6 ways to keep bugs out of your house this spring
By Bianca Barr Tunno, AccuWeather staff writer
As insects begin to emerge in milder temperatures across the United States, they might accidentally find themselves inside your house.
In order to keep them outside where they belong, experts say you have to think like a bug and get rid of all that stuff around your house that might be attractive to insects.
Prune trees and shrubs away from the structure
Insects will use a tree as a bridge to get onto the roof, according to Wizzie Brown, entomologist and Extension Program Specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office. They can then crawl through the vents and move into the structure.
If shrubs or bushes are near a door or window, the bugs might make a home there for a short time then move in with you.
“[Shrubs] can provide harborage spaces that are really cozy next to the structure, and that could lead insects indoors,” Brown said.
Keep an eye on other vegetation near your home, said Tim Husen, Ph.D., board certified entomologist and technical services manager with Orkin. Trim it back to keep bugs away.
“Ideally, it would be best if every home in the country had a foot of crushed stone around the house that is weed-free,” Husen said. “But who has that?”
Seal cracks, crevices and weep holes
Brown recommends homeowners use a sealant that can expand and contract with the weather conditions.
“A lot of times, people will seal these areas, but they do not use the correct sealant, and when the season changes from cold to hot, it can crack again and insects can get back in,” Brown said.
Brown told AccuWeather that many people use copper mesh to seal weep holes. It will not rust and will block insects from getting into wall void areas.
Mix up the mulch
Thin out mulch or pine straw around the house and turn it over with a rake so it is not wet all the time.
Insects love decaying organic matter, whether it be mulch, leaves or other rotting material, according to Husen.
Also, make sure sprinkler systems are on a proper watering schedule. Standing water could build up if sprinklers are used for too long, which may attract mosquitoes.
Repair screens and doors
Screens and door thresholds must be in good repair or bugs will just invite themselves in.
Weather stripping can break down over time, so Brown suggests checking for peeks of light, which would indicate a weak seal.
“If you can see daylight around the door when it is closed from the inside of the structure, then the weather stripping is not creating a good seal and insects can get in,” she said.
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Depending on how lighting on your house is positioned, bugs that are attracted to the brightness may have an entry point right through your front door.
She suggests turning lights off at night. You can also direct the lights away from the house so they are not illuminating the front door or purchase reduced wavelength bulbs that are less attractive to insects.
Clean the gutters
If leaves are clogging the gutters on your home, reduce bug habitat and water sources by getting rid of the debris.
Cockroaches, for example, will live in gutters because rotting leaves create a cozy hangout for them. Then, they can easily crawl into the attic. Insects often move indoors when they experience radical environmental conditions, said Brown.
“They want to be in their normal habitat,” she said. “When that gets disrupted, they try to move to a different area that would be more suitable.”
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.
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