(BPT) - As we quickly approach warmer months, homeowners are getting ready for their summertime favorites, including spending more time outdoors and entertaining for backyard barbecues. However, they should be on guard from uninvited house guests: pests.
Pests, like spiders and ants, are often considered to be just a nuisance, but some can pose a threat to your property. According to Groundworks, spiders, carpenter ants and cockroaches are among the biggest pest threats homeowners face.
While pests can find their way into homes year-round, some seasons are worse than others. According to research from the University of Washington, outside of the tropics, insects reproduce at higher rates in warmer weather, so you'll see more bugs during spring and summer.
Don't wait for pest problems to crop up at your home and ruin the summertime fun. Follow these five steps to protect your home and family from pests.
1. Seal up entry points
Pests like ants, spiders and cockroaches are small and crafty, and are able to enter your home through tiny cracks, gaps and holes. Make it harder for bugs to get in by sealing up entry points with caulk or weather stripping in your home's walls, doors and windows. Don't forget to inspect areas where pipes and wires enter your home and seal any entry points you find.
2. Take a proactive approach to pest control
Before you have a major summertime pest problem on your hands, take a proactive approach by having a line-up of products at the ready like insecticides, traps and repellents.
There are a variety of pest control products available depending on your specific pest needs. For example, Raid Essentials offers a complete line of products to target specific insects with plant-based ingredients. Whether you're dealing with ants, roaches, house flies, mosquitoes or spiders, you can rest assured that you're using products from a brand backed by over 65 years of insect research. Remember to read the label and follow instructions for best results.
3. Emphasize tidying up
Keeping your home clean is a simple but effective pest preventative. Pests are attracted to food, water and shelter, so it's critical to keep your home extra clean and tidy in the warmer weather to prevent becoming an attractive sanctuary for bugs.
The kitchen attracts a wide variety of insects, and open or improperly stored food can quickly turn the kitchen into a breeding ground for bugs. Make sure your food is stored tightly in sealed containers or purchase small packages that can be used in a shorter period of time. Keep your kitchen and dining room free of crumbs and spills by regularly vacuuming floors and wiping down counters and tables.
4. Maintain your yard
Outdoors in their own territory, pests can breed undeterred, creating more unwanted visitors that can invade your home. Maintain your yard so it doesn't become a bug haven. Make sure to remove any piles of debris or yard waste where pests can hide and thrive away from prying eyes.
Trees and bushes that touch your home create bridges for ants, spiders, flies and other pests to enter. Make sure to trim overgrown bushes and trees regularly.
5. Eliminate standing water
Mosquitoes lay eggs in pooled water, so make sure to eliminate any sources of standing water. Inspect your home and fix leaky faucets, drains and pipes. In areas of the home that are always damp, like your basement, run a dehumidifier.
Don't forget to check your yard to make sure gutters flow smoothly and aren't blocked by leaves and waste. If needed, extend downspouts farther from your home to improve drainage. Make sure empty pots, grill covers, tires and other items that can collect water are emptied regularly.
Don't let pests keep you from enjoying your home during the warmer months. Using these five tips, you can take active steps to help prevent and eliminate pests so you can enjoy the weather without worry.