Take action to minimize – or even prevent – the annual insect migration into your home. Three types of barriers provide an effective measure of protection against insects: physical, chemical and cultural. Use one method or, better yet, adapt techniques from all three types of barriers to create a strong defense against invading insects.
One type of physical barrier blocks openings into your home. Caulk around windows (especially basement windows), seal cracks around crawl space or attic vents, and replace worn weatherstripping around doors. These actions not only keep bugs out, but also reduce energy bills. Check concrete walls around basement windows; repair any cracks. Double-check screens to ensure a tight fit.
Make sure doors aren’t left standing open; it only takes a second for an insect to scamper or fly inside. If cluster flies – slow-moving flies that cluster at windows and bump into you as they fly – are gathering, grab a fly swatter or hang fly strips near doors or sunny windows.
Keep insects from gaining access to your home by applying an insecticide at least 1 to 2 feet from the ground up, along the foundation, and also 1 to 2 feet from the foundation wall outward, along the ground. You can create a larger barrier, if you like, of 4 to 5 feet. A granular product may or may not provide longer protection than a liquid spray.
Cultural barriers provide another line of defense against insect invaders, eliminating conditions that make your home – and the area around it – desirable habitat. Move plants away from your foundation. Trim shrubs and trees so branches don’t touch or overhang your home, which can provide a footbridge for insects to cross over a perimeter insecticide treatment. Don’t store firewood indoors. Outside, keep it away from the walls of your home and elevated off the ground. Many insects overwinter in wood. When it sits indoors and warms up, insects think it’s spring and come crawling out. Keep window wells free of leaf litter and other plant debris that provide hiding places for spiders or roaches.
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