Mail Call: Packages and… Pests?
You treated the garage and perimeter of your home, set ant traps in the kitchen and hung fly strips in the pantry; but there’s one place you likely forgot, and you’re not the only one. It’s incredibly easy to neglect one of the most often used nooks on your whole property: your mailbox.
Despite the fact that you blindly reach your hand into its dusky shaft practically every day, many homeowners never consider their mailbox’s potential for housing pests. But just like any other cool, dark recess, your mailbox can be the perfect habitat for a whole slew of critters, from ants and earwigs to spiders (including black widows) and even snakes.
However, removing and preventing pests from your mailbox is one of the easier pest control processes, and most homeowners can handle it themselves.
DIY Defensive Mailbox Maneuvers
The first measure you should take is to never reach into your mailbox without looking first. All it takes is one night for a creepy crawly to take up residence there, and the last thing you want to do is startle them when you’re getting the mail.
Once you’ve made that precaution part of your routine, it probably wouldn’t hurt to give your mailbox a good cleaning to get any eggs or debris that could attract critters out of there. You can use a household or cannister vacuum if you’d like, or you could simply brush out any loose debris then scrub the inside and outside surfaces with a mild cleanser and hand towel.
Next, make sure your mailbox door latches completely shut and stays securely that way. If the door latch is loose and the mailbox opens easily, consider replacing it, not just to help prevent pests from making a home there but also so you don’t lose any mail should the door pop open during a storm.
Many homeowners like to dress up the area surrounding their mailboxes with ornamentals, but be forewarned: flowers attract animals such as birds, bees, rabbits and even bats. The US Postal Service actually recommends against planting flowers near your mailbox.
Finally, just maintaining a clean mailbox free from dirt and debris will go a long way to deterring pests. Now that you’re checking to make sure the only thing in there is stuff with stamps on them, you can also make a note of whether or not your mailbox needs a quick cleaning.
Finally, if you’re going out of town for an extended period of time (one week or longer), consider having someone pick up your mail or notifying the post office to hold your mail while you’re gone. A mailbox packed full of mail, especially in the rainy or humid months when all that paper will turn wet in no time flat, makes an extremely attractive environment for pests of all sorts.