Tips to keep pesky crit­ters at bay

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - By Kelly Kent

JUST as we be­come more ac­tive as the weather warms up, so too do an­i­mals and creepy-crawlies emerg­ing from their win­ter hiding places in search of food. Keep them from be­com­ing a nui­sance in and around your home with th­ese tips from Angie’s List, (ang­ies­list.com), a site ded­i­cated to re­view­ing ser­vice providers.

Trim trees and bushes: Cut back tree limbs and branches that hang over your roof, since ants, squir­rels or other ro­dents may find th­ese over­hang­ing branches are con­ve­nient ways to en­ter your home.

Clean up wood or de­bris: Piles of wood, leaves or other scraps near your home look very invit­ing to pests. “You might as well put up a va­cancy sign for bugs, mice and other small an­i­mals seek­ing shel­ter,” says an Angie’s List re­lease.

Seal win­dows and doors: Bugs can fit through the tini­est of holes, so re­pair­ing cracks or other open­ings in win­dows, doors, screens and sid­ing can go a long way to­ward pre­vent­ing a pest prob­lem.

Out­door lights: Moths and other bugs are at­tracted to light and will gather around al­most any source. Keep bugs from swarm­ing your door­ways by turn­ing off out­door lights when they aren’t needed. Or, switch to a coloured bulb, which is less at­trac­tive to in­sects than white bulbs.

Se­cure con­tain­ers: To keep ro­dents and other an­i­mals from turn­ing your garbage can or green bin into an all-hours buf­fet, make sure its lid is sealed tightly or keep it in a closed garage or shed. Keep in­side garbage ar­eas clean as well.

Clean up af­ter your pet: Pet food is a good find for an­i­mals and bugs. Store pet food in air­tight con­tain­ers and clean up spills right away.

Keep the kitchen clean: Food left ly­ing around is ir­re­sistible to crit­ters. Put away any left­overs, wipe the coun­ters clean and sweep up any fallen crumbs on a daily ba­sis. To com­bat drain flies, which are com­mon kitchen pests, keep your drains as clean as pos­si­ble by flush­ing them reg­u­larly with vine­gar. Keep­ing the sink clear of dishes is also good prac­tice when pest-proof­ing your home.

Get it in­spected: Angie’s List sug­gests hav­ing your home in­spected by a pro­fes­sional ev­ery now and then even if you don’t sus­pect a prob­lem. Have them check for car­pen­ter ants and bed bugs as well.

Rac­coons are clever enough to open crit­ter-proof con­tain­ers.

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