This summer’s record heat has led to a lot of discomfort, health threats and headache for people around the United States, but the one population that isn’t bugged by the high temperatures is bugs themselves. Hot weather is ideal for insect breeding and development, leading to even more pests than ever in our backyards and homes.
Pest management pros are reporting major increases in the numbers of ants, bees, wasps, crickets, grasshoppers and mosquitoes they’re seeing in neighborhoods around the country, and remind us to be vigilant in protecting our homes against these unwanted summertime visitors. The search for water tends to bring buggy visitors like ants indoors, so managing moisture and tending to leaks takes on new importance this season. It’s also wise to spend time sealing gaps and cracks, and there are plenty of sustainable ways to keep swelling insect populations from invading your personal oasis.
One of the most threatening summer pests of all, though, is the mosquito. As mosquitoes multiply, so does the opportunity for exposure to dangerous diseases like West Nile virus. But no matter how much the weather cooperates with mosquitoes’ lifestyle, you don’t have to. Here are some ways to prevent mosquito gatherings and bites, as recommended by the National Pest Management Association:
• Standing water and other accumulations of moisture are prime mosquito nesting and breeding grounds, so eliminate them from your backyard and other exterior spaces. This includes water collecting on pool covers and in flowerpots, wheelbarrows, outdoor toys and pet dishes.
• Regularly replace water in birdbaths, and consider adding a fountain or drip system to every birdbath and outdoor pond.
• Make sure doors and windows are properly screened to keep mosquitoes outside.
• Mosquito-biting activity peaks during the dawn, dusk and early evening hours, so be alert if you’re outside during these periods.
• Before heading to your extended outdoor activities, apply mosquito repellent containing DEET, and dress in long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Also avoid putting on sweet-smelling perfumes and colognes, which are mosquito attractants.