Escaping the Summer Pest Explosion

by Matt Myers

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    Out with the cold weather, in with the bugs. Spring and summer are great times to enjoy the outdoors, but they are also peak times for the annual bug and pest explosion. And we're not just talking Cicadas, but also flies, mosquitoes, June bugs, even raccoons and bats. So be sure to take note of what's coming, and also how to keep them outside of your home.

    Mosquitoe—There's no real reason to ever want to have a mosquito around. When they bite, it itches for days and they can transit illnesses like the West Nile Virus. They breed in shallow water areas like puddles and water-filled pots. Be sure to empty these if you can.
    House Flies—Anyone who has ever been to a BBQ knows that flies follow the food. If your windows are open, be sure to have the screens up and be sure those screens don't have holes. Also, mind your mother and don't the leave door open.
    June Bugs—These bugs are not harmful, but if you leave a porch light on you'll quickly realize just how many of these are around your home. Again, good screens and keep the outside lights off when you don't need them.
    Raccoons—Just like bears, if you don't seal up your trash, these night critters will sniff your garbage out, tear it apart, and scatter your trash all over. While it's hard to keep holes from occurring in your trash, do your best. If you have a shared dumpster or a trash can, make sure the lid shuts tight for added protection.
    Cicadas—There is a new batch of these every summer, and they have been underground for sometimes as long as 17 years. So when they rise, they are due to make some noise. They aren't harmful to humans, but noise at that level and swarms of this size, might make for some interesting evenings if you live in the Midwest.
    Bats—The big time for bat problems is typically during August. Young bats are beginning to venture out of the house, but their radar is not finely tuned, so when they reenter a home, they take some wrong turns, and now bats are swarming around in your house. Best thing here is to contact a pro. Bats can be pretty scary to deal with.
    Ants—Just like flies, ants are going to follow the food. Whether the food is outside on the grill or in your kitchen, if you leave them a path to food, they will get there. The best thing is to keep your floors and counters extra-clean during the summer, and put away all food.
    Squirrels—Squirrels are like giraffes. They are cute, but you don't want them living with you. Squirrels like to burrow into your eaves and overhangs, sometimes even being so bold as to get in your attic. While their nests are typically pretty small, it can be pretty spooky hearing rodents move around above you at night.

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    If you live in an area where you are likely to get any number of pests, find a good pest control specialist and be good to this pro. Make sure they can do everything you need right then and also everything you might need in the future. Some pest control companies only do insects, some only rodents, some do everything. Be sure to ask on the phone about their complete offering. This way you can build a solid relationship with a professional who is likely to be back next year.

    Remember: Keep your kitchen clean. Put food away. Put up solid window screens. And turn off outdoor lights when you don't need them.

    Matt Myers is a freelance writer for the home maintenance and remodeling industry. Formerly a contractor specializing in deck building and casework, Matt has written over 500 articles for both homeowners and contractors.