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Getting away to the cabin is one of the most treasured activities in the Midwest.  Family traditions are formed, favorite memories are made, lots of fun is had by all. Until pests get involved, right? Unfortunately, it can be hard to keep the worst disadvantage of all from ruining your weekend getaway. We’re referring, of course, to pests.  Many of us just get used to tolerating the bother of pests, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Don’t let them ruin your comfort or your good time! Not only are cabins located in pest central, they also tend to be easier for pests to infiltrate than conventional homes. That’s why we have to get out in front of the problem. Take proactive steps like these as soon as you get to your cabin, and you can be sure you only have to put up with pests when and if you want to--even in the middle of the woods.

seal up your cabin to prevent pests Seal it Up

The kinds of gaps, cracks, and crevices that pests use to sneak into buildings tend to be even more prevalent in cabins. Start by sealing off the gaps around utility lines with caulk or steel wool. After that, walk the perimeter of the cabin looking for cracks or gaps in the walls, siding, or foundation. Use foam or caulk to patch these cracks up. If your cabin is old, it might be a good idea to have someone inspect it. They give you an idea of its structural integrity and point out pest vulnerabilities. It’s easy to seal small gaps yourself, but if you have an opening in your foundation you may not be able to fix it yourself. Finally, replace all screens, weatherproofing, and seals around windows, door frames, and chimneys.

do outdoor maintenance to prevent pests at your cabin Control the Outdoors

Obviously, you can’t kill all the pests outside your cabin. You can, however, make the yard immediately around your cabin a “no fly” zone. Cut down tree branches that hang over or near your cabin’s roof. Cut and trim the grass away from the walls, leaving a bare border of at least six inches on every side. Trim bushes, hedges, and other plants away from the cabin and keep them well-maintained. Clear away any fallen leaves, twigs, or other debris that’s near the cabin. Most cabins have a fire pit and stack of firewood. Make sure both are at least 20 feet away from the cabin. Don’t leave firewood in shaded or damp places. When you’re finished sitting around a campfire, remove any trash you’ve made and put it in the dumpster outside of the cabin. Keep that dumpster sealed and at least 10 feet away from the cabin.

Use LED lights to prevent pests at your cabin Do Some ‘Light’ Maintenance

Bugs are attracted to the light and heat of incandescent bulbs. Replace outdoor lighting bulbs with yellow or LED light. Invest in heavy blinds and pull them down for the night when it starts getting dark. Remember: your cabin could be the only source of light for miles, and pests will flock to it. If you’re particularly worried about bugs, avoid campfires on very still lights--”moths to the flame” is an expression for a reason. Bug zappers can be an effective partial solution if used with these other tips. Put up a bug zapper and minimize other light sources, and you’ll take care of a lot of the bugs that have been bothering you. Turn off outdoor lights when you turn in for the night. In fact, it might be a good idea to keep outdoor lights on a timer. Don’t use motion controls that might activate when pests are nearby; that a waste of power and could attract even more pests.

keep your cabin clean to prevent pests Keep it Clean

Pests are just as attracted to leftovers at your cabin as they are everywhere else. It’s not just inside, either--anything you or your fellow campfire-enjoyers leave around the fire pit will end up a meal for a hungry pest. Then, that pest will probably stick around to see what else you’ve got going on. It’s a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation, but less adorable. Clean up immediately after every meal, and take garbage to your sealed dumpster outside. Store all garbage in sealable plastic bags, even if you’re taking it out right away. Wipe up crumbs and other remains from eating surfaces. Vacuum at least once a day, preferably after dinner. Outside, be sure to clean the grill after every time you use it, and make sure no one leaves food out in the open. Keep all the food you have on hand in sealed plastic containers or in the refrigerator. Don’t leave food behind when you leave.   Following these steps is a great way to make sure you can keep enjoying your pest-free cabin for years to come. Double-check on each of these the day you leave the cabin, and you can go home without worrying about pests getting in while you’re away. Remember, just because you’re “roughing it” doesn’t mean you have to rough it with bugs. The experience still counts if you’re getting a good night’s sleep. If your cabin ends up with an infestation you can’t deal with, give Plunkett’s a call. We’ll help you get back into the cabin spirit. Enjoy your summer!

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