On muggy summer nights in Louisiana, it’s sometimes best just to not look down when you’re walking on the streets. That way you can be blissfully oblivious to whatever creatures might be scurrying around near your feet.
It’s a little tougher to turn a blind eye when those creatures invade your home, though. Then, it’s war. The key to keeping pests away, says Dugas Pest Control President Laura Simpson, is eliminating food, shelter and water for insects. This may prove difficult, as most of us love plants, trees and water features around our home. But practiced locals, like Simpson, know the precautionary measures to take.
1. Keep plants and trees trimmed. You want them to be 20-24 inches away from the sides and roof of your home, Simpson says.
2. Don’t let vines grow on the outside of your home. This can be a nice look, but keep it on a fence or trellises.
3. Fill in or contour any low areas around your yard. Lower areas may stay wet for a few days after a rain, attracting bugs.
4. Keep your gutters clean and free of debris. This is the area where the most problems start. All insects love the moist environment of rotting plant material, which is what you end up with in clogged gutters.
5. Check seals and weather stripping on your doors and windows. If you can see daylight, insects may be able to enter.
6. Keep flowerbeds 4-6 inches below the top of your slab or piers/chain wall foundation. Insects that live in the soil, including termites and roaches, can enter between the exterior siding and the foundation of your house, according to Simpson.
7. Routinely clean spider webs from the exterior of your home. The spiders don’t like to be disturbed. So the more often you bother them, the more likely they are to leave.