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Summer Insect Control and Safety Tips

Updated on May 27, 2010
Don't let bugs ruin your summer fun.
Don't let bugs ruin your summer fun.

Warm temperatures may bring pool parties, barbeques and family fun, but summer is also the prime time of year for insect infestations. Keeping your family safe and your home bug free should be a primary concern and you prepare to enjoy warm-weather activities.

Although there is no foolproof way to prevent bugs from entering your home, there are steps you can take to preserve the health of your children and pets and reduce the chances that your home will become a haven for unwelcome guests.


Ants

Ants can build a mound quickly, and travel hundreds of feet from their mound looking for small cracks in windows, door frames and home foundations. Once a food source is discovered, the ants will continue to visit the food source periodically until their mound is eradicated. Regardless of how clean you keep your home, the inevitable crumb will find its way into your carpet or along your baseboards--attracting ants.


Once a week, do a walkthrough of your back yard, front yard and garden looking for ant hills. When you find a mound, sprinkle ant killer on the mound or follow an ant baiting routine until you’re certain the queen and her minions are dead. 


Get rid of ants before they get into your home.
Get rid of ants before they get into your home.

Keep in mind that not all ants build mounds. Examine open patches of dirt in your yard and garden for holes and telltale circular piles of dirt with an odd appearance. These signs are indicative of an ant infestation.


If you are unlucky enough to be plagued with fire ants, standard eradication methods may prove ineffective. You may wish to cover yourself with clothing from head to toe and uproot the entire mound with a shovel, dumping it into a bucket of water or an out of the way area. Although this will not kill all of the ants, it will irritate the colony enough to relocate--hopefully out of your yard.


You can take additional precautions by spraying for ants within your home. Spray along the walls, doors and windows to deter ants from crossing the threshold. If you have concerns about the toxicity of ant spray, consider utilizing several non toxic and green methods of ant control.


Spiders

Spiders are particularly insidious creatures. Not only do many individual harbor a strong fear of spiders, spiders like to hide in dark, out of the way places. If they go unnoticed for long enough, some species, such as the Southern House Spider can grow to enormous sizes. Unfortunately, spray does little to deter these unpleasant pests.


House spiders can grow very large.
House spiders can grow very large.

Check your house for spider webs. Look in corners, behind appliances and underneath and within your cabinets. Spiders also like to lurk in the back of closets. Spring cleaning can also reduce the spider population in your home by reducing the amount of built up clutter you’ve accumulated. Spiders love to build webs and hide in cluttered spaces.


It’s also wise to eradicate the spiders you find outdoors. Many people claim that garden spiders help eliminate the volume of bugs that that make their way into your home. Unfortunately, a garden spider’s effectiveness at reducing the outdoor insect population is so minimal its almost unnoticeable and that same spider can lay thousands of eggs. Some of which may hatch and find their way into your home. 


Learn to recognize the webs of poisonous spiders such as black widows and brown widows and immediately destroy any you find. The bites from these spiders are highly poisonous and have been known to kill some small children. 


Lay down flypaper or spider paper in areas of your home that spiders frequent such as underneath the sink, in the back of your closet or beneath your appliances. In addition to catching spiders, you’ll also catch other unwelcome pests. Check your spider paper periodically and replace it when necessary. 


Flies

Nothing is more irritating than a fly buzzing about around your head while you’re attempting to cook, sleep or simply relax. Flies enter your home through open doors and windows. These pests arrive in multitudes in the summer and quite the opportunists--even those who rarely open windows or doors are sure to find a few flies in their home during the summer.


Flies can quickly overrun your home in the summer.
Flies can quickly overrun your home in the summer.

The best prevention is simply to keep doors tightly closed and only open them when coming or going. Don’t leave the front door open even for quick activities such as taking out the trash. Several flies can enter your home in the time it takes you to run a bag of garbage out to the curb. Keep a fly swatter handy in every room, so that you can quickly eradicate any flies you discover at a moment’s notice. Otherwise, by the time you run to get the fly swatter, the buzzing pest will inevitably be gone. 


If you can’t resist the fresh air, check your window screens thoroughly before opening your windows. Small holes in window screens are more than enough to allow flies to enter your home. In addition, keeping the area around your home clean will reduce the available spaces for flies to breed--reducing the amount you have to deal with later.


A “bug zapper” is also an effective way for dealing with flies. Hanging a bug zapper near your back door will result in much fewer flying pests making their way into your home. 


If these remedies do little to fix your fly problem, hang fly paper around your windows and mirrors. Flies love to congregate in these areas. Fly paper may be unattractive, but it does its job when it comes to trapping these pests so that you can quickly dispose of them. 


Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are perhaps the most hated of all summer pests. Their bites often go unnoticed and can leave a raised, raw, itchy area on the skin for several days. Infected mosquito bites may even result in a impetigo. 


Your first defense against mosquitoes is to get rid of any standing water around your home, if possible. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. If you use rain barrels to collect water for your garden, make sure to use the water in your rain barrels immediately to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Those with garden ponds or water gardens should take care to ensure that the water in their ponds is in motion at all times. A cheap water circulator or spitter can be purchased at most pond supply stores to circulate the water and make it less likely to become a habitat for mosquito larvae.


Mosquito larva thrive in standing water.
Mosquito larva thrive in standing water.

Although an electronic bug zapper is particularly effective in getting rid of mosquitoes, you can also prevent bites in other ways. Burning citronella candles is a good way of repelling these pests while you spend quality outdoor time with your family. Make sure that you purchase several citronella candles, and scatter them throughout the area you plan to barbeque or relax. One citronella candle alone is frighteningly ineffective at deterring mosquitoes. 


Bug spray can also help you prevent mosquito bites. Although some brands carry a stench, you can purchase bug lotion and bug gel that doesn’t have the same unpleasant smell. Make sure if you take a dip in the pool or sweat while outdoors, that you reapply the bug spray as necessary for continued protection. 


Get rid of mosquitoes for safe outdoor fun.
Get rid of mosquitoes for safe outdoor fun.

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