The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is pests. A household pest is any insect or animal that is commonly found in a household structure that can cause destruction to the property or to your health. While the occasional critter can make its way inside, routine occurrences indicates the likelihood of an infestation. Fortunately there are some DIY pest control tips you can use at home to help prevent these pests from taking over. Here are a few of the most common household pests and how to prevent them.
Most ants don’t cause any structural damage to your home (with the exception of carpenter ants). They are, however, the #1 nuisance pest in the United States. Ants are difficult to control because their colonies are so large. These pests typically come indoors in search of food and water and can usually be found near these sources in your home – especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Prevent ants by:
- Keeping your home clean.
- Wiping countertops daily.
- Cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately.
- Cleaning appliances regularly.
- Emptying trash daily and keep trash containers clean.
- Keeping food in sealed containers.
- Getting rid of overripe fruit.
- Repairing leaky pipes.
- Keeping gutters clear.
- Keeping shampoo and soap containers sealed and clean.
- Sealing any exterior holes, gaps, and cracks.
- Trimming back trees and shrubs from the house.
- Clearing your yard of debris.
- Using screens on doors and windows.
Birds are not usually considered nuisance pests but their nests can obstruct common areas of your home and their droppings can contaminate or damage other areas. Birds usually enter your home in search of food and shelter. Prevent birds by:
- Using saltwater vs freshwater in fountains and water features.
- Not leaving pet food out overnight.
- Keeping grass mowed and hedges trimmed.
- Dismantling nests IF they are actively being built (bird nest removal laws prevent touching nests that are already built or occupied).
- Sealing exterior gaps, cracks, etc. as birds can use these to access attics.
- Hanging strips of aluminum foil from trees or other high places to deter birds.
- Installing predator decoys (like owls and snakes) to scare off birds, moving them frequently.
Cockroaches are dangerous to humans as they are known to carry serious diseases and trigger both allergies and asthma. These pests multiply quickly, making them very difficult to control. Roaches will come into homes in search of food, water, and shelter, with them often found in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Prevent roaches by:
- Cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately.
- Throwing away or storing leftover food at night.
- Cleaning surfaces nightly.
- Rinsing food cartons before throwing them away.
- Emptying trash nightly.
- Storing food and pet food in airtight containers.
- Not leaving pet food and water out overnight.
- Using plastic storage rather than cardboard.
- Getting rid of old newspapers and magazines.
- Sealing any exterior gaps and crevices.
- Using weatherstripping.
- Using stoppers or metal baskets in sink drains.
- Repairing leaks.
- Caulking around tubs and sinks to seal them.
- Hanging wet towels up after use.
- Keeping kitchen sponges dry and not storing them on the counter.
Termites are known as silent destroyers, eating wood from the inside out and going undetected for long periods of time. Common signs of termites include swarms; mud tubes; discarded wings; discolored drywall; peeling paint; wood with a hollow sound when tapped; squeaky floorboards; doors and windows that stick; damaged wood; loose tiles; and buckling floors. Prevent termites by:
- Using concrete foundations when building your home.
- Covering exposed wood with sealant or metal barrier.
- Keeping soil around foundations dry.
- Keeping gutters and downspouts clear and functioning.
- Filling cracks in cement foundations.
- Filling in gaps around where utilities come into your home.
- Fixing leaks immediately.
- Keeping vents unblocked.
- Keeping landscaping trimmed away from the sides of homes and foundations.
- Not storing firewood next to the house.
- Getting an annual termite inspection.
Rodents are common household pests and include rats, mice, squirrels, and raccoons. Rodents can cause significant damage to your property by chewing through electrical wires and insulation. They can also contaminate food and spread disease. Prevent rodents by:
- Using metal trashcans with tight-fitting lids.
- Storing pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with sealing lids.
- Picking up fallen fruit and birdseed from the ground.
- Removing standing water from bird feeders.
- Storing firewood away from the home and elevating it.
- Storing boxes in the garage off the ground.
- Storing food in containers.
- Cleaning up crumbs nightly.
- Sealing exterior openings.
- Keeping gutters clear.
- Screening attic vents.
- Screening windows and doors.
Centipedes and Millipedes
Centipedes are arthropods with 14 or more body segments and one pair of legs per segment. Millipedes are also arthropods but they have 2 pairs of legs on their body segments. Neither of these pests are considered dangerous and don’t cause damage or spread disease. They can, however, be annoying if they infest in large numbers. Both of these pests thrive in moisture-rich environments. Prevent centipedes and millipedes by:
- Repairing leaks.
- Removing standing water.
- Removing moisture-holding ground cover or mulch that is close to foundations.
- Storing firewood away from the house and elevating it off the ground.
- Inspecting firewood before bringing it in the house.
- Sealing doors and windows that are low to the ground to prevent entry.
Although there are a few venomous spider species in our area, most spiders that make their way into your home are harmless (and even beneficial by eating other pests)! Prevent spiders by:
- Sealing exterior cracks and crevices.
- Screening doors and windows.
- Vacuuming up spiders and eggs found in your home.
- Brushing down webs with a broom.
- Decluttering your home.
- Vacuuming and dusting frequently.
- Keeping shrubs and plants trimmed back from the sides of the home.
- Keeping mulch a few inches away from foundations.
- Using plastic rather than cardboard storage.
The key to household pest control is prevention. By taking these steps early, you can head off an infestation before it starts. If you have a problem with any household pests, contact your local pest control company for a free evaluation and comprehensive treatment plan.
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As the weather continues to warm up, snakes start to become more active and on the move in search of food. Most homeowners can agree that they fear finding snakes in the yard. But while most of us don’t want snakes hanging out on our property, it’s important to note that these wildlife creatures are beneficial to have around as they can get rid of other pests infesting your property. Instead of eliminating these creatures, every homeowner can take simple preventative measures to encourage them to find a different location to habitat.
Clean the Yard!
Ensuring that your yard is well-kept up is one of the easiest and simple ways to deter snakes from your property. Debris and leaf piles are a huge attractant to rodents which will then attract snakes. The leaf piles are additionally a great place for snakes to hide out in. Make sure you are cleaning up any debris piles, including sticks, brush, and tree limbs from your yard.
Overgrown trees and shrubs provide cover and shelter for snakes. Make sure that you are trimming your overgrown trees and shrubs, so they are not touching the house or garage. Don’t forget to trim the branches off the ground so there is at least 24” to 36” space underneath. This helps eliminate a place for snakes to take cover, but also makes them easier to spot.
Remove Attractant Items!
You might not be aware, but certain items are placed in your yard that could be attracting snakes. While many love to have decorative birdhouses and bird feeders in the yard, they can attract snakes. Some snakes are great climbers and will climb up to feast on the birds feeding on the feeders or living in the birdhouse. Consider placing the birdhouse or feeder on a metal pole or wood post, with the post wrapped in metal sheeting.
A perch pole is a great alternative to help keep snakes away from the property. Owls or hawks are natural predators to snakes and will use the installed perch pole. Make sure that the pole is in an open area in your yard, so the birds can have a good view of the entire area.
Though, sometimes it’s just best to install fencing to help keep snakes out. If you decide to install fencing, make sure that it’s buried a few inches into the ground and should be made up of ¼” or smaller rigid mesh. At the top of the fence, make sure that it bends to keep snakes from climbing over it.
If you’ve tried all the prevention tips you can to deter snakes away from your yard but it’s not working, it might be time to call your local wildlife control company. These professionals can help establish a regularly scheduled service and treatment plan to help with your snake problem.
Humid, hot environments can be a major indication that mosquitoes are out and looking for a blood meal. Mosquito bites can be painful, creating an itchy, red welt on the skin. Depending on the person, mosquito bites could cause an allergic reaction too. While it’s inevitable to run into mosquitoes during these months, there are still ways to eliminate the chance of getting bitten.
When the weather is warm, humid, but perfect for being outside, it’s less likely that covering up is first thing you’ll think of doing. But, covering up is the most effective and easiest way to prevent mosquitoes from biting you. If you know you’ll be outside for some time, consider wearing long sleeves and pants as much as possible to cover your exposed skin. When preparing to spend time outdoors, consider wearing light-colored clothes. It’s known that mosquitoes are more attracted to darker colors, so wearing lightly colored clothing can help reduce the chance of being bitten.
If wearing long shirts and pants isn’t an option, another alternative is using insect repellant. Insect repellants are great to use when the weather is particularly hot and humid. It’s suggested that the best type of repellent to use is those that contain DEET. DEET has proven to be highly effective at repelling mosquitoes and other biting insects. It can help protect from mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika Virus, West Nile, and Encephalitis.
Whatever activities or plans you have while outside if the weather is hot, your body temperature will elevate. Staying cool and avoiding high body temperatures is impossible in the humid heat but it’s still important to try and keep cool as much as you can, since mosquitoes are highly attracted to elevated body temperatures. If you’ll be outside for a while in the heat, consider using portable fans, cold rags on your neck or forehead, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Or consider planning your day around peak mosquito time which is in the late afternoon and evening.
It’s inevitable to run into mosquitoes in the spring and summertime and sometimes prevention isn’t enough. If you’ve gotten bitten one too many times, consider calling your local pest control company where they can provide you with an inspection and offer an effective mosquito treatment plan.
A nuisance pest (also referred to as nuisance wildlife) is any animal that interferes with other human activities or that is menacing or destructive; for example, animals that eat our birdseed, dig up gardens or landscaping, populate a place where they are unwanted (like your attic), damage buildings and public parks, or threaten human health and safety by spreading diseases, directly attacking us, or colliding with cars, planes, and trains. Some common nuisance animals include opossums, raccoons, moles and voles, bats, birds, deer, and skunks.
Studies have shown that deer vs car collisions cost Americans $1 billion per year. Birds vs airplanes also cost the same amount of damage annually. Squirrels, beavers, and other similar nuisance pests cause millions of dollars in damage to roadways, bridges, and dams each year. These creatures can also threaten already endangered species.
Wildlife in general search for 3 main things necessary for survival: food, water, and shelter. As human development spreads, interactions with wildlife will become more frequent. Competition for food, water and shelter will increase, making them more daring in their quest for survival. As they become accustomed to the proximity of humans, they will continue to adapt and increase their populations.
So what can you do to help prevent nuisance wildlife? The first step is to identify the pest you are dealing with. Federal and state laws protect most wildlife and regulate which species can be trapped, hunted, harvested, or harmed. In fact, all native birds are federally protected and some non-native species (including the house sparrow, European starling, and domestic pigeon which are all considered nuisance birds) have federal protection, as well. It is illegal to hunt, pursue, take, capture, kill or possess any migratory bird, nest, or egg.
Once you have identified the animal you are dealing with, the next step is to treat the problem, not the symptom. By removing the 3 things wildlife are searching for (food, water, and shelter), they will go elsewhere in their search. If a nuisance pest is eating your dog’s food, don’t just trap or relocate the offending animal. Store the dog food in a lidded container and take the bowls in overnight.
The University of Georgia Wildlife Extension recommends the following steps to prevent nuisance wildlife from taking over your yard.
One of the best ways to prevent wildlife is to make your yard or home undesirable to them. Once you identify the type of animal you are dealing with, do some research and learn their habits and preferences and modify your home or yard to make it more unattractive to them. Remove anything they can use for cover. Keep tall grass mowed short; remove piles of brush, logs, rocks, debris, firewood, trash, bricks, buckets, flower pots, old cars, used tires, and toys. Use an herbicide to get rid of weeds, briars, and vines. Cut away dead trees and limbs as these provide nesting and roosting spots for nuisance birds and bats.
Harassment is another prevention method you can use where you disturb or scare the wildlife away from your property. The effectiveness of harassment depends on the diligence of the homeowner. These methods must be utilized on a regular basis and moved frequently (every few days) otherwise the animals become accustomed to them and they are less effective. Tactile harassment methods include water spray and motion sensored sprinklers; light methods include bright lights, strobes, and lasers; and scare methods include eye balloons, scarecrows, silhouettes on windows, predatory figurines, and pyrotechnics.
Wildlife exclusion refers to utilizing physical barriers to keep wildlife out of your yard or home, usually through fencing or other materials. This is one of the best options for nuisance wildlife. All fencing should be staked or secured firmly to the ground. For large animals such as hogs, dogs, or deer, welded wire, chain link, or wood fencing is preferred. If you have a problem with deer, the fencing should be at least 8 feet tall. Smaller animals like opossums, raccoons, foxes, and squirrels do better with chicken wire, hardware cloth, or electric fence that is at least 2 feet tall and buried 6″ to 12″ into the ground.
Exclusion from your house is also possible. Cap chimneys to prevent raccoons, bats, birds, and squirrels. Keep soffit vents in good repair and screened to prevent insects, birds, and bats. Use hardware cloth or screens that still allow airflow to protect the gabled ends of homes or barns to keep out squirrels, bats, and birds. Keep windows and doors, including those to garages and sheds shut and make sure they have proper sealing and that screens and weather seals are in good repair to prevent snakes, bugs, mice, raccoons, and opossums. Cover dryer vents with a screen and clean them regularly to prevent snakes and mice. You can also seal around them with expanding foam or weather seal. Finally, prevent mice and bats from getting in around electric lines, phone lines, cables, and pipes by sealing them with expanding foam or weather seal.
Removal and Repellents
Removal and relocation of nuisance wildlife is discouraged as it can oftentimes be illegal. You can remove these pests from your home and release them onto your own property but steps must be taken to seal off entry points back into the home to keep them from coming back in. It is illegal to relocate nuisance pests onto someone else’s property. This option is usually deferred to a professional wildlife company who is familiar with trapping and relocation laws in your area.
Repellents can also be utilized to keep out offensive animals. Research shows that most soundwave repellents are not very effective at keeping animals at bay. The most effective repellents are those that use taste, fear, and odor. Different species respond to different repellents so identification of your problem critter is essential. The success of repellents depends on timing, how many of those types of animals are present, how hungry they are, and if they have been conditioned prior to coming onto your property. In general, the most effective methods combine repellents with physical barriers.
Lethal control of nuisance wildlife requires permits from federal and/or state wildlife agencies. While these permits can be given to non-professionals, it is not recommended due to the risk of bites, rabies, and other diseases that can be spread by these animals.
If you have a problem with nuisance wildlife, contact a local pest control company that specializes in wildlife control so they can help properly identify the animal you are dealing with and provide the most up-to-date, safe, and legal exclusion methods for your situation.
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There is a big debate in the pest control industry as to which is more effective – professional pest control or do it yourself pest control. There is a growing trend among homeowners who want to tackle pest control themselves both to save money and time. These DIY pest control methods employ both chemical and natural remedies. Regardless of which route you take, prevention is always key to controlling household pests. Here are 10 of our most effective DIY pest control tips:
1. Keep It Clean
This one is pretty self explanatory but a clean house is much less attractive and hospitable for pests. Wash dishes daily and clean any food scraps out of the sink. Drain dirty dish water after each use. Keep kitchen counters and surfaces wiped down daily. Store food and drinks in sealing plastic or glass containers. Make sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming part of your regular routine. Use garbage cans with locking lids and empty them regularly. Keep the grass mowed and get rid of weeds. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed back so they aren’t touching the house. Maintain your drainage systems and eliminate any standing water.
2. Make Your Home Less Attractive
Pests come into your home in search of 3 things: food, water, and shelter. If you can eliminate these 3 attractants from your home, pests will have no reason to come in. Keep your home clean as referenced above. Repair any leaky pipes and faucets both inside and outside of the home. Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Declutter your home and get rid of any old magazines, junk, etc. Try to use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes.
3. Seal Them Out
Pests can’t get into your home unless they can find a way in. Some pests only need the tiniest of openings to penetrate your house. Inspect the outside of your home for any potential entry points and seal them up with caulk, steel wool, etc. Make sure to check foundations, door frames, windows, utility pipes, cables and wires, and the roof. Repair any broken windows and screens. Fill in any holes, gaps, or cracks in pipes and vents.
4. Maintain the Yard
Your yard is the first line of defense when it comes to pests. They have to come into the yard before they come into the house. Keep your grass cut short and eliminate weeds. Get rid of any piles of leaves, debris, fallen branches, etc. Do the same for old automobiles, trashcans, and dumpsters. Elevate wood piles off the ground or store them in wood boxes with lids.
5. Keep It Dry
Keeping your home well ventilated and dry will go a long way towards keeping pests at bay. Most pests are attracted to moisture and basements, attics, and crawlspaces provide the ideal breeding ground for these. Use a dehumidifier to decrease moisture and consider crawlspace enclosure to not only help eliminate pests but also provide significant energy savings for your home.
6. Do The Laundry
Some pests like dust mites and bed bugs will seek shelter in your bedding, clothes, etc. Wash any clothing, sheets, blankets, quilts, and towels that you come into contact with regularly (at least 3 to 4 times per month). If you have pets, wash their bedding just as often to help eliminate and prevent fleas.
7. Use Plants as Natural Repellents
Some plants are known to be good insect repellents. These provide a green pest control alternative to traditional chemical methods. Plant any of these varieties around your home for a natural remedy to some common pests.
- Spearmint (for ants, beetles, fleas, moths, and rodents)
- Rosemary (for beetles, roaches, flies, slugs, snails, and mosquitoes)
- Basil (for flies, beetles, and mosquitoes)
- Lavender (for fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and moths)
- Chrysanthemum (for ants, bed bugs, beetles, roaches, ticks, and fleas)
- Catnip (for roaches, ants, and weevils)
- Lemongrass (for fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and lice)
- Pitcher plants (for beetles, ants, bees, slugs, snails, flies, and wasps)
- Venus flytrap (for all insects)
8. Identify Common Pests in Your Area
Knowledge is power so do some research and learn what the most common pests are in your area and what kind of damage or threat they cause. Pests vary by location and different treatments are required for each of them. Proper identification is key to proper treatment.
9. Leave the Good Ones Alone
While some household pests are dangerous to your health (like rodents and roaches) or can cause significant damage to your home (such as termites), others are actually quite beneficial to have around, especially if you have a garden. Ladybugs eat aphids and are great for the garden. Green lacewings eat aphids and spider mites. Ground beetles eat slugs and caterpillars. Bats (as long as they are outdoors and not inside your home) eat and control the populations of mosquitoes and many other insect species. These beneficial pests are a great natural pesticide to use in place of chemical products.
10. Use the Pros
Sometimes an infestation can be beyond the scope of DIY pest control methods. In these circumstances it is best to call a professional who can properly identify the pest you are dealing with and provide proper treatment, as well as ongoing prevention techniques you can use at home.
If you suspect you have a pest problem, contact your local pest control company for a thorough evaluation.
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When it comes to household pests (like spiders, ants, roaches, and termites), there are several options for pest control to choose from. Should you use do it yourself pest control? Should you call a professional pest control company? What is the difference? What are the pros and cons of each? Here we break down the advantages and disadvantages of DIY vs professional pest control.
The key to effective pest control is proper identification. Appropriate treatment depends on the species of the pest, how far the infestation has spread, the size of the home, climate, and many other factors. DIY pest control products have labels with directions and warnings that are fairly simple to follow. Professionals, however, have the knowledge and training on industry trends and groundbreaking products that may not be readily available to household consumers. They know key indicators to look for and can provide quick assessments and effective treatments.
Cost is one of the biggest factors that influence DIY vs professional pest control treatments. While do it yourself products are typically less expensive than commercial products, they can end up costing you more in the long run. Most homeowners don’t treat a pest problem until they spot them; unfortunately by this point the infestation is usually already established. This could end up costing significantly more in treatment and damage repair costs than a professional service would. Professional pest control services can be more costly initially but save you over time through prevention.
DIY products are certainly convenient – you just head to your local hardware store and pick up what you need. Professional services have to be coordinated around their availability and your schedule, sometimes requiring you to be at home for the service.
Using chemicals of any kind can pose a hazard to yourself, your family, and your pets. DIY products can contain chemicals that the average consumer may not be familiar with. This can pose a threat to your and your family’s health. With a professional service the risk on the homeowner is taken away. Green pest control options are also available which are safe for both you and your pets.
The ultimate goal of any pest control treatment is effectiveness – you want it to work. With DIY methods, you usually only treat the areas where you see an active problem. These products are effective for small pest problems but typically aren’t strong enough or don’t last long enough for significant infestations. Pests are also highly adaptable and can become resistant to many chemicals used in these products. Professional pest control treatments use the most up to date methods and products. They can also treat areas where infestations have spread that you may not see such as inside walls, in attics, and crawlspaces.
DIY product guarantees will vary depending on the store or manufacturer. Most pest control companies will offer a service guarantee where they will come back and treat in between scheduled visits if a problem arises at no extra charge to the consumer.
As previously mentioned, most DIY products are designed to be used for an active problem. Oftentimes, these products aren’t used until after an infestation is already established. With a professional service, visits are set on a scheduled basis whether there is an active pest problem or not. This allows the technician to use preventative measures when infestations are gone to keep them from flourishing in your home.
When you have a pest problem, the main concern is getting it taken care of quickly and effectively whether that is through DIY methods or a professional service. Every situation is different and the main concern is the appropriate treatment for each individual situation. If you suspect you have a pest problem or would like a quote on services, contact a professional pest control company.
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It’s minutes before you have to run out the door and make your commute to work. You make your coffee and look out the window, only to see last night’s dinner scattered throughout your yard! Unfortunately, your garbage has been rummaged through all night by a couple of wildlife pests. Two popular animals that are known to forage through trashcans and dumpsters for food are raccoons and opossums.
Raccoons, known for their distinctive black mask coloring on their faces, can range from just under 2 feet long to over 3 feet long. These animals are considered nocturnal and are rarely seen by humans. Be aware, though, spotting a raccoon during the day can be a possible sign they have rabies or other abnormal conditions.
Raccoons are scavengers, looking for food wherever they can find it, often foraging in trashcans and dumpsters. These skillful creatures can easily use their paws to open doors and lids to look for food. While they are omnivores, they prefer fruits and nuts over meat. Because they are creatures of habit, once these animals find a food source at your home, they will keep coming back until the food source is gone.
Another animal you’ll catch roaming around your trashcans is the opossum. Grey in color, opossums can range from 14” long to over 3 feet long, with their tails making up 50 percent of their total body length! These animals also tend to live near wet areas such as swamps and marshes.
While opossums are omnivores, they prefer insects and carrion over fruits and vegetables. As highly skilled climbers, you’ll find these creatures in trees, staying up there for as long as they can. They are also slow movers so don’t expect them to make a quick getaway! Opossums are generally not aggressive, though they will play dead if they are threatened.
Here are some tips to help prevent wildlife from rummaging through your garbage.
- Seal any garbage cans and compost bins at night.
- Use locking lids on trashcans if possible or place a weight on top to keep the lids closed.
- Keep the outside of your home well-lit at night as opossums and raccoons will shy away from the lights.
- Spray a mixture of half ammonia and half water on your trashcans or soak rags in the mixture and scatter them around your property; this smell will repel these pests.
- If wildlife constantly returns, consider contacted a licensed pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and wildlife control plan.
Stinging pests are most active during the summer months, so while we enjoy the summer fun of lounging by the pool and backyard BBQs, we should all be on the lookout for these pests as they can pose a risk to you and your family. Check out these common stinging pests and the best way to avoid them!
With a slim body shape, six long legs, and two wings, wasps are busy at work scavenging for food during the summer months. Wasps will typically build their nests in branches, porch ceilings, eaves, and attic rafters. These pests are highly attracted to picnics and backyard barbeques, increasing your chance of being stung. When threatened, wasps will sting multiple times and eventually call on reinforcements from other wasps by emitting pheromones.
Hornets’ nests are often built in hollow trees and the walls of houses and attics, although they typically prefer a forested environment. These pests are larger and can range from 3/4 to 1 3/8” long with brown and yellow abdominal stripes on their body. Hornets are attracted to light and will fly into your windows at night if they see a light on. They are relatively non-aggressive near the nest, but if threatened, there is a potential for a stinging hazard.
Yellowjackets are social insects and can be found anywhere humans are found. Yellowjackets feed on sweets and proteins; therefore, these pests commonly invade outdoor events. Yellowjackets measure 3/8″ to 5/8” long and have a non-fuzzy black and yellow striped body. Yellowjacket nests can either be built in very high places or built in the ground. Examples include in shrubs, garages, timber, logs, and more. If threatened, yellowjackets will sting multiple times, causing extreme pain and possible allergic reactions.
Bee Sting Prevention
- Keep outside food covered and sealed tightly
- Avoid wearing strong fragrances and opt for an unscented hygienic product
- Ensure all your doors and windows have screens so these pests don’t sneak into your house
- Stick to wearing darker colors as floral and bright colored clothing tend to attract these pests
- For uncontrollable stinging pest invasions, it’s best to call your local pest control company as they will provide a safe and legal plan to safely remove these insects
A household pest is any undesired animal that has a history of living, invading, causing damage to, eating food from, acting as a disease vector for, or causing any other harm to a human habitat. While most are considered a nuisance, household pests become dangerous when they pose a risk to health, property, or lifestyle. Household pests aren’t just limited to insects; they also include arachnids, rodents, and wildlife.
While household pests can be found year-round, some are more common in the summer months. Here are 8 of the most common summer household pests and how you can prevent them.
Mosquito season peaks in the summer months. The warm weather and humid environments accelerate their life cycle so they are able to reproduce in large numbers during this time. You are most likely to see mosquitoes when you have standing water on your property. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water and the hot, humid climate in summer is ideal for both breeding and to find food sources. Mosquitoes are dangerous to humans as they carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases like Zika and West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes can be prevented by:
- Avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk
- Wearing clothing that covers arms and legs
- Eliminating areas of standing water
- Repair or replace torn window screens
- Apply insect repellent
Ants hibernate in the winter and come out in full force over the summer. They have to forage in the summer months to feed their growing colonies and to build up their reserves for fall. Ants are usually seen indoors in the summer because they are searching for food and water as these can become scarce for them.
Ants can be prevented by:
- Keeping your home clean, especially the kitchen
- Not leaving pet food and water bowls outdoors
- Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house
- Sealing cracks and holes in your home’s exterior
Fleas are prevalent in the summer months, although they can be found on pets year-round. Pets will indicate the presence of fleas by scratching and biting when they come in from outdoors.
Fleas can be prevented by:
- Treating pets for fleas with preventative medication
- Vacuuming frequently, especially in areas that pets frequent, and disposing of the bag immediately
- Treating your yard with outdoor flea spray
- Washing pet bedding and toys weekly in hot water
Ticks are problematic to humans and pets because they spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Tick bites increase in the summer because people and animals are spending more time outside. The US is also seeing an increase in ticks because of the combination of mild winters and an increased population of deer and rodents which are known to carry ticks.
Ticks can be prevented by:
- Using tick preventatives on pets
- Wearing long sleeves and closed toe shoes when outdoors
- Avoid areas with high grass or woods when possible
- Eliminating debris and wood piles from your property
- Wearing insect repellent
- Checking yourself and your pets for ticks immediately after coming in from outdoors
- Removing any ticks found immediately
Termite swarming season is in the spring but these newly established colonies grow exponentially in the summer. Termites can go long periods of time undetected, causing significant damage to your home. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of termites so you can catch them early.
Termites can be prevented by:
- Eliminating wood to soil contact around foundations
- Creating a 4 inch barrier between wood mulch and your home
- Keeping plants a few feet away from your home
- Making sure storm drains point away from foundations
- Fixing leaks and eliminating any other sources of excess moisture
- Having an annual termite inspection performed
While most people view grasshoppers as just a nuisance pest, they can be devastating to gardeners and farmers. Grasshoppers can devour an entire field of crops in just a few days. Grasshoppers surge in large numbers in the summer months and are most prevalent in dry, hot summers. Grasshoppers can also cause damage to non-farmers as these are one of the only pests that can chew through screens.
Grasshoppers can be prevented by:
- Plant flowers that deter grasshoppers (lilac, crepe myrtle, verbena, sage, juniper)
- Plant vegetables that don’t attract grasshoppers (squash, peas, tomatoes)
- Introduce predators by making your garden attractive to birds
- Use floating row covers on crops and plants
- Consider natural products that kill grasshoppers without harming other animals or plants (Nosema locustae or Beauveria bassiana)
Flies invade your home in the summer months to escape the heat. They only reproduce during the hotter months and reproduce even more prolifically when they get indoors. Flies will stick around well into the fall months.
Flies can be prevented by:
- Keeping windows, doors, and vents sealed
- Using garbage cans with tight fitting lids
- Taking the garbage out when it is full
- Storing food in airtight containers
- Not leaving dirty dishes out
- Not leaving grass clippings in the yard
- Turning off outdoor lights at night
Stinging insects mate in the spring and their populations grow during the summer months. Hornets and yellow jackets are especially common in the summer because they have to establish new nests each year. These are usually found under decking or under piles of leaves. These stinging insects are potentially dangerous for people with allergies. Yellow jackets and bees can also get into the walls of homes, causing significant damage.
Stinging insects can be prevented by:
- Wearing shoes when outdoors
- Keeping trash cans tightly covered
- Eliminating dirt patches on your lawn
- Avoiding sweet smelling perfumes
- Don’t swat at stinging insects
Don’t let these common summer pests ruin your summer. If you have a problem with any of these pests, contact a professional pest control company who can help eliminate them safely and prevent them going forward.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Termites: How to Stop Their Damage
Keeping Cool for the Summer
Turning A Yellow Lawn Green
Fleas, Ticks, and Chiggers: What’s the Difference?
Pigeons, Sparrows, & Starlings: Nuisance Bird Control