Ever wonder why so many pests infest your home each summer? A number of factors can lead to a boom in population of insects during the warmer months of the year, and if you’re not careful, your premises will be turned into their headquarters.
As the weather begins to warm, insects and wildlife creep from their winter slumbers and begin their search for food. Pair this with their natural instinct to reproduce this time of year and you have a recipe for disaster. Although invasive creatures may be a necessary (and vital) component of our ecosystem, it can be a headache for homeowners to deal with, especially when they invade in such large numbers.
In order to make sure your summer isn’t ruined by the slimy, cringe-inducing critters, following are the seven worst summer pests to look out for, along with simple tips to make sure they stay out of your home.
Mosquitoes are quite possibly the biggest nuisance pest in the summer. Not only does their relentless biting and buzzing leave you covered in itchy bumps and with an irritated mood, but these insects are also known to carry and transmit harmful diseases to humans, such as the West Nile Virus. Mosquito populations peak in June, so proactive measures should be taken in their prevention early in the season.
The key to summer mosquito prevention is eliminating standing pools of water required for their reproduction. By eliminating these breeding sites on your property, mosquitoes will disperse in search of other areas to terrorize, so their numbers on your premises will be greatly reduced. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may also consider using eco-friendly products such as citronella candles or mosquito traps.
Just about every homeowner has had to deal with ants at some point in his life. Although virtually harmless to human health, ants can be a nuisance for homeowners, especially during the summer months. In fact, home ant infestations typically peak at the end of July, and they can quickly take over a home if proper precautions are not taken in a timely manner.
The key to deterring ants this summer is to make sure all viable food sources are stored and sealed properly. Clean up any crumbs or leftover food scraps that may remain after a meal and remove your garbage on a regular basis. If ants have already begun entering your home, follow their trail and then seal their points of entry. It is also important to eliminate all pooling water throughout your home, as these water sources are vital to their survival.
Attracted to food and sweet beverages (soda, alcohol, etc.) lying around the kitchen or the pantry, flies will take over a home in no time. If you leave decaying fruit or spilled drinks throughout your home, flies will quickly enter the building and begin reproducing at an alarming rate. Worse yet, they carry and can transmit diseases to humans, and some are even known to bite.
It is nearly impossible to prevent house flies from entering your home, but fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to preventing their multiplication. First and foremost, you should always maintain a clean home – this includes wiping all counters with disinfectants, taking out the garbage on a frequent and regular basis, and cleaning up any food items that may have been left out after a meal. Once you have eliminated the things that draw them into your home, it will be much easier to kill the few lingering flies with traps or a fly swatter.
For all those who own a dog or cat, summer ticks are a big concern. As people begin to trek outdoors with their furry companions, the chances a tick finds its new home on their pet increases drastically. Once attached to their skin, the tick can transmit life-threatening diseases, especially if they go unnoticed for an extended time.
Preventing ticks begins with active inspection. After each trip outdoors with your pet, comb through their fur looking for tiny ticks attached to their skin. If any are discovered, be sure to remove them completely (head included) using tweezers and a magnifying glass. There are also a number of eco-friendly shampoos and treatments you can apply directly to their skin to prevent ticks from choosing your pets as their next host.
During the harsh winter, termites retreat underground in order to survive. But now that the weather has begun to warm up, these destructive insects are emerging from their winter nests and looking for their next viable food source. If their nest is near your home, they could begin eating the wooden structures that support your house, rendering it unlivable until the infestation is treated and the damages repaired.
Termite prevention requires proactive inspections of the wooden structures of your home. Discovering an infestation can be difficult – termites are usually detected when significant damage has already occurred – but there are a number of tell-tale signs of their presence. If you come across any of these signs, contact a pest control professional immediately for their safe and effective removal.
Pollinating insects such as bees and wasps are a vital component in maintaining natural plant communities and seed production during the warmer months of the year. Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous and attack anyone around them when threatened. Stinging insects peak during August, but they can be present throughout the entire summer, as well. Although generally harmless to humans, they pose life-threatening risks to those who are allergic to their stings.
Since these insects are so beneficial to the environment, their prevention and removal should only be performed in case they pose a serious risk to your home and family. The key to eliminating them from your yard is to remove their nest, and it’s best done by a professional who can handle the hive correctly and not unleash a life-threatening swarm.
Cockroaches may infest your home throughout the year, but they tend to become a much bigger problem during the summer, when they look for a safe place to escape the extreme temperatures. Due to their fast reproductive capabilities, they can quickly become a major problem even after only a few have entered your home.
The key to preventing cockroaches is to eliminate the things that draw them indoors in the first place. Start by making sure your home is clean – this includes removing leftover food scraps, taking out the garbage regularly, and eliminating clutter they can hide under. You should also make sure your outdoor garbage can is not located too close to your home, as this will make them much more likely to continue their exploration indoors.
Although these pests may be a big problem for homeowners in the summer, they can be easily prevented if proper precautions are taken. Starting now will help prevent major infestations from arising in your home, and it will make eliminating the few pests that do find their way indoors much easier. If these remedies don’t do the trick and your home is taken over by insects, you may consider contacting a professional to have the problem treated for good.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an a