A surprisingly high proportion of indoor insect infestations start due to outside conditions surrounding a home. An abundance of vegetation, especially dead vegetation, surrounding a home provides food and shelter for both insects and spiders during the warmer months. During the cooler months, the warmth radiating from homes attracts insects and arachnids seeking warm shelter, and the presence of overgrown vegetation around a foundation helps to trap this heat. Pest-proofing trash, recycling and compost bins is a simple task that can wind up saving homeowners money on pest control treatments in the future. It is also wise to install wire-mesh barriers on crawl space entries and attic vents, especially during the fall when insects like cluster flies, brown marmorated stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, western conifer seed bugs and boxelder bugs attempt to overwinter indoors.

Removing dead lawn debris, such as dead tree branches, grass clippings, and leaves, from lawns will help to reduce pest issues, and special focus should be given to dead plant debris that has collected around a home’s foundation. Removing vines and keeping shrubs trimmed so that they are located 18 to 24 inches away from a home’s exterior walls will prevent insects like termites from approaching a home. Organic mulch should also be kept at a distance of one foot from a home’s foundation, and mulch should never make contact with structural wood and siding due to the risk of termite infestations. This also includes keeping mulch away from wooden patios. Always make sure that garbage and recycle bin lids are securely attached, and trash bins should be steam-cleaned four times per year to eliminate rotting food and other forms of decaying organic matter that accumulate in trash receptacles. Lastly, it is important to seal even the narrowest of foundation cracks and utility openings that provide insect pests with access indoors. Using sealant that contracts and expands depending on outside temperatures is ideal for this purpose.

Do you regularly perform any of the insect pest prevention tactics mentioned in this article?