In recent years, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has become quite a buzz word in the agriculture arena. However, the basic meaning of IPM is that it is a pest control strategy that uses a combination of physical, biological, cultural, and chemical methods, to name a few. The methods are conducted in three stages, from prevention to observation, and to intervention. IPM is considered a holistic approach created to reduce or even eliminate the use of pesticides altogether.
Whether you spent your Winter holidays trying to get rid of the rodents or whatever other pest was lurking around in your home, now is a good time to continue those activities, as long as cold weather is here. Spend your February on limiting pest access in an IPM way. Below are some of the ways you can participate in a natural pest management activity, without using harmful pesticides, a benefit for you and your family.
Check Door/Garage Door Sweeps
Your door sweeps and seals, mostly used for blocking wind and weather, can also serve as a means to stop pests from entering. Door bottoms can shift and lose their ability to keep out intruders, so it is a good idea to check them and make sure the weather stripping is still performing. If you can see light coming in from underneath the door, the seal needs to be fixed. Garage doors can have the same problem. Check your windows and screens as well and any openings that pests can use to enter the home.
Maintain and Monitor Your Soil Level
Most modern home designs have foundations which are tall enough so that no wooden portion of the structure is within eight inches of the ground, in order to prevent termites from attacking and consuming wood without ever leaving the comfort of the ground.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to scoop out any excess soil along the side of the foundation, so that you are not giving termites or other pests that extra leverage to get in at a critical entry point. The key is keep the soil level below the level of the foundation.
Along with maintaining the soil level, you should also do a cleanup of any leaves and/or debris that have accumulated near or at the foundation of your home. Debris will only encourage rodents to make a nest by your home and provide a "stakeout" for rodents to be able to gain easier access into the home.
Trim Your Trees
To keep out squirrels and other such rodents from entering through an attic or another structure from the roof of the house, work on trimming your tree limbs. Rodents can gain access to the home by using tree branches, especially those that overlap the roof line, to get into the home. Trim your limbs back to at least eight to ten feet from the roof. If you don't feel comfortable with tree trimming, an alternative option is to place sheet metal bands around the trunks of the trees to discourage squirrels and other rodents from climbing them.
Remove Excess Plant Growth
As mentioned with trimming tree limbs, the same applies to plants around your home. Pruning appropriately can help stave off pests or at least provide some control. Experts recommend pruning plants when they are young to minimize the need to remove large limbs later on, thus avoiding large pruning wounds. If there are pests using one part of the plant, you can prune them out as well.
Store Firewood Properly
If your home has a fireplace that you and the family like to gather around during cold weather, then you should be concerned about how you store the firewood that you use. Insects can emerge from the firewood that you have in your home, and while not necessarily harmful, these bugs can be quite a nuisance. Pests such as termites, wood-boring beetles and carpenter ants can often be found feeding within the logs of the firewood.
Store firewood outdoors away from the home and off the ground - this can increase air circulation for drying and helps prevent logs from being too moist. Before bringing in firewood, shake or knock the logs together to remove any insects still on the bark. You may also want to check the bottom of log carriers because insects can crawl into them when logs are brought inside.
With such IPM methods to employ this month, you are not only using your common sense, but you are also providing an enormous environmental benefit to your home, neighbors, and surrounding community.
Fran Phalin is a freelance editor and writer specializing in home improvement topics. She is based in Austin, TX.
Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/onlineb1/public_html/realestateproarticles/inc/extra_rlinks.inc.php on line 149
Warning: include(http://www.realestateproarticles.com/catads/cat276.php): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/onlineb1/public_html/realestateproarticles/inc/extra_rlinks.inc.php on line 149
Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://www.realestateproarticles.com/catads/cat276.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php56/pear') in /home/onlineb1/public_html/realestateproarticles/inc/extra_rlinks.inc.php on line 149