How To Keep Pests Out Of Your Home This Summer

We love summer, but warm weather and humidity bring something we could do without: bugs. Spiders, wasps and many other pests think our homes are great places to spend the season. And they’re not just inside. They infest the outdoors, and rodents run amok in the garden!

Clearly, the summer pest problem bites. But not to worry: We’ve pulled together everything you need to know to keep those pests from bugging you.

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Indoor Pests

Almost any insect can invade your home, but some are more likely than others— particularly in the summer months.

Ants — Ants can enter a house through nearly any crack or opening. Food and water attracts them, and without any type of intervention, their colonies can expand rapidly.

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The most common types of ants are worker and carpenter ants. Although both are bothersome, carpenter ants can cause structural damage to wood. Unlike termites, they don’t actually eat the wood, but if a colony is left untreated, they can cause extensive damage.

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Spiders — There are approximately 3,000 different types of spiders in the United States. And we’re willing to bet you’d rather not have them in your house. As with most insects, the best way to keep spiders out is to stop them from getting in to begin with by sealing cracks and openings.

Keeping your house clean and free of clutter helps to reduce spider activity. Keeping woodpiles, trash and clutter away from the perimeter of your home is also helpful. This will deter nest building and breeding close to the house.

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Bees & Wasps — Bees play an important role in nature. But just like wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, their stings can be painful. And in some cases, they can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. If your house has more than the occasional visit from any of these flying creatures, it’s important to identify where they’re coming from.

If you have open or uncovered garbage bins near your home, it is likely that bees, wasps and other insects that will gather there – and ultimately make their way inside. They may also enter by way of ill-fitting screens or unsealed cracks — particularly those around windows.

If you have a nest in your home or garage, your safest bet is to call in a trained professional for extermination. He or she will come with the proper equipment and training, remove the nest and its inhabitants, and pose minimal danger to your family.

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Termites — Termites can sometimes go undetected for years, gnawing away at wood and causing extensive and often irreparable structural damage. Typically, the first sign of an invasion is during the warmer months of the year when the termites swarm and relocate within the house.

And once you’ve seen termites, there’s a good chance that major damage is well underway. It’s imperative to bring in a pest control professional ASAP to get the situation under control.

When it comes to prevention, your best bet is to schedule regular inspections with a termite control specialist who can detect them before they’ve fully invaded.

According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average cost to hire a termite control service is $537. Although this might seem like a pricy annual expense, it could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

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Cockroaches — Cockroaches can carry diseases, reproduce quickly and generally gross us out. They thrive in warm, moist humidity but can survive in almost any climate. Different types of cockroaches may require different methods of extermination, so it’s best to call in a professional as soon as you suspect a problem.

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Bats — Bats eat insects and have an important role in the ecosystem, but they can also carry diseases and cause nasty odors in your home. Attics are a popular place for them to set up their colonies, and once they’ve moved in, it can be very difficult to remove them.

If bats have taken over part of your home, it’s best to consult a professional immediately.

Most professionals will work with homeowners on a bat exclusion plan that involves waiting until winter for the bats to migrate. If the bats pose a threat to the inhabitants of the home, though, a trained professional should be able to provide immediate removal option.

Homeowners should never attempt to poison or exterminate bats on their own. The chemicals in the poison can be harmful to pets and household members, and in some areas, you can actually be fined for killing bats — even those within your home.

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Mice — Most people think winter is the only time to worry about rodents, but the truth is mice and rats are after food and shelter all year long. They’re proven disease carriers, and if left to their own devices, their populations can quickly spiral out of control.

If you have mice or rats in your home, you’ll notice their droppings in drawers, cabinets and other places where food is stored or consumed. You may also see small holes and gnawed corners on things like cereal boxes.

Many homeowners opt to set out traps themselves, and while this may catch a few of the mice, it’s not going to wipe out the entire population or prevent more mice from entering the house to begin with. Mouse and rat poisoning is not recommended and can pose a serious health risk to children and pets.

The best option is to hire a professional who will come up with a plan to rid your house of rodents. According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, professional rodent removal can cost between $200 and $2,000 — depending on the size of the home and the extent of the infestation.

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Outdoor Pests

You might think you’re the only one allowed to hang out in your yard, but Mother Nature sees it differently. The presence of some insects and wildlife is inevitable. But when these creatures cause significant discomfort or pose a serious threat to you, it’s likely time to call in a professional.

Ants, Bees & Flying Insects — Again, some of these critters will pop up in your yard. But if you feel like you’re being swarmed, there might be a bigger problem at hand. Many of these bugs are lured by food, so make sure to clean up any spills or crumbs and cover your garbage properly.

If you still have a problem, bringing in an outdoor pest control professional is recommended. He or she can identify the source and determine the right pest control treatment. There are several select pesticides that are not harmful to people, pets or kids.

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Larger Vermin — Rodents, snakes and raccoons can take over and destroy your yard. As always, make sure your garbage is covered and secured. Frequent mowing of your lawn and trimming back shrubs and bushes is also a good way to keep these pests from setting up shop.
If you’re facing a pervasive pest problem, a professional will have the tools and experience to safely capture the animal or prevent it from damaging your yard or garden.

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He was talking about fire safety, but it applies to pest control, too. The best way to keep bugs out of your home this summer and all year long is to have a pest control professional visit your home regularly.

Many homeowners opt for ongoing contracts with pest control services. This typically includes an initial visit as well as an agreement to periodic visits, usually ensured by contracts. According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average cost of the initial visit is around $180. For periodic visits, the average homeowner paid $40-45 for monthly visits and $100 to $300 for quarterly visits.

The biggest cost variable will be the size and structural makeup of your house and whether an infestation is already underway. If you only bring in the pros for a one-off visit, you should expect to pay a little more. According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, the average homeowner paid between $300 and $550 for a one-time pest control visit.

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