Ah, springtime. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, the leaves on the trees are popping out...and the pests are on the move. Warmer temperatures bring many pests out of winter hiding to find food and water.
Pest infestation doesn't have to take the joy out of this season. As you work your way through your spring cleaning checklist, you can take preventative measures to ward off these pests and keep your home or office safe from them. Ants, termites, and mosquitoes are three common but serious springtime pests, according to our Charlotte Pest Control team.
As springtime brings milder temperatures, ants begin their foraging for food. They are motivated to travel from their colonies and eventually invade your home mostly from heavy rains to seek higher ground. Common invaders among ant species are odorous house ant, the carpenter ant and the red imported fire ant.
Odorous house ants nest indoors and are drawn to sugary substances. Carpenter ants are a larger species and feed on protein and sugar. They can damage wood with a high moisture content by creating tunnels for nesting in this material. Red imported fire ants have a painful sting and nest outdoors in visible mounds in open, sunny areas. They feed on oily, greasy foods.
To keep indoor ants in check, clean kitchen counters thoroughly and store food in tightly-sealed containers. Generally, the same guidelines of keeping food sources out of the reach of indoor ants applies to red imported fire ants outdoors: keep areas around outside trash cans and dumpsters clean. Keep in mind that even though red imported fire ants are thought of as outdoor pests, their foraging can ultimately bring them indoors.
These pests don't just put a damper on your backyard barbecue: many species of mosquitoes spread disease to humans. The warm weather plus heavy rains encourage mosquitoes to emerge and start reproducing in as little as 1/2 inch of standing water.
To control mosquitoes, our Charlotte Pest Control team advises that you eliminate as much standing water around your property as possible. Dump out birdbaths, flower pots, children's play equipment and any other container where water can pool. Check any container that could potentially hold water for mosquito larvae and make sure to scrub the surface of the container if you do find them.
When you are exposed to mosquitoes outdoors, protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and pants when possible. Apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon. These are the active ingredients that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends to keep these pests away.
Springtime finds wooden structures such as your house or outbuildings at their most vulnerable to damage because it's the start of termite season. Termites leave their nests to mate and begin new colonies. This activity is commonly known as "swarming". The damage caused by termite infestation can cost you thousands of dollars to repair or replace wooden structures. The worrisome part is that termites are silent invaders and the damage is done gradually, over time.
A top priority on your spring to-do list should be checking for signs of termite infestation. Look for the following signs of termites:
- Mud tubes: A typical location for these tubes is near your house's foundation, since they are protected from the weather. Mud tubes provide termites easy access into your home.
- Wood damage: Look closely at any wooden structures within your home. Signs of termite damage may include hollow-sounding timber, tight-fitting doors or stiff windows that are warped due to damage, or actual tunnels that may be visible in a broken piece of timber.
- Termite swarms: Flying termites are seeking a place to reproduce and start a new colony. Unsure if you have termites or flying ants? Check out this video to tell the difference.
After you've checked your house, garage and shed for termite infestation, make sure that wood piles are located far away from these structures. An even better idea would be to clear wood piles completely, if possible. Not only will you discourage termites from setting up house but you will also keep wood-boring beetles, bees and wasps away.
Our Charlotte Pest Control team wants to help you be prepared and informed about these three common springtime pests. To learn more about inspection and treatment, give us a call today!