April is National Pest Management Month
April is National Pest Management Month! The public observance was introduced by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) nearly 40 years ago. Since that time, it has been observed by the professional pest control industry and related people. The observance is primarily designed to help bring attention to the role that pest professionals play in protecting public health and property from significant pest threats.
And, with the emergence of spring pests occurring across the U.S. – and around much of the northern hemisphere – in April, it is also a good time to remind all homeowners to inspect around your home and perform any needed maintenance to protect against spring and summer pest infestations.
So, from your Pest Control Guide, I’d like to extend a “Happy National Pest Management Month to you!” and provide a few thoughts from NPMA on the observance and some tips on your role in spring pest management.
As, NPMA Vice President of Public Affairs Missy Henriksen said of NPMA’s pest control professionals, “Our members often work behind the scenes, without much recognition, which is why it’s important we take the month of April to acknowledge the important work pest professionals do each and every day.
“As spring is the perfect time to pest-proof homes, we’re also encouraging homeowners to implement simple prevention steps this April to stave off pest problems during the warmer months when pest populations thrive,” she added.
As in 2014, NPMA partnered with renowned home improvement expert Bob Vila for this year’s observance. To observe the month, Vila conducted an 8-hour media blitz intended to educate homeowners on the best ways to prevent pests. He spoke with 33 TV and radio stations.
One of these was an interview with KARE 11 Minneapolis on preventing spring pests in the home – whether it's ants, termites, or ticks, spring is the time of year when pests begin to re-emerge.
Bob Vila’s Pest-Proofing Tips
Below and on his website, Vila provides tips and advice to homeowners on ways they can prepare their homes to defend against spring and summer pests such as termites, stinging insects, mosquitoes and ants. A few of the home pest proofing tips offered by Vila and NPMA are:
- Conduct an audit of the home’s perimeter, taking note of any cracks, winter damage or termite mud tubes.
- Seal outside cracks, including entry points for utilities and pipes, with a silicone-based caulk.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
- Eliminate sources of standing water around the house and clean clogged gutters.
- Remove rotted tree stumps, keep mulch at least 15 feet away from the home’s foundation and trim bushes and branches away from the home.
- In case of an infestation, work with a licensed pest professional to properly identify the problem and determine the best treatment method.
Bob Vila Radio
Vila has also presented a “Bob Vila Radio” discussion on working with nature – not against it – to control garden pests without using toxic chemicals. Included in the radio talk are
- Instead of just using pesticides in the hope of killing off pests, know what the insects look like at each stage of development and keep an eye out for each stage.
- If you’re growing edible plants, don’t spray them with chemicals right before harvest.
- Use physical means to control and pick off pests, such as traps, vacuums, water hoses or tweezers.
- Barriers, such as fences, netting and trunk guards, can protect plants and gardens against birds, animals, and some insects. Diatomaceous earth around the plot can also provide a barrier against crawling insects.
- Use insects to fight insects: Beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and nematodes, will prey on destructive insects, including aphids, beetles and grubs.
You can listen to this talk on Integrated Pest Management, as well as others on Natural Pesticides, Fencing Options, and Garden Planning, on Bob Vila Radio.