Summer is almost here. That means the time for hibernation is over and, if you're like most people, you probably find yourself spending more and more time outside of the house. However, you and your family aren't the only ones emerging with the warm weather. With summer comes a spike in pests and invasive insects that would love nothing more than to get INTO your home!
Here at Moyer, we've compiled the following tips and suggestions to help you safeguard your home against the four most common Philadelphia area insect invaders:
1. Odorous House Ants
This is perhaps the most common pest in the area. With large colonies consisting of anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 individuals, these home invaders can be a major hassle. One especially unpleasant characteristic of this pest is that, when crushed, they expel a distinct acrid odor; so finding an alternative means of dealing with Odorous House Ants is usually preferred.
- Since Odorous House Ants are extremely resistant to pesticides, invasions are controlled most effectively with non-repellents and baits.
- Odorous House Ants are expert foragers and are attracted to food particles and debris. Therefore, proper food storage and waste management techniques are key.
- Clean all kitchen surfaces thoroughly.
- Vacuum on a daily basis.
- Rinse your recyclable containers before storage.
- Most species of ants navigate according to scented “trails.” To deter follow-up invasions, these trails can be temporarily disrupted by washing the area with a mild solution of vinegar and water.
- Soap and water “moats” or sticky barriers help to cut Odorous House Ants off at points of entry and can also be used to prevent them from reaching plants or other household items.
2. Carpenter Ants
This is the largest species of ant in the Philadelphia area and also happens to be the most destructive for your home. Their main colonies are typically found in trees up to 100 yards away from a home, and they infiltrate nearby houses with anywhere between 1 and 3 satellite colonies.
- Just like with the Odorous House Ant, it's important to control the invaders' access points to your home. Follow any ant trails you discover back to their source and be sure to seal or caulk any holes you notice.
- Store firewood as far away from buildings as possible.
- Remove nearby tree and shrub stumps and roots.
- Trim back any branches that overhang your home.
- Control moisture levels within your home since Carpenter Ants are attracted to wet or damp wood conditions.
- To completely eliminate Carpenter Ant colonies once established, you will need to seek out and destroy their nests. Try using a small amount of tuna (packed in water) to bait an ant or two, and then follow the offender as he brings his bounty back to the colony.
3. Stink Bugs
The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species of insect that's been making its way into eastern Pennsylvania in recent years. Stink bugs get their name from the strong stench that they emit when crushed or agitated. As a result, these pesky insects can be an annoying nuisance inside the home. Much like ants, they are attracted to the odor of fellow stink bugs, so it's important to stay on top of your prevention efforts.
- Locate and seal off the openings where these insects gain access. Typically, stink bugs will emerge from cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings.
- Use of insecticides outside of your home may offer some minor relief from infestations where the task of completely sealing the exterior is difficult or impossible. It is not advisable to use an insecticide indoors after the insects have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas.
- Repair or replace damaged screens on doors and windows.
- Vacuum to remove both live and dead stink bugs from interior areas. This is especially important since other insects feed off of dead stink bugs and can cause significant damage to your carpet in the process.
4. Bed Bugs
These hard-to-eliminate nuisances have been enjoying a nationwide resurgence in recent years. A bed bug measures only 3/16 of an inch, so you may not even see them if your home is infested. But you will certainly feel their effects! Bed bugs love to hitchhike on people and are usually introduced to your home by traveling on your clothing or luggage, so it is important to take extra precautions to avoid bringing them home from your summer vacation.
- When you check into your hotel, place all luggage in the bathtub before unpacking. This allows you to get a clear view of any critters approaching your belongings.
- Remove the headboard and inspect the cracks and crevices for evidence of insect life.
- Pull up one or more corners of the bed sheet and inspect the piping area of the mattress for clusters of small, reddish brown fecal spots.
- If you find any evidence of bed bug infestation, talk to the front desk personnel and request another room or maybe investigate the possibility of staying at a different hotel.
- If you think your belongings may have been exposed to bedbug contamination, place all of your clothes and luggage in the dryer and run on high for at least 30 minutes. The extreme temperatures should do away with any unwanted hitchhikers.
By taking advantage of these tips and suggestions at the first sign of invasion, you have the power to control most common summer insect threats before they have a chance to spread throughout your home.
If you have any questions or would like to arrange for a Pest Control Consultation with one of Moyer's Service Professionals, schedule an appointment or call 215-719-2010 to speak with one of our helpful representatives.