The Summer months can be a bit of a pain when it comes to home and garden pests. Warmer weather, outdoor dining and more readily available food sources can all contribute to an invasion of unwelcome visitors. I’ve been looking at an infographic from Axatax, which is full of facts on pests that are commonly found in the home and garden, and it’s made me realise there are some very good reasons to deter certain unwelcome visitors! Here are some tips and ideas on how to make sure your home and garden isn’t a prime location for these pests during the Summer.
One of the nicest things about the Summer months is being able to eat outdoors, but fallen scraps of food and plates left outside are a prime target for hungry rodents and insects, not to mention wasps and ants. Tidying away plates and leftover food as soon as you’ve finished eating is an easy way to avoid a pest problem.
Make ‘good’ compost
Done the wrong way, a compost heap or bin can provide a nice cosy home for rats, so follow a few simple rules to make sure yours isn’t a target. Never compost cooked food, meat or dairy – apart from making ‘bad’ compost this is the equivalent of a ‘fine dining here’ sign for rats. Keep your compost active; add to it regularly and don’t leave it undisturbed for long periods. And try to leave a gap around your compost bin or box so rodents can’t gain unseen access.
Keep your kitchen tidy
It’s not just outdoor dining that can cause a pest problem in Summer; in the kitchen, food scraps, crumbs and stacks of dirty dishes are all a big invite to ants and flies. Keep things clean, empty your bin regularly and don’t leave pet food out overnight.
I bet wasps are top of most people’s list of Summer pests; apart from the problem of wasp nests, there’s the nuisance of having them hovering around your food and drink in late Summer. A nest that is causing a risk to you should be dealt with by a pest control company, it’s not a good idea to try and tackle it yourself.
In terms of nuisance wasps in the garden, it helps to understand why they behave this way. In early Summer wasps are busy building their nests and feeding their young (with things like greenfly and caterpillars – so they actually help gardeners out here), who in return produce a sweet substance for the adults to eat. It’s not until later in Summer, when the young have matured, that the adults start to look elsewhere to satisfy their sweet tooth – and this is when wasps start to cause us problems. At this time of year, be mindful of covering food and drink outdoors and you can manage their impact.
While there are some home and garden visitors that it’s really worth deterring, for hygiene as well as general nuisance reasons, there are many insects which are very beneficial to have around the home and garden. For example, bees are vital for the pollination of plants and are highly unlikely to cause you problems if they choose to nest in your garden. An army of ladybirds or lacewings is very welcome as they both love to feed on greenfly, so will do a great job of looking after your plants. And inside the home spiders do a sterling job of killing other bugs while having very little negative impact other than making you jump when you spot one!
I’ll definitely be spending some time this Summer trying to avoid a pest problem – prevention is always easier than cure – but if you do end up with a situation you can’t control then this is a good time to involve a pest control specialist.
Do you have any tips for controlling home and garden pests during the Summer months? Let me know in the comments.