FALL YARD CLEANUP? – THINK PEST PREVENTION
By Chris Williams on November 1, 2018.
You’ve probably already begun your fall tasks of raking leaves, putting the garden to bed, cleaning gutters, rolling hoses, the usual end of season chores. There are steps you can take at the same time that will also help prevent next year’s pests, requiring little extra work on your part:
Raking leaves is usually chore #1 in the fall.
While some leaves (especially chopped-up leaves) left in place in garden beds can be a good thing for plants, what you don’t want is piles of wet, decaying leaves, especially near your foundation. This provides food and shelter for many foundation pests such as sowbugs and millipedes. Bag or mulch leaves, do the same for wet grass clippings and pine needles.
PRUNING –As you’re contemplating what to prune and how much, make sure that you don’t have tree branches that touch your house or roof or that come anywhere near. Trim them back at least 6 feet to keep squirrels, raccoons, and other pests from easily jumping onto your roof and finding an access point into your attic area. Likewise, trim back foundation shrubs and groundcover plants so that they don’t touch the house. This will keep smaller pests such as ants and earwigs from crawling onto the house and finding their way inside.
FOUNDATION INSPECTION –
As you are sprucing up around the foundation, carry a caulking gun. Look for and repair openings or cracks around the foundation, between bricks, or where pipes or electrical conduits enter, that would allow pests inside. Mice need only a very tiny gap, insects even smaller. Make sure foundation vents are screened and that window wells are cleared of debris and moisture. Check that basement windows seal tightly. Make sure downspouts and splash blocks are positioned to prevent standing rainwater.
FOUNDATION CLEANUP – Most of the pests that end up inside your home originated on the outside within just a few feet from the exterior wall. Many insects and other arthropods live and hide around the foundation where mulch and plants provide moisture and food and stacked materials provide shelter. Even insects that don’t normally live here often end up here in the fall when looking for a warmer, protected place to spend the winter. You can eliminate a lot of these pests with a general foundation cleanup: rake leaves and debris, cut weeds, prune shrubs, and remove or reduce the depth of mulch around the foundation. Also if you have stacks of firewood, stones, boards, or other debris around the foundation, dump them or move them farther from your house.
Taking these pest prevention steps now may still keep out some fall pests that were looking for a way to get inside and will definitely reduce pest numbers in the spring. Eliminating outside winter shelter for pests around your foundation will have them looking elsewhere.
After you get the yard and foundation cleaned up, ask us about steps to further pest-proof your home. We offer specialty pest exclusion measures that seal gaps around doors, windows, roofline, vents, and other openings to keep pests out. Our materials and our work are guaranteed! Call Colonial Pest!
For more, check out these fall pest prevention blogs: