent these unwanted visitors from becoming a problem before the busy summer pest season arrives?

Modern Pest Services recommends homeowners grab a bucket of soapy water, a vacuum, their tool box and apply some elbow grease and perform a thorough spring cleaning and repair of potential pest “hot spots” on the interior and exterior of their home. The following is a handy room-by-room guide of tasks homeowners can do to keep pests out of your house this spring.

Kitchen
Ants, among other common pests, are known to infest kitchen spaces because this room provides easy access to food and water sources. They are drawn to crumbs left behind from dinner, sticky residue from liquid spills and overripe fruit sitting out on the countertop. To make your kitchen less attractive to pests you can do the following.

  • Remove all of the items from your cabinets and pantry. Go through them and discard of stale spices and other dated items such as flour. These baking ingredients attract pantry pests, including several types of beetles, Indian meal moths and ants.
  • Wipe down the inside of your cabinets and install fresh shelf paper. Then, pull out your appliances from the wall as much as possible and vacuum behind them.
  • Give the kitchen counter and floor a good scrub-down. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

Bathroom
Many pests like cockroaches and silverfish are attracted to moisture, so they are commonly found in bathrooms (and basements/crawlspaces). Eliminating sources of water in the bathroom and other areas of your home is the best way to prevent pest infestations, especially because this pest can only survive for one week without water. In addition to washing the shower curtain and liner, and cleaning out the medicine cabinet, you should check under the sink and around the tub and toilet to ensure there are no moisture issues from leaky pipes or faucets.

Outdoor Areas
Once you complete your inside task list, take a walk around your yard and see what Mother Nature may have left behind in terms of damage done over the winter months which New Englanders know was incredibly harsh.

You may need to seal cracks, holes and repair cracked mortar along the foundation including entry points for utilities and pipes. Ripped screens and weather-stripping around doors and windows may need to be replaced. Take a look up on the roof where fascia and roof shingles may need to be repaired or replaced to prevent moisture build up and wood from rotting; some insects, especially destructive carpenter ants (a commonly found pest in New England), are drawn to deteriorating wood.

When landscaping, don’t forget to trim bushes and branches away from the home to prevent easy access for pests to move indoors. It is also a good idea to create a mulch/organic material-free zone – at least 15 inches – from the foundation to reduce harborage locations for pests. Removing rotted tree stumps, storing firewood away from your home, and reducing excess moisture or standing water are also good pest prevention steps.

The arrival of warm weather brings with it a renewed energy needed to tackle home improvements. Take advantage of this to maintain a healthy living environment for your family and deter pests from infesting your living space this spring.

The National Pest Management Association contributed information to this blog post.