Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6CALIFORNIA LIFE

HOME CHECKLIST

Colder weather drives people indoors – critters, too. As temperatures drop at night, rodents, spiders, roaches and other pests scramble to find ways to stay warm – often in people's homes.

To keep out these unwanted guests, the experts at the Family Handyman magazine had these tips:

• Locate pest entrances: Inspect the area below your home's siding, using a mirror. If you find a gap, seal it with adhesive-backed weatherstripping or spray-foam sealant. You also can use this method to seal gaps around doors, windows and basement sashes. Just be sure to clean the surface first so the weatherstrip or foam will stick.

• Make mousetraps work: Opt for the snap type (not the sticky ones). Make sure to set mousetraps correctly, placing them along walls in areas where you've seen evidence of droppings. Instead of cheese, try using a dab of chocolate syrup or peanut butter as bait; both are among professional exterminators' favorite choices.

• Deprive bugs of moisture: Keep mulch and soil away from your home's foundations. Use a rake to turn your mulch periodically. Keep bushes trimmed back. This will keep down pest-promoting dampness.

• Spider solutions: A dehumidifier in the basement can virtually eliminate spiders. Sweep down cobwebs as they appear. Keep basement and ground-floor window sills brushed and clean.

• Stash pet food out of reach: Use metal or plastic containers to store kibble. Mice cannot climb the slick vertical sides of metal trash cans.

• Keep items off the floor: In the garage or garden shed, store items on wire-rack shelving to prevent moisture from collecting underneath. If storage is off the floor, you also can easily search for mouse droppings. With a flashlight and mirror, scout for locations to place mousetraps.

• Eliminate sink cabinet clutter: Store items in a caddy, so you can easily clear out the cabinet to clean and inspect. Self-adhesive floor tiles are a good option under cabinets; they provide an easy-to-clean surface.

For more tips, click on www.familyhandyman.com.

– Debbie Arrington

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