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How to Protect Your Garden From Spring Pests

By Annie Mueller
Spring brings plenty of sunshine, warm weather and blooming plants, but it also draws a host of irritating and destructive insects. Keep those pests from invading your yard and home by knowing what to look for and planning your line of defense.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are large, black ants that live in rotting or moisture-damaged wood. If you encounter a pile of sawdust-like shavings (debris from their tunneling), you're probably close to the nest entrance. But, foraging carpenter ants can wander up to 100 yards from their homes, so always be on lookout.1

Carpenter ants are more than a nuisance; they can cause serious damage to wood structures, including homes. Always store firewood well away from the house, and eliminate dead wood, such as brush piles and tree stumps. Correct any gutter or drainage problems around buildings promptly, and never let plumbing drips go unchecked.

If carpenter ant problems arise, create a perimeter of protection around your home and its foundation. Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray or Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate kill existing black carpenter ants by contact and continue to protect treated areas against invasions for up to three months.


Pest ID & Prevention

Bloodthirsty mosquitoes can ruin your summer fun. Beginning in early spring, the mosquitoes move from larval stage to maturation quickly, with many generations in a single season. After mating, males search out a flower nectar meal; female mosquitoes, however, prefer a hemoglobin-rich snack2 — and you fit that bill.

To reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard, prevent them from reaching maturity. Eliminate the most viable environment for eggs and larva — standing water — and treat potential breeding grounds to stop new generations. Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. israelensis, also known as Bt or Bti, is a bacterium that occurs naturally in soils. This biological treatment controls mosquitoes in the larval stage, before they start seeking human meals. It can also be used in areas with standing water you want to keep, such as bird baths or backyard ponds.3

Infected mosquitoes are behind a number of serious health threats, including the Zika and West Nile viruses. They also may transmit parasites, including canine heartworms,4 so control is essential.


Tiny jumping and biting insects, fleas are ectoparasites, meaning they live on and feed on the outside of their animal hosts. Fleas can affect dogs, cats, wildlife — and humans. Wildlife may bring them into your yard, and pets may bring them indoors.5

Identifying fleas by sight is difficult because of their size. The only way you may know they're around is when you suffer a bite. Scratching pets are also signs of a flea problem afoot. Use Sevin® Insect Killer Granules on lawns, home perimeters and even edible and ornamental gardens. The granules kill flea larvae and adults by contact and keep protecting treated areas for up to three months. However, never use any lawn and garden pesticide directly on your pets.


Most spiders aren't harmful to people; their sole focus is catching and eating insects. Of course, the few poisonous species that are common in the United States, such as black widow and brown recluse spiders, are harmful enough to give them all a bad reputation.6

Glistening webs in and around your home are sure signs that spiders are about, but dusty webs signify spiders have moved on. If you notice fresh, active webs, take preventative steps: seal cracks in your home's foundation and repair small openings around window panes and doors. Then, use Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate to treat home foundations and plantings or Sevin® Insect Killer Granules around your home's perimeter to keep spiders from even thinking about coming inside.


Wasps help control other insect populations, but their painful stings make them unwelcome. An active wasp nest near an area where people congregate, work or relax is a huge danger. If you find a nest, use caution. Wasps are often aggressive, especially when threatened. Consider hiring a professional to remove a nest rather than removing it yourself.

The wasp family includes hornets, mud daubers and yellow jackets, which are especially attracted to food and drink.7 So always tightly close trash and recycling containers.

Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use kills wasps by contact, but it won't harm plants, blooms or lawns. It keeps on working for up to three months, discouraging future nest building and future wasps in fruit and vegetable gardens, ornamental and flower gardens, and around your home.


Cockroaches have earned their nasty reputation. They carry bacteria, including salmonella, and, because they scavenge human food, they can contaminate kitchen surfaces and utensils. Additionally, their frass, or droppings, and other litter can make already-painful allergy and asthma symptoms worse.8

Cockroaches are constantly in search of food, water and a dry home. Your first defense is to protect your home's perimeter so that cockroaches never make it inside. Seal any cracks and crevices in foundations and around windows and doors; then use an effective pesticide. Liquid Sevin® Insect Killer insecticides, available in ready-to-use, ready-to-spray and concentrate forms, kill cockroaches by contact and provide treated areas with up to three months of continued protection.

Never Surrender

When spring pests strike, don't delay. Have your plan of action ready, and pursue both preventive and defensive measures to keep your yard and home pest-free. With the help of GardenTech® and trusted Sevin® brand garden insecticides, you can greet spring prepared for whatever the season holds.

Always read the product label thoroughly and follow instructions carefully, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals (PHI) and application frequencies.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Regional Timeline for Spring Pests9

In the Northeast, pest activity increases from April/May until September/October.

In the Central region, these pests appear in March/April and remain active until September/October.

In the West, insects emerge as early as February in parts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico; in March/April for the rest of the region; and are active until September/October.

In the South, insect pests appear as early as February/March and are active until October/November.


1. Illinois Department of Public Health, "Prevention and Control: Carpenter Ants."

2. The American Mosquito Control Association, "Biology."

3. United States Environmental Protection Agency, "Bti for Mosquito Control."

4. The American Mosquito Control Association, "Mosquito-Borne Diseases."

5. M.K. Rust, "How to Manage Pests: Fleas," University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, September 2010.

6. J. Hahn, P. Pellitteri and D. Lewis, "Potentially Dangerous Spiders," University of Minnesota Extension.

7. Illinois Department of Public Health, "Prevention and Control: Bees and Wasps."

8. J. Hahn and M.E. Ascerno, "Cockroaches," University of Minnesota Extension.

9. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, "When to Expect Your Last Spring Freeze."



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