The words “Lyme disease” and “Zika” should be all the motivation you need to keep pests at bay this summer. But there are simple things you can do around the house to keep pests away.
One of the best ways to prevent unwanted visitors such as mosquitos, flies and ticks is to keep things clean around the house. Here’s how to pick up with a purpose:
+ Clean your gutters – Mosquitos can breed in the smallest amounts of water, so look around your home for hidden pools like at the bottom of a clogged gutter. Other places to look include watering cans, pots and buckets.
+ Create a buffer zone – Ticks like moist areas and tall grasses. If you live near a wooded area, create a leaf- and weed-free barrier between the edge of your property and the woods. It’s also a good idea to clean up dog droppings from your backyard to prevent flies from visiting.
+ Change your pet’s water – If you leave water sitting out and it grows stagnant, it can and will attract unwanted animals. Change out the water in their bowl often, or consider an automatic waterer so there’s always a fresh supply of clean water.
+ Check yourself – Ticks don’t immediately affix themselves to hosts, but they don’t wait around all day either. When you’ve returned from a walk through prime tick habitats such as tall grass or wooded areas, examine yourself for ticks. Look closely in the places they like to hang out, such as armpits, the back of your knee or around your waistband. Studies show showering within two hours of outdoor time cuts down on the likelihood of contracting a tick-borne disease.
If cleaning isn’t enough, you can start with natural solutions before graduating to chemical sprays or professional exterminators. If you’re looking for something simpler and with fewer chemicals, try these alternatives:
+ Garlic is a natural insecticide and works well on many crawling critters. Grind some up and add it to water, then spray it on high-traffic areas and potential access points.
+ Other natural pest barriers are cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Put some near access points to ward off visitors.