Summer is here! It’s the season of the barbecue, filled to the brim with picnics, beach days, outdoor events and festivals….
Not just flies, either. Wasps, hornets, ants, bed bugs, you name it, they are there to bug you and wig you out! They’re about as natural a summer thing as ice cream and watermelon (don’t put insects or either of those two great things together though…unless you enjoy looking at pictures like this one).
Summer is the season of travelling also, which means more risk of relocating bed bugs from that seedy hotel room into the comfort of your own (now infested) home.
It’s time to keep the insect types of varmints out this summer so you can go back to enjoying yourself! Here are some tips on how to attract less insects to your summer outing, whether it’s a barbecue with your neighbours, an outdoor event, etc. These tips may also apply to bird and wildlife varmints too! But for this article’s sake, we’ll stick to insects.
The #1 Rule: Always Keep It Clean
We don’t mean keeping your language clean…well, unless that is a problem in and of itself. No, we’re talking about being mindful of how you spend your days out in summer whether it’s grabbing a bite to eat, checking out the nearby amusement park, or hitting the beach. Wherever you go and however you decide to spend the dog days of summer, the number one guaranteed way to prevent too many varmints from ruining your day is to clean up after yourself and practice being clean while outside.
- Any trash you have, put it where it belongs.
- Any spills you create, wipe them up right away.
- If you happen to spill food on yourself, taking the stain out ASAP will not only help your clothing, but also keep varmints from being attracted to the smell left behind.
- If you’re barbecuing, keep the lid cover down on what you’re cooking as often as possible, wipe down all of the tools you’re using when you’re done, and if you want you can even lay around a few traps for wasps and flies.
- Food when displayed outside sure looks pretty, but it’s less so when exposed to insects! Keep all food covered as much as possible when it’s outside, such as lids for bowls with potato chips or fruit platters (the dollar store usually sells good plastic containers and mixing bowls for this purpose).
Make potential infestation sites and occasions less desirable
Garbage cans and bins in summer have a uniqueness to them in that they smell even worse than the garbage the rest of the year. This makes summer garbage the most appetizing to varmints you don’t want near you! Wasps, hornets, and flies prefer nesting near food sources, and summer garbage is their absolute favourite kind.
- Any garbage, whether it’s a public dumpster or can, should be emptied regularly and not left out in the summer sun. As you would at home, dispose of your garbage properly and avoid putting it into overflowing bins and cans (if you can).
- If you want, you can freeze compostable items (meat-related things such as chicken bones) after your outdoor event and then dispose of your green waste the day of pickup. That way you reduce the enticing smell of food from unwanted varmints.
- Keep all food covered when out and about on a picnic. Pack foods that can be easily wrapped up and put away from sight and smell. If you’re carrying around your own utensils, wrap these in plastic bags too and then put them away as soon as you’re done using them.
- Try to eat at a picnic table as opposed to on the grass to avoid ants from sneaking on board and coming home with you. Keep all drinks covered up too as best as possible; for pop and beer cans, put flat objects on top of the opening such as a book, or open a plastic bag and lay it over top of the can. Secure the bottom of the bag so the wind doesn’t blow it away.
Do some yard work
Sure, we know how annoying it is to cut the grass every summer, but this time of the year yardwork is especially handy for keeping varmints away. Long grass can be host to all sorts of nasty varmints such as ticks. If you’re holding an outdoor party with the neighbours, trimming away bushes and tree branches and mowing the lawn can all go a long way towards bringing unwanted insect varmints into the near vicinity.
Stay vigilant while outside doing yard work or eating al fresco at home, because summer is definitely the season of the wasp! These can make their nest in areas you don’t want them in, such as in trees and under the roof shingles of your house, and basically anywhere there’s regular foot traffic. If you or anyone in your family and neighbourhood have an allergy to stings, then definitely get help removing the nest ASAP. If for any reason you can’t remove the nest from your yard, calling for an exterminator is usually the best solution.
Sure, summer is the season of garage sales and maybe finding the odd couch on the side of the road, but do you know what else it’s the season of? Yep, you guessed it: bed bugs. These varmints are such a trial to get rid of in summer that we wrote an entire post about them. While bed bugs may not be as common at the other outdoor events we’re talking about in this blog, we say that garage sales totally count as summer events, so we’re mentioning them for your sake.
You really need to be careful of what you buy and where (also, never pick up used furniture labeled ‘free’ that’s been sitting outside…you never know how long it’s been out there for anyway!). Keep the phrase ‘buyer, beware’ really in mind when you’re out and about looking at used stuff, because you never know what may come home with you.
Other telltale signs that an items has become host to bed bugs include a sickly sweet smell (sort of like overripe raspberries), little white flecks like rice (those are bed bug eggs), and black specks peppering an item (that’s their feces). Avoid these at all costs and wash your hands and clothes immediately if you touch one of these infested items by accident! If you’ve unwittingly brought an infestation home with you, skip browsing the Internet for solutions and call a bed bug exterminator. Seriously, us professionals are your best bet at staying bed bug free.
Don’t forget about Fido this summer
You’re not the only one who has to be wary of pest problems. As it turns out, our climate in the Vancouver BC area is so mild year-round that pests can invade, annoy, and even cause great harm to your dog’s days of summer! There are a lot of insects in the summer months that can find their way into your dog’s life and, inevitably, your own.
- Dog and cat fleas are infamous for infesting both your pets and your home! They’re most active during the late spring and summer months, but like we said, here in the Vancouver BC area they can be active year-round.
- Ticks may cling to your poor pooch without either of you realizing! Whether you’re out for a walk at the beach where there’s tall grass and trees to provide shelter, or you’re out for a picnic near the dog park, dog ticks equal bad, bad news for everyone. Lyme disease is just the tip of the iceberg to worry about; after 5 or 6 hours the risk of showing symptoms of certain ones like Rocky Mountain disease is great. The sooner you find a tick and get it removed by a vet (or the hospital in your case), the better!
- Wasps are not prejudiced…they are more than happy to sting anyone and anything standing in their way. Yep, that includes Fido or Fluffy. Insect stings are most noticeable after the fact, and while rare they do still happen and the part of your pet’s body where they were stung will swell up twice the normal size. If a sting happens to both you and your pets in the same week, that’s how you know a nest is nearby and needs to be dealt with.
The best ways to help Fido out at your next summer event is pretty simple. Keep your pooch’s flea preventives and vaccines up to date, limit your walks to less woods-y areas with overgrown grass, and wash Fido off after being at the beach or give them a bath after they’ve come back inside your home. Prevention of varmints for Fido is the best way for both of you to stay pest-free.
A lot of these tips are mostly common sense, but you know what they say… “Common sense isn’t all that common.” That definitely goes for summertime pest control tips like these. If you’ve noticed a wasp or hornet’s nest in an area that’s affecting everyone’s beach day or too close for comfort at the hot dog stand, or Fido has become the target for a new flea infestation, or maybe you’ve got mystery ants appearing and ruining your neighbourhood barbecues…whatever is bothering you, call your local Pest Boss and stay pest-free this summer. We’ll get you, varmints!
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