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July 24, 2013

Got Bugs? 5 Tips for a Bug-Free Summer 2013

Does it seem like your house has been taken over by gnats and flies? I know I've had out my fly swatter every day and have been like a mad woman trying to clean up every crumb after my children in hopes that I wouldn't wake up with some new friends swarming my sink. I mean we aren't gross people, so what's with all the bugs? 
After I had this same conversation with about five different people in one day, I figured it was time to go to the professionals. But who? It was easy to find the answer: 
Arriving right on time after only making my appointment only about 48-hours before, my friendly "bug man" came out and take a look to give me some tips I could do my self on what I could do to not feel like I lived in Oscar the Grouch's garbage can. 
I had several questions for him, but went straight for the biggie: 
"What's with all the bugs?" 
He explained that since we had such a mild winter season with very few cold storms, the bugs from last year never died. "Basically, there was no kill season - so they had an extended mating opportunity." 
Oh gross. But  now it was on to finding a way to get rid of the little buggers. 
With just a quick walk around my yard, he was able to give me a few thing I could actually do.  {This is the part you take notes.}
TIP #1: Move the trash away from the door. 
One of the common places for people to put their trash and undoubtedly one of the easiest ways for bugs to get in the house is to leave it next to the back door. While it may not be as convenient, moving our trash just a few feet has greatly changed the number of bugs we've seen. 
We all remember last year we were all on West Nile watch. While there have been cases this year, it's nothing compared to the issues we had in summer 2012, thank goodness. But there are things we can do to prevent as much risk as possible. 
TIP #2: Avoid going outdoors from 7-9 pm (dusk) to alleviate your risk for mosquitos.  
O ne of the things I learned was that mosquitos like to perch on the underside of bushes - so basically, you can't get to them by just spraying them yourself. (Super, right?) That means you have to take other precautions to keep those pests away.  But since I'm not going to put a timer on my summer entertaining, he also suggest another tip:
TIP #3: Whoa on the water. 
Not only does watering your yard too much add to water shortage issues, but it also makes it a nice environment for the skeeters to live.  While we are also talking about water, make sure that you have all leaks and sprinklers fixed as well as any water sources at a minimal so the mosquitos don't have a place to nest. Keep gutters clean and unclogged so it is unable to hold water as well as make suremyour downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area. 
Tip #3: Mind the gaps. 
Bugs are always looking for places to live - including the cracks in your walls. So by filling in the cracks with sprayable insulation or even using a small square of folded window screen can help from bugs taking home in your home.  But there are a couple of gaps you actually should increase between you and infestation. First, make sure to trim back your shrubs trimmed back from the walls (basically overgrown plant life just help build easy road ways for critters to get around.) And thinking you're being so smart to trim your trees and then pile them close to the house to use for firewood? Think again. Your pile just become an apartment complex for termites.  Oh, how fast can I move those limbs, right?       

TIP #4: Keep your yard mowed and the garden mulched. 
A manicured lawn is actually an unhospitable place for critters - including ticks, ants, fleas and mosquitos. Basically, if they don't have a comfortable place to hang out, they won't (as much at least.) So keep those blades at bay with a weekly whacking.  And one more helpful tip he offered is if you find tick or fleas in your yard, you probably have another problem - a much bigger pest that is keeping them happy and fed. (That's a whole other discussion that includes rats, squirrels, opposums...)
TIP #5:   Go green and plant your own insecticides. 
There's a whole industry built on sprays, fogs, powders and more to help cope with your yard. Unfortunately most of them don't work (I say that from my own experience.) So consider natural options. While sage, jasmine, and mint are good for your herb garden, they aren't good for bugs. So bring on the fragrant plants to help get rid of the bugs. 
While of course, there are many things I need to leave to the professionals, I was so appreciative of just the couple tips he shared for me to help get rid of my guests. And when you Got Bugs, then call the guys at Metroguard Termite Pest Control.

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