Spring Cleaning Includes Preparing for Bugs and Pests!
Spring is in the air! At least we hope it is. Seems we bounce from freezing to beautiful every day now. While it may confuse us, it’s not confusing pests. As the days become warmer, you’re going to see more issues with ants, bees, cockroaches, earwigs, flies, mosquitos, silverfish, wasps, and rodents.
- Ants are most active in spring, building routes into homes to bring food and moisture back to their nests.
- Beetle grubs begin to feed on your yard roots… preparing for summer when they’ll emerge.
- Stink bugs will emerge from their hiding places and begin to mate and lay eggs.
- Wasps, hornets, and yellowjacket queens are coming out of hibernation and ready to start new nests.
- Mice and rats are on the hunt for food – finding any way they can to get into your home to feast on whatever they can find.
- Spiders mate in spring and their fall eggs will begin to hatch.
- Ticks that have stayed warm in leaf bins and garden mulch for the winter begin to lay eggs for the summer.
Since it’s also Spring Cleaning time, be on the lookout as you’re cleaning out your garage, opening the windows for fresh air, and clearing up the winter mess from the yard. Be on the lookout for three things:
- Water or moisture that will attract bugs and small posts.
- Dark and hidden spaces where bugs and spiders will make their new home.
- Cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation, siding, and roof where pests can make their way indoors.
This is the best time of year to prepare and prevent pests since they’re most vulnerable, mating, and laying eggs. Treating your home, gardens, and yard today can save you a ton of energy and money later! Here’s a detailed checklist:
- Cabinets and Pantries – empty out, vacuum out, and wipe down to ensure no food or traces of food are in there.
- Windows and Doors – patch and replace screens and insulation that may be damaged and provide a means into your home.
- Garages – move your lumber and stuff off the floor onto shelves with plenty of room to wipe and vaccuum in, around, and behind them. Break down boxes and toss out anything that will provide a home or bedding for pests.
- Leaks and Drips – keep an eye out for any puddles or moisture around pipes and hoses and fix them all.
- Foundation – walk around your home and look for breaks in your siding and cracks in your foundation. You can typically find outdoor caulking kits you can use to fill them.
- Firewood – store old firewood away from your home. Spiders and pests love wood piles.
- Soffit – clean and inspect your soffits frequently looking for wasps who may start building a new hive.
And, as always, if you find a nest or some other creature that sends you screaming – give us a call and we’ll take care of you.
Ants. ANTS. EVERYWHERE!
Fixing the issue early is key to enjoying an ant-free summer.
Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and ants are everywhere. It must be spring time! There are a lot of things to enjoy about spring, but an overabundance of ants around your home is definitely not one of them. There are more than 50 different species of ants that regularly infest our homes, and they can be more than just a nuisance in our daily lives. Ants can destroy goods and property, and they can even pose a health risk by contaminating foods. Although it may not be possible to prevent ants from entering your home without professional help, you can reduce your chances of an infestation by following a few useful steps.
Ants invade your home in search of three things: food, water and harborage. Eliminate attractive food sources by immediately cleaning up food spills, not leaving dirty dishes in the sink and storing food items in the refrigerator or in sealed containers. Foraging ants often attack homes from colonies nesting outside. Minimizing resources around your yard is equally as important to slow the invasion.
Start by removing overgrown foliage, brush piles and excess fallen leaves to eliminate harborage or nesting sites on your property. Keep trees, shrubs and bushes trimmed back away from any structure to prevent ants from using branches as a sky bridge into your home. Keep waste containers clean and stored away from the home. This eliminates food sources that may attract hungry ants. Lastly, fix leaky pipes, AC drip lines or over-irrigated areas of the yard that could serve as moisture sources.
Common pest entry points include poorly sealed doors, windows, and plumbing and utility penetrations. Many of these access points can be corrected by replacing worn out weather stripping on doors and windows, or by using an appropriate sealant to fill other gaps. Failing to identify or correctly seal all access points may still give ant’s free access to forage and nest inside your home.
Call us today to inspect your home, and to provide a detailed assessment of how we can protect your family from ants.
Spring into action against Springtails!
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
The Mild Winter is Bringing Bugs Early to Indiana this Spring
We wanted to put an alert out to our central Indiana homeowners and business-owners that we’re seeing some pest issues earlier this year than we normally are. Specifically, we’re already seeing issues with:
- Wood Bees – also known as Carpenter Bees, these are large black and yellow bees that resemble bumblebees. Carpenter bees aren’t fuzzy, though, and have a black, shiny abdomen. The male ones are annoying but don’t have stingers and the female ones will only sting if you irritate them. Don’t… just call us before they start munching away at any untreated or exposed wood on your home.
- Wasps – you just don’t want to mess with wasps! When you actually succeed in killing a wasp, they release a pheromone that attracts more… and with hundreds of wasps typically hanging out, you’re going to wind up running into the house for safety. Give us a call before they begin building their nest.
- Ants – we’ve got a warning below that ants are on the way thanks to the early, warmer, spring.
- Ticks – along with ants, ticks look like they’re going to hit early as well. Keep an eye on your children and animals and inspect them before they come in the house. Tick-borne diseases in the United States include Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia.
According to PestWorld.org:
Winter Recap: Uncommonly warmer temperatures across the region, with sporadic extreme weather including damaging winds, hail, and heavy snowfall. An abnormally warm spring could give tick populations an early boost. Expect the drier spring and summer weather to increase ant activity around homes earlier into the season than previous years.
Click on the image below to see it in full size: