Here’s the deal: just having a yard increases pest activity around your home. Bugs eat and nest in organic matter, and unless your yard is composed entirely of synthetic turf, it’s going to be home to some kind of a pest population.
Having said that, there’s still plenty you can do to keep those pest populations at or near undetectable levels. Strategic yard planning, the right vegetation, and frequent maintenance can transform your yard from a pest liability to an enjoyable haven for you and your friends. Here, we’ll talk about five things you can do to get your yard on the right track.
1. Skip the Wood Chips
For a lot of people, wood chips are the answer to an eco-friendly yard. Unlike grass, they don’t require constant maintenance or wasteful amounts of precious water. Alas, when it comes to bugs, wood chips are too good to be true.
See, bugs love wood. They really love it.
Wood chips provide a cozy place for pests to build their homes and a 24/7 food source for lumber-munchers in particular. Hosting wood-eating pests in your yard is especially dangerous since at any time they could stop chomping on the wood chips and start consuming your house.
We recommend you skip the wood chips and opt for less pest-friendly materials like pebbles or synthetic mulch. Actually, speaking of mulch…
2. Avoid Mulch (and Debris)
Mulch and rotting wood present the same problems as wood chips. By leaving debris in your yard, you may as well be leaving food out for pests like you do for you dog. In addition to clearing away wood, mulch, and debris, it’s also a good idea to maintain your yard by:
- Removing standing water
- Mowing the lawn
- Regularly pulling weeds
- Clearing fallen fruits and vegetables
- Raking and sweeping frequently
Okay, so this really ended up being more like six tips instead of one. But hey, a little extra light yard work is a small price to pay for keeping the feasting pests away.
3. Keep Your Trees at Bay
Big trees can be so majestic. Their still, sturdy, quiet persistence is calming, reassuring, and tranquil. Large trees offer something to everyone. Children race up their ever-growing branches, adults relax under their protective canopies, and people eat the sweet fruits that some trees produce.
All the reasons we like big trees are more or less the same reasons that bugs like them, too. That’s an unfortunate pest-control reality.
Trees are usually teeming with many types of pest activity—everything from ants and spiders to snakes and rodents. Thick canopies essentially provide a highway system for rodents to scamper around. Furthermore, if the branches touch your home, then your rooftops and storm drains become ideal destinations.
If you opt to keep your beautiful big trees (and we don’t blame you!), then it’s advisable to prune and manicure them regularly. Preserve at least a six-foot gap between any branches and your house, and promptly clear away fallen fruit, leaves, and bark.
4. Place Your Plants Strategically
The thick awnings of tall trees are not the only pest sanctuaries in your yard. In fact, most areas of densely packed brush can facilitate unwanted insect and rodent nesting. When planting, we suggest at least a two-foot gap between neighboring plants. Even more importantly, keep up with that pruning!
A little planning and trimming is so much easier than trying to clear up a rodent infestation—trust us on that!
5. Invest in Pest-repelling Plants
Yes, this is a real thing! Cool, right?
The natural oils in some plants and herbs repel different types of pests. To name a few: spearmint and artemisia repel ants and beetles, while rosemary and fennel dissuade snails. Chrysanthemums are a jackpot; they repel ants, lice, silverfish, ticks, fleas (pet owners take note!), and roaches—all while being really beautiful. Talk about a total package!
These pest-repelling plants are especially handy if you have a vegetable or herb garden. This way you can keep your garden as pest-free and pesticide-free as possible. Strategically planting some of these special varieties can be a safer alternative to more traditional chemicals. As pest-control professionals, we prioritize your safety and never treat anywhere near food-producing plants.
When it comes to pest control, we focus outside—the goal is to wrangle the bugs before they invade your home in the first place. Cognizant planning and pruning can play as important a role as actual pest treatments in restricting insect activity. If pest control is a big concern, these crucial tips can make a huge difference. The power is in your hands!
Sources: https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/final_ppbd_guidelines_12-5-12.pdf http://cceniagaracounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/companion-planting-info.pdf https://homeguides.sfgate.com/indoor-pestrepellent-plants-73394.html