Just when winter thaws out and people are anxious to enjoy the blooming flowers and luscious lawns of spring, pesky pests can appear and impact comfort levels and safety.

Many pests resume their levels of activity as spring draws closer and temperatures warm up. The presence of these insects and rodents may cause problems in and around a home, which makes it essential to recognize them and avoid issues. The following are some of the more common spring pests and how to remedy infestations.

Pavement ants

Pavement ants are some of the most common pests residents encounter inside and outside of their homes. These ants are light brown to black with appendages that are lighter than the rest of their bodies. Small in stature, pavement ants have parallel lines on their heads and thorax, according to pest extermination company Orkin.

Although pavement ants nest outdoors, they can enter homes through small crevices in search of food scraps. Their large colonies may not disappear until treatment is introduced. Keep foods in tightly sealed containers, clear counters and floors of crumbs, and address water sources, such as leaks. Pesticides may be needed in extreme conditions.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny, jumping, biting pests that must find a host upon which to live. As ectoparasites, they feed on blood while living on the body of living hosts. Pets can bring fleas inside the yard and home in warm weather. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, flea larvae develop more quickly at higher temperatures. At normal room temperatures, the entire life cycle of a flea is about 18 days.

Several flea control products are available to control fleas on cats and dogs. There also may be powders and sprays to alleviate flea infestations in the home. Vacuuming is also very effective in killing larvae in the carpet and at picking up adults.

Wasps

An errant wasp, hornet or yellow jacket may have survived winter and ridden out the colder temperatures within a home. Once the weather warms, queens will begin to look for places to lay eggs and establish colonies. Treating areas where wasps are seen entering and leaving the home is key. Seal holes as soon as possible.

Although wasps help control other insect populations, their painful stings and potentially aggressive nature can make them challenging to have around a home. If a nest is found, hire a professional to remove it.

Spiders

Many spiders are not harmful enough to humans and pets to be much of a problem. In fact, spiders can be helpful to have around to control the populations of other insects. Still, many homeowners would prefer these web-slinging friends remain outdoors. Therefore, sealing cracks in a home's foundation and repairing small openings around windows and doors can help keep spiders out. Also, alleviating moisture issues in basements, garages or attics may keep out other bugs that would be prey to spiders.

Homeowners can take the steps necessary to cut down on pests in and around their homes.


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Switching the clocks can affect your health

Much of the world adjusts their clocks each spring and fall. In the fall, clocks are fixed on standard time, while in the spring they're moved forward one hour to daylight saving time, or DST.

The rationale behind DST has long been based on energy savings, as the demand for electricity to light homes is related to the times when people go to bed at night and rise in the morning. Department of Transportation in 1975 determined that moving clocks ahead one hour could save a small amount of energy each day. In New Zealand, power companies registered a 3.5 percent decrease in usage when daylight savings starts. Even though the energy savings associated with DST can be significant, some suggest those savings come at the expense of human health.

Research suggests that a one-hour time change twice a year can significantly throw off humans' internal clocks. A report conducted by the Massachusetts Legislature in the summer of 2016 found that people lose a significant amount of sleep in the days following DST, which can lead to an increase in both traffic fatalities and on-the-job injuries. Disrupted sleep cycles can leave people restless and coping with anxiety. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found shifts related to DST led to killing time on the internet and other "loafing" around from lack of energy and motivation.

Finnish researchers analyzed more than 10 years of stroke data and its relation to DST. The overall rate of ischemic stroke increased by 8 percent in the first two days after transitioning to DST.

Similarly, other issues arise when clocks are switched back to standard time in the fall. Danish researchers found the rate of people seeking care for depression rose for up to 10 weeks after clocks were turned back.

Various petitions have been created to urge legislators to maintain DST all year long. The United Kingdom-based Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says doing so will reduce road deaths currently caused by darker evenings in autumn and winter. Keeping the time consistent can help avoid body clock resets, may prevent accidents and could increase productivity in the evening hours when the autumn arrives. Only time will tell if turning the clocks back and moving them forward will become a relic of the past

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Once the days begin to grow a little bit longer and the numbers on the thermometer creep a tad higher, outdoor entertaining season is right around the corner. Homeowners may be anxious to once again return to the comforts of their backyards.



However, their patio furniture may not be ready for lounging just yet.

Some simple cleaning strategies make it easy to brighten outdoor furniture made of metal, glass, wood, and plastic. Before homeowners know it, their backyards will be ready for outdoor entertaining season.

Proper storage

Storing outdoor furniture during the colder months of the year is a great way to protect items from the elements. This may involve careful shrink-wrapping and keeping items outdoors, or by moving furniture indoors to a shed or garage. Cleaning the furniture one last time before storing it also can be handy.

Remove stuck-on debris

Inspect furniture and be prepared to remove any stuck-on debris, such as bird droppings, sticky food residue or even cobwebs and insect nests. Be sure to use a cleaning tool that is safe for the material you are cleaning. Test an inconspicuous area of the furniture first to ensure your tools don't damage the furniture. For example, many scrub brushes can scratch glass or aluminum.

Make a thorough cleanser

Clean stains off of furniture with a versatile cleanser. A mild cleaner can be made by mixing 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 gallon of warm water, according to the experts at Better Homes & Gardens. Regular dishwashing detergent also can be mixed with water, as it has a mild bleaching agent. This cleanser can be used on plastic resin furniture or metal furniture, which are popular patio furniture materials.

Patio fabrics

Check the cleaning instructions of outdoor fabrics, as there might be specific instructions on the tags. In some cases, fabric may be removed and washed in a washing machine on a gentle setting. A solution of dish soap and warm water also is a gentle way to clean outdoor fabrics. Once items are clean, HGTV advises applying a water-repellent fabric protector to minimize staining and maintenance.

Strip or sand

Wood furniture may need specialized care. If stains cannot be removed with a mild cleanser, then hard woods like teak can be surface-sanded to restore items' original look.

Pressure washers can often do more harm than good to patio furniture, so it's best to look for an alternative way to clean them. Usually a bit of elbow grease and a cleanser is all that's needed. Give the cleaning product time to work. Wipe down and dr

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