The leaves throughout the forests are changing colors to their magnificent fall panel. You can find pumpkin spice anything. Time outdoors is becoming more enjoyable. All of these changes mean the fall season is upon us.
As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, food sources become sparse for insects. Additionally, it can be cool and dry in the fall, which are not optimal conditions for pests. In the cooler time of year, our customers’ homes can become a beacon of hope for the wandering insect. Occasional invaders during the fall season can make a pest professional’s job frustrating. Sometimes, it’s not only the occasional invaders that are a problem. Ants will also start to migrate, looking to find a comfortable location for winter. As the weather dries, food sources become less available causing roaches to broaden their foraging to seek available food resources. With food sources reduced outside, the introduction of food baits can be a great addition to any arsenal. As pest professionals, this is the perfect time for us to break out our tools and practice true integrated pest management (IPM).
For the occasional invaders of the insect world, pesticides should play a back seat to exclusionary methods. Most of the time when we hear exclusion, we think rodents. Exclusionary services play a big part in rodent control, but exclusion can also play a role in insect activity. Most of us are familiar with caulk and a caulk gun. There are several other mediums that we, as pest professionals, can use to assist in keeping homes pest-free. Even simple repairs that can take a few minutes have a huge impact on the service we provide.
Insects are not intently trying to invade our customers’ homes; they just seem to find ways to enter. We enter through doors, and so can they. Provide a regular inspection of weatherstripping around doors for your customers. If you can see light coming through around a door, an insect can enter. Most weatherstripping is easy to repair or replace.
During the fall season, customers tend to open the windows and let the fresh air through their home. Insects can enter through torn window screens. Screen patch kits are available to prevent potential entry points for any flying or crawling insects. Amber bulbs can assist in attracting fewer insects to the exterior areas of the home that are illuminated in the evening. If any garden lights are used, ensure they are angled away from the home.
Garage doors should be inspected. This area may take a bit more creativity to work with and should be considered for an add-on service. Garage doors with gaps on the sides and the top need to be addresses. Most garage doors have weatherstripping located at the bottom of the door which can wear over time. Inspect areas of the garage where drywall meets a concrete slab. If you feel a draft, that’s an area that needs sealing.
Other exclusionary services that can be provided consist of:
- Crawlspace vents,
- Weep hole covers,
- Dryer vents,
- Attic vent screens.
When we stop and think about the areas of a home that provide ventilation and entry, it’s easy to realize the numerous areas where insects can potentially enter. We readily practice exclusionary services for rodents, but those numerous entry points are just as important when trying to prevent insects from gaining entry. Utilizing a full IPM program will keep pest pressures out of all homes.
Angie Davis is the quality assurance manager at Massey Services.