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How to Pest Proof Your Home

Pest Proofing Your home: Steps you can take to keep invasive bugs out of your house or business.

The warm, humid environment of Florida that we live in has an abundance of insects ready and willing to invade our homes. Keeping bugs out of our homes has been an ongoing problem for hundreds of years. There are more remedies for pest control than there are for the common cold.

No one wants to live with bugs in their home, the place where we sleep, raise our children, and share cherished time with our family and friends. Home is where the memories are made that bond families and friends for a lifetime.

What if those precious memories were to be marred by a real-life nightmare come true?

Imagine it is the holidays, and you are eager to get back home after spending a fun-filled but stressful week at your in-laws. All you want to do is unwind and relax.

When you finally arrive at the front door of your home, you breathe a sigh of relief, relax your shoulders, and anticipating peace and quiet, you open the door to your castle.

Instead of relief, you gasp in bewilderment at the sight of cockroaches crawling on the ceiling. They are everywhere and on everything you see: the floors, the walls, the ceiling, and the lights. They are even floating in the coffee maker. (This type of cockroach is the German Cockroach, you later learn.)

In shock, you quickly call Dave’s Pest Control for fast, safe, and reliable service.

Unfortunately, there are all too many true stories like this one. Bed bugs can attack us in our sleep. Hunting spiders crawl out from their webs in search of prey. Ants march into the pantry and drown in the maple syrup. Biscuit beetles by the thousands litter the box of your favorite breadcrumbs. There is no shortage of pests that can get into our lives and invade our living spaces.

Customers ask, “What can I do?”

Fortunately, there are some basic steps we can take to keep invasive insects out of our homes.

The Windows

Windows are a part of every structure humans build. Having an opening to allow us to see the outside world is an important feature in homes and businesses.

Historically, the first windows ever built were just large holes to allow sunlight and air inside. Often paper or wooden shutters were used to block out or allow light inside.

There is evidence that glass was created thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt and was also used by the Romans in the first century.

This glass was made by superheating sand and ash together, forming a liquid paste. The molten glass was then continually flattened and allowed to slowly cool until a thin sheet was created.

This early glass was not smooth, contained many bubbles, and was not transparent. Looking out of these early windows, you would see a world that was blurry and distorted. Making glass evenly flat on both sides and without bubbles was extremely hard to do.

Today, machines produce large sheets of glass. Silica sand is mixed with sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate. This mixture is superheated to over 3000 degrees. The molten glass is then poured onto a liquid tin bath. Since the tin and the glass do not mix (like oil and water), the glass floats perfectly flat on top of the liquid tin. The glass cools and hardens before the tin does, allowing the glass to be removed. The glass is then ready to be cut into panes for windows.

Pests like ants often crawl through small cracks and crevices around windows. To prevent their entry, seal any cracks or spaces with mold resistant caulk. Fix or replace wooden window frames that are damaged or rotted.

Window screens should be fixed or replaced when they have tears or rips in them. Many swarming insects are attracted to light; if you have an open window with a defective screen, hundreds of swarming termites could fly toward that light and enter your home.

At Dave’s Pest Control, we can carefully use a chemical bait around your windows to eliminate pests like ants when they are crawling around on the inside of windows.

The Doors

Doors with small openings allow pests to enter homes and businesses. For a door to operate correctly, there has to be some

space under it to swing unimpeded. These gaps can allow ants, spiders, snakes, and roaches to crawl into a home or business.

To correct this problem, rubber seals are installed around the door frame. This has the added benefit of weatherproofing, as it keeps air conditioning or heat from leaking out and drafts or hot air from coming in. Specialized door sweeps can also be purchased to close the gap found underneath most doors.

Wooden trim around doors can become saturated with moisture and begin to rot. Replace water damaged wood around doors as soon as possible. It is always less expensive to remove and replace wet, rotted wood than it is to ignore it until many more expensive problems occur.

Be aware that heavily used doors pose more problems with insect entry than less used doors.

The Attic

The space above your home plays an important role in keeping the temperature in your home at a comfortable level. As warm air rises up into the attic, well placed vents move the warm air to the outside. This constant movement of air helps protect your roof from moisture buildup that can cause problems like wood rot and mold.

Most homes are constructed with asphalt roofing shingles and proper attic ventilation that keeps this type of roof in good condition. Homes and businesses in Volusia and Flagler counties exist in very warm and humid conditions. Extreme heat in an attic causes air conditioning units to work harder and increases energy costs. Without a properly vented attic, it would be very difficult to keep living spaces cool and

comfortable.

Some attics get so hot that bugs don’t come in. But that’s not often the case. What usually happens is, pests like ants and spiders fall onto the roof from the trees and enter through small gaps and cracks. Attic heat vents and chimneys are also entry points.

Some homes have attic gables, which are vents installed on the exterior of attic walls. They allow air to pass through and vent heat to the outside. Metal screens are generally installed to prevent invasive pests like squirrels, bats, and birds from getting inside. These screens can rust and crack open, permitting wildlife life such as raccoons to break in like thieves in the night.

The Crawl Space

Homes with crawl spaces under them have an added level of difficulty for pest control exterminators. Since these homes sit up high on pillars, pests enter beneath the home virtually unimpeded. Once there, pests can crawl up plumbing lines or support pillars and into the home.

Leaks can develop in plumbing lines. Without regular inspections, a small, silent drip may go unnoticed for months, or even years. This slow, steady drip builds up and collects in the soil beneath it. Insects like cockroaches and termites are drawn to the steady and abundant supply of moisture.

Most crawl spaces have a vapor barrier placed under the home. This is usually a large plastic sheet a few millimeters thick. As the name implies, moisture from the soil is blocked from entering the home above it. Since this plastic is placed on top of the soil, the moisture is absorbed back into the earth.

Crawl spaces are also vented to allow warm air to rise and escape to the outside. This doesn’t work all of the time because the constant flow of warm, humid air can be absorbed by the wood and insulation under the home. As the air is being cooled inside the home, condensation can build up beneath the home, providing an adequate supply of moisture for insects, mold, and mildew.

The Human Transport

One of the most common ways that insects get into homes is by our accidentally bringing them inside. No matter how many measures we may take to keep bugs out, we can’t escape the need to bring stuff into our homes—anything from food and clothing to goods of all sorts. Creepy pests can hideaway in these things, waiting to secretly emerge and take over our home.

German cockroaches are usually brought in by hitchhiking inside microwaves, dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, toasters, crockpots, heating plates, catering supplies, televisions, computers—just about anything electrical. Invertebrates like roaches are drawn to appliances because of the warmth created by the electrical currents flowing through them.

Pantry pests are brought into the home via grain products like breadcrumbs, crackers, pasta, rice, and similar items. Drugstore beetles, also known as bread beetles or biscuit beetles, are commonly seen by exterminators in Florida.

Bread weevils, also known as grain weevils or wheat weevils, also

feed on stored grain products like cereals wheat, rice, pasta, spices and flour.

Infestations of pantry pests are usually in extremely large numbers. For example, the female drugstore beetle can lay up to 75 to 100 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch in about 9-14 days as larvae. After about 30-40 days, they pupate into cocoons and remain in the cocoon for 8-10 days, after which, the adult beetle emerges.

Dave’s Pest Control, working for and with you, can achieve a safe pest-free environment so that you and your loved ones can enjoy treasured memories of your home and family time year after year.

Dan Coffey

Dcoffey@davespestcontrol.com

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