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It's a good idea to pest-proof your home as it gets warmer outside

The warmer temperatures mean an increase in pest activity for common household pests and the first step to avoiding pest problems is prevention.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Exterminators say you should take a room-by-room approach to spring cleaning and pest prevention. 

Pest-proofing now can save you headaches later in the year.

"Pests like warm weather just like we do, they tend to go after you know, obviously a food source or a water source as well, and our homes are perfect for this, like a kitchen is a primary area, you know, your cockroaches, your ants, stuff like that. One of the areas where homeowners can help us to prevent these pests from coming in their home, number one is proofing," said Ryan Burtis, service center manager, Arrow Exterminators. 

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Prevention tips room-by-room from Arrow Exterminators:

Kitchen: A primary source of food and water for pests, it’s no surprise that the kitchen is a popular location for insects to make themselves at home. Keep an eye out for ants, cockroaches and Indian meal moths which are among the most common pests found in the kitchen.  More than just a nuisance, these pests can contaminate food and spread bacteria.  Prevention Tip: Store all food in airtight plastic or glass containers, immediately wipe spills, vacuum often and empty the trash frequently.  

Bedrooms and Bathrooms: Time to clean out the closet? Moths may have taken up residence feeding on natural fibers like silk, cotton and wool.  Silverfish are also commonly found in bedrooms and bathrooms and can damage synthetic fabrics, books and other paper products.  Prevention Tip: Make sure to wash and iron or dry-clean winter garments before storing them for the summer and use fans or dehumidifiers to eliminate damp conditions.  Ensure openings where pipes enter the bathroom are sealed and dry out bath towels and mats regularly. 

Living Spaces: While kitchens and bathrooms are the most likely areas to harbor pests, common living areas are not off the hook.  Pets can bring in fleas and ticks, left-behind snacks can provide an attractive food source and mice can settle behind floorboards and under furniture.  Prevention Tip: Keep living areas crumb-free by removing snacks and vacuuming floors and under furniture regularly.  Also, keep the family pets groomed and their flea and tick prevention current.   

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Garage: Stored boxes and sporting equipment in the garage provide the perfect winter harborage for pests like squirrels, mice and rats.  As you are unpacking your spring and summer gear, keep an eye out for signs of nesting and rodent droppings.  Prevention Tip: Use airtight plastic storage bins for seasonal items and store them off the floor when possible.  Also, be sure to sweep out the garage regularly.

Outdoors:  Spring cleaning and proper pest-proofing around the exterior of the home goes a long way in keeping pests such as cockroaches and termites outside where they belong and controlling the population of other pests like mosquitoes.  Prevention Tip: Seal all cracks and small openings around the foundation of the home including entry points for wires and pipes. Eliminate sources of standing water and moisture.  Keep garbage collection areas clean and ensure all receptacles are tightly closed and trim back branches and shrubbery away from the house. 

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