Estimates suggest there are more than a billion insects per person in the world – and when the weather heats up, it can seem like they’re all flocking to your house.
Nobody likes a hot, stuffy home, so of course you might want to open the windows during summer. But how can you do that while also doing your best to keep unwelcome creepy-crawlies and flying critters at bay?
Here are 15 tips for a bug-free home this summer:
1. Apply insecticides - Spread a barrier insecticide around the perimeter of your house, and keep fly and wasp sprays to hand inside. Always check the instructions and make sure they’re safe to use, especially if you have pets and children around.
2. Make your own insecticide - If you don’t want to use chemical insecticides, try making your own – fill a spray bottle almost to the top with half water and half witch-hazel, add 30-50 drops of peppermint oil, mix and spray around the house.
3. Screen time - Use fine mesh screens bought from DIY stores to put over open windows and doors.
4. Make your own insect barrier - Glue Velcro strips to the window frame, and also to pieces of netting cut to the size of your window. Attach the netting Velcro to the window frame strips, and you have a home-made insect screen.
5. Seal holes - Use a sealant to seal cracks and holes insects can use to get in.
6. Smelly repellent - Use different odours to repel insects – hang pine boughs at doors and windows to deter flies, as they don’t like the smell, or try making fly-repellent sachets using tea bags and cloves. Put pots of lavender, elderberry, basil or mint at entry points to repel flies too. Lemongrass and geraniums contain citronella, which many bugs hate, and tiny gnats don’t like cinnamon, so sprinkle it where needed.
7. Ant beater - If ants are marching into your home, spray lemon juice or vinegar along their route to stop them.
8. Feathered friends - Many common birds love to eat insects, so entice them into your garden with bird feed, and encourage them to stay by putting up a birdhouse.
9. Spider solution? - If you hate flying insects more than spiders, welcome a few spiders into your home because they’re great insect eaters.
10. Clean up - Keep the house clean, particularly the kitchen as insects are attracted to food debris. Empty the bins frequently, and wipe counters after you cook. Store food in sealed containers, and don’t leave dirty dishes out.
11. Remove standing water - Some insects, like mosquitoes, are attracted to water, so make sure there’s no standing water or leaves in your gutters, or buckets left outside. Also, repair any leaks that can provide a source of water for pests.
12. Manage mulch - If you’ve got mulch on your flower beds, thin it out if it’s near the house, as insects love decaying organic matter. Turn mulch over with a rake so it’s not wet all the time.
13. Sweep clean - Sweep up leaves outside – insects will gather around decaying leaves, and if the leaves are near your house the bugs could easily find their way indoors.
14. Turn off the lights - Some flying insects are attracted to light, so turn outside lights off at night when possible, and when they’re on, direct them away from the house.
15. Prune trees and shrubs - Insects can use a tree as a bridge to get onto the house and then crawl through holes and vents and move in. So if trees or bushes are near a door or window, prune them to help keep bugs away.