It’s almost summer here in New Zealand and, as we have come to expect every year, pest populations are about to balloon all over the country. The warm weather is not only friendly for humans but for pests too that multiply very quickly thanks to the favourable temperatures.
The increased pest populations mean that the chances of getting a pest infestation in your home are greatly increased. And nobody wants to have these stubborn invaders ruin their summer!
Pests are not only annoying to have around but will also damage property, cause a ruckus in some cases, and – almost always – pose a health threat to humans and their pets. Common pests in New Zealand during summertime include rodents (rats and mice), possums, cockroaches, mosquitoes, birds, wasps and hornets, houseflies and ants.
To keep these annoying invaders out of your home this summer, take the following precautionary measures:
- Keep your house clean. Food crumbs littered all over the house provide food for pests while clutter provides breeding and nesting places for the intruders. Clean you house regularly (the kitchen especially), avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, and store things in an organised way to avoid clutter.
- Tidy up your yard. Mow your lawn and trim the bushes surrounding your property as these provide shelter and food for various pests. Trim back overhanging tree branches to eliminate “brides” that pests can use to get into your home.
- Secure your doors and windows. These represent the largest openings to the outside present in your house. And because they are bound to be open a lot during the summer months, cover them with dense screens to ensure pests don’t use them to get in. Also, inspect and repair gaps and cracks around your doors and windows as these could become breach points.
- Seal cracks and gaps around your house. Inspect your home’s exterior for gaps, cracks, and crevices through which pests could gain entry. Seal the openings with mortar, sheet metal, coarse steel wool or copper mesh. Vents also fall under this category and should be covered with mesh screens.
- Take care of your trash. Keep your trash in covered garbage cans and take it out regularly. Clear your property of garbage too and keep your outdoor garbage bins tightly covered to avoid attracting feral animals to your property.
- Drain any standing water on your property. Stagnant water provides a medium for mosquitoes to breed in. Drain all “ponds” around your home and dispose properly of any garbage (such as cans and plastics) that could hold water.
- Store your food properly. Store your food in sealed containers preferably ones made with glass or metal – or resealable bags at the very least. Also remember to clear out uneaten and stale foods as these create clutter and attract pests into your home.
- Screen your decks. Feral animals will often settle under your low laying decks. Ensure that these are covered with strong mesh that pests cannot breach.
- Fix leaking pipes and faucets. In addition to wasting a significant amount of water, leaky pipes and faucets provide water for pests to drink and humid environment for pests to thrive and breed in. Inspect and fix all leaky pipes in and around your home to keep stubborn pests at bay.
- Inspect what you bring into your house. A lot of times pests are introduced into households by items brought in from outside. Inspect furniture, luggage and foods for pests before bringing them into your house.
Even with all these measures, pests could still find a way to sneak into your home, hence the need to stay vigilant.
Watch out for pest infestation signs and take action as soon as you identify an infestation to prevent it from spreading and causing serious damage.