This time of year, many people like to have their windows and doors open to let some of that fresh summer air and sunlight in. Unfortunately, when windows and doors are left open they also allow something else in…..bugs. In this article from TLC, there are some tips on how to keep the little buggers out by installing or fixing screens and cracks in the wall. There are also tips on how to naturally repel bugs, using plants and other remedies.
How to Keep Your Home Bug-free in the Summer
Imagine you find a comfortable, spacious home with great food and lots of it — all of it free for the taking. You’d jump at the chance to move in, right?
That’s what an ant (or stinkbug or cricket) does when it finds your home. And while it’s hard to begrudge a bug this slice of heaven during its short time on Earth, you’re not about to hand over the house keys. Insects can bring germs into your house, and miniature trails of ants by your kitchen door is not exactly the best way to welcome guests. They tend to pop up in ways that make guests and small children squeamish.
As they say in sports, the best offense is a good defense. You can stop invasions before they start by putting up barriers and monitoring traffic around your home. Any opening that admits light and air is a possible portal for bugs. Here are some quick tips for keeping small spaces closed:
- Caulk around window frames, plumbing pipes, dryer vents and air conditioning units
- Repair gaps in siding and cracks in mortar
- Install door sweeps at thresholds
- Use fine mesh screens in windows
Natural bug repellents are useful inside and outside the home. Pungent-smelling plants like mint and rosemary ward off insects and double as cooking herbs. Lemongrass and geraniums contain Citronella oil, which bugs hate.
Fighting insects with their natural enemies, a concept know as integrated pest management, limits their population. Many common songbirds love to eat insects. Encourage sparrows, cardinals and chickadees to flock to your home with suet cakes — special varieties won’t melt in warm weather. Encourage them to stay by building them a birdhouse. Welcome (within reason) spiders, bats and geckos. One gecko has the same bug-killing potential as an application of insecticide.
If you don’t mind getting rid of the critters yourself, sprinkle a mixture of equal parts borax and sugar where ants gather. The stuff will kill them, but not before they share it with the rest of the colony. A type of soil called diatomaceous earth, sold in gardening shops, contains slivers of tiny shells that actually cut bugs. A solution of liquid dishwashing detergent and water is fatal to box elders and Japanese beetles. Don’t spray plants, though, because detergent will damage them, too.