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After the humid temperatures of summer, most of us are looking forward to a cooler climate as fall approaches. As we say goodbye to our summer pests, fall pests are quickly emerging. Often searching for a warm place to inhabit and an accessible food source, fall pests will invade your home if proper preventive measures are not in place. Check out our list of fall pests you should look out for, and some do-it-yourself prevention tips to avoid them.
There are several species of rodents looking to your home for shelter, including the house mouse, Norway rats, and roof rats. While these creatures have different characteristics, they each need a warm place to nest and a food source to survive. These creatures are often found in our attics, basements, crawl spaces, and kitchens. Preventing these creatures from entering homes starts with rodent prevention measures placed inside and outside the home.
Inspect your roof for any damage, including broken tiles or gaps under eaves, which can be an entry point for mice and roof rats to your attic. Likewise, utility pipes can have gaps; consider sealing around them with steel wool, caulk, or concrete. Rats like to inhabit where there’s clutter; make sure the less used areas and rooms in your home are clean and utilize plastic storage boxes with tight lids.
Sneaky, small, and often undetected, ants can become a major nuisance if they infest. These pests are attracted to warmth, food sources, and moisture. Commonly infested areas include bathrooms, kitchens, and our food pantries.
The first step in preventing ants from invading is sealing small gaps and holes around your home. These pests can fit into holes smaller than a dime, making it important to check throughout the home’s interior and exterior. Inspect windows, doors, and utility pipes that potentially have these openings. Clean up any leftover food, crumbs on the floor, and spills.
Known for being a year-round pest, seeing these pests inside your home is always alarming! While these creatures are looking for a food source and water, they can bring diseases into your home and trigger allergies and asthma attacks. Homeowners will usually find roaches in our bathrooms and kitchens.
The best way to avoid cockroaches is to identify how they got inside in the first place. Inspect areas where you’ve noticed they have infested before. Seal any noticeable cracks and crevices that lead from outside to inside your home. Roaches will utilize clutter and hide in it during the day, making it essential to clean out piles of old newspapers or magazines, cardboard boxes, paper bags, or other clutter in your home.
Dealing with a pest infestation is never ideal, especially during the busy months of the year. Consider contacting your local South Florida pest control company for an evaluation and treatment plan.
The cooler weather of fall drives many pests indoors in search of warmth from the cold, shelter from the weather, and food when supplies are scarce. These overwintering pests will spend the cold season indoors, often in your home, until the weather warms back up in the spring. Some common fall pests are spiders, rodents, roaches, and stinkbugs. Don’t let these pests take over your home this fall. Keep them out with these 4 fall pest proofing tips.
The first step in pest-proofing your home is to seal them out. Pests can be very creative when it comes to finding ways into your home. Screen attic vents, chimney openings, mail slots, and pet doors. Seal any cracks or crevices on the exterior of your home with caulk or steel wool. Seal around any utility pipes that enter your home. Replace or repair weatherstripping on doors and windows. Repair any loose mortar around windows and foundations. Install door sweeps on your doors. Repair and replace any window screens.
Most pests need water to survive. Many prefer a moist environment to thrive in. Eliminating sources of water will help keep pests out of your home. Keep crawlspaces, attics, and basements dry and ventilated. Consider crawlspace enclosure. Use a dehumidifier in garages and basements. Make sure you have a proper drainage system installed outside your home. Install gutters and keep them clear of debris. Consider installing gutter guards to help eliminate clogs. Make sure drainpipes are diverting water away from foundations. Repair any leaks as soon as possible. Get rid of any standing water on your property.
Pests will also be drawn to any areas of your home where they can find food. Eliminating these food sources will go a long way towards pest-proofing your home. Keep kitchen counters and appliances clean. Store food in airtight containers. Empty your trash regularly and use trashcans with lids. Clean up after each meal, making sure to not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Seep, mop, and vacuum regularly. Don’t leave pet food or water out overnight.
Some pests will lurk outside your home and use every opportunity they can to hitchhike their way inside. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and inspect it carefully before bringing it indoors. Keep shrubbery trimmed and grass mowed. Don’t let any limbs or branches touch the exterior of your home. Inspect any storage boxes, decorations, etc. before bringing them inside.
If you have a problem with pests during any season of the year, contact your local pest control company for a thorough evaluation.
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Wildlife to Look Out for This Fall
Spider sightings tend to increase when the weather cools off. While most spiders prefer to live outdoors, a few will make their way inside in search of food and water. Most spider species also mate in the fall, increasing the numbers we see as they go in search of their partner. Young spiders are born in the spring, taking the summer to grow and mature. By fall they are bigger, venturing out and starting to build their webs. All of these factors combine to increase the number of spider sightings we see near the end of the year.
There are many types of spiders common to this area, some venomous but most harmless. Here are 9 of the most common spiders in Georgia to look out for this fall.
Joro spiders are a non-native species originating in Asia that were first spotted in Georgia in 2014. Since then they have started to expand their population throughout the southeastern United States. Joro spider eggs hatch in late spring, with sightings as early as May. They will build their webs anywhere they can find, including decks, porches, houses, plants, landscaping, etc. They are larger than most other spider species in the US. Females can measure up to 4″ in length with males only reaching about 1/4″ in size. Their colors vary – males are usually brown while females can be blue-gray or yellow with red markings on their abdomen and black legs with yellow bands. They are commonly found on the edges of woods and around homes. They are not usually seen indoors and their bites are rare. There is no research to show that Joro spiders are dangerous to humans.
The black widow is one of the few structure-invading species of spiders in our area. Their fangs are big enough to penetrate human skin and their venom is powerful enough to cause side effects in humans. In fact, they are the most venomous spider in North America. Antivenom for their bites does exist. Female black widows grow to lengths of 3/4″ while males are about half that size. They are one of the easiest types of spiders to spot with black bodies and distinctive red hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomen. They have very round body shapes. These spiders can be found indoors and outdoors, preferring protected, sheltered areas to live in. They are most active at night, spinning webs to catch their prey in. Outside they can be found around decks, in barns and outbuildings, under rocks, or in woodpiles. Inside they can usually be found in areas that aren’t disturbed or used frequently, such as garages, basements, closets, and crawlspaces.
Brown widow spiders are another non-native species, although can now be found throughout the southern and western United States. Bites from the brown widow aren’t as potent as those from their black widow cousins and don’t cause nearly as bad of side effects. Only brown widow spiders bite. Brown widows also prefer undisturbed areas to live in but can often be found in garages and basements, gardens, on patio furniture, on mailboxes, on outdoor toys, and in storage closets. Female brown widows grow to about 1/2″ long while males are about half this size. Both males and females are brown in color with tan and black legs. They also have the hourglass marking like black widows, but theirs are orange in color.
Brown recluse spiders are commonly found in the southeastern and midwestern United States. They are also easily identifiable by the distinctive markings found on their bodies. These spiders are known for “secretive” behaviors, preferring to hide in warm, dark, dry habitats. They are commonly found in woodpiles, basements, and closets, especially in old shoes that aren’t worn often. They will bite, with symptoms taking up to 3 hours to show up afterwards. Brown recluses range from 1/4″ to 1/2″ in length. They are tan to dark brown in color with a dark fiddle-shaped marking on their back.
Wolf spiders are another common species you may see this fall. These spiders don’t use webs to catch prey; instead they hunt their prey, utilizing their speed to catch them. There are over 100 species in the US and Canada. Female wolf spiders grow from 3/8″ to 1-3/8″ in length while males range from 1/4″ to 3/4″. They are usually dark brown or yellow with striped markings on their legs. They are also very hairy. Wolf spiders hunt at night and hide out during the day. Once inside, they usually stay at lower levels and are often spotted in the floor along walls and under furniture. Outside they are found in woodpiles, under rocks, and other sheltered areas of landscaping. They can be beneficial to have around because they eat other pests that can cause problems around your home. They can bite but it is extremely rare.
The common house spider gets its name from the fact that it is commonly found inside homes. These spiders are commonly found worldwide. They don’t pose a threat to humans and are more of a nuisance pest. Their webs in your home are the biggest issue they cause. Female house spiders grow from 3/16″ to 5/16″ in length while males range from 1/8″ to 3/16″. They are yellowish-brown in color with dirty white abdomens and dark stripes that meet at an angle.
Orb weaver spiders are named for the orb-shaped webs they create. There are over 2800 species of these spiders worldwide. Adults range in size from 1/2″ to 1″. Their coloring varies greatly among species; they are mostly reddish-brown to gray but some varieties are a vibrant yellow color. Because there is such variation among species, the best way to identify an orb weaver is by it’s large, circular, wagon-wheel shaped web. Orb weavers don’t pose any threats to humans but their large webs can be problematic around your home.
The crevice spider, also known as the southern house spider, are commonly found in the southeastern United States. They are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They range in size from 1/2″ to 3/4″. Males are usually brown or amber in color while females are black or gray and resemble tarantulas. They prefer to build their webs at higher elevations and are usually found on the outside of houses, outbuildings, and barns. They are known to crawl across anything in their path, including humans! They do not pose a threat to humans, however.
The trapdoor spider is a large, hairy spider that can range in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown to black. They have powerful jaws and sharp fangs. Trapdoor spiders get their name from the burrows they construct with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. They spend most of their lives underground and usually hunt at night. Trapdoor spiders are not aggressive and, in fact, are often timid when confronted. They can bite but this is rare. They do not pose a significant threat to humans.
Once you’ve identified the spider(s) you have around your home, the next step is preventing them. You can prevent spiders by:
Fall Spider Identification Guide
American Cockroaches: How To Identify and Prevent
Are Mosquitoes Still Active in the Fall?
What Attracts Centipedes To Your Home?
During the colder months, rats are looking indoors for shelter, providing them with warmth and a food source. Once inside, they can not only cause considerable damage to homes by gnawing electrical wires, but they can also pose health risks as they are known to carry bacteria, such as salmonella. To help avoid these pests, every homeowner should utilize preventative measures throughout their house for rodent control.
Keeping the exterior of your home well-sealed is the first step to prevent rats from the inside. Check around the outside of your home for any gaps or holes that are leading inside. Make sure to seal around any openings in the walls, especially utility pipes and vents. Consider installing weather stripping for the gaps in doors and windows.
While outside, look throughout your yard for debris such as piles of leaves or excess woodpiles. Rats will often use these to hide or take cover. Consider keeping your woodpiles 20 feet from your home. Try to keep your shrubbery away from the sides of your home and mow the grass frequently.
Rats are always in search of a food source. Eliminating access to food from your property is another great way to keep them from infesting. If you leave your pet bowls outside, consider bringing them inside to avoid attracting them. Make sure to keep all food, including pet and bird food, in airtight containers. Likewise, make sure your trash cans are sealed tightly and take the garbage out frequently.
Suspecting that you have a rat inside your house is always alarming. It’s best to contact a pest control professional who can inspect your home, identify the type of rat, and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.
Overwintering is a common term used to describe pests and their activities that allow them to survive the colder temperatures. Overwintering pests will often seek comfort and shelter in homes and buildings because of their warmth. These pests can be especially sneaky and if you don’t take preventative measures as they can infest quickly. Here are some common overwintering pests and some easy do-it-yourself pest control tips to keep them outside of your house.
Stink bugs can infest homes in large numbers, especially during the fall. You can often find these bugs on the side of your home, where they can receive the most sunlight to keep warm. While these bugs aren’t harmful to humans, if crushed, they will emit an unpleasant odor.
One of the more aggressive species of overwintering pests, the boxelder bug has mouthparts are both piercing and capable of puncturing the skin if being handled. This can cause slight irritation and produce red spots, like mosquito bites. Crushing these bugs is not recommended, as their bodies will produce a strong odor and remains can leave a reddish stain on fabrics.
Ladybugs are considered harmless and deemed beneficial. They will often consume plant-eating insects such as aphids, mites, and scale insects, all of which can harm crops and plants in gardens; though if they invade your home, they can become a nuisance and can be difficult to get rid of.
Overwintering Pest Protection Tips