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As soon as you set that bowl of strawberries down on the counter, the race begins: Will you be able to finish them before that army of ants or fruit flies get at them? Here's how to prevent pests from taking over your home this summer - and how to get rid of them if they do set up camp.

Fruit flies

"If there's a source like decomposing fruits or vegetables, the key is cleaning them up," says Lincoln Poulin of Poulin's Pest Control in Winnipeg.

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PDF: Do It Yourself

As soon as you bring produce into your home, inspect it carefully and throw out any rotten pieces immediately. Mr. Poulin also recommends you move your compost system as far away from your house as possible.

If you have fruit trees or berry bushes in your yard, clean up the fruit that falls to the ground as it can create a breeding site. You can use traps to get rid of fruit flies, but the best method is removing the source: the spoiled food on which they're feasting.

Black flies

The best way to keep black flies out of your home is to swap the white lights you have installed outside your home for coloured ones. Insects can't see red, so if you have a crimson light at your front door, your home won't be a beacon for them. The next most effective colour is blue and then yellow. Once they do get into the house, use the opposite strategy: turn the light on. "Attract them into one area and get rid of them," Mr. Poulin says.

Ants

Keep your lawn full and healthy with a lot of grass seed to keep ants from nesting there, Mr. Poulin says. Apply insecticide to your baseboards and outside door frames, he recommends. "Kill the ants before they even get inside."

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If they do penetrate the fortress, get rid of whatever they're feeding on to cut their stay short. "Once [ants]have found a food source, they stay and hang around the area," Mr. Poulin says. If you spill juice, salad dressing or anything else on the counter, wipe it up right away.

Mice

In the summer, at the height of renovation season, homeowners and construction crews think little of leaving debris and lumber outside the house, but as Mr. Poulin points out, "Now that rodent's got shelter."

House dwellers often leave doors open longer as they enter and exit, which gives the little furry ones ample opportunity to scurry inside. As with fruit flies, Mr. Poulin recommends cleaning up rotting fruit in your yard since it attracts rodents. On the inside of your home, he recommends using non-chemical measures first, such as snap traps.

*And don't do this … overdo it with the chemicals - especially if you have kids or pets that could get into them

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