By Patricia L. Garcia
Moving into a newly built home means you can breathe easy knowing maintenance will be minimal. Regardless if your home is new or a resale, you must stay vigilant to ensure that pests are not welcome in your house.
Because spring has sprung — and so have baby pests everywhere — April is the ideal time to concentrate on keeping pests out of your new home. The Professional Pest Management Alliance, the consumer arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), celebrates National Pest Management Month in April to remind homeowners to stay vigilant in their battle against bugs, rodents and other pests. “It’s a good time to focus that, because April is a peak month when you’ll start seeing more pests,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of Public Affairs for the NPMA.
Because pests can cause damage to your new home and carry diseases, you should stay vigilant about keeping them at bay. When you move into a new home, you get a fresh start, so it’s important to properly maintain your home from the beginning. “Setting up good basic practices and making sure there are good sanitation practices from the moment you move in will go a long way in preventing pests,” Henriksen says. “You want to make sure you’re taking precautionary steps. You want to roll out the welcome mat to your family and friends, but not to pests.”
The Great Outdoors
When trying to prevent what’s outside from getting into your home, it’s important to first take a look outside: Is your yard flashing an invitation to pests that there’s food, water and shelter for them?
One place to start is your landscaping. Using mulch to help protect plants is a good system to use, but the right mulch is important. Some mulches can provide food and shelter for some pests, while others, such as mulches made from tea tree, will kill certain types of termites. Because mulch helps keep a moist environment for plants, you may want to use mulch sparingly if ticks are common in your area (the moisture attracts them). Speak with someone at your local nursery to determine which mulch works best for your area.
If you store firewood on your property, place it at least 18 feet from your home to help prevent rodents and termites from coming close.
Once you’ve checked your landscaping, look to your roof. Regularly check under eaves for any bee, hornet or wasp nests. To help remove water sources, be sure to regularly clean out gutters and make sure that all of your home’s downspouts direct water away from your home and that water doesn’t pool up, Henriksen says.
If you have pets, be sure to store their food inside and that it is covered, since that could attract pests large and small, and change out the water in bird baths at least once a week. When determining where to store your trash, try to find a spot that’s as far away from your home as possible, Henriksen says. If you do have pests in your home or yard, contact a pest management professional who can help you take the right approach. If you take a DIY approach, be sure to follow the directions given.
Ensuring that your home is free of pests requires a common-sense approach. Developing a pest management plan from the beginning is good way to ensure that your new home and yard will be pest-free for many years to come.