During the impending cooler months, some pests will begin seeking warmth and shelter for survival. These pests, known as overwintering pests, can survive cold temperatures due to these activities. There are three common overwintering pests: stink bugs, ladybugs, and boxelder bugs. They don’t cause any harm to you or your home, but they can become a nuisance once they get inside. Let’s break them down and discover the best ways to keep them away from your home.
These armor-shaped insects are an invasive species known to release an odor when disturbed or crushed. They pose no threat to humans or the structure of your home but can become a nuisance when an infestation occurs. They feed on a variety of plants, including fruits like apples, peaches, and figs. They prefer moist, mild climates and can be found in bathrooms and kitchens.
These harmless, overwintering pests are found worldwide and have over 5,000 known species. Ladybugs have an oval, dome-shaped body with a hard-shell wing that covers their inner wings. They are deemed beneficial and consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale insects. During the colder months, they search for warmth and shelter. They can take over your home in a matter of days and can become a major nuisance when large populations congregate.
These pests are named for feeding off maple and seed-bearing boxelder trees in the warmer months. Boxelder bugs are sneaky pests that can easily make your home theirs. These pests are oval-shaped and elongated, with a reddish black body and orange markings on their back. They are considered more assertive than other overwintering species, puncturing skin when they feel threatened. The result is similar to that of a mosquito bite, so it shouldn’t be something to worry about.
Preventing Overwintering Pests
- Seal or caulk all cracks, crevices, and holes around house foundations, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
- Keep the yard clean by raking, cutting grass short, and picking up debris in the yard.
- Use tight-fitting insect screens on foundations and attic vents.
If you suspect you have an overwintering pest infestation, contact a professional, local pest control company to provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
Food, water, and a warm place to live are three things wildlife creatures are in search of this winter season. For them, our house can give them direct access to these needs, where they often find their way into our chimneys, attic, basements, and crawlspaces. It’s important to know what pests to look out for and what preventative measures to take, to help prevent a wildlife infestation.
Seeing a rat inside is always alarming. These rodents are known to live in crawlspaces and between the side beams of walls, often accessing inside through the smallest hole and gap. Once inside, rats will chew on electrical wire, causing property damage and an increased risk of fires. Their droppings are also a risk, as they contain pathogens dangerous to humans.
Nocturnal omnivores, raccoons are dexterous and can use their paws to open lids and doors. These animals will use their hands to dig for food, especially in garbage cans. A creature of habit, once raccoons discover food sources in a particular area, such as your house, they will keep coming back over and over, causing both a risk of an infestation and damaged property.
Squirrels are one of the most common wildlife creatures homeowners see. While they are cute from afar, if found inside your home, they can cause considerable damage. Squirrels will take refuge in basements and attics, often bringing acorns to store for the wintertime. Like rats, these rodents will also chew on electrical wire, creating a risk of a fire. Both squirrels themselves and their droppings can contain diseases and pathogens.
To avoid a winter wildlife invasion, prevention is key. Here are a few wildlife prevention tips to help with wildlife control:
- Seal garbage cans and compost bins at night.
- Bring pet food and water bowls indoors at night.
- Trim tree limbs and shrubs away from your house.
- Place a grated screen on top of your chimney.
- Consider enclosing your crawlspace to eliminate entry points.
- Examine your home exterior for any holes and gaps. If holes or gaps are found, seal them immediately.
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 starts to warm up, you may see an increase in bird activity around your home. Birds will often leave a mess on your patio or deck and can even be found taking a dip in your swimming pool. Nuisance birds will build nests in the most inconvenient places putting you and your family in harm’s way. Here are a few tips on how to prevent birds from taking over your outdoor fun this summer.
Protect Your Pool
There are several things you can try to keep birds away from your pool and deck. One of the easiest is to install a decoy bird near your pool. Owl statues are the most common but hawks and falcons will also work well. These statues make other nuisance birds think a predator has already claimed that territory and they will take up residence somewhere else. Remember to move the statue occasionally, especially if birds get used to it or start ignoring it.
You can also use automatic pool vacuums in your swimming pool to help deter birds. Automatic vacuums are constantly moving which discourage birds from landing in the water. Leaving brightly colored toys and floats in the pool can also help keep these pesky birds away. Keep your pool covered if possible. You can even use a simple solar cover instead of a traditional cover to help protect your pool from droppings and feathers.
Guard Your Grill
Birds will often nest in your grill or in the eaves around your patio. To protect your grill in between uses, invest in a high quality cover and use it any time the grill is not in use. If that’s not an option, cover your grill with bird netting when it’s not in use. Clean the grill after use and make sure there is no food residue left over. Birds will keep coming back if they continue to find food in the area.
Defend Your Deck
If you’re finding birds flocking to your deck or patio area, try installing bird spikes on fences or in gutters. It is difficult for birds to land on them, making it undesirable for birds to nest. You can also try wind chimes or ultrasonic noise machines which are also helpful and driving nuisance birds away. The noise machines give off a high-pitched sound that is undetectable to humans but will annoy any lingering birds.
Prepare Your Property
Taking preventative measures against birds will help in your bird control efforts. Discourage people from feeding birds in and around your home. Clean up any spilled grain or birdseed from feeders daily. Block any openings in your home (lofts, vents, eaves, window sills, etc.). Change your ledge angles to 45 degrees or more to prevent birds from roosting on them. Screen the underside of rafters with netting or wire mesh screening.
While birds aren’t usually a dangerous problem, they can become quite a nuisance, especially when you are trying to enjoy time outdoors. If you have a problem with birds or any other pests, contact your local pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
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It’s true – many wildlife creatures invade and infest homes during the colder months of the year. However, there are still plenty of pests that are active and looking for a place to inhabit. Knowing which types are prevalent this season and how to prevent them can help you protect your home and family.
As coldblooded animals, snakes get their energy from the sun. Because of this, snakes are more active during the warmer months as they require more energy to mate. You’ll typically see snakes out in the early morning and late evenings to avoid the high heat of midday. When they aren’t out, snakes like to hide out in cool, dark places such as underneath rocks and decks. You could also find them hiding out in your basement if they’ve gained access.
To keep nuisance pests from infesting your property it’s important to keep your lawn neat and clean. Clean up any yard clutter, such as piles of leaves and wood. Keep your grass mowed to eliminate coverage and trim bushes and hedges regularly. Always check your garage, garage doors, windows, and exterior doors for gaps and seal any openings.
During the spring and summer, opossum females care for their young, meaning they are more active in searching for food to nourish them with. These animals are nocturnal and search for food at night. During the day, possums will hide in trees where they will stay until the evening. While they eat unwanted pests such as snails, cockroaches, spiders, and rats, they also eat garbage, fruit, grass, and roadkill.
To prevent opossums, keeping food from being left out outside your house is crucial. Make sure you bring in pet food and water from outside. Pick up any fruit that might have fallen from trees, including tossing out the rotten ones. It’s equally important to keep your garage doors, pet doors, or unscreened windows closed during the night.
Rats are active year-round, but the warmer weather provides them with more sources of food. These rodents can reproduce very quickly and controlling them can become difficult once they’ve infested. Rats will typically make burrows before wintertime, building these under buildings, concrete slabs, around lakes and ponds, and even near the garbage. These wildlife creatures can be a risk to humans as they can contaminate food, chew wires causing fire hazards, and their urine and feces can cause health concerns.
Taking necessary precautions before you start seeing rats is the key to preventing them. Check around the exterior of your home and seal up any cracks, crevices, and holes found in the foundation or siding. Remove clutter throughout your garages and storage areas, along with using plastic storage instead of cardboard. Keep your kitchen clean from any crumbs and spills and take your trash out regularly.
If you’ve taken the necessary steps to prevent these common wildlife but are still seeing them, it might be time to call your local pest control company. They’ll be able to assess the wildlife issue and provide you with the best wildlife control and wildlife exclusion options.