Spring has arrived. With warmer weather, windows come open, more time is spent outside, and pest activity increases. Ants, beetles, bees, wasps and all other kinds of insects are beginning to emerge from hibernation in search food. Now is the recommended time to begin preparing your residency for their assault.
When cleaning your residency, do not just apply a topical solution. You will need to move furniture and clean underneath and behind. This applies to appliances as well. You need to discard items that have not been used for several weeks or months such as plastic shopping bags or empty beverage containers. In the kitchen, there are times when food items fall to the ground from cooking and moving items around on the countertops. This is normal. However, if you forget to address this and not clean around these areas, a pest problem will develop. I also recommend using a vacuum with a hose attachment to reach smaller areas. Keep in mind, ants are small. Just because a visual area appears to be free of debris, does not mean something is not hiding in small areas. This means cleaning underneath and behind furniture and appliances will be important.
Food – Food should be placed in sealed containers to prevent the smell or aroma from traveling throughout the apartment. Even though as humans we may not smell something, the senses of an ant are different than our own. Items such as chips, rice, cereal and other snacks should be secured in a “locking”, covered or sealed container. Ziploc, Rubbermaid and Glad all make some affordable options. Do not just simply use the plastic bag rolled up and closed in a box or place a rubber band around a chip bag. Ants can work their way through all of these quick storage methods. A sealed container is the best defense and barrier. Furthermore, when you are done cooking, do not leave food out on the stove or counter. Place food you are saving for later in a container and refrigerate or properly store.
Dishes, Countertops, Tabletops, Cabinets – Dishes should cleaned daily to prevent a buildup of food waste and odor. Furthermore, the cleaning of the countertops and tabletops by removing crumbs, food and spillage is encouraged after every meal. The sink offers one of the easiest, fastest and more convenient locations for pests to thrive. Cabinetry should be wiped out or vacuumed out regularly to remove crumbs and debris. This includes the tops of the cabinets (where possible).
Trash and Recycling - Removing the trash on a regular basis will always help to reduce . If you practice recycling, you will also want to rinse your recyclable materials before placing them in your recycle containers. The food residue left behind in drinking cans, canned foods or plastic containers all provide a food source for ants. You will also want to clean and rinse your waste cans once a month to eliminate all spillage residue and odors.
Remember, ants and other insects are searching for three things: 1)food, 2) shelter and 3)water. No matter where you live, your residency offers all of these. To remove the pests, there must be a “break” in one of these items. The food item can easily be addressed by following the recommendations of securing your food, removing your trash regularly and handling recyclables responsibly. Sheltering and water will be the most difficult to address as this is readily available in many forms. Ants do not need fresh clean water such as humans. Pests can live off the condensation from pipes or rain water tracked in from the outside. To reduce these sources, remove plastic shopping bags and any other clutter from cabinets as these items aid in providing sheltering options for pests. Place a mat or walking carpet where you can wipe your feet as you are entering your home.
The key to success is to create an environment which is unwelcoming to pests. You can do this by letting pests know you have nothing there for them. Once they determine this, they will move on and search somewhere else.