Spring without the wings: 5 tips to avoid a seasonal pest problem

(BPT) - Daydreaming of spring is something everyone does during the coldest days of winter — even pests. The promise of warmer weather on the horizon is also a boon for the numerous species of pests that inhabit your area, and when the temperature perks up, many of those pests come out of hiding and start looking towards your home for food and shelter.

Protecting your home and property from seasonal intruders is a year-long job, but your task could be simpler if proper preparations are made in advance of spring’s first bloom. To help you do just that, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers these tips for keeping your property pest-free this year:

* Identify the threats. To start your pest prevention effectively, the first step is to know what to look for. The winter months saw an influx of furry critters trying to invade homes, but springtime pests are more often of the six-legged variety. Ants, flies, bees/hornets, ticks, mosquitoes and termites are all common nuisance pests during this season. Visit www.pestworld.org to learn more about what threats are most common in your area and how to identify them.

* Block the openings. Even the smallest pests are able to find a way into your home, and in many cases that way is through your windows. Keep windows shut during swarming periods for insects like ants or termites and install screens and door sweeps to keep winged intruders, like flies, mosquitoes and hornets, out.

* Make your yard less inviting. Don’t allow your yard to be a base of operations for future pest activity. Keeping your grass freshly cut makes the space less appealing to pests, and trimming trees and bushes near your home is a great way to prevent easy access for potential travelers. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you should also remove standing water from your property. Even an upside-down Frisbee can collect enough water to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Fill wet patches with dirt, if necessary, and tip over any cups, flower pots or bowls that collected water during the winter.

* Look for signs of activity. A pest infestation can’t stay hidden forever. Alive or dead insects in your home are a sign of a larger problem, as is damage to wood if you live in an area where termites are prevalent. Signs of a potential problem may exist outside, as well. Take a stroll around your home and check your roof for hornet nests. They will be small in the spring but will grow larger throughout the season if action isn’t taken.

* Contact the experts. If you’re looking for even more strategies to reduce the risk of pests infesting your home or you suspect your home has already succumbed to an infestation of some type, your local pest control professional can help you rid your home of existing threats and shore it up to prevent against new invaders. Visit www.pestworld.org to find a local exterminator in your area. It's the easiest way to turn your spring pest problem from growing to gone.

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