Summer is every bug’s time to shine, including those that bring disease or simply the discomfort of itchy bites. The bad news is that you might be inviting these critters into your home without even knowing it. Here are some things that attract bad bugs into your house and yard and what you can do about it.
1. Standing Water
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, even in puddles only a few centimetres deep. Empty out all containers in your garden and fix blocked drains to get rid of standing water.
Cockroaches, silverfish and other bugs love high humidity inside your home. Fix all water leaks and if the humidity levels in your home are still high, invest in a dehumidifier.
Cockroaches, ants and flies are drawn to trash, which provides them with a source of food. In between trash pick-up days, store your garbage in tightly sealed containers that will keep the bugs out.
4. Dirty Recyclables
Recyclables that still have bits of food in them will attract flies, ants and cockroaches. Before you put your recyclables in the recycling bin, thoroughly rinse them.
5. Overripe Fruit
As fruit and vegetables ripen, they start giving off ethylene gas, which attracts bugs such as fruit flies. Eat fresh produce before it becomes too ripe or store it in the fridge.
6. Cardboard Boxes and Paper
Cockroaches and silverfish are just some of the bugs that love paper products while termites munch on the glue holding cardboard boxes together. Recycle your old cardboard boxes and newspapers, donate old magazines to hospitals or schools and store your paperwork in plastic boxes with tight-fitting lids.
7. Clogged Gutters
Clogged gutters lead to small puddles of water for mosquitoes to breed in, while the rotting plant material also provides other bugs with food and shelter. Regularly clean your gutters.
Piles of wood provide an excellent hiding place for bugs and if you store your firewood right next to your house, the bugs will find it much easier to get inside. Keep woodpiles well away from your exterior walls.
9. Bushes Close to the House
Most bugs love finding shelter on plants and if you have bushes growing too close to your house, insects will use the foliage and branches as a bridge to enter your home. Keep a space of at least 15 cm between foliage and siding.
10. Piles of Leaves and Grass Clippings
Piles of leaves and grass clippings provide excellent shelter for bugs, especially in winter. Get rid of organic garden waste and if you want to compost it, keep it in a composting bin.
11. Unkempt Yards
Bugs and other pests can breed in overgrown yards and by the time you notice them, the infestation may be huge and difficult to control. Mow the lawn regularly, prune shrubs and trees and pull out weeds to keep your yard tidy and pest free.
12. Dirty Grills
Bits of food stuck to the grill will attract bugs looking to feast long after you’ve had your barbecue. Clean your grill thoroughly after each use.
13. Pet Food
Uneaten pet food is a hit with bugs such as flies, ants and cockroaches. Feed your pet only as much as they need with each meal and store the rest of the food in sealable containers.
14. Pet Waste
Pet waste provides food and a breeding ground for flies and other nasties. Clean up after your dog and keep your cat’s litter box clean.
15. Bird Seed
Bird seed is an easily accessible source for insects. Keep the bugs at bay but the birds happy by putting out only a little bit of seed every day rather than filling the bird feeder to the brim.
16. White Lighting
Gnats and other flying insects are attracted to lights. If you have to keep the lights turned on, switch to yellow lights because white lights attract more bugs.
17. Missing Door Sweeps
Crawling insects such as cockroaches and ants can squeeze through tiny gaps to enter your home. Keep your door sweeps in good condition and replace them when necessary.
18. Torn Screens
Screens help to keep bugs out but even the tiniest tears will let bug-attracting odours through and can provide bugs with a way in. Inspect your screens regularly and fix any tears and holes.
Cracks provide bugs such as ants with a way into your home while they can also give shelter to fleas and other critters. Caulking and sealing cracks will help to keep the bugs out.
20. Messy Neighbours
If your neighbours are messy or have an unkempt yard, it can attract bugs to your yard too. Find a diplomatic way to raise the issue and, if necessary, offer to help your neighbours with the upkeep of their yard.