Five tips for pest prevention

    Plans for a barbecue or pool party can be thwarted by pests. Homeowners can take some key steps during the summer to ward off mosquitoes, bees, cockroaches, termites and other bugs and critters.

    Charlie Jones, senior vice president of operations for Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminating, said he’s seen a surge of invasive species such as stink bugs, which not only are smelly, but can stain furniture, and kudzu bugs, which are attracted to light surfaces.

    He offers five tips for preventing pests, which also can help you and your guests get more enjoyment from outdoor living.

    1. Eliminate sources of standing water and moisture.

    “You’re not going to sit outside if someone has mosquito problems,” Jones said.

    Make sure there is no standing water in the backyard. Look for items, from pots to toys in a backyard or sandbox where water can collect. Anything bigger than a thimble full of water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, he said.

    2. Seal the foundation.

    Make sure cracks and small openings around the foundation of the home, including entry points for wires and pipes, are sealed and caulked. Pest-proofing the exterior can keep cockroaches and termites from entering the home.

    “Any kind of crack or hole on the foundation of the house or in the brick or in the siding is an entry point for insects to gain entry into the home,” Jones said.

    Homeowners should make sure screens are tight and doors are shut to keep stink bugs, kudzu bugs and other pests from entering, he said.

    3. Keep garbage collection areas clean

    Clean up leftover food from parties and entertaining, and keep lids tightly closed on garbage cans. If not, you are encouraging insects and animals, such as raccoons, possums and other wildlife, to come onto your property, Jones said. “If they’re going to find a free meal, that’s what they’re going to come or get.”

    4. Separate trees and shrubbery from the house

    Trimming tree limbs and shrubs so they don’t touch the home can not only help with curb appeal, it can reduce the amount of ants and other insects that can get into screened porches, sunrooms and other spaces.

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