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While You're Away, The Pests Will Play

While you and your family pack your bags and abandon the house for vacation this season, some populations are poised to play in your absence. For certain pests, an empty home is a friendly home. And when you rush out of town, it's important to take precautions so unexpected pests don't get too comfortable roaming in and around your house. "When your family is at home, the house may seem perfectly pest-free," said Frank Meek, entomologist and technical director for Orkin, Inc. "But when you leave, the inactivity invites some pests to venture from the safety of their hiding places." Ants and roaches are common household pests that enjoy the freedom of foraging when homeowners are away, especially if foods have been stored carelessly in the haste of travel preparations.

Like many insects, these pests are not picky eaters. While they normally dwell outdoors, they often enter homes in search of food, warmth and water, exploiting cracks around doors, pipes and windows. Fleas are another pest that may thrive around your home during the summer months. These small, wingless parasites find their way inside on family pets and can lay eggs in carpet, bedding and floor cracks. When you return from vacation, vibrations in the house cause fleas and their eggs to spring into action, looking for new hosts on which to feed.

However, ants, cockroaches and fleas are not the only pests that may take advantage of your absence. Other pests, including crickets, flies, spiders and rodents, enjoy low-traffic, human-free environments, especially when they provide food and shelter. To prevent such invasions, Orkin offers these pre-vacation tips for homeowners: • Seal any entry points around windows and doorways, such as cracks and unnecessary openings. • Remove any type of food attraction: tightly seal stored foods and pet foods, secure garbage and remove dishes from the sink. • Frequently check your pets for fleas and other parasites. Wash pet bedding and vacuum carpets weekly.


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