We’re now in the middle of one of the warmest summers on record in Europe. All over the continent, people are enjoying the summer sunshine in their gardens and on their patios. But there’s a few drawbacks to extended periods of warm weather. And one of them is the prevalence of pests.
As the mercury climbs throughout the summer, the number of pests seems to rise quickly. By mid summer, keeping flies, insects and rodents at bay can become a real challenge.
This is why you need to prepare for these domestic invaders. Fortunately, this isn’t rocket science. In many cases, simply removing food sources is enough to keep certain pests out of your home. Other invaders require persuasion.
To help you keep your home pest-free this summer, we’ve compiled a list of simple ways to keep bugs and other wildlife out of your property.
1. Maintain doors and windows
You’re obviously going to be opening windows throughout the summer months — unless you’re fortunate enough to have an air conditioning system. As a result, keeping your home completely pest-free for the entire summer is impossible.
But a lot of bugs and pests come out at night — when it’s easier to keep windows and doors closed. But what happens if your windows and doors are in a bad state of repair? Insects and mice can crawl into the smallest of gaps, some of which might be invisible to you. Inspect all your windows and doors thoroughly, and perform repairs as soon as possible.
2. Manage your rubbish
Some pests will only appear in your home if there is a plentiful supply of food. Mice and cockroaches are always looking for sustenance. If they can find it in your property, they’ll appear in their droves. And they’ll stay there until the supply runs out.
The simple solution is to manage your rubbish throughout summer. Always keep a lid on your bins. And clean any spillages and food waste immediately. It’s also a good idea to clean and sanitise your bins every few days.
Don’t allow your bins to overflow. When they’re nearly full, place them in your outside bins — making sure all the waste food is covered. Even better, if you can compost your waste, you’ll greatly reduce the food supply in and around your home.
3. Check your home for gaps and entryways
Even the slightest of gaps and cracks in your home’s structure can provide a clear entryway for a myriad of unwanted house guests. Start by checking the foundations of your home. If there are clear gaps and cracks present, fill them immediately. Loose siding, faulty roofing and defective guttering can also provide bugs and other critters with access to your home.
There are several materials you can use to fill in cracks and gaps in your home. Copper mesh, sheet metal, mortar and steel wool all work in the right place. Try to avoid expanding caulk, however, as many of the pests you’re trying to keep out like to chew on it.
4. Manage the local environment
Some pests are attracted to certain types of environment. If such an environment exists around your home, you’re likely to see a lot of these pests during the summer.
A simple fix is to trim shrubs, bushes and trees in and around your gardens. And don’t use wood chips or pine straw in your garden during the summer unless you have to. These types of mulch provide the perfect shelter for a wide variety of summer-related pests. If you need to cover areas of earth, use stones and rocks instead.
5. Minimise lighting at night
It’s always nice to keep those long summer days in the garden going for as long as possible. Adding lights to your home’s exterior and the surrounding gardens might seem like a great idea, but it’s not without its issues.
If you want to light up the exterior of your property during the summer evenings, opt for halogen or sodium vapour lighting. Standard mercury lights act as a night signal for a huge variety of bugs and critters.
Also, choose lights with pink, yellow and orange tints. They’re more likely to deter pests from coming near your home than blue or green lights.
6. Maintain your drains
The debris and food matter that ends up draining down sinks can collect in and around drains unless you stay vigilant. Keep all your drains clean and free from vegetation. Food that stagnates around your home will eventually attract a variety of pests — including flies and rats. Inspect all of your drains and sinks at least once a day. And try not to allow food to drain away with used water in your kitchen.
7. Manage your recyclables
Make sure all of your recyclables are stored properly and sealed. And locate them as far away from the walls of your property as you can. And before you put your bottles and cans in recycling bins, thoroughly wash them out. Even the slightest hint of a sugary drink or food remnants can act as a calling sign to rodents and bugs.
8. Store food safely
Don’t leave any food in your home uncovered, as it will attract the most serious kinds of household pests. Place all your opened or cooked food in plastic food boxes or reusable bags. Make sure you clean dishes and your dining table immediately after each meal. And always use your older food items first (first in, first out).
9. Keep your home clean
Pests love the combination of moisture, food and food-related odours. If you can eliminate these issues in your home through regular cleaning, you can minimise the chances of pest infestations during the summer months.
One of the most effective tools to have in your cleaning arsenal at this time of the year is the steam mop. Not only does it clean and sanitise floors, it kills bacteria — and the resultant odours. It’s also a good idea to have a powerful, bagless vacuum cleaner at hand. While your floors might look great, tiny particles of food often lurk in dark corners and deep carpet pile.
Prevention is always the best cure when it comes to pest prevention at this time of year. Take the necessary steps now, and you can look forward to a relatively pest-free summer.