Do you know that your Oakland yard is teeming with life? It’s a little creepy when you think about it, but you might find comfort in the thought that all of those organisms have a role to play, and much of that role is beneficial. Bees buzz from flower to flower, helping with pollination. Worms and bugs tunnel in your soil, helping your lawn stay healthy and green. Ladybugs eat the aphids that try to damage the plants in your landscaping. Wasps hunt spiders. Spiders kill mosquitoes. We could go on and on, but you get the idea. The critters in your yard aren’t so bad—most of the time. It is only when pest populations get out of control, or pests get it in their head that your home might be a nice place to live, that they become a problem. And, of course, there are a select few that can present a danger to your health and property. These provide no benefit at all when they come into your yard. Today, we’re going to explore the interconnectivity of nature, and how you can use this knowledge to keep pests away from your Oakland home.
1. Reduce Light
Do you know that many insects are attracted to light? If you keep lights on at night, you’ll attract flying insects and ground insects. When you do this, those insects will attract the pests that eat them, like spiders, crickets, ants and more. When you attract these, they will also attract the pests that eat them, such as paper wasps, yellow jackets, mice, rats, and more. When you keep lights off at night, you have a wide-reaching impact on pest populations. Keeping your lights off will also protect your home from being damaged by pests that damage wood. Lights that attract carpenter bee activity can ultimately attract woodpeckers that tap on wood to get at carpenter bee larvae. And light can lure termite swarmers when a swarm occurs at night. It is best to keep the lights off.
2. Reduce Moisture
You would be amazed at how many creatures are attracted to moisture. Some are just nuisance pests, like centipedes. Some can be destructive to your belongings, like silverfish. The worst are wood-destroying pests. Moisture causes wood decay and wood decay attracts subterranean termites, carpenter ants, wood borers, mice, rats, and more. Reduce moisture to make your home less interesting.
3. Remove Standing Water
Moisture is one thing, but puddles are another thing entirely. If you have puddles in your yard, you’re going to create a breeding site for mosquitoes. Each female mosquito that breeds in your yard can lay a hundred eggs at a time. This will create lots of mosquitoes for spiders and other pests to eat. Any source of standing water in your yard can be a breeding site for mosquitoes if it is one inch deep and stagnant.
4. Remove Food Sources
As you’ve seen, the creatures that come into your yard are food for other creatures. But there are other food sources that can start this process. When cockroaches come into your yard to feed on droppings left by a dog, or by wildlife, those cockroaches create more food options in your yard. Cockroaches may be disgusting, but there are animals that like to eat them. Another food source that you might not consider is birdseed. While it is nice to put birdseed out and have pretty birds visit your property, that seed will attract other pests, like mice, squirrels, ants, and many more.
5. Remove Clutter
A yard that has lots of objects to hide in will be inviting to spiders, mice, and many other critters that seek harborage. Lawn clutter can also provide a nesting site for wasps that build nests in voids, like yellow jackets and hornets.
6. Get Routine Treatments
You can have a big impact on pest populations by applying the tips mentioned so far, but some pests will come into your yard no matter what you do. For these—and also for dangerous pests—ongoing residential pest control is the best way to limit population growth and manage pest pressures. This is where the team at Smith’s Pest Management can help. Reach out to us anytime. We’re here to help.
Kourtney B. - Los Gatos, CA
My chicken coop was put up five years ago. I went out one night and almost had a heart attack because there was probably 100 rats in with the chickens. I called Smith’s and the problem was solved quickly. No more rats!