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We already know that the return of warm weather to Northeast Ohio brings with it pests that invade our homes, take over our yards and possibly endanger our families. Get ahead of the problem by anticipating the early arrivers and making your home and yard less hospitable.

Ants, including pavement ants, pharaoh ants and carpenter ants, are typically the first spring bugs you will see. They are attracted to food, water and the warmth of your house as many days and nights continue to be cool in the early spring.

Discourage ants by keeping your kitchen and pantry clean and clear of open food containers and dirty dishes. A closed trash receptacle—one that seals tightly if ants are particularly bad in your area—also is advisable.

Incorporate another check of your foundation into your spring landscaping cleanup routine. Small cracks that may have formed during the freeze give ants easy access to your home and should be sealed immediately. This also is a good time to check window and door seals and door sweeps for needed repairs.

Carpenter ants can be a big problem in the spring as they enter your home seeking water and food. They are especially attracted to sweets, meats and grease, so quick cleanup of indoor grilling appliances is wise. Also get a spring pruning appointment set and take care of tree branches that overhang your roof—a popular point of entry for carpenter ants.

Popular landscaping choices can encourage carpenter ants and should be avoided in areas that are prone to infestations. Use rubber or bricks for edging rather than wood or railroad ties, which provide prime nesting areas for carpenter ants. You might also consider stone rather than mulch for finishing flower beds.

Spiders become more plentiful as warmer temperatures arrive, but like ants, they will seek to come indoors as some days and nights remain cool. Keep them out by checking windows, screens and doors for gaps that may allow them easier access.

Bees and wasps may not be as visible early in the spring, but they begin building their nests in anticipation of the warmer weather. Take some time to check favored nesting places for the beginnings of nests, including sheltered overhangs and eaves, the underside of decks, benches and stairs, and storage bins located outside or in partially protected areas. Stopping nesting activity early can help discourage bee and wasp activity throughout the summer.

Ticks can begin to make their presence known early in the season and can potentially be a serious problem for pets and humans. Focus your spring outdoor routines on creating areas that will be less likely to attract ticks or result in your pet or family member getting bitten by one.

Since ticks and their favored hosts (small mammals) will usually seek hiding places that are protected and shaded, rid your yard of them. Clean up dead leaves and debris that have collected around your home, trim shrubs and avoid planting ground cover foliage in flowerbeds.

As weather becomes warmer, create gathering and play areas that are less attractive to ticks, such as stone or concrete patios and gravel surfaces for swing sets. Situate these gathering areas away from any wooded areas that may surround your yard.

If you have questions or concerns about pests in or around your home, or you believe you have an infestation, contact TNT Exterminating for expert pest control and 24-hour emergency response.