Thanks to All Green Lawn Care & Pest Control for contributing to this article.
Ella Fitzgerald obviously never experienced an invasion of box elder bugs, otherwise she never would have sang that the summertime livin’ was easy. The rest of us know that warm weather doesn’t just bring jumping fish and high cotton. It brings pests galore (and we’re not talking kids on school break) — little devils that bore into your walls, gum up your windows and scurry along your floors.
Luckily, your daddy doesn’t have to be rich or your ma good-lookin’ to solve the problem. You just need a good exterminator and some tips (like the ones below from All Green Lawn Care & Pest Control) for how to handle the most common intruders. After that, ain’t nothin’ can harm you. So hush little baby, don’t you cry. (Didn’t think we could quote a whole Porgy and Bess song in a pest article, did you?!)
So you’ve got black widows. No biggie, they just kill their spider spouses for fun and eat them for lunch. But you’re not married to them, so stay calm. The best way to get rid of a black widow is to get rid of her food source (no, not husbands — other insects). Think of it like the neighborhood children that are always hanging around your house: you get rid of the Twinkies, Oreos and potato chips and soon enough no one is coming around to play with Bobby.
So climb down one step on the food chain and bring your bug-blast (errr, hire someone with one) for those lesser, plant-based pests. Go the extra mile by clearing out brush, weeds and trash from around your house (even that 10-year-old piece of plywood that you’re totally going to use.)
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Ants outnumber you 140,000 to one. It’s like David and Goliath if Goliath were really small and populous. But remember how smart David was? David wouldn’t have sat on the floor and cried into his hands, or moved, or made his children solve the problem for him. No. David would have followed the trail of Goliaths to its opening, then sealed it off with caulk.
He would have salted entryways to block ant passage, or lined his counters with double-sided tape, or, if he was in the mood to go natural, made an ant-repelling home fragrance using vinegar, peppermint oil, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, whole cloves, and bay leaves. Above all, David would know that you defeat Goliath with a militant sense of cleanliness and a lot of ammonia-based cleaning products.
Mice have waged a very successful PR campaign to convince us that they are a) poor churchgoers, b) very quiet, c) cartoon emcees for Happiest Place on Earth. In reality, they are clever little vermin who are probably right now chewing through your box of Cap’n Crunch. Luckily, you can get rid of mice in a few easy steps. Consider investing in a cat, sprinkling mint or bay leaves in closets and on windowsills, cleaning floors, counters, and clutter, sealing the house, and covering or removing food sources. If all else fails, wage a counter-propaganda campaign based on the Wonder Woman movie, but with mice instead of Germans.
Box Elder Bugs
First, we know Box Elder is a beloved Utah County, so the first task is to remove all positive associations between the bug and seats of government. The second is to prepare for war. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the edge of your house, spray bugs directly with dish soap and water, or remove female box elder trees from your yard. If you happen to own a backpack insecticide sprayer, sling it over your shoulders and go to town, focusing on the southwest and perimeter of your house. If you (gasp!) find yourself without one, call in a professional. Make sure to communicate whether you want a perimeter spray (which will stop bugs from entering your house) or a total extermination.
Again, pay no attention to the cute names. If you’re started to go soft (Springtail? Cuuuute!), just picture stumbling upon a room packed with humans using spring-loaded structures in their abdomen to jump 12 times their full height. Now you have the picture. Put that terror to good use by scouting out damp areas in your house (under sinks, in bathrooms and basements, and in piles of firewood or mulch) and stopping leaks or dehumidifying. As they say: no moisture, no spring-loaded high-jumping pests! (Hint: No one says this.)
Finally, a name that inspires proper disgust! Back in the 18th Century version of Goosebumps, earwigs were ferocious killers who crawled into unwitting human ears, bored into the brain, and killed a person without even flinching. But just like the spiders who lay eggs in pretty lady’s faces, earwigs have simply gotten a bad urban legend rap. They are actually vegetarians, eating decomposing plants and wet leaves.
But they are still annoying, and they hate traps, so: you know what to do. Set out small tins filled with vegetable oil, or shoeboxes with a lining of oatmeal or bran. Spray insecticide around your plants in the late afternoon, or coat your doors with eucalyptus oil to bar entry. Seal cracks and weak points in your foundation, or attract birds of prey with some feeders.
Think American cockroaches, but less humorous and with more punctual train infrastructure. These critters are becoming the season’s hottest bug invasion, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it sitting down. So stand up and start inspecting the boxes you bring home from the store or other people’s houses. (Other people, amiright?) Cockroaches like to hide in crevices, so be thorough. Keep your house nice and tidy (the German cockroaches will be impressed and leave politely), and if the problem persists, you know what to do: Call for backup.
Still got bugs lingering around your house? Get 50 percent off pest control for a year from All Green Pest Control, or find other great local exterminators on the KSL Classifieds app.