Does your wooden fence seem to get inundated with bugs every spring? If you take action now before the weather gets too warm, you can stop the infestation. Whether you’re fighting off ladybugs, bees, wasps, or box elder bugs, this three-pronged approach will ensure they stay away.

Step 1: Correct any moisture problems in your yard.

Bugs love moisture, and many species breed in puddles. If you have any low spots in your yard, fill them in with topsoil so you don’t get spring puddles. If your entire yard is wet, you may have a bigger project on your hands. See if your drainage ditches are plugged, and dig them out to unplug them if needed. If you don’t have drainage ditches, you may want to hire a contractor to dig some. Not only will proper drainage keep bugs away from your fence and yard, but it will also make it easier to keep your lawn in good shape.

Step 2: Trim weeds and bushes along the fence.

Many people do not trim along their fences as often as they should. Weeds are more than just an eyesore. They attract bugs and give them the perfect place to hide along the fence. Clean up any weeds near the fence line early in the spring, and then trim them back frequently, so they never get more than a few inches tall. If you have shrubs along your fence line, make sure you keep them trimmed back enough that they are not coming into contact with your fence. Consider having overgrown shrubs removed if they are crowding the fence.

Step 3: Treat the fence with insecticides.

This is the only step that many homeowners take when dealing with bugs on their fences. However, it’s much more effective when combined with the above two steps, since there will always be types of bugs that essentially ignore the insecticides. Removing moisture and weeds first ensures you cover all of your bases.

The best type of insecticide to use on a fence is a paint-on one that contains the active ingredient permethrin. Follow the instructions on the label to make sure you apply the correct amount, and be sure to wear gloves to avoid exposing yourself to the product.

Insects on a fence are real nuisances. Not only do some species bite or sting, they also build nests in your wooden fence, contributing to premature wear. Follow the steps above to keep them away, not only in the spring, but all year long.