Idea Notebook - Atlanta Home Improvement Blog

Expert Tip Monday: Clean Up and Keep Out!

Anonymous

Spring is officially here in Atlanta…though it’s hard to believe with all this chilly, drippy weather.

But still – it is indeed Spring, and if you’re anything like the rest of the Atlanta population, you’re probably doing a little Spring Cleaning.  While you’re at it, we thought we’d help you not just clean but prep your house in ways that keeps the critters away.
(By the way, the gross bug pictured is a "termite soldier." Gross gross gross.)

This week, our friends at Terminix offer some simple DIY tips to help deter property-damaging and disease-carrying insect like termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, fleas and ticks this spring.

Home Exteriors

·       Water from rain gutters should be directed away from the home and not be allowed to accumulate close to the foundation.

·       Mosquitoes that bite in a person's yard are usually breeding nearby on the property or adjacent properties. Regularly empty standing water found in outdoor pots, saucers, barrels and "kiddie pools." Empty and refill birdbaths at least once a week.

·       Switch outdoor lighting from mercury vapor lamps to sodium vapor lamps to attract fewer mosquitoes. Mercury vapor lights can be used to light areas and help to lure insects away from the house at night.

·       Use a mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings. Screening will help prevent winged termites, mosquitoes and other flying insects from entering the home.

Home Interiors

·       Clean counters and floors regularly to eliminate food scraps that attract ants and cockroaches, and put away food in sealed containers. Do not allow pet food to sit out overnight.

·       Pay extra attention to under appliances and sinks, as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.

·       Springtime is when many homeowners start leaving their pets outside more often, where they can unknowingly pick up pests such as fleas and ticks. In the event that they are brought into the home, fleas and ticks can hide in carpet fibers, furniture and crevices year-round. Vacuum regularly to combat these disease-carrying pests.

Basements, Garages and Attics

·       Fix roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive above ground.

·       Ensure the attics and/or crawl spaces have sufficient ventilation.  Research shows that proper ventilation creates an environment unsuitable for cockroaches and other pests.

Landscaping

·       Avoid using plants like roses, shrubs and fruit trees that are prone to aphids and similar insects, which ants use as a primary food source. Layers of mulch and heavy vegetative ground covers hold the moisture needed by ants to thrive.

·       Keep grass mowed, weeds pulled and leaf litter managed to deter fleas and ticks. Also trim tree branches and shrubs around the lawn edge to allow more sunlight penetration.

·       Eliminate wood-to-soil contact. Any wood that simultaneously touches the soil and the home can provide termites with direct access to the structure. This includes keeping firewood or other wood debris from being stacked against the side of the home.

·       Use soil to fill in low areas in lawns and landscaped sections where rainwater may accumulate and stand for more than seven days, which is all the time a mosquito needs to breed.

·       Install an agitator in garden ponds or buy fish that eat mosquito larvae. The wave actions created by an agitator discourage female mosquitoes from laying eggs.

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