Spring into Action Now to Prevent Pests Later
Nine Landscaping Tips that Can Help Prevent Pests
By Hope Bowman, Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services
As the snow melts and the weather starts to warm this month, one of the first things you’ll want to do is freshen up your landscaping for spring. But did you know that certain landscaping choices could increase pest pressures on your property? Pests such as ants, cockroaches, and rodents become active in the warmer months looking for the food and water more readily available this time of year.
The decisions you make now can stop pests from becoming a huge problem later. Whether you’re designing a new landscape from scratch or just adding fresh colors for spring, be sure to follow these tips to avoid unwelcome tenants on your property.
Flowers and Plants
- Fragrant and bright colored flowers can attract bees and other stinging pests. Consider planting fewer of these blooming flowers to decrease the presence of pests. Your pest management professional can provide tips about which species to avoid.
- Avoid plants that produce nuts, seeds or fruit. These types of plants can attract pests looking for a quick meal.
- Limit the use of ground-covering plants such as ivy and creeping juniper, which can provide a cozy home and hiding spot for rodents.
Trees and Vegetation
- Trim trees and vegetation at least 2-3 feet from exterior walls and the roof to keep pests from using limbs and branches to climb up and into your building.
- Consider installing a 2-foot wide gravel strip around the entire exterior of your building. This will discourage rodents, who do not like to be out in the open, and will also make it difficult for ants, cockroaches and other crawling pests to approach the building walls.
- Mosquitoes can breed and lay their eggs in standing water of any size, so birdbaths, fountains, and ponds are all potential homes to hundreds of these biting insects. Be sure to change any water, where possible, at least once a week and remove unnecessary standing water to help prevent breeding.
- Make sure ponds or fountains are circulated regularly. Running water can help thwart mosquitoes from laying eggs on the surface.
- Stock any ponds with mosquito-eating fish, which eat up to 500 larvae a day.
- Inspect your irrigation system and replace any damaged sprinkler heads to keep water from forming pools in the landscape beds.
Landscaping plays a big role in the overall appearance of you property, but if not managed properly, it can also attract pests. Use these tips to stay ahead of pest activity this spring and be sure to work with your pest management professional to prevent pest issues before they start.
Hope Bowman is a Technical Specialist and Board Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.