By Jason Johnson
After a long and freezing winter, I can honestly say that I have never been more excited for spring to make its appearance. The long awaited arrival of the sun signals two things to me: my dreaded return to the gym, as well as an increase in pest activity in and around our homes.
Spring in the Southern Hemisphere is traditionally celebrated on the 1st of September, even though the warmer weather only really starts later in the month. The increase in temperature also brings with it an entire host of pests that may have been missing throughout the colder months. You will probably see an increase in fly activity and while you may have thought that your cockroaches just packed their bags and decided to move up-country, you’re certainly in for a very unpleasant surprise (and I am not referring to a surprise visit from the mother-in-law!)
The days of leaving a dirty coffee cup on the kitchen table as you rush off to work are over. You’ll probably return home and find the cup covered in ants as they start increasing in number… However, there are ways to minimise the risks of serious pest infestations during the spring/ summer season. These tips work all year round with most pests, so it would be good to start doing these things habitually and to make them part of your lifestyle.
My apologies in advance for sounding like the mother-in-law I mentioned above, but the best way to keep pests at bay is and will always be good housekeeping. While many new wives want to throw a microwave at their new mother-in-law, she is probably right when she nags about housekeeping. Pests such as cockroaches and flies will persist if they have enough food, shelter and a steady supply of water. It is important to always keep your home clean and to get rid of excess food so that cockroaches and flies don’t have anything to feed on.
Be careful not to spill that ice cold cola you have just grabbed to cool down. If you spill a sugary drink, make sure to clean it immediately and thoroughly. Ants will latch on to the slightest bit of left-over beverage and march a path straight through your home.
Much to my relief, spring is the time that rodents start moving outdoors again as opposed to scaring the living daylights out of me when I reach for the peanut butter jar. Always make sure to store foods such as cereal and rice in good quality, sealed containers. I had a mini heart attack once when – upon opening a sealed wooden bread-bin – a mouse jumped out at me. It is definitely also advisable to use containers to which rodents would have difficulty gaining access.
Spring is also the season when termites are extremely active so precautions should be taken to prevent any termite infestation. All wood and clutter should be moved far away from the building structure or cleared from the premises completely.
Termites are not the only pests who take advantage of clutter; pigeons have been known to nest in leaf litter as well as excess hay from hamster or guinea pig cages. This happened to me a few years ago when I had a run in with a rather rude pigeon and her family. After my guinea pigs died, Penelope – as the pigeon mama was referred to – moved onto my balcony and made use of the leftover hay I had bought for the cage. The pigeons only moved on once I removed the cage as well as the last of the hay. Pigeons will return and use the same nests time and again until nests are removed. Unfortunately, in many countries it is an offense to get rid of pigeon nests and their contents, so always use a registered pest control company to remove pigeons from your property.
Lastly, do regular inspections for pests on your premises. Take a walk around and look for cracks or holes that need to be sealed so that rodents don’t gain access into your home. Remove old pigeon nests so as to discourage them from using the same nests when their mating season starts.
It is also very important is to check for stinging pests such as bees and wasps. Bees and wasps become very active during this time and wasps have been known to create huge nests on properties. These pests are extremely dangerous and notoriously difficult to get rid of, so it is best to take preventative measures before you have a problem.
Be it complacency or just plain bad luck, during the warmer season we at Rentokil always experience a huge upswing in the calls we get for our Pest Control services. As the sun comes and gives some color to your pale sun-starved winter skin, you are sure to have a run in with at least one of the above-mentioned pests. If good housekeeping doesn’t do the trick, don’t hesitate to contact Rentokil who will ensure that you relax this spring / summer season and that all your pest needs are met.