Deterring and Preventing Bugs in Your Garage

While your garage is the perfect space for your vehicle, bikes, and tools, it’s also an ideal shelter for pests looking for protection from the outdoors. If you’re wondering how to keep insects out of your garage, you’ve found the right resource. The best way to keep bugs away is to keep your garage clean and free of temptations such as food, water, and nesting spaces.

How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Garage

Declutter: Keeping your garage organized and clean is the best way to avoid and spot pest infestations. Use plastic storage bins or other weather-tight containers, rather than cardboard, to keep critters and bugs from nesting in your belongings. Make sure you check your items and storage containers for pests before putting them away.

Reduce water and humidity: Most bugs are attracted to water lingering around your garage. Make sure you don’t have any leaky pipes, standing water, or condensation. Get a dehumidifier for your space, if necessary.

Remove food: Cleaning out any loose food removes a major temptation for bugs in the garage. Sweep up crumbs immediately after they’re dropped, tightly tie your garbage bags, and use sealed containers for pet food and birdseed.

Weatherproof: Seal up cracks around your windows, doors, and garage door to prevent pests from making their way into your garage, especially during seasonal transitions when bugs seek a warmer or cooler place to live. You may use silicone caulk, weatherstrips, and rubber seals for this project. The local professionals at Mr. Handyman® can help you weather strip your garage door to not only keep the bugs out but also keep the temperature of your space comfortable all year long.

Contact the professionals: Our Mosquito Joe® professionals can help you find and remove existing pests, as well as identify conditions that may be attracting pests to your space. We offer perimeter pest control services, applying a specialized spray around the garage to keep insects away. Contact a Mosquito Joe near you today to get a quote, or call us at 1-855-275-2563.

Related Topic: Preparing for Winter Pests

Common Garage Pests to Look Out For

Pests in your garage can range from a few buzzing flies to a complete rodent infestation. Some of the most common garage dwelling pests include:

Deer mice: These small rodents are notorious for nesting in boxes and wall gaps during cold months. This can pose a threat to your property, as the mice may also find their way to your vehicle and chew through wires while attempting to find the perfect space.

Spiders: The garage is ideal spider habitat, as other bugs become confined to the space, and spiders feast on them. Keeping your garage free of other pests is the best way to avoid spiders, as their food source is diminished. Frequently sweep along baseboards, doors, and windows to remove spiderwebs.

Flies: These bugs are attracted to strong odors. The best way to avoid a fly infestation is to keep your garage free of pungent smells and food.

Crickets: In warmer and dry months, these loud bugs are often drawn to a cool and shaded garage. Their jumping abilities allow them to make their way to even your highest storage containers.

Silverfish: These small bugs easily make their way under doors and through small cracks. Food temptations and loose clutter will easily attract these pests, as they feed on anything from meat to cloth. Garage insect repellent can help deter these pests.

Sowbugs: Sowbugs are crustaceans more closely related to shrimp and lobsters than to insects. They’re attracted to cool, damp, and wet spaces because they’re unable to retain moisture in their bodies.

Related Content: Mosquito Control—Even in the Winter?

When to Clean Your Garage to Deter Pests

Keeping your garage clean and sealed throughout the year is the best way to keep pests away, no matter the season. However, in colder months, bugs are especially attracted to your garage because they want an escape from the cold. Cleaning your garage in the fall will prevent pests from finding small and hidden spaces to hunker down in throughout the season. It’s also a good idea to clean your garage in the spring as the new year can bring on more pests.


Snow Bugs and Ice Worms: Two Cool Critters

If you live in a cold climate one of the advantages is that when colder weather arrives, many insects disappear. Many of the flying, buzzing, stinging insects that harass us during warm spring and summer days are gone. But this is not true for all insects, there are a few that are still active, even during the colder months of the year.

One is an arthropod. The other is an annelid (a.k.a. segmented worm). Both are excellent at surviving icy conditions, and one even lives inside glacial ice! Here are some cool facts about a few bugs that aren’t bothered by cold weather.

What Is a Snow Flea (aka Snow Bug)?

Snow fleas, also known as snow bugs or springtails, are tiny hexapods (an arthropod subtype) that are particularly active when there’s wet snow on the ground. These creatures are not really fleas at all. They just got that nickname because of their habit of jumping around enthusiastically like kids on a snow day! There are two different species of snow bugs, Hypogastrura nivicola, and Hypogastrura harveyi.

What Do Snow Fleas Look Like?

When you see these small black bugs in the snow, you might mistake them for specks of dirt because they’re so small: only about 2 millimeters long. When you look closer, you’ll see that a snow bug has an oval-shaped body with small antennae and six legs, as pictured in the Farmer’s Almanac. You typically see them in clusters.

Do Snow Fleas Bite?

Not at all. They’re completely harmless to humans, dogs, and other animals. They have two favorite activities: jumping around and eating decaying organic matter in the soil. These little winter wonders help the environment by breaking down organic matter, which helps nourish and replenish the soil faster. So, when spring arrives, you can thank the Snow Flea for that rich, well-nourished soil.

How Could Snow Fleas Make Ice Cream Better?

This might sound crazy, but those tiny black bugs that like to frolic in the snow actually produce a special antifreeze protein that, when replicated by scientists, can benefit humans in many ways. One of the potential benefits is improving the texture of ice cream by preventing those unsavory ice crystals that can develop when you leave them in your freezer for a while.

How to Get Rid of Snow Fleas: Should You Bother?

Since snow fleas are harmless to people, animals, and houses you shouldn’t concern yourself with getting rid of them (if you can find them). However, these bugs do sometimes multiply in large quantities, which might concern some of your neighbors. If so, there are perimeter pest control treatments available that can help keep them controlled.

Related Topic: How to Reduce Bugs in Your Yard after Heavy Rain

What Is an Ice Worm?

The other winter wonder for down under (no, not from Australia) is actually a worm, an ice worm (Mesenchytraeus solifugus). This is an annelid, or segmented worm, that spends its entire life on (and in) glacial ice. It’s only about 6 millimeters long and very thin. The worms thrive on ice due to the antifreeze protein they produce and the insulative properties that snow cover provides. Glacier ice worms have been observed on about 20 different glaciers in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia.

What Do Ice Worms Eat?

It would seem logical that ice worms eat ice, but they actually have a varied diet that consists of snow algae, bacteria, various fungi, and other tiny organic matter they find on and in the glaciers. Typically, they feed on the surface of snow rather than within the ice itself. They drink from pools on the ice. And like the snow flea, snow worms are considered beneficial worm that is an important part of natural carbon and nutrient processing within their environment.

Can I Go See Some Ice Worms?

If these little tidbits about the snow flea and snow worm have piqued your interest, by all means, check them out for yourself. Although it’s easier to see and observe snow fleas within your area, if you travel to a glacier that is known to harbor ice worms, you’re bound to see them in large numbers—up to 900 worms per square foot. However, an escapade to see ice worms should happen in the afternoon or early evening, since ice worms like to hide beneath the ice when the sun is out.

Can I Go See Some Ice Worms?

Once the warmer weather returns so will many of the insects that can make the outdoors less fun. When that happens it’s time to call the local pest control experts at Mosquito Joe. We offer natural perimeter pest control services that help protect you and your home from pests. Schedule online or call 1-855-275-2563 for an appointment.


How to Prepare Your Home for a New Puppy

Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting, eventful time and studies show there are numerous science-based benefits to having a dog. New dog owners should be aware that getting a puppy doesn’t only involve buying food, toys, and taking them to the vet. Similar to baby-proofing your home, dog owners need to take similar action to prepare their homes for a new puppy.

It is important to anticipate any potential home hazards for your puppy. The information below is meant to provide new dog owners with several considerations that will help protect your puppy and your home.

1. Remove Hanging Objects

Puppies are curious little creatures. Everything is new to them, and they want to explore anything within reach, so it is crucial to look for any hanging objects and remove them to protect your puppy from any potential harm. If it’s something you don’t want to remove entirely, you can hang them up out of the animal’s reach. Some examples of hanging objects to remove or hang higher include:

  • Electrical wires extend from household appliances and electronics.
  • Table clothes.
  • Bedding.
  • Curtains.
  • Tapestries.
  • Clothing.
  • Hanging plants.

Take a moment and monitor how high your puppy can reach and how high they can jump to ensure that the item you are hanging is at an appropriate height. Reassess the height objects are hung at as the puppy begins to grow.

2. Keep Objects Off the Floor

Life gets crazy and your house can get cluttered as a result, but it is important to pick up after yourself and keep objects off the floor — especially smaller items. This should not just include the floor, it is important to store all potentially hazardous items in areas where your puppy can’t get to them. All objects can be choking hazards and the unfortunate reality is that puppies (and even full-grown dogs) love to eat things that are left out. This can include things such as:

  • Footwear.
  • Articles of clothing.
  • Coins.
  • Baby toys.
  • Shoes.
  • Human food.

Removing all choking hazards is a great way to minimize the chance of your puppy choking. But when there is a will, there is a way, and a puppy will find a way. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Heimlich maneuver for dogs so that you can take immediate action when your puppy is choking. Note that the processes change depending on the size of your dog.

3. Hide and Safely Store All Harmful Substances

Several things are commonly found in homes that are toxic and harmful to dogs. You should store the following “dog poisons” in an area that is inaccessible to your dog:

Over-the-counter and prescription medications: Human medication is poisonous to pets and it can cause serious health issues and even death.

Human food: Feeding your puppy some scraps to avoid doing dishes or because they gave you puppy eyes may seem like a great idea, but there are several human foods to avoid feeding your pet that is toxic — like:

  • Chocolate.
  • Avocado.
  • Citrus.
  • Grapes.
  • Dairy.
  • Nuts.

Chemicals: Digesting chemicals is bad for humans and dogs alike. Be sure to store all cleaning supplies, pesticides, rodenticides, insecticides, and any other chemicals in a spot where your puppy won’t come in contact with them.

If you believe that your dog has gotten into a harmful substance, you should contact Animal Poison Control immediately or take your dog to your local veterinarian.

4. Puppy Proof Your Plants

Plants are a great way to add character or improve air quality, but several plants are poisonous to dogs. Whether they are located inside or outside, it is important to avoid or protect your puppy from the following plants:

  • Sago palm.
  • Tomato.
  • Aloe vera.
  • Ivy.
  • Amaryllis.
  • Gladiola.
  • Holly.
  • Daffodil.
  • Baby’s breath.
  • Milkweed.
  • Azalea/Rhododendron.
  • Tulip.

The best way to keep your puppy away from harmful plants is to avoid them entirely. There are tons of alternatives to the plants above to satisfy your green thumb. If you decide to have a toxic plant, store them in areas that your puppy cannot access. Consider different ways to puppy-proof your pets like hanging your plants from the ceiling or keeping them in a secured greenhouse.

5. Protect Your Pets from Pests

Pests can be obnoxious for humans and dogs alike, but the important thing to be aware of is how they carry disease and spread bacteria/parasites. Some dogs may have allergies to pests that can create additional discomfort. There are a few pests that dog owners should watch out for, some include:

  • Fleas.
  • Ticks.
  • Mosquitoes.
  • Spiders.
  • Stinging insects.
  • Ants.

There are several ways to protect your animal from pests — some examples include:

Consider topicals and collars: There are several different topicals and collars out there to help protect your animal from pests. Do your research and find what works best for you and your puppy.

Take advantage of pest control: Having a pest control professional is one of the best methods for getting rid of harmful pests. Below are some pest control services to consider:

  • General outdoor pest control.
  • Specific pest control like tick control or flea control, depending on the time of year and your location.
  • Utilize traps and deterrents: There are numerous different pest traps to take advantage of. There are specialized lights, hanging traps, floor traps, sprays, and even candles.
  • Keep your dog clean: Regularly groom your puppy to help ward off pests. This should include baths and brushing. This is also a good opportunity to check for any pests in your dog’s hair or on their skin.
  • Keep your house clean: Pests love messy areas. It creates the perfect home for nesting and breeding. Be sure to keep the inside and outside of your home clean.

6. Make Sure Your Fence is Secure

Most dogs love the outdoors and if you have a fenced-in backyard, your pet can spend time outside without your supervision. That said, you should always make sure that your fence is secured so that your puppy cannot escape.

Walk around the perimeter of your fence and look for any loose fence posts, holes in fencing, or areas large enough for your puppy to escape and fix the issue accordingly.

Dogs love to dig. If your dog is a digger, you will want to watch for any holes that are near the fence line where your puppy could escape.

If you are worried that your puppy is going to escape, the best solution is to supervise them when they’re outside.

7. Buy a Puppy Camera/Monitor

You can’t always take your dog with you everywhere you go and sometimes you may have to leave them at home without you. If you want to keep an eye on your dog while you have gone, you may want to consider a puppy camera or monitor. There are numerous options to choose from all with varying capabilities (e.g. treat capabilities, voice capabilities, alerts, etc.).

Do your research to determine which puppy camera/monitor is best for you and your puppy. The American Kennel Club recommends the following pet cams and monitors.

8. Take Advantage of Crates or Dog Gates

Similar to the options mentioned above, when you leave, other ways to keep your puppy from getting into things they shouldn’t are crates or dog gates. With a crate, you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog can’t get into anything dangerous. Dog gates can be used to block off specific areas or to confine your dog to a specific area of the house. However, be aware that a puppy can jump over a gate, so make sure you have one high enough to prevent them from jumping over it. Both are great options — especially if you don’t allow your pets to sleep with you.

Crates and gates are also helpful when you are trying to get some cleaning done, you are working on a home project, or when you have guests over. Avoid using a crate as a method of punishment. This can confuse your puppy into thinking they are in trouble when you put them in the crate at night or when you leave.


How to Get Rid of Allergens and Pests in Your Home

If you suffer from allergies, you are probably aware of the most common allergens circulating inside your home. Well, there are countless other allergens in and around your home that could be causing or worsening your allergies. Common allergens like dust, mold, pollen, dirt, pet dander, pests, stinging insects, mildew, and bacteria can be found almost anywhere in your home. But did you know that seemingly harmless fixtures, features, and habits could also be contributing to the buildup of allergens in your home, making your allergies that much worse?

Although it may take some time and effort on your part, you can reduce the presence of allergens and pests in your home and yard. With some additional effort, you can even minimize the chances of them returning once you’ve gotten rid of them. Here’s are some ways you can start creating an allergy-free home:

Clean Weekly

Regularly cleaning your home is, perhaps, the easiest way to get rid of allergens and pests. If there is mold, bacteria, mildew, pests, dirt, and debris in your house, cleaning your home will ensure they don’t stick around for long. To keep your home free of allergens, try to do the following tasks each week:

  • Wiping down surfaces, including cabinets and counters.
  • Dusting, including ceiling fans, blinds, and furniture.
  • Vacuuming and sweeping.
  • Mopping.
  • Washing your bedding.
  • Doing your laundry.
  • Cleaning bathroom fixtures, including the toilet and sinks.
  • Cleaning frequently used kitchen appliances, such as your stovetop.

Depending on your home and lifestyle, you may need to take care of some of these chores more frequently, and others less. You may also need to add other chores to your list.

Additionally, do your best to stay on top of daily chores, like doing the dishes or spot cleaning, to make your weekly “deep cleans” that much easier.

Don’t neglect chores that need to be done less frequently, such as cleaning your carpets or taking care of your yard. They may not need to be done often, but they do need to be taken care of regularly if you want to get rid of any allergens that have accumulated in your home.

Address Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) can have significant effects on your health, including your allergies. Poor IAQ contains common allergens — such as pet dander, dust, mold, pollen, dust mites, and bacteria — that can exacerbate your allergy symptoms.

Not only is removing allergens from your home a major component of ensuring you have high-quality air, but it can also go a long way in relieving your allergies.

Replace HVAC Filters

Before anything else, replace the filters in your HVAC system. The filters catch allergens and other particles, preventing them from recirculating back into your home. Over time, those particles build up and make it more difficult to filter out allergens.

Though it depends on the type of filter you have in your home, it’s best to change them once every month to month-and-a-half if you have allergies. With frequent filter changes, your HVAC system can work as efficiently as possible and help lessen your allergy symptoms.

In addition, consider having your HVAC system and air ducts cleaned periodically. Particles and debris can build up in the rest of the system, making it work less efficiently overall. Cleaning your system and ducts will remove those allergens and prevent them from reentering your home.

Install a Whole-House Filtration System

A whole-house filtration system works in conjunction with your HVAC system to filter your home’s air. Before entering your HVAC system, air first goes through the whole-house filter. Air is then filtered for a second time through your HVAC system.

Whole-house filters are usually outfitted with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters are rated to remove at least 99.97% of particles from the air. The air that goes through your HVAC system will already be fairly clean, and your second filter can catch any straggling particles left in the air.

Try a Dehumidifier

As the name suggests, a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, offering you more control over the humidity in your home. If your home has high humidity, it may be the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Certain pests, like earwigs and cockroaches, thrive in humid conditions.

Dehumidifiers bring in and cool down warm air. The air contracts as it cools, leaving behind condensation. The condensation drips into a collection tank, allowing the cool, dry air to re-circulate through your home. In addition to making a less hospitable environment for allergens, dry and cool air is also more comfortable to breathe.

As far as dehumidifiers go, you have two options: a portable dehumidifier or a whole-house dehumidifier. If only one room in your home is a problem (such as your bathroom), a portable dehumidifier may be enough. If your entire home is humid or you live in a humid area, a whole-house dehumidifier is a better choice.

Ventilate the Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in your home for allergens and poor air quality. They’re warm and full of moisture — in other words, a paradise for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Proper ventilation is key to keeping the air clean in your bathroom. A dehumidifier (even a portable one) can do wonders for your bathroom. You should also install a reliable exhaust fan if you don’t already have one. An exhaust fan will expel air from your bathroom, making way for fresh air to come in.

It’s especially important to ventilate the bathroom when you’re doing anything to increase the humidity or temperature of the room, such as taking a shower or bath. Simply opening a window or leaving the door open significantly improves both ventilation and your IAQ.

Keep Pests and Allergens from Coming Inside

In addition to removing allergens from your home, you can take steps to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Many allergens, pests, and air pollutants originate outdoors, and if you don’t protect your home, it’s all too easy for them to make their way inside.

Deter Bugs

If you haven’t taken steps to clean up your yard, you may be inadvertently attracting bugs to your home. Not only does this increase the chance of allergies, but it can also have more serious health consequences. Certain pests carry dangerous diseases that can have lasting health impacts.

  • Many common outdoor features can attract bugs:
  • Standing water, such as a pond or birdbath, can attract mosquitos.
  • Trash, dirty grills and other food odors can attract flies and ants.
  • Piles of wood can attract termites.
  • Overgrown or untended areas of your yard can attract ticks and fleas.
  • Outdoor lighting can attract many different pests, including moths, stink bugs, and earwigs.
  • Plants in your garden can also attract a variety of pests (and give off allergy-inducing pollen).

Luckily, there are several changes you can make to discourage pests from visiting your yard:

  • Keep your yard, garden, and patio clean.
  • Use lighting that deters bugs, such as yellow or orange light.
  • Encourage pest predators to come to your yard, including birds and bats.
  • Plant pest-repellent plants and herbs in your garden.
  • Use essential oils to deter certain pests, including mosquitos and ticks.
  • Place bug traps around your yard.
  • Use a patio fan to keep air moving in areas where you relax in your yard.
  • Mow your lawn.
  • Install a fire feature, such as a fire pit or tiki torches.
  • Create a dry mulch barrier in your yard.

You won’t be able to keep your yard entirely free of pests and insects, but you can reduce their presence in your yard by making it less hospitable to them.

Apply Pest Treatment

Even with the above changes, it’s far more difficult to control the allergens in your yard than the ones in your home — especially pests. Not only are there different types of pests that come from different sources, but they can be difficult to spot in your yard. It’s far easier to prevent these pests from taking over your yard than it is to exterminate them after they’ve built a nest.

A pest control treatment is one of the only ways to keep allergy-inducing pests away from your home. The type of treatment you need depends on what pests are responsible for your allergies. For instance, if you have allergic reactions to mosquito bites or insect stings, it’s best to look into a mosquito and stinging insect treatments. You should also consider which pests are most common in your area.

Be Mindful of Pets

Your pets can also bring allergens into your home if they go in and out of your house. After spending time outside, your pet could easily carry in pests (such as fleas and ticks), as well as pollen, dirt, and dust. In addition to being bad for your allergies, this can be equally harmful to your pet’s health.

  • Doing the following can help protect both you and your pet’s health:
  • Inspect your pet for pests when they come inside after being outdoors.
  • Brush your pet to remove any debris from their fur before they come inside.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding regularly.
  • Put your pet’s food away when they aren’t eating.
  • Give your pet any preventative and pest-deterring medicine as prescribed by your vet.
  • Avoid letting your pet outdoors at dawn and dusk, when pests and bugs are most active.
  • Bathe and groom your pet thoroughly and regularly.

Again, there’s no way to keep your home and yard entirely free of potential allergens and pests. However, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to keeping your house allergy-free, so you can find relief from your symptoms and live comfortably in your own home.