Texas Living

Winning the Insect Invasion

By Paula Felps 5.16.14

Those dog days of summer are also busy times for bugs.

There are more than 10 quintillion bugs in the world, according to the Smithsonian Institute, but not all of them live in Texas — it just seems like they do. Here are a few tips to keep the insect invasion at bay — and no, we aren’t talking about unexpected visits from your in-laws.

  1. Tighten things up. Keeping critters outside your home is the first step. Look at your window and door screens, and patch all holes or tears. For a quick fix, cover small rips with clear nail polish. Make sure there’s plenty of weatherstripping around doors and windows. Seal any cracks or gaps that could provide an entryway for insects.
  2. Take it outside. Yard maintenance has a huge effect on infestations. Mosquitoes need water to breed, so look for areas where water collects or drainage is poor. Also, change the water in your fountains or bird baths at least twice a week. For outdoor dining areas, citronella plants or lamps are great for shooing insects away.
  3. Keep it clean. Bugs love food, and they’ll work hard to find it. Storing food in airtight containers and storing unsealed food products — like fruit — in the refrigerator can remove at least one incentive for ants and cockroaches to invite themselves into your home. Even pet food should be stored in an airtight container, as it can be a big draw for bugs.