Although spiders are considered a year-round pest, they become more visible and active in the spring. Overwintering pests like spiders emerge as the weather warms up to lay eggs for the approaching season. Spiders are predators, preying on smaller insects for food. They are usually not a huge threat to humans with only a few venomous species in our area. In fact, they can be quite beneficial to have around your home, working as a form of natural pest control by eating other insects you may have around.
If the thought of sharing your home with spiders creeps you out, don’t fret! Here are some spider prevention tips you can use this spring to help keep these pests out.
- Keep your outdoor lights off at night. Many bugs are attracted to light at night, providing a feast for spiders who are hanging around.
- Keep vegetation trimmed and your lawn mowed. Overgrown bushes, grass, and other debris give spiders the ideal place to hide.
- Don’t stack wood or install mulch to close to the sides of your home. Spiders will not only hide out in these places but will also use them as a bridge to crawl into your house.
- Make sure trees, shrubs, and other landscaping aren’t touching your home. Spiders will also use these to get indoors.
- Clean up food and crumbs immediately, both indoors and outdoors.
- Get rid of stacks of old newspapers, magazines, etc.
- Dust frequently and vacuum weekly.
- Make sure windows and door screens are intact. Spiders will use holes and tears to get inside.
- Get rid of cobwebs both indoors and outdoors. Spiders will use these to store food once they catch their prey.
- Apply diatomaceous earth to your yard. This is a nontoxic option for outdoor pest control that is harmless to humans.
- Consider natural remedies to prevent spiders. Some common methods include the use of mint, citrus, and vinegar.
- Contact a professional. Spiders can be difficult to get rid of on your own. A professional pest control company can help identify the type of spider you are dealing with; where they may be hiding, nesting, or getting inside; and the most effective way to treat them in your home.
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An encounter with a stinging pest can always be alarming, as they are known to have a painful sting. Since stinging pests are most active during the spring and summer, it’s important to know the most commons ones to look out for and how you can protect yourself and your family.
Social in nature, the yellowjacket can live in nests or colonies containing anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 workers. Yellowjackets tend to build their nests on trees, buildings, and in the ground. Unlike bees, these insects have smooth stingers where they can sting several times if they start to feel threatened, which can be severely painful. These insects are highly attracted to sweet foods and proteins. If you plan on having a picnic or BBQ outside, make sure to keep your food covered tightly to eliminate the chance of attracting them.
Another popular stinging insect you should be aware of this spring and summer is the hornet. Hornets can sometimes be a benefit to homeowners as they can help control common household pests; although, they can quickly become a nuisance as they will often build nests throughout your property, such as in hollow trees, in the walls of houses and attics, and even in abandoned beehives. Like yellowjackets, these insects have smooth stingers. If stung by a hornet, the stinger can get lodged in the skin at the site of the sting. Hornets will eat tree sap, fruit, and honeydew. To prevent an encounter with these insects, keep both your food and garbage sealed in containers.
Known to build construction paper-like nests on branches, porch ceilings, eaves, and attic rafters, wasps can easily infest your entire property. These pests live in small colonies and like to eat nectar, along with common household pests such as flies and caterpillars. If these insects feel threatened or their nest is disturbed, they will sting multiple times. Their stings can be painful and often cause an allergic reaction. If you encounter hornets, don’t swat at them as this will only agitate them; instead calmly walk away and they generally will not follow.
If you’ve noticed these popular stinging insects around and inside your home, it’s best to reach out to your local pest control company to inspect and safely remove these insects.
While cockroaches are active year-round, the humidity and warm weather of spring make this a prime time of year for these pests to invade your home. Roaches prefer environments that are warm and contain moisture which is why they are most often seen in kitchens and bathrooms inside your house. They can also multiply quickly and can adapt to just about any environment, making them extremely difficult to get rid of. Cockroaches are dangerous to humans in that they are known to carry and transmit serious diseases, can contaminate food and other surfaces in your home, and trigger allergies and asthma.
The most common types of roaches in our area are the German cockroach, the American cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. What attracts roaches are food, water, and warm shelter, all of which can be found in your home. Roaches are commonly drawn to crumbs, spills, dirty dishes, garbage, pet food, open food containers, cardboard, paper, glue, and excess moisture. In order to keep cockroaches out of your home, the goal is to make it as unattractive to them as you can. Check out these tips to help prevent cockroaches.
1. Keep It Clean
Roaches are attracted to dirt and filth because they provide a source of food for them. Keeping your home clean helps eliminate these food sources, making them go elsewhere in search of something to eat. Wash your dishes and put them away after meals. Clean up any crumbs and spills. Empty the garbage before going to bed. Clean grease from your stovetop. Seal any leftover food in containers. Sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis. Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
2. Clear It Out
The less clutter in your home, the fewer places roaches have to hide. Besides that, cockroaches love to breed in newspaper and cardboard. Keep your home as clutter free as possible. Dust regularly. Get rid of any old newspapers and magazines. Use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes whenever possible.
3. Seal It Up
Roaches can squeeze through the tiniest of holes, especially around windows and doors, along foundations and roofs, in attics and crawlspaces, through vents, and into holes used for gas, electric, and plumbing. Inspect your home for any possible entry points and seal them up. For smaller holes seal with caulk; for larger holes seal with steel wool or foam; and for vents and chimneys cover with fine wire mesh.
4. Dry It Out
Roaches love moisture and need water to survive. Routinely check your home for leaks and plumbing issues, especially around faucets, sinks, refrigerators, and other appliances. Repair any leaks you find immediately. Keep basements and crawlspaces dry and well ventilated. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to help keep these pests at bay.
5. Go Green
Cockroach prevention doesn’t have to rely solely on chemicals. There are several natural roach repellent and elimination products available today. Some of the most common include:
- Boric acid. Mix equal amounts of boric acid, sugar, and flour to make a dough. Roll out balls of dough and place them around your home. Roaches are attracted to the flour and sugar and the boric acid kills them. Use caution with boric acid – it is not recommended for use in areas with children or pets.
- Fabric softener. Roaches don’t like the smell of fabric softener so it makes a good repellent. Mix with water in a spray bottle and apply where you see roach activity.
- Fresh coffee grounds. Roaches are attracted to the caffeine but it is toxic to them. Place coffee grounds wherever you see roach activity.
- Baking soda and sugar. This combination works the same as boric acid but is safer to use with children and pets. Mix equal parts baking soda and sugar and sprinkle in areas where you’ve seen roaches. The sugar attracts them and the baking soda kills them.
- Cayenne, Garlic, and Onion Powder. Roaches hate the smell of each of these spices. Sprinkle it around your home for an effective roach repellent.
- Essential Oils. The most effective essential oils to use against roaches are tea tree, mint, and clove oils. Dilute each of these with water and spray anywhere you see roaches in your home.
6. Leave It To The Pros
For the most effective preventative and ongoing roach control, have your home inspected and treated on a regular basis – usually monthly or quarterly – by a professional pest control company. These professionals can provide you with a thorough inspection to help identify what type of pest you are dealing with, the most likely points of entry they are using, and the most up-to-date treatment and prevention options available.
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Warmer weather triggers the emergence of animals from hibernation. What many homeowners don’t realize is that wildlife will sometimes take refuge inside your home during the cold winter months. Once the weather starts warming up, these overwintering pests will start waking up and come out in droves looking for food and water. While some wildlife may be harmless, others can cause significant damage to both your home and your health. Some pests leave feces behind that can contaminate your food, kitchen surfaces, and even the air inside your home. Other pests can chew through wood and wires in your attic and walls, putting you at risk for fires.
Some common spring wildlife that can cause issues for homeowners include birds like swallows and sparrows; rodents like rats and mice; bats; squirrels; and raccoons. Birds use eaves, vents, and holes in the roof to make nests. Bird nest removal and bird control is regulated and usually best left to professionals. Rodents are some of the most common nuisance pests, getting inside through tiny spaces and reproducing quickly. Chewing and contamination are huge problems with rodents. While not as common as some of the other wildlife mentioned previously, bats can cause problems for you in the springtime. Bats will usually roost in gable vents and soffits but can also get into your home through the chimney or holes that they can use to access the attic. Larger mammals like squirrels and raccoons can get into attics and chimneys and even crawlspaces and basements. They are some of the most destructive spring wildlife, chewing through materials in your home and leaving behind huge messes.
So what can you do to keep these animals from seeing your home as a safe haven? Check out these tips to help control wildlife this spring.
- Check the outside of your home for any possible entry points and seal them.
- Repair any leaks or damaged and rotted wood around your home.
- Repair or replace damaged window and door screens.
- Use chimney caps.
- Use screens over dryer vents, air vents, and stove vents.
- Trim back trees from your roof line and shrubs from the sides of your home.
- Seal trash in containers with lids and don’t put it out until the day of trash pickup.
- Don’t leave pet food or water out overnight.
- Store unused pet food in sealed containers.
- Empty bird feeders daily.
- Keep your gutters clear or consider installing gutter guards.
- If you suspect you have a wildlife problem, contact a professional wildlife control company to safely remove any animals you may have.
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The weather is warming up, many of us are starting to spend time outside with our friends, family, and pets. Enjoying the outdoors has its benefits but also the disadvantage of coming across nuisance pests! Two common spring pests that can be harmful to both humans and pets are ticks and fleas. These insects will typically latch onto us or our animals, making their way inside homes, bringing the risk of infestation.
Fleas tend to be dark red or brown, with their size varying between ½” to 1/6” in length. Fleas have a flat body, two antennae, and six legs. These pests will bite both humans and pets such as dogs and cats. Fleas have the incredible ability to jump to great heights, sometimes up to eight feet high! Jumping allows them to hitchhike into homes while hidden in pet fur. Dogs and cats will often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or spending time outdoors. Once fleas have latched onto an animal host, they tend to stay there and then will easily transfer over to furniture or other animals. Fleas can be a health risk as their saliva is known to cause anemia, dermatitis, and facilitate and transfer tapeworms.
There are two categories when identifying ticks: soft ticks and hard ticks. The soft tick will feed on bats and birds while the hard tick will feed on humans, pets, and nuisance wildlife. People and animals are likely to encounter ticks during the warmer months. Ticks can pose several health threats to humans and animals as they can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease and “tick paralysis.” Some tick species, such as the American Dog Tick, prefer to attach and feed on domestic dogs, which in turn allows them to sneak into our homes. When ticks feed, they can grow up to four times in size when engorged with blood, making them much easier to spot.
Controlling fleas and ticks can sometimes feel like an impossible task, especially if you have animals. If you suspect that you have a flea and tick problem, consider calling your local professional pest company who can thoroughly inspect your entire property and provide you with a treatment and prevention plan.