News > Springtime pests: How can you protect your home?
Springtime pests: How can you protect your home?
May 5, 2020
Pests are definitely ignoring the social distancing rules.
What can you do to protect your home?
Social distancing and self-isolation means that more of us are spending more daylight hours in our homes than we used to, and you’ve probably noticed: Spring means the bugs are waking up, and at least some of them are trying to get inside.
What should you be looking for – and how can you prevent pests from getting a foothold this spring?
It’s hard to love wasps: They’re persistent, aggressive, often seem to build their homes in close proximity to people (we’ve removed more than one wasp nest from attics and garages) and have even been known to chew through drywall. It’s definitely better to make sure they don’t start a nest in the first place. Here’s what you can do:
- Keep garbage bins well-sealed and as far way from your house as possible. Make sure your kitchen compost is emptied regularly, and if you’re living in a condo or apartment, don’t keep an open compost bin on your balcony.
- Avoid planting fruit trees near your house, and be assiduous in removing dropped fruit. Overripe fruit is a magnet for wasps.
Remember: Wasps are aggressive and, for some people, can trigger life-threatening allergic reactions when they sting. If you spot a wasp nest in, on, or close to your home, don’t try to remove it yourself – call a professional.
It’s not just something your mother used to tell you: Spiders do, in fact, ‘wake up’ in spring after having spent the winter in your house. In Ontario, you aren’t likely to see dangerous spiders in your home, but that doesn’t mean you want them living with you.
Here’s how to reduce a spring spider invasion:
- Give your home a thorough cleaning, especially in dark, damp corners like basements and garages, where spiders like to breed
- Keep other bugs out of the house, so spiders aren’t attracted to them as a food source
- Seal up any cracks and crevices around windows, doors and pipes
Spring often brings an influx of ants in Ontario, and while there are at least 100 species of ants in Canada, the ones you’re most likely to see in your home are black carpenter ants, pavement ants and pharoah ants. But no matter which species you’re seeing, prevention and early eradication is the same:
- Seal up any gaps around windows and doors where ants can count on a reliable entry point
- Keep kitchen and food prep areas as clean as possible, with no open food sources for ants to ‘smell’ and be attracted to. Pharaoh ants, in particular, are attracted to the oily film left on stovetops or range hoods after deep-frying foods – bleaching these areas will make them less attractive.
- Ants leave pheromone trails for other ants to follow into your home. Bleaching that trail will help prevent additional members of the colony coming back.
As the weather gets warmer, fruit flies start breeding – and suddenly your kitchen is overrun. Fortunately, they’re relatively easy to prevent:
- You’re probably already wiping down your groceries to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Don’t forget to give your produce a wipe as well, to prevent hitchhiking fruit flies from getting into your home.
- Don’t leave produce out on your counter where fruit flies are likely to smell it
- Store produce in the refrigerator as much as possible, or in paper bags
- Don’t let your kitchen compost bin sit under your sink for more than 24-36 hours. Even if it isn’t full, take it out to the exterior compost bin.
Rats and mice
Like other mammals, rats and mice tend to get more active and start breeding in the spring, so now is a good time to protect your home. It may be hard to completely eradicate them, but you can make your home less appealing by doing a few simple things:
- Keep your kitchen and food prep areas clean and disinfected
- Keep foodstuffs in sealed containers. It’s worth investing in sealable containers for things like flour, sugar, oats, pancake mix, etc., especially if you aren’t using them every day and might not notice right away that they’re being pilfered by rats or mice.
- Seal up holes around pipes, drains, window frames, etc. with caulking – and keep in mind that mice and rats can squeeze through the tiniest holes.
- Store your recycling, compost and garbage bins as far away from your home as possible.
The three Cs of spring pest control: Cleaning, caulking, and call a professional
Cleaning won’t prevent all pests, 100% of the time, but all that bleaching you’re doing in an effort to avoid coronavirus will definitely help make your home less appealing to many pests.
Caulking gaps in window and door frames, where pipes go into walls, around ceiling fixtures and anywhere else you can think of will also limit pests’ ability to come and go.
And finally, don’t hesitate to call a professional if you feel you’re losing the battle against spring pests. The peace of mind alone is worth it.