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How you can control common spring pests

 

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Ants are just one of the pests that arrive with spring.

Just when winter thaws out and people are anxious to enjoy the blooming flowers and luscious lawns of spring, pesky pests can appear and impact comfort levels and safety.

"The number-one concern is the safety of the customer and their home," said Aileen Eddy, operations manager for Pratt Pest Management, which is located in Marysville. She said during the spring they receive calls concerning yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets and carpenter ants along with calls about rats and mice.

Many pests resume their levels of activity as spring draws closer and temperatures warm up. The presence of these insects and rodents may cause problems in and around a home, which makes it essential to recognize them and avoid issues. The following are some of the more common spring pests and how to remedy infestations.

Pavement ants

Pavement ants are some of the most common pests residents encounter inside and outside of their homes. These ants are light brown to black with appendages that are lighter than the rest of their bodies. Small in stature, pavement ants have parallel lines on their heads and thorax, according to pest extermination company Orkin.

Although pavement ants nest outdoors, they can enter homes through small crevices in search of food scraps. Their large colonies may not disappear until treatment is introduced. Keep foods in tightly sealed containers, clear counters and floors of crumbs, and address water sources, such as leaks.

Eddy said pavement ants are easy to deal with by applying a treatment directly into a crack and to caulk the crack closed. She said ants are looking for three things - food, water and shelter.

In cases of carpenter ants or odorous house ants, she recommended hiring a professional to deal with those pests.

Wasps

An errant wasp, hornet or yellow jacket may have survived winter and ridden out the colder temperatures within a home. Once the weather warms, queens will begin to look for places to lay eggs and establish colonies. Treating areas where wasps are seen entering and leaving the home is key. Seal holes as soon as possible.

Eddy said if a homeowner wants to eliminate a yellow-jacket nest, they should wait until the night when the insects typically sleep and hit the middle to the top of the nest, where the queen is located.

Although wasps help control other insect populations, their painful stings and potentially aggressive nature can make them challenging to have around a home.

If a homeowner isn't successful eliminating a nest or encounters a void nest located within a roof or a wall, then she recommends hiring a professional to eliminate the problem.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny, jumping, biting pests that must find a host upon which to live. As ectoparasites, they feed on blood while living on the body of living hosts. Pets can bring fleas inside the yard and home in warm weather. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, flea larvae develop more quickly at higher temperatures. At normal room temperatures, the entire life cycle of a flea is about 18 days.

Several flea control products are available to control fleas on cats and dogs. There also may be powders and sprays to alleviate flea infestations in the home. Vacuuming is also very effective in killing larvae in the carpet and at picking up adults.

Spiders

Many spiders are not harmful enough to humans and pets to be much of a problem. In fact, spiders can be helpful to have around to control the populations of other insects. Still, many homeowners would prefer these web-slinging friends remain outdoors. Therefore, sealing cracks in a home's foundation and repairing small openings around windows and doors can help keep spiders out. Also, alleviating moisture issues in basements, garages or attics may keep out other bugs that would be prey to spiders.

Homeowners can take the steps necessary to cut down on pests in and around their homes.

Eddy said that even though homeowners are capable of eliminating pest problems, they are busy and don't have the time to invest in such a project.

She said that it's a good idea to hire a professional to inspect a home and tackle any potential problems.

"It's a lot better to pay somebody to take care of it," Eddy said.

 

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