(Family Features)--Seasons come and go, but pests are active and potentially pose damage to health and property all year long. When making your seasonal housekeeping list, add pest prevention to changing your smoke detector batteries, rotating ceiling fan blades and deep cleaning.
Don’t “Fall” Behind
Fall is the time to inspect your property and protect it from pests looking for a winter home. The following tips will help with cooler weather preparation:
—Rake fallen leaves and clean out gutters as pests can congregate in fallen foliage. As an added benefit, this may help improve your home’s curb appeal.
—Don’t transport firewood more than 10 miles away from your home. Invasive insects, such as the emerald ash borer, can hitch a ride and begin new infestations within their surroundings.
—Enjoy picnics or tailgating events, but keep all open food in sealed containers to prevent attracting ants, mice and other insects and rodents.
Lock It Down in Winter
Just like us, pests are looking for a warm home and good food as they hunker down for the winter months. Perform the following preventive activities around your home to keep your family safe and sound all winter long:
—Use caulk or concrete to repair all cracks, crevices and leaks no matter how small. Mice can fit through cracks as thin as a pencil.
—Check for bed bugs who may be hitchhiking in your suitcase while traveling for the holidays.
—Cover mattresses and pillows with dust-proof, zippered covers tested and rated for dust mites.
Warmer weather awakens weeds, insects and other pests, so incorporate these pest prevention measures as a part of your spring cleaning:
—Trim trees and brush, creating enough room to comfortably walk between your house and your shrubs. Branches can create a bridge into your home for pests and wildlife.
—Clean up yard debris that may have accumulated throughout the winter months, such as dead plants, weeds and fallen branches, as it can provide a place for pests to reside.
—Take a proactive approach to protecting your yard from pests through the strategic use of approved and registered products. Always read and follow label instructions before using products or hire a licensed lawn and landscape professional.
Pests, such as ticks and mosquitoes, are especially prevalent during the summer months and can cause Lyme disease, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Follow these tips to keep your family and pets safe during the summer:
—Reduce your contact with mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis by covering up with long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active.
—Apply a repellent to your skin and clothing before you go on any outdoor adventure to deter ticks that can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Inspect and properly remove ticks in hard to see areas that are attractive to them, such as inside the belly button, under arms, around ears, in hair and on the back of knees.