Expert advice: How to keep away unwanted pests

Should you paint your porch ceiling blue to deter wasps? What about planting garlic to keep mosquitoes away? While there is some merit to some DIY pest control, local pest management professional Chris Haynes of locally-owned Terminix in Bluffton shares some expert advice for a pest-free summer:

Eliminate Standing Water

While citronella candles might work some of the time, removing standing water is the single most important thing you can do to prevent mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in as little water as a bottle cap so make it part of your daily routine to walk around your yard and ensure flower pots, bird baths, trash cans and children’s toys aren’t pooling water. Mosquitoes are a nuisance but more importantly, they carry diseases that are easily transmittable to your family and pets.

Clean Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can attract a variety of pests such as carpenter ants and cockroaches. They also provide ideal conditions for mosquitoes and other insects to hide out and breed. Piles of debris can also provide nesting environments for small rodents such as mice and rats.

Trim Bushes and Shrubs

Heavy vegetation can trap moisture and provide a perfect home for all the problem pests we don’t want in our yard and homes. Mosquitoes rest during the day in the shade of leaves and overgrown shrubbery or vines provide an ideal spot for cockroaches to live and breed. Also, tree limbs should never hang over a house, as they provide a highway for insects and rodents.

Fix Leaking Pipes

Sometimes a leak may not be obvious, so periodically check under sinks and around toilets for wet spots. Inspect caulking, as a small crack allows water to seep through and accumulate in the wall voids. Dark, damp places are the perfect hideout for cockroaches.

Seal Windows and Doors

Your house is comfortable, so it’s no surprise pests want in too. To keep them out, ensure tight seals around your doors and windows. Also install fine mesh screens on windows to minimize entry points for ants, flies, cockroaches and other unwanted pests.

Don’t Ignore Under Your House

While cockroaches and mosquitoes are nasty, the worst of them all are termites. Here in the Lowcountry, we have Formosan termites, which are a more aggressive type of termite. Termite infestations often go unseen, as termites come up through the ground to look for food and water. Termite damage can also be expensive and is not covered by home owners insurance since it is considered preventable.

When To Call A Professional

Mosquitoes: A trained professional has the expertise to properly apply low-impact pesticides to minimize impact on other animals and insects.

Termites: Get a regular, professional termite inspection, and be proactive with a termite protection plan to ensure you’re keeping termites away.

Household Pests: A professional can create an integrated pest management program for your home, which treats any current pest problems as well as identifies ways to keep bugs out.