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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Your Home: The Guide

Greener pest control

How to stop bugs and other bothers in your garden and home while keeping your family safe.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR. But that also means bugs are in the air — and on your prized rhododendrons, and quite possibly in your kitchen cabinets or bedroom closets. And many of them are not the kind you want sharing your house or garden. Whether you live in a detached single-family in the suburbs or a high-rise city loft, there are many ways to combat them, and even if you do have to call in a professional, the latest treatment options are better than ever at keeping your family and pets safe. (For more on specific pests, see Page 55.)

The “greenest” way to manage pests, of course, is to make sure you don’t get them in the first place. “If you make your home a fortress and keep it sealed up,” says George Williams, the staff entomologist at removal service EHS Pest in Norwood, “and keep your yard protected and clean, you shouldn’t have any pest problems.” Inside the house, he recommends removing clutter, lessening moisture, covering trash, and sealing gaps around molding and small holes in the foundation, where rodents can find easy access. Outside, use no-spill bird feeders and keep them well away from the house, remove leaf litter, and trim trees and shrubs — “a highway for insects to get in,” he says — so they don’t touch exterior walls. Finally, “fences make good neighbors, but they also make good wildlife control.” A house with tight fencing won’t have skunks, and a physical barrier can discourage deer from approaching, too.

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