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Published June 12, 2011, 12:00 AM

Savvy Consumer: Take steps to keep bugs out of your home

Insects are creepy, with their speedy little legs, their beady little eyes. The ick factor jumps in the summertime, aka breeding season, when one (or many) may visit your home. But with these strategies, you can easily enforce your “no guests with six or more legs” policy.

By: Good Housekeeping Reports, INFORUM

Insects are creepy, with their speedy little legs, their beady little eyes. The ick factor jumps in the summertime, aka breeding season, when one (or many) may visit your home. But with these strategies, you can easily enforce your “no guests with six or more legs” policy.

Follow these four tactics for defending your home against insect invaders.

Keeping bugs out of the house

Prevent your home from being an insect haven:

  • Don’t serve them dinner: In addition to regular kitchen cleanup, don’t forget to wipe splatters on blender bases or stovetops, and sponge off dribbles from syrupy foods like honey. Put out pet food on a schedule rather than leaving it for grazing.

  • Dry up water sources: Repair leaky faucets and under-sink pipes; the droplets they leave look like watering troughs to a thirsty bug.

  • Dim the lights: Moths and cockroaches are drawn to the glow. For doorside fixtures, switch to yellow bug bulbs, which critters aren’t attracted to and which are available in newer CFL and decorative styles. Or put lights on motion sensors so they’ll turn on only when someone comes home.

  • Cut outdoor attractions: Clean up leaf debris along the house’s foundation and put firewood piles at a distance. Drain garden hoses and repair pooling downspouts lest they provide love nests for mosquitoes, which can breed in just a bottle cap’s worth of water. Seal garbage cans and scoop up pet waste from the lawn ASAP – big draws for flies.

Boost your defenses

Beyond the bug-barricade basics (like patching any holes in screens), check your house’s exterior for cracks around pipes or in the foundation where bugs can enter; caulk around them. Also try adhesive sweeps (find at hardware stores) at the bottom of exterior doors to thwart spiders.

Getting rid of infestations

They’ve infiltrated! Attack with weapons that work:

Baits (which serve up poisoned food) are more effective than traps to solve an ant problem; the workers will bring the nefarious nibbles back to the colony. Some ants have a sweet tooth, while others prefer protein, so buy some of each type of bait - the uncovered gel or paste kind is better (though don’t around pets) than the enclosed hockey-puck-like type. Don’t freak out if you see more ants at first (if it’s working, they’ll swarm the baits), and try not to disturb them – they follow a scent to where others have found food. For roaches, try the double whammy of baits and sticky traps.

Vacuum up spiders and their webs, emptying the vac into a trash bag and sealing it.

When to call in the pros

Give up the fight when DIY methods don’t work; you’re dealing with a destructive, formidable foe (think termites or bedbugs); or you’re just too grossed out.

On another matter ...

Throw those burgers and franks on the grill – summer’s finally here. Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested 35 different ketchups, yellow and spicy brown mustards, and relishes to find the best for a backyard barbecue. Load up your hot dogs and burgers with these zesty winners. Ketchup: Hunts’ Ketchup ranked first for its rich, “complex” flavor, which was the perfect balance of tangy tomatoes and real sugar (not high-fructose corn sugar). Mustard: Grey Poupon Deli Mustard edged out 17 other mustards with a thick, “almost creamy” texture and a mildly spicy flavor that tasters loved. Relish: Mt. Olive Dill Relish is briny, tart and crisp, which testers likened to crunchy “chopped pickles.”

Recalls alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, (800) 638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.

  • Maclaren strollers: Sold at juvenile product and mass-merchandise retailers nationwide from 1999 through November 2009 for between $100 and $350.

    The stroller’s hinge mechanism poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller. Consumers who have not installed the hinge covers should immediately contact Maclaren USA at hingecovers@maclaren-usa.com to receive a free repair kit. For more information, call Maclaren at (877) 688-2326.

  • 2011 Chevrolet Colorado; 2011 GMC Canyon: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the windshield-wiper motor crank arm nut may not be tightened to specification. When the wipers are operated with a build-up of snow or ice, or if the wipers are operated on a dry windshield, the nut could loosen. If there is insufficient loosening of the nut, the wipers could become inoperative. Driver visibility could be reduced, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will secure the wiper motor crank arm nut free of charge. For more information, visit gmownercenter.com.