Pest Control Problems During the Spring

March 22nd, 2010

Spring is the time of year when flowers bloom, babies are born, and new pests start to invade. The sad part about spring for homeowners is that pests become a big problem. Like new vegetation and new babies, there are new pests. Some may have been hibernating for the winter, while others can’t survive the cold of the winter, and still others are just more of the same pests from last season.

Spring Pest Control Problems.

Spring brings beautiful flowers, but it often brings out many insects who like to feed on these flowers.

So while some pests have gone away for the winter and did not seem to be much of a problem they will be back in action now that it’s spring.

Homeowners need to be extra cautious inside their homes during spring cleaning as many pests are awakening from their winter hibernation. Moving boxes and other items stored away for the winter you may discover pests or evidence of pests. Be extremely cautious as some of these pests can bite or sting if they are disturbed.

One reason for the increase in pest activity is that spring is reproduction season. Pests will want to get back outdoors, because many of them will not reproduce within a home and they need to start that process outside in a more natural environment.

Within a few weeks people will start to see populations double or triple as pests will be reproducing at high rates, and remember some pests reproduce many multiples of eggs at once. This becomes a problem because there will be more pests to get rid of. Make sure to call your local pest control agency to come out and help with the problem.

Spring Pest Control Problems

Even cacti will bloom flowers. Many rodents and insects will use cacti as a place to live so be very cautious around cacti.

Another reason pest problems rise in the spring is the new vegetation that is growing and blooming. This is a huge attraction for pests. Hornets, wasps and bees particularly like the fresh pollen on flowers. People will see an increase of these pests wherever flowers can be found. If you have flowers on your property, especially near your home, be extra cautious. Like many other pests, bees don’t like to be disturbed and if they are, they will go into attack mode. Also the new vegetation is a food source for many other pests and insects.

Not only is the new vegetation tempting, but any old vegetation left over from winter such as rotting citrus or compost, can attract pests. Make sure to monitor anything that you are growing, as some pests can be good for plants etc. while others can be bad. If you have bushes, trees, or plants growing make sure to maintain their growth. Homeowners do not want to let them grow wild, as many trees and plants are used by pests for homes and traveling paths. Keep them trimmed, and most importantly make sure no leaves, branches, etc. are touching the house, roof, or surrounding walls.

These steps are basic prevention tips to help keep most pests from getting inside your home. Some homeowners will go as far as having a low maintenance yard. For instance, you may decide to not have trees or bushes. But there are other ways to keep a low maintenance yard and still have some vegetation. Check out our prevention tips to help maintain your home from being an open door to pests. These steps can also be used year-round, which is extremely helpful so that come spring your home is already set to prevent any pests from getting in. Following is a list of the most common spring pests by state:

If you do not see the state you reside in on this list please check back as more states are still being added to our database. Also the database is still adding more and more pests, so if you have a problem with a pest and don’t see it listed in the database please continue to visit www.localpestcontrolservices.com as pests are continually being added.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Ant: Fire Ants

March 22nd, 2010

Fire ants are one of the most aggressive species of ants. Many people can attest to this as people are often bitten by fire ants. Fire ants usually bite people because their mounds (the large piles of dirt we always see on sidewalk or in lawns) are threatened.

ant fire ants

Here is a very large fire ant mound.

Mounds can range from about 15-inches long and up to five feet deep. The fire ants actually live inside these mounds and are very protective of their home because it’s their colony. If a person appears to be a threat to the mound the fire ants will attack and bite.

These small ants range from one-eighth of an inch to one-fourth of an inch long. They are dark reddish brown to black, and their abdomens are darker than the rest of their body. Like other types of ants they all have roles as either Queens, drones, or workers.

ant fire ants

Fire ants are not bright red as many people assume. They're a dark reddish tone, and their abdomen is always darker in color.

The fire ant workers are typically smaller in general than the Queens and the drones. Also, like other ants the workers are what keep the colony alive. Workers forage for food, protect the mound, take care of the Queen, and take care of the larvae and pupa. For the most part workers make up the bulk of the population of the colonies, which can be anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 fire ants. Within the colonies there can be differences from their neighboring colonies. Some colonies have one Queen, while others have multiple Queens.

Even though the Queen is the one in charge, many colonies are fine with having more than one Queen and these colonies seem to be a little less aggressive compared to single Queen colonies. Often times fire ant colonies are built near each other, possibly even on the same piece of land. Multiple Queen colonies usually have their mounds closer to other multiple Queen colonies unlike single Queen colonies where they are known for going to battle with neighboring colonies over the land and territory.

Fire ant colonies/mounds are found in places like large open areas such as lawns, parks, meadows, fields and underneath things. They also like to build mounds against the foundation of buildings and often times peoples homes. With some mounds being close to homes there is a slight chance that the fire ants will go inside, but most often they like to remain outside in the wide open areas.

Although on the rare occasion that fire ants do get inside it is because they are looking for food and or water. This can happen when people do not keep a clean home, there is a moisture problem, or there are openings within the foundation of the home or anywhere else on the outside of the home.

Another problem that comes with fire ants liking these areas to live is the danger they pose to the other animals already living there. There have been many cases where fire ants have attacked pets, livestock, and wild animals that live in, or are passing through these areas. Because there can be so many fire ants in one area they can cause a lot of damage to an animal. It is best to have a professional pest control company come and check your property for any fire ant mounds, as animals can be outside and accidentally step in a mound and then get attacked. Farmers also have this same problem, and even worse the ants can cause damage to the crops as they will feed on the vegetables or fruits that are growing.

Fire ants will eat pretty much anything so be careful. Another thing to think about is at parks; make sure you don’t set up a picnic near any mounds, as fire ants will travel up to 100 feet from their mound in search of food. When it comes to eating, ants cannot eat solids, everything has to be in liquid form. Also fire ants regurgitate food. This is done in order to share food, and to feed the larvae and pupa. The workers are the ones that will do this task, as they take care of the colony.

This task is constantly being done, as Queens lay hundreds of eggs. In one day a Queen can lay up to 1,500 eggs. From there the eggs either become fertilized or not. The unfertilized eggs develop into winged males, drones. The drones will mate with new Queens; the new Queens come from the fertilized eggs. Also workers come from fertilized eggs. This process is how the population of a fire ant colony can get so high, and it peaks during the summer time. Once the eggs become larvae they develop into pupa and from pupa they will develop into adults. From this point they will either be given a duty as a worker or be a new Queen and mate, after mating the male will die. This whole process takes 25 to 45 days, and is never ending.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Ant: The Pavement Ant

March 22nd, 2010

One of the many varieties of ants is the pavement ant. This ant gets its name because it usually makes its home on or under pavement. When you see those little dirt looking mounds on the sidewalk or flushed up to the foundation of a building, those are where pavement ants hangout.

ant pavement ant

Here is a mound that pavement ants have built on a cracks of a side walk.

The piles of dirt are actually soil particles that they have moved from their colonies, usually the colonies are nearby or under the pavement where the mound is located. Pavement ants will make their colonies under things like sidewalks, building slabs, large rocks, wood, and or boards. Lawns and anywhere water might be are also popular spots for pavement ant colonies. As the pavement ants build their colonies they can become very territorial of them and during the spring there are often ant wars over territory on the sidewalks where they reside.

These pavement ants that go to war seem pretty scary, but for the most part they usually don’t bother people unless people bother them – for instance, destroying their mound on the sidewalk. Don’t forget ant bites are never fun to get.

ant pavement ant

Here is an up close image of the pavement ant.

Pavement ants are dark brown to black in color and are small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long. Their body parts help distinguish that they are pavement ants too. They have an uneven thorax with 1 pair of spines, grooves on the thorax and head, and two pedicels that connect the thorax and abdomen. These traits are hard to see on such tiny insects, but are visible once you get up close. Another trait is that some of the pavement ants have wings. Like other ants, there are the workers, swarmers and Queen. In the pavement variety of ants the swarmers have wings, and are twice as large as the workers.

The swarmers are also the reproducers. They mate with the Queens who will bury her eggs in soil. Often the soil is the location for the new colony that this group of workers will help start. The swarmer’s only job is to mate with the Queen, and reproduction is at its highest in spring and summer. As the eggs hatch and the ants develop, they will spend that time about two to three months, tending to the Queen of their colony. Once the workers develop into adults they will continue helping the colony. One very important thing for workers to do is to get food.

ant pavement ant

These pavement ants are eating away at a sunflower seed shell, see they will eat anything.

The pavement worker ants leave the colony to find food. They will eat pretty much anything they can find, although they prefer things like greasy food, sweets, fruits, and insects — dead or alive. As they leave the colony in search of food, ants leave a trail behind them in order to know where to go back for more food and how to get back to the colony. Their journey in search of food can take the pavement ant up to 30 feet away from the colony. If there is a home, office, or restaurant within that 30 feet radius, the pavement ants may make their way into them to find a meal. This is usually the ant that people find in their kitchens, and so on. The pavement ant will really only go inside to find food, otherwise it stays outside.

Although depending on the location of the colony there are rare occasions that the pavement ants will migrate into homes for heat during the winter. If this does occur, the pavement ants will reside within walls, under floors, or inside insulation. So homeowners won’t really see that they are there, until they come out looking for food. This can become a problem as the pavement ants can contaminate the food with their waste. If you see pavement ants inside your home — no matter what season — call your local pest control company to get rid of the ants.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Centipede: The House Centipede

February 10th, 2010

Centipedes are a gross thing to find in your house. Many times people find them near a water source, like a drain or a toilet. People usually assume that the centipede got there by crawling up through the drain pipe, but that actually is not true. Although centipedes do live in damp areas, they do not crawl around through pipes.

centipede house centipede

Looks like this centipede is trying to get off this chair. Notice how longs their legs are, yikes!

Centipedes are flat looking, and sometimes seem to be slimy. Their coloring is brown to gray, and have stripes on their body. They can be up to two inches long, and on that long body are even longer legs. The centipede has 15 pairs of long legs, equaling 30 legs on their whole body. Their legs are white banded. The pair of legs at the end of the body is the longest out of all 15 pairs; and, this last pair of legs is also antennae.

Even though the centipede isn’t the prettiest pest to look at it actually can be beneficial to have in or near your house. Centipedes eat other small insects like cockroaches, spiders, insect’s larvae, and flies. By eating these types of insects they are getting rid of the other pests, this can be a good thing for homeowners. Centipedes will usually come out to hunt for food in the evening and night time because they are nocturnal.

While inside a home the centipedes really do not cause damage. Also the centipede is harmless to people. It is very rare that a person would get bit by a centipede. They do have a pincher, but they are used for attacking prey and eating. If a centipede were to bite a person there would be some swelling and a stinging pain, but again being bitten by a centipede rarely happens.

The places to keep your eye out for centipedes are anywhere that is dark and or damp. If there are centipedes in your house they are usually found in places like, basements, bathrooms, closets, cabinets, cracks, crevices, garages, and or under firewood. So keep a look out! Although there are some things to do inside your home to help keep centipedes away like cleaning as much as possible and keeping areas dry, especially the areas where centipedes are most often found. A couple other things that will work to help get rid of centipedes are getting rid of their food supply, i.e. other small pests. So have your local pest control company come out regularly to service your house. Also you can lay sticky traps around your house to help catch them.

Throughout the year centipedes may be in your home, so always keep it clean and dry to help prevent centipedes even wanting to get into your home. The one time of the year centipedes might be more of a challenge is during the winter, when they will be coming inside to hibernate. Fortunately they do not reproduce while hibernating, but you still could have a large number of centipedes entering your home.

Once spring comes they will go outside in order to reproduce. While outside if you do come across any centipedes don’t try to kill them they are actually more beneficial outdoors than they are indoors, and should not be bothered. The only problem that can come from centipedes being outside is that if they make a home near your house they are more likely to go inside. Avoid this from happening by keeping any leave piles, composts, wood, or any organic matter away from the house. These items are better off in your yard or garden anyways, and so are the centipedes.

centipede house centipede

This centipede has found a great spot outside, hopefully he stays out there!

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Flies: The Cluster Fly

February 10th, 2010

The cluster fly is a nuisance pest for homeowners. It does not bite people, carry diseases, no cause any real damage to a home. Cluster flies are about five-sixteenths of an inch long; they are gray with golden-toned hairs on their thorax. Spotting them is easy because they are usually all clustered together on walls outside, sunning themselves. This is also where their name comes from, because when resting they usually will be clustered near each other. The cluster flies are similar to many other pests as they just want to get inside houses to stay warm. With this in mind, the winter time is when people will most often find cluster flies inside their homes.

flies cluster fly

Here is a close up of a cluster fly.

In order to get inside homes, cluster flies search for any small openings outside that will get them into the house. Also when windows or doors are open, that becomes a great entry opportunity for the cluster flies. Cluster flies will start entering homes in the fall, as the weather begins to cool down. By the winter most cluster flies will now be hibernating within a warm home. While hibernating the cluster fly is not very active, so a homeowner might not even know they are there. Although there are occasions where the cluster flies will come out in the day to sun themselves. Even though the cluster flies are in a warm house, they still enjoy sunning themselves in actual sunlight. If homeowners were to spot them it would be near the windows of the home; otherwise they pretty much stay in their hibernation spots. The areas of a home that the cluster flies like to hibernate in are the attics and wall voids. The cluster fly is also known as an attic fly because that is their most popular spot to be found. Cluster flies also like to be higher up, hence the attic as a popular hibernation spot. Many times people may spot them in their attics because they all clustered together once they are in there. Seeing a big blackish looking spot in your attic might be frightening, but it is probably just cluster flies once you look up close. Once spring starts to turn the cluster flies will leave the house and venture back outside. Once outside again they will mate and eat, neither of which they do during hibernation.

Now that spring is here and the cluster flies are back outside mating will begin. The cluster flies reproduce very frequently. The females do not have to do much; all they do is mate then they lay the eggs. The eggs are laid in soil near earthworms. About three days later the eggs will hatch and the larvae will migrate towards the earthworms, and then burrow inside of the earthworms. The rest of the development is done inside the earthworm using it as a food source. Once fully developed the cluster fly will be on its own. This cycle will continue from the spring to the summer. During this time up to four generations or more can be made. As summer comes to an end and fall approaches the cluster flies will have to look for another home, or the same home, to hibernate in.

flies cluster fly

These cluster flies are sunning themselves outside, and are probably looking for entry points into the house at the same time.

Often times cluster flies find the entry points into homes on the exterior walls while sunning themselves throughout the year. As the weather gets cooler they will use these entry points to get inside a warm home. Then the cycle will just continue and repeat itself from hibernating to mating and so on.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Wasps: Bald Faced Hornets Life Cycle

January 25th, 2010

The life cycle of the bald faced hornet also resembles that of the yellow jacket. These two wasps have many similarities, yet they have their differences that make them the creatures they are. Unlike the yellow jackets the bald faced hornets have just one colony that they all live in. Everything happens within the nest, from taking care of the Queen, the Queen laying eggs, feeding the larvae, and protecting the hive. The bald faced hornet is not a problem during the winter. This is due to the fact that usually the Queens are the only ones to survive during the winter because they hibernate during the winter. Then comes spring and the lives of the bald faced hornet will begin again. The bald faced hornet life cycle starts in spring when they will form a colony throughout the year, and then in winter the workers, drones, and old Queens will die; leaving just the new Queens alive so they can go hibernate.

  • Queens come out of hibernation, and select a new spot to make a nest.
  • Sometimes worker bald faced hornets may have survived the winter if they found a warm place to stay, but it is very rare.
  • The Queen will lay her eggs inside the nest.
  • Once the eggs hatch the workers will take over the care of the larvae.
  • Once the larvae have grown they will become workers, and help expand the nest; and help with all of the other worker bald faced hornet duties.
  • While the queen is inside the nest she lays more eggs. When these eggs hatch they become drones which are males who are just needed to reproduce and new Queens who will be the egg carriers into the following spring.
  • Once the drones and new queens mature they will mate, shortly after the drones will die.
  • The new Queen will then start to look for a place to hibernate. She likes to find a protective place such as attics, tree trunks, hollow trees, or underground to hibernate.
  • During the fall workers begin to dwindle away and die. The Queen will also dwindle away, as the new queen will be hibernating at this time.
  • Since the nest has been abandoned at this point it will decompose and disintegrate, this also occurs due to the weather.
  • Then when spring rolls around the cycle will just repeat itself.
  • Also a new nest is always built, the bald faced hornets will never go back into an old nest, yet they might build a new one very close to the old one.
wasps bald faced hornets life cycle

Here is a bald faced hornet nest that has been destroyed, yet there are still eggs and larvae inside. The white sacs are the larvae, and the yellow sacs are the eggs.

wasps bald faced hornet life cycle

Here is a bald faced hornet hatching!

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Wasps: Bald Faced Hornets Are Actually a Type of Wasp

January 25th, 2010

The bald faced hornet is actually a wasp, not a hornet. This variety of social wasp is similar to the yellow jacket. Like the yellow jacket, the bald faced hornets have a Queen whose entire purpose is to reproduce for the colony. The most obvious difference between the yellow jacket and the bald faced hornet is their coloring. The yellow jacket is bright yellow with black markings, while the bald faced hornet is black with white markings. The white markings are on the front of the head, and some at the end of the abdomen. The coloring alone makes the bald faced hornet stand out more than any other wasp. The body of the bald faced hornet is about three fourths of an inch long. Another similarity the yellow jacket and the bald faced hornet have is that they can sting a person repeatedly. Unlike most bees their stinger is smooth and will not break off, and can be used over and over again to sting people.

wasp bald faced hornet

Here is a bald faced hornet, notice the white markings on the body. There's no yellow on this type of wasp, so it confuses people.

The bald faced hornet colony is made up of the Queen, workers, drones, and new Queens. Their life cycle is also similar to the yellow jackets. Within the colony the workers protect the Queen, and work for her so she can reproduce. The workers are also in charge of foraging for food for everyone in the colony to eat. Bald faced hornets eat nectar, sap, honeydew, and over ripe fruit. Of course the worker bald faced hornet does more than watch over the Queen and find food, they are the busiest of all the bald faced hornets.

In most cases another duty that the worker usually has is stinging people, since the Queen stays safe inside the nest the workers are there to sting anyone or anything that may bother them. However, being stung by a bald faced hornet can for the most part be avoided. Bald faced hornets only sting a person when they feel threatened or their space has been invaded. The invasion of space usually occurs when a person tries to approach a bald faced hornet nest. They are very protective of their nests, and if a person comes within three feet of the nest the bald faced hornet will become defensive and start to attack. One job that a worker bald faced hornet has is to guard and protect the nest, so imagine how territorial they are. Not only that, but there can be up to 800 bald faced hornets in the nest at one time. You wouldn’t want to be the one to invade their space and upset 800 bald faced hornets.

The nest itself is made up of small pieces of wood particles that the bald faced hornets chew up; and a chemical in their saliva turns the wood into a paper like substance. The worker bald faced hornets then use the paper like material to build the nest. The nest can grow as round as a basketball while maintaining the shape of a football, it has up to four layers of combs, and one entry hole at the bottom. Often times the bald faced hornets nest are made within trees, shrubs, meadows, forest edges, and or gardens. Sometimes the nest will be made closer to people like in the sides of buildings, utility poles, under roof overhangs, under decks or porches, sheds, wall voids, and or crawlspaces. With these locations there is a higher risk of a person coming in contact with a bald faced hornet, so homeowners need to be aware of these spots as possible nest locations. Check these areas of your home; if you see any type of nest it is best to call your local pest control company out to handle the nest. Only professionals should handle the removal of the nest, it can be very risky to do yourself. No one wants to be the one to invade a bald faced hornet’s space and risk being stung multiple times.

wasp bald faced hornet

Yikes! This bald faced hornet nest was made under a roof hang right by an entry point to the house. This is extremely dangerous and should be taken care of right away by calling your local pest control company.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Stink Bug and Box Elder Bug are the Same Bug

December 21st, 2009

The box elder bug can be a very annoying bug to homeowners. It is actually known to be a nuisance more than a pest because the box elder bug does not harm things like other pests do. The box elder bug does not damage things within a home, does not bite people, and rarely damages things outdoors. The only slight damage that comes from having box elder bugs inside a home is that their excrement can leave a stain on items like carpet, draperies, and walls. Also, if a box elder bug were to be killed by being stepped on or crushed by something it would let out a foul smell. The box elder bug is also known as the stink bug due to the foul odor it releases if crushed. Those are about the only two negatives that a box elder can bring into a home. When the box elder is outside it doesn’t do much harm either. Of course it feeds off of trees and such, but it actually does not damage them. The only time the box elder bugs could damage a tree or plant they eat is if there were an abundance of box elder bugs feeding all at once. Considering the damage that many other household pests can cause the box elder bug is not a threat, rather just a nuisance.

stink bug box elder bug

Here is a close up of a box elder bug.

Spotting the annoying critter is easy. The box elder bug has very distinct physical traits. They are about half an inch long, are an elongated oval shape, have wings, dark gray to black coloring, have three stripes of reddish orange right behind their head, red lines along their sides, a diagonal line on each wing, their abdomen is bright red, and their legs and antennae are black. The only problem is that their darker features help them blend in with tree bark, so they aren’t always easy to see. When they are not on trees they are easier to spot. Many times box elder bugs can be found on plants, grass, or flowers and the contrast of colors will make them more apparent.

stink bug box elder bug

This is a box elder tree, a main food and shelter source for the box elder bug. If you see one of these trees there are box elder bugs near by.

While on plants, grass, or flowers the box elder is most likely eating, as these are some of the foods they eat. The box elder bug also eats low vegetation, seeds, new twigs, cherry trees, peach trees, apple trees, ash trees, maple trees, and female seed bearing box elder trees. The female box elder tree is a favorite food for the box elder bug, and provides as a place to live. Also the ash and maple trees can both be food and shelter.

Outside the box elder bug enjoys the warmth from the sun. Many times if the box elder bug is not on a tree or plant, homeowners can find them along the south side of the home enjoying the sun. The box elder bugs sun themselves, just as people lie out and sun bathe. While sunning on the walls of homes box elder bugs will look for entry points like cracks or crevices. Box elder bugs will need to get inside the home when it gets too cold out, and cracks and crevices are the easiest way in. There are easy tips to help homeowners prevent box elder bugs from getting inside their home to hibernate.

Even though the box elder’s food supply and home is outdoors they do go into homes, but not for food like other pests. The box elder bug hibernates in the fall / winter. They start looking for a place to take cover in the fall and will make their way into the home or building as the weather cools down. Box elder bugs really like warm weather, so while inside homes they may follow the warmth of the house or any sunny areas to hibernate. Most often they hibernate in walls and attics. Once they find their spot, box elder bugs will become inactive, for the most part. At times in the day some box elder bugs will leave their spot in search of more warmth or sun, they will then return by the evening. This does not always occur, but it is how most homeowners end up seeing box elder bugs wandering through their home. Unlike other bugs or pests, the box elder bug will not even reproduce during hibernation. Only adult box elder bugs will survive hibernation, and even then some box elder bugs will get trapped within the home after hibernation and die.

Since the box elder bug does not reproduce in the fall and winter it will start reproduction once it gets outside again, in the spring. Box elder bugs will create one or two generations a year. The female box elder bug will lay her eggs on tree trunks, tree branches, leaves, stones, and or crack and crevices of tree bark. The eggs are a yellow tone, and as the nymphs inside develop the egg will change into a red tone. About two weeks later the eggs will hatch. The nymphs are about one sixteenth of an inch big, bright red, and wingless. Other than the coloring and the wings the nymphs look like smaller versions of adult box elder bugs. In order for the nymphs to develop into adults they suck fluids out of seeds, foliage, twigs, and or fruit. Also, during their development they will molt. Once they have become an adult they are on their own, and will keep the cycle going.

stink bug box elder bug

These are box elder eggs, some are more developed than the others as they are already red. There is also a nymph crawling over the pile of eggs.

Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org

Stink Bug – Box Elder Bug Prevention Tips

December 21st, 2009

Prevention for the box elder bug needs to be focused on during the fall or in the late summer. The fall is the peak time of the year when box elder bugs are trying to sneak their way into people’s homes. Occasionally people will see box elder bugs crawling around inside their homes already and panic. Trying to catch and kill them is tricky because you don’t want to crush them and let out that awful foul odor. Many people will spray them with a pesticide or a water and soap solution. This does not always work because it has to be sprayed directly on the box elder bug. The best thing to do if you find box elder bugs in you home is to call your local pest control service out to your house. If you don’t think you have a box elder bug problem these tips will help ensure that a box elder bug problem doesn’t occur in the future. Like prevention for many other pests the steps are easy. Here are some of the basic tips to homeowners to help prevent box elder bugs from getting inside your home.

  • Go over the exterior of the home and look for any cracks or crevices, as those are the most popular entry points. Seal any if found.
  • Check all screens on doors, windows, and vents to make sure there are no tears. Repair or replace any that are damaged.
  • Seal any openings around windows.
  • Make sure all doors have thresholds and weather stripping. Also, make sure garage doors have a rubber bottom.
  • Seal any openings around pipes or cables.
  • Don’t leave piles of debris near the home, dispose of these properly.
  • Rake leaves and any seeds that have fallen, especially those from box elder trees.
  • Box elder bugs are attracted to light, so use yellow lights outdoors and at a minimum of use. Also make sure not to leave any windows open near your outside lights.
  • Vacuum the inside of your home frequently. If you find dead box elder bugs vacuum them dead or alive. Do not try to pick up, as there is a chance you can squish them. If that happens they could leave a stain, and will leave a foul odor.
  • If at all possible, remove any box elder trees, maple trees, or ash tress that are on your property. This is the most effective way to not have box elder bugs near your home.

Pest Control Problems During the Winter

December 21st, 2009

Winter wonderlands are great places for people to enjoy the season and all of the holidays that are celebrated during the winter. Ironically people’s homes are winter wonderlands for pests. Yes, pests are a year round problem that homeowners have to deal with, but during the winter is when pest invasions are on the rise. There might not be as many pests during the winter as there are in the spring, but the risk of pests wanting to get into homes is much higher. If you already have pest control services set up make sure you have them year round and not seasonally.

pest control problems in winter

With snow and bare trees there aren't many places for pests to live outside during the winter.

The main reason pest invasions are on the rise in the winter is that pests are looking for a warm and dry place to stay. Some pests will actually hibernate within your home because of the warmth. While other pests will remain active once they’re gotten into a warm home. Having active pests inside your home during winter can be very dangerous as they can spread their diseases. Also while in your home pests can cause serious damage to wires, beams, and so forth.

The active pests that are inside a home will be looking for food, so keep all food stored properly and do not leave fruit out in fruit bowls. If pests walk on your countertops or on any food that’s left out they can transfer their bacteria etc. that they carry onto those surfaces and food. This is the most common way for people to physically suffer from pests, other than being bitten. Also pests will be leaving droppings which are contaminated with diseases and can cause harm to people. Keep an eye out for any droppings, especially in attics, basements, corners, etc. If you do find droppings call your local pest control service right away, as this is a sign of pest activity. If there are large amounts of droppings it can be hazardous to your health so do not try to remove the mess yourself, again call a professional out to your home.

During the winter it is best to maintain any preventative methods that you do throughout the year; by maintaining these methods in the winter your home will also be ready for the spring problems. The best way to think of your house, in order to protect it from pests, is that inside your home it is like spring year round. Even though pest problems are year round, spring is the highest peak of pest population indoors and outdoors. So if during the coldest time of year the home feels like spring you are sure to have some pests trying to get inside. Here are some of the most common winter pests by state:

If you do not see the state you reside in on this list please check back as more states are still being added to our database. Also the database is still adding more and more pests, so if you have a problem with a pest and don’t see it listed in the database please continue to visit www.localpestcontrolservices.com as pests are continually being added.

Picture courtesy of www.creativecommons.org