What to Know About Overwintering Pests

What to Know About Overwintering Pests

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

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.

Boxelder Bugs

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.

Lady Bugs

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

  • Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around house foundations, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
  • Clean your yard by raking, keeping the grass cut, and picking up debris throughout the yard.
  • Use tight-fitting insect screens throughout your windows, screened doors, and attic vents.
  • Contact your local pest control company for routine maintenance and prevention.
DIY Pest Control Tips for Household Pests

DIY Pest Control Tips for Household Pests

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.

Ants

Ants
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

Birds
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

Cockroaches
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

Termites
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

Rodents
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 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.

Spiders

Spiders
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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Have a Pest-Free BBQ!

Have a Pest-Free BBQ!

It’s officially barbeque season! Many of us are looking forward to getting together with family and friends during this warm weather for a backyard cookout. Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who love our outside parties; summer pests are also likely to show up and ruin the fun! While it’s impossible to get rid of all pests outside, it is possible to reduce the chance of them crashing your party by taking a few precautions before your next backyard BBQ!

Prepare Before the Party

Before your party day arrives, put preventative measures in place to avoid pests. Check your doors and windows for any gaps or holes and secure them if needed. Check your yard for items that can hold water such as buckets or toys, which can act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and empty or remove them.

Choose the Party Time Wisely

Many pests, like mosquitoes, are most active at dusk and dawn. If your party will take place before sunset, plan to have plenty of insect repellent on hand, especially those that contain DEET. Consider putting citronella candles outside near the party area where they can help minimize the presence of mosquitoes.

Secure the Food

Be prepared for pests to swarm the food and drinks you serve. Some pests, like ants, are looking for any food source such as fruit or sweets. Consider serving your food and drinks indoors and use your outdoor space for eating and entertaining. Try to keep your food in sealed containers when possible and, throughout the party, try to wipe and sweep up any food crumbs or spills to keep pests from infesting.

After the Party

As important as it is to prepare for a party, it’s equally important to clean up afterwards to keep pests from taking over your property afterward. Make sure you clean up any trash that’s been left behind, along with sweeping up crumbs and wiping spills. Wash dishes right after the party instead of letting them lay in the sink overnight. Make sure that you’ve placed your trash in sealed, tightly closed garbage containers outside of your house.

Preparing for a party can be stressful enough, but when pests become a problem they can definitely add to your stress. To ensure a pest-free party, consider calling your local pest control company who can provide you with an inspection and a treatment plan.

Spring Cleaning to Keep Pests Out

Spring Cleaning to Keep Pests Out

Spring is a perfect time to tackle home projects and deep clean the entire house! With warmer weather expected, it’s essential to get your home prepared and cleaned to make sure spring pests don’t infest!

For many, the kitchen is the heart and main area of the household. Family members gather, cook, and eat in this space, making the kitchen the ideal place for pests to take advantage of both food and water sources that are left behind. Pests like ants are known to infest the kitchen for these things they need to survive. Beetles and Indian meal moths are also searching for a food source, usually in pantries. To keep all these pests out, homeowners should make cleaning a priority all year long. Wipe down countertops after any spills or mess and clean up any food crumbs that might have dropped. Consider going through the kitchen pantry monthly to discard any expired items and wipe down the pantry shelves.

Keeping moisture out of your bathroom can sometimes feel impossible. Roaches and silverfish are two pests that are highly attracted to moisture and often found in the bathrooms of homes. With a little preparation and cleaning, every homeowner can eliminate moisture to keep these pests at bay. Check under the sinks and around the tub to ensure there are no leaks. Keep the bathroom decluttered by cleaning out the medicine cabinet and washing the shower curtain and liner.

Basements and crawlspaces are both dark and cool, making them the perfect place for pests to take refuge. Rodents and spiders are commonly found in these places and will often seek clutter and dark corners to hide in. Going through and eliminating cluttered items and belongings stored in the basement will help keep deter these pests. If storage is needed, avoid using cardboard boxes and use plastic bins with secure lids instead.

Keeping pests out of your home can sometimes feel impossible. If you notice more pests in your house than you can handle, consider reaching out to your local pest control company. These trained professionals can help identify the pests, provide a prevention plan, and treat areas as needed.

How Each Season Effects Pests

How Each Season Effects Pests

No matter what the temperature is, pests are still in search of two things: shelter and food. This means that throughout the year, your home is at risk for any pest to enter and invade. Each season brings different pests to the varying stages of their life cycles. This means that while you can expect mosquitoes in the summer, you wouldn’t expect them in the winter. It’s important to know the seasonal pest patterns for your area so you can make the proper preparations for your home.

Winter is a time for hibernation and survival for many pests and wildlife. The colder weather has most pests looking for shelter. Depending on the pest, they often seek it both outdoors and indoors. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects seek out places in logs or eaves of homes. Overwintering pests like spiders, cockroaches, and rodents tend to look indoors, sometimes in our homes, for a warm place to inhabit. The main key to preventing these pests is to start pest-proofing in the fall!

Springtime brings certain pests out from hibernation and many look to start the mating process. Pests that hibernate during the winter will awaken from a dormant state and emerge. Increased activity begins for pests like termites as their swarming season begins. Likewise, spring rain will drive ants out from their nesting sites in search for higher grounds. It’s important to ensure your home is prepared for these pests throughout the spring. Getting proactive now on your pest proofing will only ensure that these pests stay out of your home. Inspect the exterior and interior of the home for cracks or holes and make sure your yard is clear of standing water.

Backyard pests are out and about during the humid months of summer. While we tend to see fewer summer pests indoors, we do see a larger amount in our yards. Mosquitoes are especially active during these months due to the moisture of the spring and summer rains. Others like bees, wasps, and other stinging pests can be seen too.

Before winter hits, most pests are getting ready to hibernate and prepare for the cold weather during the fall season. In these months, certain pests and wildlife creatures will invade your property in search of shelter for the winter. Fall pests include ladybugs, boxelder bugs, and spiders. These pests are most likely looking for shelter before the colder temperatures hit.

If you feel your home is nesting unwanted pests or would like to ensure they don’t enter your home, call your local pest control company who can provide you with a home inspection, prevention plan, and treatment plan.

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