This is that time of year when I say goodbye to a lot of my fine customers. They pack up and leave sunny soon to be ungodly hot Florida for their home up north. Most are busy putting the lawn furniture up in the shed, turning the water off and giving the neighbor whose staying keys and instructions. Now some are key accounts and we’ll faithfully service their home while they are gone which is what I recommend but others will resume their treatments when they get back. Regardless of your choice there are still a few things you should do to prepare your home for the months that it will be empty because insects quite frankly don’t care if you’re there or not. They’ll still invade and at times it’s worse than if you had been there. Here is a snowbird check list that should help you out greatly and keep your winter castle bug free for the next time you migrate south.
#1. Have your home professionally treated;
Now if you’ve had service all along and will continue while you’re gone this can wait for your next regular visit. If you don’t have service or are suspending it- it is in your best interest to get it done by a professional. If you want to do it yourself you can of course but just be as thorough as possible and I would recommend plenty of void treatments with dusts.
#2 Stop the moisture
It really doesn’t matter that you are not there as far as bugs finding food, they’ll get along fine believe me. What will sustain them even longer however will be moisture and just because you don’t have the pet bowls down they’ll thrive in a humid home. You can effectively draw moisture from the air by putting large pans of kitty litter around the home. I tell my customers to use the tin foil type pans used for turkeys. You can also place 3 or 4 charcoal briquets on the top of the litter to help with not only moisture but also odors. You don’t need a pan in every room but 3 or 4 well placed pans will do nicely.
This is huge if you are going to turn your water off for the time you’re gone. Once the toilet becomes empty it becomes a ready made entry for pests who may be living in the system and placing plastic over the seat seals it off. To seal off the sink drains you can simply close the drains or fill a plastic baggy with water, tie it off and set it down over the drain. These simple steps do wonders for stopping pests that can originate in drains like gnats and roaches.
#4 Don’t forget the mice
Sure it’ll be summer while you’re gone but rodents still might take advantage of your absence. You don’t need to place bait all throughout your empty home but perhaps a box of bait under the kitchen sink, one in the laundry and any garage or shed. The mice or rats are very good at finding food so don’t think you need to leave it in the open, they’ll find it.
Of course you want to seal up any obvious entry points such as cracks in the wall or loose screens and make sure all your doors and thresholds are well sealed but the above short list will go along ways to keeping unwanted bugs out of your home while you are gone. Anythings better than nothing and may make the difference of little or no surprises when you get back. Just remember there will be one thing waiting for you when you return ready to go and happy to see you-that would be your friendly pest professional whose always glad when his snowbirds return.