It’s about time for the big thaw from winter into spring, when we’ll pack away winter clothes, get our homes organized, and do extra cleaning to welcome the season ahead. As we tackle these tasks, it’s important to remember that pests like spiders, ants, centipedes, wasps and bees will be readying themselves for the warm weather, too, which sometimes includes intruding in our homes.
All of these springtime pests thrive when temperatures are above 60 degrees. Cleaning your home helps reduce the chances of an infestation, but extra vigilance will help keep them away. Make sure your pest-prevention strategy includes sealing interior and exterior cracks, regular vacuuming, maintenance of ventilation systems, careful placement and storage of pet food, and thorough, consistent kitchen cleanup. Here’s more on how to keep springtime pests away from your abode.
Adult centipedes hide in moist, dark and secluded areas during winter. They may enter houses and buildings, but they don’t roam during daytime. They’ll settle in damp areas around bathrooms, closets, basements and other sites typically infested by pests.
Along with their 15 to 191 pairs of legs, centipedes have a pair of long, sensitive antennae and small mouths with large, claw-like structures that contain a venom gland. The carnivorous creatures use these claws to paralyze their prey, which include worms, spiders and small vertebrates. While centipedes may help homeowners get rid of these other pests, large species can produce bites that are as painful as bee stings and accompanied by numbness, discoloration and inflammation.
Because centipedes feed on insects and other arthropods, eliminating their food sources is a step toward controlling them. For this reason, it’s ideal to identify all other pests inside a home before performing any pest control. In fact, some experts suggest not treating centipedes directly, as their populations will die off or migrate if their prey disappears.
There are over 10,000 species of ants worldwide, and about 50 in the U.S. that can infest homes. They can be active year-round, and can range from types that are simply a nuisance to types that are capable of causing structural damage.
To prevent ants from gaining a foothold in your home, reduce attractive conditions like water and honey-dew-producing insects like aphids. This includes being vigilant about cleaning up spilled food and drinks, rinsing out cans and bottles before putting them in your recycling bin, picking up your pet’s food at night, and keeping both pet and human food securely stored. Outside, keep plants away from your home’s foundation, seal cracks around doors and windows, and make sure gutters and downspouts are clean and free of clogs.
Ants can be very difficult to control. It’s critical to know what type of ant you’re dealing with and find their nests and foraging trails. Being adaptive, ants don’t respond to control efforts in the same way as other insects, and they’re willing to travel more than 750 feet from their nests to find food.
Bees and wasps
Although they’re diverse, flying, stinging pests like bees and wasps have two things in common: they can exist where humans live, and can be dangerous if disturbed. One percent of the population is highly allergic to these pests and will require immediate hospital treatment if stung.
Flying, stinging pests make use of heat and light—heat to warm their wing muscles for flying, and light for direction. So, to reduce the risk of getting stung by these daylight-active pests, control efforts should be carried out at dawn, dusk and/or night, when most insects are in their nests. A pest management professional with the right equipment and protective gear is best prepared to control these dangerous pests, but you can take precautions that help as well. Frequently monitor around your home for nests, and if you find one, call in a professional. Also keep food tightly covered and secured while outdoors, cover soda cans, empty out garbage cans often, and avoid leaving food or discarded wrappers out in the open.
While all spiders have venom, few are considered harmful. Most spider bites are less harmful than a bee sting. However, there are four species are of particular concern: the black widow, the brown widow (which rarely bites), the brown recluse (whose bites may cause a reaction or injury), and the hobo spider (whose bites are still being researched by scientists). Black widow spiders are found throughout the United States, and the other three species are regional. To keep all species away, follow steps to get rid of the pests they feed on, such as ants and cockroaches.
Keep springtime pests away
If you’d like to learn more about how to keep springtime pests from invading your home, visit Orkin.com. You’ll find a range of useful information to help identify and eliminate problems, including a pest library where you can look up any species you’ve spotted in or near your home. You can also find a local Orkin pest control pro to help eliminate spiders, ants, centipedes and flying/stinging insects, and may arrange for a free pest control estimate.