Common house fly

It's not too late to protect your home from the perennial pests of warmer weather like the common house fly.  Photo by S. Ausmus, courtesy USDA ARS.

The grass is green, the flowers are blooming and the bugs are definitely out and about.

No doubt you have noticed that the warm weather has been accompanied by increased insect activity says University of Tennessee Extension entomologist Karen Vail. “With increased activity comes the likelihood that unwanted pests can invade your home,” she said. 

The insect expert added that busy homeowners can often overlook some very simple maintenance tasks – tasks that can easily prevent some unwanted human/insect interactions.”

Here are 12 simple steps to maintain a pest-free home:

1.      Ensure seals around doors and windows are intact.

2.      Screen windows and vents.

3.      Seal cracks in outer walls and around utility entries.

4.      Repair leaks.

5.      Clean up spills.

6.      Store food in pest-proof containers.

7.      Leave pet food out for only a short time (10 minutes).

8.      Remove garbage regularly.

9.      Remove cardboard and reduce clutter.

10.    Eliminate standing water.

11.    Prune plants from touching the house.

12.   Leave a 1-ft. mulch-free zone around building foundations.

If this information is reaching you too late and you are experiencing problem insect pests around your home, Vail recommends (1) submitting specimens to your local county Extension agent to confirm pest identification, (2) seeking further information on pest management and (3) contacting a pest management professional (PMP). 

To find a professional, use online reviews or ask for referrals from trusted acquaintances who were satisfied with similar pest treatment. Call several of these pest management companies and ask for an inspection. Compare price quotes and the management strategy to be used. Ask why the pest is present and what can be done to prevent it from invading your house again. Long-term control will involve removing the pests’ access to food, water and harborage.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the UT Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.



Dr. Karen Vail, UT Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology,


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