14 Dec Pest Proofing Tips from Exterminators in Fayetteville NC
According to a statewide poll of North Carolina householders, 93% expressed concern over finding insects within their homes. More than half indicated that a single cockroach, cricket, or spider would prompt them to use a can of bug spray or call an exterminator. Despite their “high-profile” presence within the home, most pests encountered indoors have either flown or crawled in from outdoors.
One of the best ways to limit unwanted intrusions by insects, rodents, birds, squirrels, and other pests is to deny them entry a procedure known as pest proofing. Many pests seek refuge in homes and other buildings in response to changes in weather, such as extended periods of rain or drought, or the onset of cooler temperatures in autumn. Taking steps to block their entry before they end up inside can greatly reduce the chances of future sightings.
Outlined below are some useful tips for pest proofing one’s home or place of business. These steps will also conserve energy and increase the comfort level during this winter season.
· Install door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors: While lying on the floor, check for light filtering under doors. Gaps of 1/16 inch or less will permit entry of insects and spiders; 1/4 inch-wide gaps (the diameter of a pencil) are large enough for entry of mice; 1/2 inch gaps are adequate for rats. Pay particular attention to the bottom corners as this is often where rodents and insects enter. Apply caulk along the bottom outside edge and sides of door thresholds to exclude ants and other small insects. Garage doors should be fitted with a bottom seal constructed of rubber (vinyl seals poorly in cold weather). Gaps under sliding glass doors can be sealed by lining the bottom track with 1/2- to 3/4-inch-wide foam weather stripping.
· Seal utility openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation and siding: around outdoor faucets, receptacles, gas meters, clothes dryer vents, and telephone/cable TV wires. These are common entry points for pests such as rodents, ants, spiders, and yellowjackets. Holes can be plugged with caulk, cement, urethane expandable foam, steel wool, copper mesh, or another suitable sealant.
· Caulk cracks around windows, doors, fascia boards: Use a good quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Although somewhat less flexible than pure silicone, latex type caulks clean up easily with water and are paintable. Caulks that dry clear are often easier to use than pigmented caulks since they do not show mistakes. Buy a good caulking gun. Features to look for include a back-off trigger to halt the flow of caulk when desired, a built-in “slicer” for cutting the tip off new caulking tubes, and a nail for puncturing the seal within. Prior to sealing, cracks should be cleaned, and any peeling caulk removed to aid adhesion. For a professional look, smooth the bead of caulk after application with a damp rag or a moistened finger.
· Repair gaps and tears in window and door screens: Doing so will help reduce the entry of flies, gnats, mosquitoes, midges, cluster flies, lady beetles, and other overwintering pests in early fall. Certain insects, in particular leafhoppers and hackberry psyllids, are small enough to fit through the standard mesh window screen. The only way to deny entry to these tiny insects is to keep windows closed during periods of adult emergence.
· Install 1/4-inch wire mesh: (hardware cloth) over attic, roof, and crawl space vents in order to prevent the entry of birds, bats, squirrels, rodents, and other wildlife. Be sure to wear gloves when cutting and installing hardware cloth, as the wire edges are razor sharp. Invest in a chimney cap to exclude birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other nuisance wildlife.
· Consider applying an exterior (barrier) treatment with insecticides: While sealing is the more permanent way to exclude pests originating from the outdoors, comprehensive pest-proofing is labor-intensive and sometimes impractical. For clients requiring an alternative, pest proofing can be supplemented by an exterior treatment with an insecticide. Homeowners will get the most for their efforts by applying longer lasting liquid formulations containing synthetic pyrethroids such as Spectracide Triazicide, Ortho Home Defense and Bayer Advanced Multi Insect Killer stocked by some hardware and garden shops.
Remember, termites, rats and mice can fit through a lot of tight spaces, especially when it is freezing outside and welcoming inside, so you’ll want to inspect for even the smallest potential points of entry. Take your time to carefully check every inch of your home’s exterior. Address any potential entrances such as loose shingles or portions of your roof that may be pulling away from the awning. Examine all vents, roof returns, flashing along your chimney and skylights for gaps that could give pests easy access to your home.
Clients who choose not to tackle these activities may wish to hire a professional pest control company in the Fayetteville and Hope Mills NC areas. Eco Advantage offers pest proofing as an adjunct to other professional services. We at Eco Advantage discourage the use of pesticides just to keep nuisance pests out of your home. We are a firm advocate of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and since there are so many mechanical methods of pest control available to homeowners, we believe that they should be used as the primary means of preventing pest invasions. Eco Advantage offers a free estimate of our pest control, termite control and exterminator services in Hope Mills, Fayetteville, NC, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free Integrated Pest Management (IPM) consultation 910-423-6415.