waning days of summer are a good time to make sure your
home isnít putting out a welcome mat for insect
youíre like me, youíd rather not share your space
with wasps, spiders, stink bugs and other pests that
often become more visible in the fall, any more than you
want to see cockroaches, termites or other bugs that
cause problems year-round.
pest control pros say thereís much you can do to make
your home less inviting to creepy crawlies:
by inspecting your home, inside and out. Make sure your
window screens are in good repair. Look for cracks and
gaps in the foundation and around windows and doors.
Seal any problem areas with caulk or use hardware cloth
that your crawl space access door fits properly. Inspect
other areas that could offer bugs shelter: soffits,
pipes, dryer vents, doorjambs and utility wire holes.
a look at your landscaping. Trim overhanging tree limbs
that might provide an insect or rodent on-ramp to your
home. Cut vegetation so itís at least three feet from
your home. Donít allow soil or mulch to build up
around the foundation. Siding shouldnít touch soil or
mulch, and firewood should be stored away from the
consider the quality of your housekeeping. Insects and
other pests will be less likely to invade if they donít
find a ready supply of food and shelter. Regularly take
out trash, and keep garbage can lids on tight. Wipe down
tables, countertops and floors after preparing food or
eating a meal. Keep clothes and other items off the
floor. Regularly wipe or sweep away spider webs.
also attracts insects, particularly termites and
carpenter ants, which can damage your homeís
structure. Find and eliminate the source of any damp
areas. To prevent or reduce mosquitoes, eliminate
standing water on your property.
if you donít have an immediate insect issue, itís a
good idea to identify a reputable pest control pro so
youíre ready for any critter crisis. Back in the
spring, I had to call our exterminator to deal with
wood-eating bees that had settled on our swing set and
were scaring the kids.
you want to stop many insect problems before they get a
chance to start, consider contracting for periodic
preventive services. These usually come with guarantees
and can cost $130 to $150 for an annual visit, $80 to
$100 for quarterly, and $40 to $60 for monthly service.
Be aware that some exterminators provide or focus on
eco-friendly products and procedures.
steps to take before you hire an exterminator:
if your state or locality requires licensing, including
for the use of certain pesticides or chemicals, and
verify that your service pro is appropriately licensed.
that liability and workers compensation insurance is in
place, as well as bonding.
consumer reviews before hiring.
a detailed plan in writing.
sure you understand all costs and procedures.
what guarantees are offered and understand the process
to follow if the treatment doesnít work the first