As fall approaches, now is the time to pest proof your home.
Nashville, Ark. – As the weather begins to change for fall and things get cooler, pests like bugs and spiders may become a problem for some homeowners. Many people may initially think, “What can I spray to kill them?” There are other methods to prevent these pests from entering your home which may eliminate the need for any insecticide applications. Pest-proofing your home is the best way to prevent unwanted invaders in your home at any time of the year. Your goal should be to prevent entry and eliminate conditions that are favorable for pest infestations.
- You should ensure that screens on doors and windows are properly installed and maintained. Any damaged or missing screens need to be replaced. Fine mesh screening will prevent most bugs from entering your home.
- Doors need to be properly sealed. If air can be felt around a door or if light can be seen through cracks around doors, insects and spiders may be able to get in. Tight fitting thresholds or door sweeps should be installed at the bottom of exterior doors. You can use door seals to fill any gaps around the sides and tops of the doors.
- Cracks in the foundation, exterior walls, and fascia boards should be repaired. This includes any gaps around utility lines entering the home and gaps around appliance vents. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home and use caulk or silicone sealant to fill any cracks or gaps.
- Fix any leaks that may provide a moisture source. Repair any plumbing leaks and make use of humidifiers if necessary.
- Sanitation is extremely important. Keep your kitchen clean by wiping down, sweeping, and vacuuming surfaces as required. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Use sealable containers for food storage.
- Clean up after indoor pets. Store dry dog food in airtight containers and do not leave extra pet food exposed and accessible except at feeding time. Pet food dishes should be cleaned regularly as well as litter boxes and pet bedding.
- Frequently remove household garbage. Pests are attracted to garbage even before you can smell it. Beverage cans, bottles, milk jugs, and pet food cans will attract insects if they are not rinsed thoroughly. Outdoor garbage containers should not be located near entryways. Trash bins should be cleaned as needed.
If nuisance pests still get inside after following the maintenance and sanitation guidelines:
- In large numbers, they can be vacuumed up and the bag can be discarded outside. Insecticide is not recommended because many of the insects will die in inaccessible places making clean-up impossible and the dead insects may serve as a food source for others.
- In low numbers, pests can be swept up and removed or treated with an aerosol insecticide and removed. Over-the-counter residual insecticides labeled for crack and crevice, or surface treatment may provide relief.
For more information, you can contact the Howard County Extension office at 870-845-7517 or find helpful fact sheets on our website at www.uada.edu. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
By Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Dawson Bailey
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852
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