Your flower beds are not the only things to enjoy the higher temperatures and increased rainfall this time of year. Springtails also thrive in these warm, wet conditions. Springtails, fittingly named for their jumping behavior, are tiny insects that typically live in moist soil. They are present year round, but populations typically spike in early spring where they can overflow into your pool, patio or even into your home. Springtails do not bite or sting, and are therefore harmless to people. However, because Springtails jump when disturbed, they can easily be confused with fleas and can become a major nuisance pest indoors.
Springtails are very small, wingless insects about 1/16 of an inch long. They can vary in color from white to blue, grey or black depending on the species. Springtails prefer to live and breed in moist soil and leaf litter where they feed on decaying organic material, fungi, molds and algae. Their natural feeding behavior serves an important role in our ecosystem because springtails break down old plant material, helping in decomposition and returning important nutrients to the soil. Weather conditions play an important role in why springtails may move out of their typical soil environment. Springtails need just the right amount of moisture to survive. If their habitat becomes too dry or to wet, springtails will seek out more favorable conditions. This can lead to tremendous numbers of springtails moving onto higher ground, which can often include your home.
Once inside, Springtails continue their search for moisture where they commonly end up in rooms with high humidity such as bathrooms or damp basements. Although these areas may be humid, Springtails often die once inside the home unless a leaky pipe or similar moisture source is found. The key to avoiding an indoor invasion of Springtails is to focus on sealing the home and reducing moisture conditions.
Outside, check for windows and doors that may not close completely, or plumbing and utility penetrations that may need to be sealed. Also, eliminate breeding sites such as areas with excessive mulch or leaf litter. Pay special attention to low spots around your yard that may collect water, and avoid over watering shaded areas that may not dry as quickly. If a crawl space is present, ensure that the space has adequate ventilation. Inside the home, be sure that door sweeps provide a tight seal, and that leaky pipes or other sources of water leaks are corrected immediately. Potted plants can also serve as an indoor breeding site for Springtails. Therefore, avoid over watering plants to keep moisture levels low, and always inspect outdoor potted plants for signs of Springtails before bringing the plants inside.
Remember, the presence of Springtails can be an early warning sign of moisture issues that could attract pests and lead to costly water damage, so be sure to let us know if you have noticed Springtails in or around your home
It’s the time of the year when critters are preparing for cold weather and finding places to nest for the winter. We’re already seeing an increase in reporting of mice, rats, and raccoons. Animals are relentless at finding ways to get into your home, so you may want to inspect your home before it gets too cold. In fact, according to PestWorld, 45% of all rodent infestations happen in the fall and winter!
Pests like mice are relentless in the fall and winter as they seek warmth and food. Mice are like mini-torpedoes, with incredibly strong jaws and a body that can fit through cracks a fraction of their size. These pests will find cracks in your foundation, walls, attics, and floors – especially near food – and chew until they can make it in and out. And within months, a couple mice can reproduce into hundreds of mice!
Pests cause structural damage inside your walls, attics, and crawl spaces as they build out their new home in yours. The best means of keeping them out is to inspect and remove any openings or things that attract them.
- Piping – if you have water pipes that run through crawl spaces, be sure you don’t have any leaks. Even the smallest drip can be a great water supply for a small rodent. Damp spots are magnets for insects as well.
- Foundation – be on the lookout for any holes or large cracks in your foundation. Small animals can get into those gaps and then chew their way through wood to get to warmth.
- Doors and windows – a loose door or window can provide enough of a gap for pests to squeeze through. Even a screen with a rip in it can attract unwanted pests.
- Chimney – since you haven’t used it in a while, have your chimney cleaned and inspected. Birds and other small animals may have created nests without you realizing it.
- Roof – broken shingles and cracked caulk are gaps where pests and insects can enter your attic.
- Crawl Spaces – try to ensure you have an access cover or door to stop your crawl space from becoming the local hotel for every pest in the neighborhood.
- Ventilation – vents sometimes settle and provide a cozy superhighway and nesting ground right in your home.
- Vegetation – outside of your home, it’s time to trim limbs and bushes that are touching your property. A great tree limb is a bridge for an animal to get safely in your attic or chimney. Cut them back a couple feet so that they can’t take the leap.
- Firewood – store your firewood as far away from your home as possible while still being convenient.
- Food – store food like cat and dog food in plastic containers that close tight. The scent of a free meal may be too good to pass up for a pest. And once they find a source, they’ll stay close to keep themselves fat and happy for the winter.
It’s not just a great idea to keep your home secure from pests, these are also ways that the cold air gets into your home and racks up your electric bill. Taking a few hours to check everything while the weather is nice can save you a few bucks a month on your utility bills as well!
If you hear odd noises in your home like scratching or chewing, you may already have someone setting up their little pet apartment. As well, you may see small droppings and mistake it for dirt. Keep alert to these as you may have an infestation already. Pests will do a great job of staying hidden during the daytime or when no one is home.
You can’t blame a family of pests for seeking shelter as the weather turns cold. And it’s not necessary to kill or poison these pests, they can be safely removed and relocated to a new home far away from yours. We can trap the animal and release it in an authorized catch and release location designated by the city or county.
We’re not adamantly opposed to do-it-yourself extermination in some cases, but most pest problems call for a great, licensed pest control professional. Home owners, restaurateurs, and commercial real estate managers can get easily frustrated and wind up in more trouble, spending more money than they had imagined. There are several reasons why:
- Pests found their way into your home and business somehow. It’s not just about treating the affected space and putting out poison, it’s about figuring out how they were able to get there in the first place. Our technicians know how and where to look for places that are vulnerable to pests. If you don’t find the entry points, you’re just going to have the problem keep coming back. And each time a pest returns, the damage typically grows.
- Chemicals for pest control can impact your family and pets. Some chemicals have great potency but don’t last long, ensuring the pest is exterminated without leaving behind a problem that could impact your household or business. Store-bought chemicals may not have the quality and effectiveness of commercially available treatments. And every chemical requires special care for handling and how it’s disposed of.
- Experience is worth the investment when it comes to pest control. Our technicians are trained, licensed, and experienced. Without experience, D-I-Y extermination often doesn’t last, can produce more costly problems down the road, and may even cause you to get sick when working with the treatments.
- Education on treatments and pests is ongoing. Our relationship with Purdue keeps us knowledgeable of regional issues and our partnership with the National Pest Management Association keeps our technicians knowledgeable of treatment changes, new methods, and any other issues that could arise.
Investing in a reputable pest control company will often have a great return on investment instead of attempting to do-it-yourself. Not a day goes by that we hear from a customer, “We tried…” and the customer spent time, funds, and frustration in dealing with the problem. Give us a call and we’ll get you taken care of.