We know no one wants pest problems in their home. If this is the year you resolve to be pest-free, follow our handy month-by-month guide to keep critters at bay.
January: Pantry Pests
After the hustle of holiday cooking and baking, now is a great time to clean out your pantry. Pantry pests, most commonly the Indianmeal moth, can infest dry goods like grains, seasonings, cereals and even pet food.
This month, go through all your pantry supplies:
- Check packages for holes and look inside for signs of an infestation, such as silky webbing or fecal matter that looks like small grains of sand.
- Dispose of any items that are expired or that have holes or tears in the packaging.
- Look for cocoons in corners and under shelves.
- Wipe down all shelves, and transfer all products to airtight containers.
A year-round problem and health hazard, cockroaches spread disease and can trigger allergy and asthma attacks.
Ongoing sanitation is key to keeping cockroaches at bay, as it eliminates their sources of food and water. Take these steps:
- Store food in airtight containers, including pet food. Don’t leave human or pet food out or dirty dishes in the sink.
- Dispose of garbage regularly outside the home in sealed bins.
- Clean kitchen surfaces daily, wiping up crumbs and spills as they occur.
- Deep clean your home several times a year, wiping down cabinets and shelves.
- Address leaky faucets and wipe down sinks, tubs and showers after use.
The start of spring heralds the start of termite season, with swarms looking for a nesting place. Believe us when we say you definitely do not want these incredibly destructive pests to make your home theirs.
Termites are attracted to moisture and wood, so to deter them:
- Check your home for any areas with rotting or moist wood and address the issue.
- If you have a woodpile near your home or another structure on your property, relocate it at least 20 feet away, and elevate it at least five inches off the ground.
- Avoid using mulch in garden beds around your home, and if you must, keep it at least 15 inches from your foundation.
- Address stumps, dead trees and rotting structures on your property, especially if they are close to your home.
If you spot any signs of a termite infestation, call us immediately as they can cause serious and costly structural damage to your home.
April: Ticks and Mosquitoes
Active from April to September, we are entering peak tick and mosquito season, and since both of these biting pests can spread disease, prevention is key.
Take these steps now:
- Eliminate sources of standing water on your property, which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Inspect all your window and door screens and patch any holes or tears.
- Maintain your property by regularly clearing brush and leaves and mowing your lawn.
- Be vigilant about your pet’s flea and tick prevention protocols.
- Talk to us about our Mosquito and Tick Protection Plan™ for your property.
May: Carpenter Ants
Like termites, carpenter ants swarm in the spring and can also cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home. While they will hollow out both dry and wet wood to create their nests, they prefer wood that is moist and damaged by water, mold or fungus, so address any instances of this around your home.
Ants (and plenty of other pests) can gain access to your home through electrical wires, pipes, telephone lines, cracks and gaps in the foundation, so inspect your home this month and seal up any openings you spot. Also, trim overgrown limbs on trees or bushes that are in direct contact with your home.
June Carpenter Bees
While less destructive than termites and carpenter ants, carpenter bees can also damage wooden structures around your property. That’s because they tunnel into wood—preferably unfinished softwoods like redwood, pine, cypress and cedar—to lay their eggs which they do in late spring and early summer.
To deter them, paint, stain or varnish all unfinished wood, such as fence posts, decks, eaves and other timbers.
July: Bed Bugs
With summer travel in full swing this month, bed bug infestations tend to spike. To avoid bringing these unwanted souvenirs into your home:
- Upon your return home, carefully inspect and vacuum your luggage on a carpet-free floor or in your garage.
- Place all fabric items immediately into a washer, followed by a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes.
- Store luggage away from your bed; the basement or attic is a better option.
August: Bees and Wasps
Stings from bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets can be quite painful, and for those with allergies or who receive multiple stings, deadly.
As we move through summer, keep your eyes open for stinging insect nests. Depending on the species, nests can be located underground, in trees, under eaves, behind shutters and in sheds or pergolas. If you spot a nest, it’s safest to call our professionals for expert treatment and removal.
Yellow jackets are reaching their peak numbers and level of aggressiveness in August. They are attracted to meat, fruit and sugary drinks, so it’s a good practice to regularly hose out your garbage and recycle bins, and secure them with tight lids.
September: Fall Insect Invaders
As temps start to cool, several New England insects will look toward the warmth of your home to overwinter. These include Asian ladybugs, stink bugs, boxelder bugs and cluster flies.
The key to preventing most of these common fall invaders is exclusion:
- Do a pre-winter inspection of your home’s foundation. Look for cracks and gaps where bugs can find entry, and seal them up.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around foundations, doors and windows.
- Install door sweeps and repair damaged door and window screens.
October: Furry Fall Pests
Exclusion is the key for these larger invaders as well. Screen off attic vents and chimney openings. Mice can enter through holes the size of a dime, so use caulk or steel wool to seal up any openings, especially around pipes or in your foundation.
November: Clothes Moths
As you start pulling out your sweaters from storage, take time to inspect each garment for signs of damage from clothes moths—or actually, their larvae—which feed on fabrics. If you see holes or silky webbing, or spot moths or tiny caterpillars, you likely have an infestation and should call us for evaluation and treatment.
To prevent infestations:
- At least once a year, empty drawers and shelves and wipe them down.
- Launder all clothes before storing them. Moths prefer soiled fabrics, especially those made from animal fibers such as wool, fur, leather, etc.
- Store seasonal clothes in tightly sealed storage bins or garment bags.
Spiders are an uncommon site in homes across New England throughout the year, but you may notice an increase in their numbers during the cold winter months.
To minimize these creepy crawlies:
- Dust and vacuum your home regularly (at least once a week).
- Keep storage areas clear and clutter-free.
- Only bring in the firewood you need at any given time; don’t keep logs stacked indoors.
- Inspect and shake out greenery—trees, garlands and branches— to dislodge spiders and their egg sacs, before bringing them into your home for the holidays.
We’re Your Year-Round Pest Squad
If you resolve to be pest-free but need extra help, ask us about our Multi-Pest Plans, which can be customized to your specific needs to keep your home pest-free year-round. They include three seasonal inspections and treatments, with zero extra fees if additional visits are required for covered pests.
Despite your best efforts, pests may still find their way into your home. Our experts are trained to evaluate every issue and recommend the best possible treatment options, so don’t hesitate to call us. Consider us your secret weapon against pests!