Spring is a wonderful season, but it definitely has its drawbacks. What are you doing to protect your home from things like water damage and insects?
With record snow and rainfall so far this year, water damage is a very real concern for Utah homeowners. As the snow melts and water rushes into the valleys, there are several things you can do to keep your home safe from the elements:
Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris. You might even want to extend the length of your downspouts so that the water falls farther away from the house.
Dig a dry creek to guide excess water away from the house or any landscape features in danger of flooding. This won’t be an unsightly ditch, but an attractive, pebble-lined DIY water feature that will even look good when it’s dry.
Install clear window well covers, which will not only keep water out of the window wells, but pests, twigs, leaves, and even pets and children.
If you live in an area particularly prone to flooding, you may want to consult flooding experts on additional ways to protect your home.
Where there is warmth and water, there are sure to be pests. One pest common in Utah is the clover mite. If you’ve noticed tiny red dots moving around near your ground-level windowsills and window wells, those are clover mites. Unlike some pests that might attempt to invade your house, clover mites are harmless. They can still be quite a nuisance, however, because they are so small that large numbers of them can easily get in through the crevices around windows, and they leave red stains that may be difficult to remove when they are squished. You can keep these critters out of your house by taking the following measures:
Construct plant-free zones 18 to 24 inches wide around windows, filled with wood chips, lava rock, gravel, or something similarly rough. These materials act as a moat that the clover mites won’t be able to cross. Clover mites feed on grass and clover, but they like to stay very close to it, so one good way to keep them out of the house is to leave a gap between the house and the food supply.
Sprinkle dry boric acid powder in any windowsill where you find evidence of clover mites. Boric acid is a safer insecticide than many harsh chemical mixtures, but is very effective against these particular pests.
Fight back with horticulture! You don’t have to leave those wood chip moats completely bare of flora, you just need to make sure you’re planting the right things in them to keep the clover mites away. As much as they love grass, they hate plants like chrysanthemums, petunias, roses, and juniper trees. Keeping your house clear of clover mites doesn’t mean sacrificing your flowerbeds, it just means you need to be a strategic planter.