The temperatures are slowly warming up in Baltimore and around Maryland, and that means more pests! Spring is a time when many pests and insects in particular re-emerge and become active again. The population of ants, termites, stinging insects, and fleas will be blooming along with springtime flowers very soon. Read the following information to help you get ready for the pest surge:
ANTS AND CARPENTER ANTS
When the temperatures warm up, small odorous ants which normally live in the soil may enter your home if they detect the slightest amount of food. Their colonies will grow over time, so the best solution is to be meticulous about cleaning food scraps and seek professional pest control treatment for stubborn ant problems.
Carpenter ants feed on wood and are usually found on the exterior of homes. They can create nests and colonies nearby or in your home and cause damage by creating tunnels in the wood. Try to keep extra wood and debris away from your home to keep them from damaging your structure. Once you have a carpenter ant problem, you will generally need a pest control professional to treat the affected area for you. Carpenter ants are likely to recur every year, so be diligent about treating them at the first sign of activity.
Many people don't realize that wasps, hornets or yellow jackets may find shelter in attics and wall voids during winter. Once springtime hits, they will become active again and start reproducing. If you do see a stinging insect in your home, look for gaps around your home to determine where the insects are flying in and out.Get a good look at the insects and take pictures of any insect bodies or nests so that a pest control professional can more easily identify which species is nesting in or around your home. Properly identifying the insect is the first step to treating the problem.
Spiders are often found in basements, garages, porches and other sheltered places. You may notice an increase in spiders during the spring because there are more insects around for them to eat. Though spiders may be scary to look at, you may want to keep them around as they are beneficial insects that can help you control the amount of other insects in and around your home.
HOUSEFLIES AND FRUIT FLIES
Once flies are in your home, there is not much that can be done, so prevention is key. Keep your doors closed to prevent flies from flying in. Window and door screens should also be installed and should have no rips or tears. Also, make sure you are disposing of excess/rotting food and water so that you are not attracting flies or other pests. Luckily, flies don't live very long, so once you remove the source that's attracting them, you should see a quick decrease of flies.
Termites become most active in the spring and summer. Termites can cause significant damage to your home by eating wood and leaving behind "mud tubes", often in the basement. Fortunately, they can be controlled by ongoing monitoring and baiting, or liquid treatments. Homeowners often describe termites as "winged ants", because they can look like ants with wings, however make sure you call a pest control professional as soon as possible at the first sighting of termites or termite damage.
Fleas can become a big problem in the spring. Make sure you are regularly grooming and treating your pets to prevent fleas. Also, simple good housekeeping like vacuuming and cleaning floors frequently will reduce the risk of a flea infestation. Flea infestations are difficult to treat on your own, so contact a pest control professional at the first sign of fleas before the issue gets worse.
RATS AND MICE
Rodents are a year-round problem, but sometimes they appear in homes for the first time in the spring. Make sure your doors fit well and seal any gaps around your home prevent pest entry. Also make sure your food and pet food are tightly contained.
Wildlife like birds, snakes,squirrels, and groundhogs may appear on your property in the spring. If they enter your home or burrow around your structure, seek a wildlife professional to remove the animals before they start causing damage to your home. Proper vent covers on vents and chicken wire or lattice work under your sheds and porches can deter animals from creating havoc.