Memphis, Tenn. (Jan. 11, 2012) – A new year brings thoughts of change and resolution for the upcoming year. Why not resolve to protect your home by incorporating regular pest control check-ups for termites, ants or bedbugs?
Terminix, the nation’s largest pest control company, offers free, no-obligation home inspections. The company provided the following tips to help keep pests away all year long.
Rodents and Winter Home Care
As the year begins, temperatures fall. It is at this time that winter home care is crucial. Insulation is key, not only to keep heating costs low, but to also keep pests out.
- Place weather stripping on the bottom of all exterior doors to ensure they seal tightly. Doors that do not have a tight seal can allow a variety of pests to enter the home and can allow warm air to escape.
- Ensure attic and foundation vents are equipped with tight-fitting, one-fourth inch hardware cloth. This will help keep rodents at bay. Install insect screening over windows, utility vents and other areas where small pests may slip through.
February is the time to prepare your home and prevent the infestation of termites. As swarm season approaches in the early spring, knowing ways to prevent termites entering your home now can save substantial amounts of money after they’ve entered.
- Eliminate all wood-to-soil contact around your foundation, keeping firewood and other wood debris from being stacked against the side of your home.
- Repair roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from leaks can allow termites to survive above ground.
The month of March is traditionally the peak of termite season. At this point in the year, homeowners should watch for signs of termites to prevent an infestation from growing.
- Discarded termite wings found near doors, window sills or wood that sounds hollow when thumped are positive signs of an infestation.
- Terminix recommends having a trained professional check your home once a year for prevention and to check for infestation.
Spring weather insects
As April showers drench your lawn and home, the rain flushes insects out of the ground and potentially into your home. Many summertime insects can begin swarming early due to heavy rain.
- Repair leaks under kitchen and bathroom sinks. Pests such as roaches thrive in warm, moist areas, making these spots a perfect hideaway for the disease carrying pest.
- After meals, clear countertops and sinks of food and dishes. Cleaning up crumbs and putting food away will help limit food sources for ants and roaches.
Bedbugs have become a growing issue across the United States. Although they are known to bite their hosts year round, the summer amplifies their spreading due to increased amount of travel. Bedbugs are not a sign of unsanitary conditions. They do require professional attention to eradicate the problem. Do-it-yourself techniques have been proven to cause more harm than good.
- When travelling, check behind headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and dark blood spots. Ask for a room change if bedbugs are suspected.
- If you suspect you have bedbugs in your home, quarantine infested items and have your home inspected by a trained professional. Bedbugs cannot be controlled by over-the-counter treatments and will require the assistance of a pest control technician.
As summer officially begins, nuisance pests begin to swarm yards and parks. Mosquitoes reproduce and remain around sources of water.
- Empty birdbaths when not in use to prevent mosquito populations.
- Check for spots where water pools after rain in your yard and remedy them.
Don’t let ants bother your Fourth of July picnic. Mid-summer is a common time to see the pests travelling from their homes to yours. Ants will migrate from one location to another if food is left outside or if there is a dripping hose where they can find water. If ants are present, one must thoroughly clean where they have travelled with soap and water, because they leave pheromones for other ants to follow.
- Clean floors and countertops regularly. Wiping down these areas will help eliminate residue and crumbs left behind from drink spills and dropped food.
- Discard trash regularly, ensuring it is thrown away in a lid-sealed receptacle.
Stinging and biting pests
Stinging and biting pests are common later in the summer. This is a time to ensure you, your home and your pets have been protected from fleas and ticks. Additionally, your yard is susceptible to hornets, wasps and bees.
- Regularly wash pet bedding and vacuum carpets, rugs and indoor areas where pets regularly rest or sleep.
- Keep flower beds pruned and awnings clean during the summer to prevent stinging pest nests.
In September, temperatures start to cool and pests begin to look for a warm winter home. Overwintering pests, which include stinkbugs, box elders and ladybugs, enter homes from the south and west sides, the areas that receive the most sun exposure.
- Ensure any cracks in windows or housing foundations are sealed, particularly on the south and west facing sides.
- Seeing one overwintering pest usually means more are hidden in walls or the basement. Carefully remove with a vacuum and call a pest control technician.
Spiders are year-round opportunistic pests, but as the temperature changes in October, these cold-blooded critters seek the warmth of your home for survival.
- Use caulk to seal any holes or cracks in your home’s exterior. Large holes should be stuffed with steel wool or wire before sealing with caulk or other materials.
- Eliminate heavy vegetation and piles of debris (such as leaf piles) near the home. These provide an ideal habitat for spiders and can attract them closer to the structure.
Fall and holiday home prep
With the holidays approaching, don’t let your guard down for pests.
- Clean all decorations before hanging them as they have had all year to gather insects from the attic or basement.
- Hang all guests’ coats when they visit. A coat pile has the potential to spread pests, like bedbugs, and cold germs.
Winter travel tips
Holiday travels can bring unwanted visitors – protect yourself and your home from bedbugs.
- Vacuum suitcases when returning home and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
- Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture. Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
For more information or if you have a possible infestation, visit www.terminix.com or call 1-800-Terminix to schedule aninspection.
Terminix, a division of the ServiceMaster Company, is the nation’s largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services more than 3 million customers in 46 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. To learn more about Terminix, visit their Web site at www.Terminix.com
With a global network of more than 6,900 company-owned, franchise and licensed locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world’s largest residential and commercial service networks. The company’s high profile brands are TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 24,000 corporate associates and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serves more than 8.2 million customers every year. Our brands hold market-leading positions in residential and commercial lawn, tree and shrub care, termite and pest control, home warranties, furniture repair, home inspections, residential and commercial cleaning and disaster restoration. Go to www.servicemaster.com for more information about ServiceMaster or follow us at twitter.com/ServiceMaster or facebook.com/TheServiceMasterCo.