Common Summer Household Pests

Common Summer Household Pests

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

Stinging Insects
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

Flying Pests And How To Prevent Them

Flying Pests And How To Prevent Them

We’ve all been there before… you’re sitting in your house and you hear an incessant buzzing. All of a sudden something flies past your face! If you’re like most of us, your first thought it aghh! A bug in my house! Once you get over the initial shock of being dive bombed by this home invader, your next thoughts might be: What kind of bug is this? Is there more than one? How did it get in my house? How do I get rid of it? While we can’t answer all of your questions, we can help with a few. We’ve listed some of the most common flying pests below, as well as some tips to prevent them from getting into your home.


While there are several different species of bees in North America, we are going to look at bumblebees, honeybees, and carpenter bees.


Bumblebees are large, clumsy looking insects with oval shaped bodies. They are extremely fuzzy. They are yellow and black striped in color. They typically grow between 1/4″ and 1″ in length.

Honeybees are predominantly golden yellow with brown bands, but they can also be orange-brown in color. They have a very hairy appearance. They can grow to be about 1/2″ in length. They also have flat hindmost legs which are used to carry pollen.

Carpenter bees have a fuzzy body that is very robust in shape. Their bodies are yellow except for their abdomen which is shiny black. Males also have a white patch on their faces. Carpenter bees grow from 1/2″ to 1″ in length.


Bumblebees typically make their nests underground so their nests may not be visible. They will often make their nests in old mouse burrows or in dense clumps of grass. They have also been known to make their nests under woodpiles or behind the siding of homes. Bumblebees are found throughout the United States.

Honeybees typically make their nests in beehives, trees, hollow logs, and piles of logs. It is very common for them to get inside your home and nest in attics, wall voids, chimneys, and crawlspaces. Honeybees are found throughout the United States.

Carpenter bees create their nests in pieces of wood – preferably soft wood that has not been painted or sealed. They will often make their nests in decks, porches, roof eaves, wooden shingles, wooden playgrounds, in wooden outdoor furniture, and in sheds. The entry holes for carpenter bees are perfectly round.


All three species of bees feed on nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter bees don’t actually eat the wood they burrow in to make their nests.


Female bumblebees have stingers but males do not. Bumblebees are not significantly aggressive but they will sting if they feel threatened. Their sting can be dangerous to humans with an allergy.

Honeybees are the only bee colonies that can survive for many years. They are very social insects. Female honeybees have stingers but males don’t. The female stinger is barbed which means it is only able to sting once. Honeybees aren’t known for being aggressive but they will sting if they are directly attacked.

Carpenter bees are very solitary insects and don’t create very large nest. Female carpenter bees have stingers but males don’t. Their sting is strong enough to cause a reaction in humans. Female carpenter bees are docile and rarely sting unless they are directly attacked. Male carpenter bees are very aggressive but don’t have stingers to do harm with.


All bees are protected as pollinators so treatment is only provided when they are deemed to be a nuisance or a threat. Removal is always the first treatment option because of this protected status.

  • Avoid planting flowering plants and vegetation near the exterior of your home.
  • Keep woodpiles and compost piles a safe distance from your home.
  • Remove any fallen trees and other piles of debris from your property.
  • Make sure your outdoor trashcans have tight lids.
  • Paint or stain any wooden structures including porches on your property.
  • If you find a nest or suspect you have a bee problem, contact a professional pest control company.




Yellow jackets have a sleek appearance. They are not fuzzy. They are black and yellow striped in color. They can grow to be 3/8″ to 5/8″ long.


Yellow jackets build their nests either high up or in the ground. Their elevated nests can be found in the walls of buildings or in attics and chimneys. Their ground nests are usually in areas that lack vegetation or in spaces next to the entrance of buildings.


Yellow jackets feed on other insects. They also eat any sweets and proteins that they come across. You can often find yellow jackets at outdoor events because they like to feed on sugary food scraps and drinks that are left out.


Yellow jackets have a smooth stinger which allows them to sting multiple times. They are usually docile unless their nests are approached. Then they become very aggressive and will sting repeatedly. Their sting can be life threatening if you are allergic. Yellow jackets are beneficial both as pollinators and because they help control the population of nuisance insects.


  • Trim back shrubbery and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have tight fitting lids.
  • Seal cracks in foundations.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Make sure vent covers are secure.
  • If you are outdoors, make sure food is kept covered and dispose of cans, cups, and bottles quickly.
  • If you suspect you have a yellow jacket problem, contact a professional pest control company.


Paper Wasp


Paper wasps have a sleek appearance with a pinched waste and long, thin legs. They have gray wings and their bodies are black or brown with yellow or orange markings. Paper wasps can grow to be 5/8″ to 3/4″ in length.


Paper wasps are found throughout the United States. They will build their nests of the ground on any horizontal surface they can find. Their nests are commonly found hanging from trees, shrubs, porches, decks, roofs, outdoor grills, and door frames. Their nests resemble an umbrella attached by a stem. Their name comes from the paper-like nests that they build.


Paper wasps are predatory insects and feed on a wide variety of insects and spiders. They also eat nectar and pollen.


Paper wasps have smooth stingers that allow them to sting multiple times. They are not typically aggressive but will sting to defend their nests. Paper wasps have facial recognition capabilities like humans and chimpanzees do. They can actually recognize the faces of their colony members.


  • Nests have to be knocked down in order to prevent rebuilding and overwintering.
  • Adult wasps must also be killed to prevent the nest from being rebuild. This should be done in the early morning or late at night.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trashcans have tight fitting lids.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Fix any loose roof shingles.
  • Repair any holes in your roof line.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you have a wasp nest or suspect you have a wasp problem, contact a professional pest control company.




Hornets are much bigger than wasps. They are almost completely black except for an off white pattern on their face. They are long and thin with wasp-like bodies. They can grow from 3/4″ to 1-3/8″ in length.


Hornets are found throughout the United States.  Hornet colonies only survive for 1 year. They build aerial nests that can be found in trees, on utility poles, on the side of homes, and under eaves. Hornet nests can be more than 14″ around and more than 24″ long.


Hornets are pollinators. Adults have a liquid diet that mostly consists of nectar and plant juices. They are also predatory and will prey on insects that they bring back to their nests to feed their larvae.


Hornets have a more painful sting than wasps do. A single hornet sting can be fatal if the victim is allergic. When hornets sting or feel threatened, they give off a pheromone that signals the rest of the colony to attack as well.


  • It is difficult to prevent hornets from building nests. If the nest is up high, it is best to just leave it alone.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trashcans have tight fitting lids.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Fix any loose roof shingles.
  • Repair any holes in your roof line.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you have a hornet nest or suspect you have a hornet problem, contact a professional pest control company.




Ladybugs have a distinctive appearance. They are bright red, orange, or yellow with black spots. Their bodies are oval and dome shaped.


Ladybugs are found worldwide. There are over 5000 species total and 450 species in North America. Ladybugs live outside in gardens and landscaped areas. They aren’t able to tolerate cold weather so in the fall they will invade homes in search of a place to overwinter. They will typically gather on windowsills or you will see them crawling along walls. They tend to end up in attics, under flooring, and in wall voids.


Despite their appearance, ladybugs are predatory insects. They feed on a variety of other insects, helping to keep nuisance populations down.


Ladybugs secrete a substance wen they are threatened that makes them taste bad to their predators. They can also play dead if they feel threatened.


  • Install chimney caps.
  • Caulk any gaps around doors and windows.
  • Makes sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
  • Install door sweeps on any doors that go outside.
  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.
  • Secure all vent covers.
  • Fill in any spaces around utility entrances.
  • Try to limit garden areas near the exterior of your home.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the sides of your home.
  • You can use an insect light trap to catch any ladybugs that make their way into your home.
  • If you have a ladybug problem, contact a professional pest control company.




Mosquitoes have narrow bodies with long thin legs and transparent wings. They have gray bodies with white stripes on their abdomen. They also have long beaks that allow them to penetrate the skin. Mosquitoes can grow to be 1/4″ to 3/8″ long.


Mosquitoes can be found in almost every landscape environment on earth with the exception of deserts and the arctic. Mosquitoes are most often found near stagnant water as this is where they lay their eggs. They are often found on the edges of streams, lakes, and ponds; near wading pools; old tires; bird baths; tarps; piles of trash; clogged gutters; and wheelbarrows.


Mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices. Female mosquitoes bite to feed on blood.


The species of mosquito determines when they are most active. Some species are more active in the daytime while others become active at dark. Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting several diseases and pathogens to both humans and animals. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya fever, malaria, and canine heartworm among others.


  • Eliminate any standing water on or near your property.
  • Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are not clogged.
  • Consider installing Leafproof gutter guards on your home to prevent clogs and stagnant water.
  • Store buckets, wading pools, wheelbarrows, and empty pet food bowls upside down so they can’t collect water.
  • Shake off any water that collects on tarps.
  • Dispose of your trash on a regular basis and store it in cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep your grass cut short.
  • Keep doors and windows shut as much as possible.
  • Make sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you suspect you have a mosquito problem, contact a professional pest control company.




Houseflies have a very distinctive appearance. They have dull gray bodies with vertical lines on the top, a single gold stripe, and a silver stripe on their face. They can grow to be 1/8″ to 1/4″ in size.


Flies can be found in most homes. They enter through tears in screens, gaps around windows and doors, doors and windows that have been left open, and cracks in the foundation. They are attracted to homes by garbage, animal feces, compost piles, and leaky pipes. They will often rest on your floors, walls, and ceilings.


Houseflies are scavengers that eat a variety of different foods. They will feed on food found in pantries and kitchens, pet food, carcasses, garbage, or excrement. Houseflies are only able to eat liquids but they are able to turn many solid foods into liquid form so that they can eat it.


Houseflies can spread diseases when they land on your food or your food prep areas. They are the most common fly found in homes and only live from 15 to 25 days.


  • Clean up pet waste daily.
  • Use garbage cans with tight fitting lids.
  • Keep garbage and compost piles away from your home.
  • Use screens on windows and doors and make sure they are in good repair.
  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.
  • Caulk gaps around windows and doors.
  • Keep food in sealed containers or in the fridge, including pet food.
  • Wash dirty dishes regularly.
  • Take out the trash regularly.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
  • If you have a problem with flies, contact a professional pest control company.


Fruit Fly


Fruit flies are extremely small in size, only getting about 1/8″ in length. They are usually brown, tan or black with distinctive red eyes. They are too small, however, for you to determine their color with the naked eye.


Fruit flies are found throughout the United States. They are usually seen in the kitchen, especially around fruits and vegetables. They live outside in spring and summer. They enter homes as hitchhikers on fruits and vegetables that we buy from stores that are already infested. They can also enter through small spaces in widows, doors, and walls. They are attracted by large gardens, compost piles, and fruit trees.


Fruit flies feed on very ripe fruits and vegetables like bananas, strawberries, melons, cucumbers, potatoes, and more. They also feed on fermented liquids like vinegar, cider, and beer.


Fruit flies are a nuisance. They enter your home in large numbers and are very difficult to eliminate. They can carry dangerous that can be transmitted to humans.


  • Inspect your fruits and vegetables before you buy them and before you bring them into your home.
  • Store produce in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.
  • Get rid of overripe fruits and vegetables quickly.
  • Pick up any fallen fruit and vegetables from your garden.
  • Make sure your compost bins have lids on them.
  • Empty your trash frequently.
  • Store trash in outdoor cans with tightly fitting lids.
  • Wash your dishes daily.
  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • If you suspect you have a fruit fly problem, contact a professional pest control company.


WebMD's Bad Bugs Slideshow

We know that bugs are gross and unsanitary but did you also know that they can be bad for our health.  WebMD discusses some of the worst bugs and the potential harm they can do to our health:

  • Ticks –Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and allergic reactions.
  • Black Widow Spiders – Poisonous.
  • Brown Recluse Spiders – Poisonous, can cause serious wounds, infection, and in some cases can be deadly.
  • Head Lice – Itchiness can lead to infection, loss of hair.
  • Fleas – Itchiness can lead to infection.
  • Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket – Painful sting, and can cause allergic reaction.
  • Fire Ants – Painful sting, venomous, red bumps that burn and itch, and can cause allergic reaction.
  • Chiggers – Itchy red welts.
  • Scabies – Itchiness, sores.
  • Bedbugs – Itchy, red bumps,  can develop infection from scratching, and can cause allergic reaction.
  • Puss Caterpillar – Poisonous, painful sting, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps.
  • Scorpions – Poisonous, painful, and can be deadly.
  • Deerflies – Infection, and Tularemia.
  • Mosquitoes – West Nile virus, dengue fever, other diseases, and scratching can cause skin infection.
  • Houseflies – Carries more than 1 million bacteria, intestinal infections by contaminating food.
  • Cockroaches – Salmonella and other diseases, dead carcasses can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.

Tips to prevent feeling the sting of these health issues:

  • Make sure your home is treated by a professional exterminator.  A professional can diagnose current problems, and prevent new issues from coming into your home efficiently and effectively.
  • Wear long clothing when outdoors.
  • Wear DEET repellant when outdoors.
  • Keep a clean, sanitary home and yard.  This will prevent insects from seeing your home as a place for them to call home.

For more information on these insects and their health hazards, visit WebMD: Bad Bugs Slideshow: Identifying Bugs and Their Bites.

 If you think you may have been bitten or stung by any of the insects above, please take note of  your body’s reaction and seek medical assistance immediately.



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