As we rapidly approach summer, and our minds shift to sunbathing, pools, and lemonade stands, we almost forget that pests and critters run rampant during the warm months. Whether it’s the annoying buzzing and biting of mosquitoes or the tell-tale signs that rodents and other wildlife are wreaking havoc on your property, pests, whether you like it or not, are a major part of the summer.

You won’t always need to call in the professionals for pest problems. There are simple and effective measures you can take to help ward off pests. At Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, we specialize in Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a holistic approach to pest control that reduces health risks and environmental impacts, while effectively excluding or eliminating pests and wildlife. Here are some of our best IPM tips for do-it-yourself pest control:

Be a Firm Landlord

Last time we checked, those raccoons living under your deck, or even in your attic, weren’t paying rent. You can encourage them to move out by using mild harassment techniques and staying persistent. Once you’ve inspected the area, it’s important to close off all but one entryway, so that they have nowhere to go but out.

Obviously, each species of pest reacts to stimuli differently, but nocturnal animals–such as raccoons and opossums –are especially annoyed by light. You can place a lit flashlight in or close to the den and keep it on night and day. Just remember to turn it off periodically, so that the mother will feel safe enough to re-enter the den and retrieve her young. Playing a radio day and night close to the den will also annoy pests and prompt them to leave. Again, remember to turn it off periodically.

Once you’ve gotten rid of your unwanted houseguests, block crawl spaces and entryways with secure mesh wire that’s flush with the wall or siding.

Maintain a Pristine Yard

An unkempt yard is not only an eyesore, it’s a playground for household pests. Trim back overhanging tree branches and brush adjacent to your home to prevent animals from getting onto your roof and nesting up above. Tree branches that touch your house are known as “bug bridges” and ants use them to access gutters where they love to nest.

Many small pests and insects draw moisture from their surroundings to survive. We recommend raking wet and moisture-wicking soil and mulch away from your home – especially away from window frames and low wood. You should also turn mulch regularly to help eliminate dampness. Keeping bushes trimmed back will also help.

Removing sources of standing water on your property is also a great way to proactively remove the threat of mosquitoes and other bugs. Mosquitoes need water to breed, and they spend three of their four stages of life in water. A dry environment will help keep the mosquito population under control, making your summer far less itchy.

Mind the Gaps

Pest control is all about eliminating the tiny entryways into your home. Try to seal any gaps at doors and windows using adhesive-backed weather stripping to ensure a tight seal. Caulking between the trim and siding of your house is also effective in preventing pests from getting inside.

Don’t forget to inspect your siding and dryer vents for gaps, and check to make sure the seal between the dryer vent and the wall is still tight. Mice and rodents can use any tiny hole they find along your home’s exterior to get inside. Keep in mind that if you can slide a pencil into a crack, it’s big enough for a mouse to slip through.

We hope that these tips help prevent future pest problems and infestations. If you have a pest issue that’s already out of hand, or if you discover a major infestation while trying some do-it-yourself techniques, reach out to Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s. Our trained pest professionals can handle just about anything.

The Homeowner’s Guide to Do-It-Yourself Pest Control in Virginia

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