Integrated Pest Management
What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
... and what does it mean to you? The letters IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management, which is a way in which you can discourage insect infestation outside of chemicals.
A good pest control maintenance program includes both chemical control and IPM's. The following is a check list of things you can do to help in deterring insects.
All leaks must be addressed immediately. Keeping all sources of moisture away from your foundation will reduce your chance of attracting insects. This includes pipes, roofs and even leaky tub and shower enclosures. The moisture will attract insects and, if not taken care of in a timely manner, will eventually cause damp rot.
All cracks, holes and crevices need to be sealed. Around pipes, utility entrances, dryer vents, wiring, heat pumps, outdoor faucets, tub and shower faucets and foundations are areas to be watchful of.
Keep your garage door closed when possible to aid in preventing rodents, birds and wildlife from entering and making themselves a new home. Keeping this area clean will help to limit attracting them and providing places of harborage.
EARTH-TO-WOOD CONTACTAny earth-to-wood contact must be corrected. The contact encourages moisture to accumulate within the wood, which in turn attracts insects. Pressure treated wood reduces that possibility. Either replace the earth-to-wood contact with pressure treated wood or make sure that the wood is mounted on a concrete block. Repair any decaying exterior or interior wood.
SUBAREAS & FOUNDATIONSKeep your subarea free of debris. Make sure all foundation forms are discarded and remove any debris that can be raked.
Keep crawlspaces and basements well ventilated and dry. Keep foundation vents screened and open at all times, even throughout the winter. Their purpose is to reduce moisture levels by airflow throughout the subarea. When closed moisture levels increase. The myth is that closing them will reduce the cold and increase the warmth of your home, which is NOT TRUE. Think about it...isn't there more moisture in the air during the damp winter months?
A vapor barrier should be installed in your subarea. It must be 6 mil black plastic, covering all exposed ground to prevent the moisture level of the soil from reaching the timbers of your substructure. This will help in avoiding Carpenter Ants, Anobiid Beetles and Moisture Ants. We are not a contractor so we are not licensed to install vapor barriers, but you or a contractor can do the job.
LANDSCAPEIf financially feasible, remove all Railroad Ties. Carpenter Ants love RR ties. The ideal situation is to never have these in your landscape. There are other alternatives, which might be more expensive initially, but a better environment to prevent ants, other insects and rodents. Concrete blocks will last longer than the railroad ties and not deteriorate.
Watch all stumps on your property for insect infestation. The best scenario would be to eliminate them, but that can be pretty costly.
Woodpiles must be stored away from your home and kept off the ground. Insects harbor within the wood and then they can transfer into your home.
Trees, branches overhanging your roof, shrubs and all vegetation should be trimmed back from your home. It can become a major highway into your house. Also all mulch and soil in contact with your siding must be removed. These conditions are mostly why we get callbacks. Ants and other insects can bypass the chemical barrier by using the trees and shrubs for entry. In addition to the insect infestation; the moisture from the vegetation and soil contact will eventually damage your sill plate, wall and siding, causing damp rot. Once damp rot happens, insects infest and over time you are probably going to face an expensive repair. The Ant Specialist, Laurel Hanson, recently conducted a study. When foliage was present and in the way, her chemical application was able to get 71% control. When she trimmed back all vegetation to at least one foot, she was able to attain 100% control. Her study focused on the Odorous House Ant, which is one of our most difficult insects we deal with, but this concept applies to all insect control.
All garbage and recycling bins must be well sealed to prevent rodent entry. Keep them emptied frequently.
Keep your windows properly screened and sealed around the window frame. This will aid in preventing insect entry during the summer months.
Remove old tires which hold standing water. This is an ideal situation that encourages the breeding of insects like mosquitoes. Keep in mind that we do not spray for mosquitoes, so do your part in helping reduce the source of breeding.
INTERIORAll pet foods must be kept in a sealed container. It is helpful if a limited amount of food - over a limited amount of time - is provided for pets; the less available, the less chance of pests.
Inspect all packages when you bring them home from any store. Products are sold that have originated from other areas in our country and even foreign countries. Insects ride along sometimes.
If you are a traveler, when you arrive back home inspect your luggage inside and out to be sure that you do not have any hitchhiker pests brought into your home.