With the warm weather finally arriving, everyone is eager to dust off shelves, get back into that long-since locked backyard shed, and break out their favorite patio furniture. With the nicer climate and all that spring cleaning also come a few not-so-welcome seasonal pests that the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Rose Pest Control would like to make sure you're ready for.
Overwintering pests are the pesky buggers that, despite your best efforts, manage to live through the harsh season to terrorize you once more when it gets nice. Even the smallest crack or opening in your home, shed, or garbage can will allow for a suitable breeding ground. Besides the more common insects such as wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets, here's a run down on a few of the pests you might expect soon:
- Not harmful, but a nuisance in high numbers, especially to crops.
- Often congregate on the sides of buildings on which they have spent winters inside.
- Feed on fruit, leaves and stems depending on age.
- Considered highly beneficial due to eating plant-destroying insects (aphids, mites, mealybugs), but overwintering can lead to infestation.
- Seek overwintering shelter under leaves, rocks, and landscape timber.
- Some species, specifically the Asian lady beetle, is known to cause allergic reactions due to aggravating asthma.
Box Elder Bugs:
- Don't bite, however may leave a small mark akin to a mosquito bite due to their piercing/sucking mouth parts.
- Lives in maple and seed-bearing box elder trees during warmer months, but seek shelter for the winter inside crevices and cracks in walls.
- Attempting to kill them inside walls will attract dermistid beetles; use a vaccuum with a sealed bag instead.
- One of the first insects to reach a dead animal.
- Attracted by decaying matter and food odors.
- Breed in dumpsters, trash cans, and compost bins containing decaying vegetative matter.
- Attracted to insects, which are attracted to blue lighting used in outdoor fixtures; changing to yellow lighting is recommended.
- Drawn into buildings by negative pressure in the warmer months.
- Drawn to clutter and unsealed storage boxes, specifically cardboard.
How to prevent pests this spring
Want to keep these and other pests out of your home this spring to prevent the hidden costs that you could rack up in the long term? Rose Pest Control highly recommends these easy, NPMA-approved pest prevention tips:
- Seal up cracks and small openings in the houses' foundation and walls.
- Eliminate any standing water sources, eg. water barrels, bird baths.
- Keep tree branches and plants trimmed and avoid letting them touch the house.
- Empty the kitchen garbage frequently and always wipe the counters.
- Seal all food containers and store them properly.
- Don't leave pet's dishes out for too long with food/water in them.
- Keep garbage bins closed/sealed and clean, both indoors and outdoors.
- Make sure screen windows and doors are free from holes, tears, and dead insects.
Failure to check and/or remedy these seemingly insignificant issues can cause hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in damage to your home if even a few insects decide to move in for the colder months, so be sure to jot down a checklist to go over when it's time to stow away those winter coats for a while.
Still having trouble with overwintering pests at home or the office? Want more information about pests in general?
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