No matter what season it is, pests will always be in search of 2 things: shelter and food. One place that provides both of these is your home! Pests are influenced by the seasons so their threats change as the weather changes. Different seasons bring different pests in varying stages of their life cycles. It is important to know seasonal pest patterns for your area to make the proper preparations for your home. What can you expect as each season changes throughout the year?
Winter is a time of hibernation and survival for pests. Colder weather triggers a need for most pests to find shelter; some seek shelter outdoors while others will seek shelter indoors. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects will seek out places in logs or in the eaves of your home. Ants will seek shelter in their nesting sites. Overwintering pests like cockroaches, spiders, and rodents will seek shelter indoors, sometimes in our homes. The key to prevention of winter pests is to prepare your home in the fall.
Spring is a time of awakening and mating for most pests. As the weather warms, pests will emerge from their winter shelters and increase their activity. Pests that hibernate over winter will awaken from their dormant states. The spring rains will drive ants from their nesting sites in search of higher ground. Spring also marks the beginning of swarming season for termites. Most pests will move outdoors in the spring in search of mates.
Summer brings the height of backyard pests that put a damper on our outdoor fun. While we tend to see fewer pests inside our homes, we do tend to see larger numbers of pests in our yards and other outdoor areas. Mosquitoes are especially active in the summer months because of the moisture from spring and summer rains. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects are also more active in the summer; their nests can often be found on our near our homes.
Fall is a time of preparation for most pests as they get ready for the harsh winter months. Common fall pests include ladybugs, box elders, and spiders. These pests will often invade your home at this time of the year in search of shelter for the coming months. Fall is a good time to prepare your home for those overwintering pests seeking shelter from the winter weather also, like cockroaches and rodents.
No matter the season, there are steps you can take to protect your home from pests year-round:
- Keep your grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed away from the sides of your home.
- Keep your yard clear of debris and standing water.
- Store firewood away from the home and elevated off the ground.
- Inspect the outside of your home for cracks and holes that pests can use as entry points and seal them.
- Use weatherstripping around doors and windows and make sure screens are in good repair.
- Cap your chimney.
- Make sure gutters are clear of debris or install gutter guards.
- Consider enclosing your crawlspace.
- Keep food and pet food stored in airtight containers.
- Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight.
- Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
- Vacuum often.
- Repair any leaky faucets.
If these steps aren’t enough or if you already have a pest problem, call a pest control professional who can come and give your home a thorough inspection and help you with a treatment and prevention plan.
Ants are the most common household pest in the United States, especially during the summer months. As the weather warms up ants come indoors in search of food and water. While most ants are harmless, a few of them can cause problems for you and your home. Odorous ants can contaminate your food, carpenter ants can cause damage to wood structures, and fire ants will definitely sting if they feel threatened. When ants get into your home they can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and even around air conditioning units. Ants can be one of the hardest pests to get rid of. One key to controlling ants is through prevention. What can you do to keep these pests from ruining your summer? Check out these 14 tips for summer ant prevention.
- Keep your food sealed in airtight containers, even pet food.
- Keep your pet’s food and water dishes clean and don’t leave them out overnight.
- Wipe up any crumbs or spills immediately.
- Thoroughly clean your counter tops, cupboards, cabinets and other kitchen surfaces regularly.
- Make sure to also clean under your sink, stove, and refrigerator.
- Sweep your kitchen and bathroom floors daily.
- Vacuum regularly to pick up any missed food crumbs.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Dispose of your trash promptly.
- Inspect the outside of your home for cracks and holes and seal them with silicone caulk.
- Caulk around your windows and doors and repair any holes or gaps in them.
- Replace weatherstripping around windows and doors and repair loose mortar around your foundations.
- Keep tree branches and other shrubbery trimmed back from the sides of your house as ants can use these to access your home.
- If you have an ant problem, contact a professional pest control company who can identify the type of ants you have and recommend the appropriate treatment for them.
One of the perks of summer is spending more time doing what we enjoy outdoors – barbecues, picnics, gardening anyone? But, you know that all of these fun activities come with another risk – pests! Nothing ruins a picnic faster than ants or mosquitoes. What can you do to make sure you can still enjoy all the fun times outside this summer? Check out these 9 ways to protect your outdoor fun from pests.
- Remove standing water. Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Walk around your yard and fill in any areas where water is prone to pooling. Use pumps in ponds and fountains. Empty out any containers that contain standing water like wading pools, flower pots, buckets, toys, wading pools, and more. Check gutters and rain spouts for clogs and clear them. Consider using gutter guards to help prevent clogs. Check around AC units for leaks.
- Clear out clutter and debris. There are lots of items around your yard that can hold rainwater like toys, tires, and even half empty bags. Make sure these are empty and cleared away or, if you can’t get rid of them, turn them over so they can’t collect water. Piles of leaves, fallen branches, and rotting fruit can attract pests to your yard by providing them with food and shelter. Make sure these are cleared out of your yard.
- Landscape your yard. Tall grass and weeds can harbor ticks, fleas, and ant hills. Mow your lawn regularly in spring and summer so pests have less places to hide. Overgrown shrubbery and tree branches that are in contact with the side of your home can provide a clear pathway for roaches and other pests. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed with at least 1 foot between the branches and the walls of your home.
- Store firewood properly. Firewood provides food and shelter for many different pests, especially termites. Make sure firewood is dry before storing it. Keep firewood stacked above the ground and use a rack or a platform if possible. This way ants and termites can’t easily access the wood. Make sure firewood is stored at least 5 feet away from any structures like houses or sheds. If possible, store firewood with a cover or roof over it.
- Use screens. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Make sure doors and windows have screens on them. Check screens regularly for holes and tears and repair or replace them as needed. Check around doors and windows for gaps and replace weatherstripping as needed.
- Inspect your outdoor equipment. Regularly check the chains of swing sets and the corners of outdoor furniture for spiders and egg sacks and remove them immediately. Check under your porch, in your eaves, or near your grill for wasp nests and remove them immediately. Keep outside toys outside and inside toys inside. If you have to bring outside toys items inside make sure to wipe them down beforehand.
- Cover your food. Keep all food and beverages in sealed covers and containers. Keep food covered at all times. Keep garbage containers sealed. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal. Clean trash, spills, and crumbs immediately from tables and other surfaces. Rinse all beverage bottles and cans and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers. Use clear plastic cups for drinks since aluminum cans and plastic bottles provide hiding places for stinging insects.
- Use insect repellent. Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. If you must be outdoors during this time, use insect repellent that contains DEET. Use repellent on both exposed skin and on your clothes. Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid bites. Use citronella candles around decks and patios.
- Call a professional. If you suspect you have a pest problem, call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and a comprehensive treatment and prevention program for pests.
As school winds down, your summer camp prep is ramping up. As you go through lists and double check that you have everything your kiddos will need to have the best summer, take precautions to make sure they don’t bring home any stowaways. Read below for ideas on how to prevent the two most common camp nuisances: lice and bed bugs.
Lice spread by direct contact with hair of an infested person. Be sure to remind children away at camp to not share personal items such as hats, brushes, and combs.
- Be informed; ask if there have been lice breakouts in the past.
- Make sure there is a lice control policy in place at the camp.
- The infestation needs to be treated quickly and aggressively.
- Keep an open line of communication with camp directors.
Cabins and other camper belongings are the perfect hiding and breeding sites for bed bugs. They travel in the belongings of other campers and make their way to your home in the luggage of your camper.
- Inquire if there have been past bed bug infestations and when the last time the camp invested in new mattresses.
- Make sure to properly inspect your child’s bedding when dropping them off at camp.
- Use a plastic trash bag to store luggage during the duration of camp. This will make it harder for the bed bugs to hitch a ride back to your home.
- Once back home, leave luggage in the garage or in the driveway. Take out all the clothing and immediately take to the washer to be washed with hot water. Once done, make sure to dry the clothing on a high heat setting because bed bugs cannot survive at temperatures above 122 degrees. Vacuum the suitcase before putting it away.
We hope these tips benefit you and your camper this summer! If you suspect that you have a lice or bed bug infestation, call a pest control company to schedule an inspection as soon as possible.
With the last day of school, graduation ceremonies, and Memorial Day quickly approaching, you’re probably feeling the pressure to get your outdoor area ready for all the festivities. Not only are you concerned about the look of your lawn and impressing your guests, but you also need to know which pests to avoid and, if possible, prevent from ruining your celebration. Here’s your party pest avoidance checklist:
We’d like to be completely rid of mosquitoes forever, but that would be a difficult task! Let’s look at what you can do to reduce their occurrence in and around your home:
- Eliminate breeding grounds
- Be cautious of the time of day you plan your festivities; mosquitoes are most active early morning and late afternoon
- Minimize wearing floral prints and perfumes as they attract more mosquitoes
- Receive regular mosquito reduction service
We understand the concern that ticks can breed. Take a look at these tips to prevent one of these pests attaching to you:
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see if you have picked up any ticks if you live in a wooded area
- Wearing long-sleeves, pants, and shoes without open toes is suggested if your festivities are in an area with tall grass. Ticks will use the tall grass to attach to you
- Keep grass cut low and inspect yourself thoroughly after working in the yard
Fleas are typically a nuisance for our furry friends, though they can still cause issues for you too. Here are a few suggestions to keep your home and pets flea-free:
- Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dust
- Vacuum carpets, mop floors, and clean furniture regularly
- Bathe pets frequently and speak with a vet about preventative medicine
- If you think you have a flea infestation in your home and/or yard, call your exterminator for a free flea treatment quote
Like mosquitoes, fire ants can be an unwanted fixture on your lawn during the warmer months. They leave painful bites and can be an issue for pets and humans alike. To prevent fire ants from ruining your summer fun, try these tips:
- Avoid all contact with fire ant mounds
- To stop them from coming into your home, seal any cracks and replace any weather-stripping
- If you see mounds around your home, call a pest control company to discuss a treatment plan