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Pest Proofing, Part 5: Cultural Control – By Kirk Dean

Part 5 of a series on what you can do to keep spiders, insects, and rodents out of your home.

 Tip #5: Good cultural practices with your landscape can prevent pest problems, or make it harder for spiders or insects to come inside your home.

When I say ‘cultural,’ I don’t mean that Hawaiian shirt your wear every casual Friday at work.  Though it may repel or even maim the eye of individuals with good taste, it won’t help your Boise area home be pest-free.  Cultural control is an integrated pest management principle (fancy pest-control saying for ‘use all the tools in your toolbox’) that says that we need to develop proper practices that reduce pests from occurring, recurring, and spreading. A common example of a cultural control is how much you water your lawn. I’ve already spoken ad nauseam about this topic, just once more won’t hurt will it?  By watering your lawn deeply and infrequently, not only is your lawn more likely to be healthy, but you will help your lawn to not be so much of a bug magnet.  Millipedes, for example, are attracted to damp ground/things, where often they eat and live.  Allowing your lawn to dry out between watering’s is a good way to not attract these insects. Another example is a little more subtle. Roses are often a favorite of Boise area gardeners, for obvious reasons.  But what is not so obvious is what is taking place on the plants themselves.  Roses attract aphids, who feed on and suck the sap out of the leaves of roses and other plants, then secret a delicious liquid (to ants, anyway) called honeydew.  Ants LOVE honeydew, and they feed on honeydew as a favorite snack.  Good news for ants….honeydew is also gluten-free!  Strangely, ants even sort of farm aphids for this liquid.  In return for this farming of sorts, the ants offer protection from predators that would harm the aphids.  Apparently, racketeering is not a crime in the insect world!  Subsequently, ant populations go up, and since, roses are often planted right up next to a house….well, the rest is a given….you’ve now got ants in your kitchen.  A good cultural practice would be to first, not plant your rose right next to your house, or find some other plant to use. Here are a few other good ideas of cultural practices you can do:

  • Avoid dropping & leaving food particles on your floor
  • Trim all vegetation well-trimmed and at least 1 foot away from the home
  • Lawns should be cut to a proper height, and cut regularly
  • Vacuum, dust, and sweep regularly
  • Decrease clutter indoors
  • Clear out debris from around your home: Woodpiles, construction materials, etc., should be as far from the home as possible
  • Avoid bark or other organic mulch for flower beds, rock or rubber is much better
Ant Meme
Ant Meme

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Service Area (Southwest Idaho)

Our pest control services are also available in Boise, Garden City, Eagle, Emmett, Meridian, Kuna, Nampa, Melba, Middleton, Star, Marsing, Homedale, Caldwell and Mountain Home.