Being a pet owner in North Carolina means you’re probably familiar with the annoyance of fleas and ticks. These pesky pests can not only cause discomfort for your furry friends, but they can also transmit diseases to both pets and humans. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep fleas and ticks at bay. Here are some tips:
- Keep Your Lawn Trimmed: Fleas and ticks thrive in tall grass and vegetation, so keeping your lawn trimmed is an important step in preventing their presence around your home. Make sure to mow your lawn regularly and keep any bushes or shrubs trimmed.
- Use Flea and Tick Preventatives: There are many flea and tick preventatives available on the market, including topical treatments and collars for pets. These can be highly effective in preventing flea and tick infestations. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging and apply the preventative as directed.
- Check Your Pets Regularly: Even with preventatives, it’s important to check your pets regularly for fleas and ticks. Look for any signs of fleas, such as excessive scratching or small black specks in your pet’s fur. For ticks, make sure to check areas like the ears, between the toes, and under the tail.
- Vacuum Your Home: Fleas can lay eggs in carpets and other areas of your home, so vacuuming regularly is an important step in preventing an infestation. Make sure to empty the vacuum bag or canister outside to prevent any fleas from escaping back into your home.
- Keep Wildlife Away: Wildlife, such as deer and rodents, can carry fleas and ticks into your yard. Make sure to keep any food sources, like bird feeders, away from your home and use fencing to keep larger animals out.
- Hire a Professional Pest Control Service: If you’re struggling with a flea or tick infestation, it’s best to call in the professionals. A pest control service can help you identify the source of the problem and develop a plan to eliminate the pests.
Household pests are any undesired animal that has a history of living, invading, causing damage to, eating food from, acting as a disease vector for, or causing any other harm to a human habitat. While many are just considered a nuisance, some household pests can become dangerous as they pose a risk to health, property, and lifestyle. Also, household pests aren’t just limited to insects. They include arachnids, rodents, and wildlife.
While household pests can be found year-round, some are more common in the summer months. Here are four of the most common summer pests and how you can prevent them.
Mosquito season peaks during the summer months. Mosquitoes are able to reproduce in large numbers due to the warm weather and humid environments that accelerate their life cycle. If you have standing water on your property, you will most likely see mosquitoes since this is where they lay their eggs. Mosquitoes can be dangerous to humans as they carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases such as Zika and West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes can be prevented by:
- Wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs
- Eliminating areas of standing water
- Repairing or replacing torn window screens
- Applying insect repellent
Ants hibernate in the winter and come out in full force during the summer. Ants are usually seen indoors during the summer because they’re searching for food and water as these can become scarce for them. They are also building up their reserves for the fall and winter months.
Ants can be prevented by:
- Keeping your home clean, especially the kitchen
- Not leaving pet food and water bowls outdoors
- Sealing cracks and holes in your home’s exteriors
- Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house
Termite swarming season is in the spring, but these newly established colonies grow exponentially in the summer. Termites can go long periods of time undetected. This allows them to cause significant damage to your home. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of termites so you’re able to catch them early.
Termites can be prevented by:
- Eliminating wood to soil contact around foundations
- Keeping plants a few feet away from your home
- Fixing leaks and eliminating any other sources of excess moisture
- Having an annual termite inspection performed
Flies invade your home in the summer months to escape the heat. While they only reproduce during the hotter months, getting indoors allows them to do so even more prolifically.
Flies can be prevented by:
- Keeping windows, doors, and vents sealed
- Using garbage cans with tight fitting lids
- Storing food in airtight containers
- Not leaving dirty dishes out
- Turning off outdoor lights at night
Don’t let these common pests ruin your summer. If you have a problem with any of these pests, contact your local pest control company. They will be able to help eliminate them safely and prevent them going forward.
During the wintertime, many homeowners worry less about pests that are common during the spring and summer months. Contrary to popular belief, some pests don’t just die off when it’s cold outside. Instead, they use their survival instincts to get through the winter. Below is a list of 4 common winter pests and what you can do to prevent them when warmer weather arrives.
Seeing ants inside of your home is typically uncommon during the winter months. However, they are still around. They are great at overwintering and preparing for the cold. Ants prepare for the colder weather in the fall where they indulge in lots of food. This preparation helps them put on fat so they can survive without eating for weeks at a time. When winter finally arrives, their body temperature and activity will decrease. Then, they will seal up their colonies that they build deep in the soil or under rocks. This is where they will stay until springtime arrives.
Bed bugs are active all year-round. This means that they will invade your home whether it’s warm or cold outside. They are resilient pests and can survive temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes them an extremely difficult pest to get rid of. Common signs of bed bugs can include rusty, reddish-brown stains on bed sheets or mattresses, bites on exposed skin when sleeping, and eggs or egg casings.
After coming home from traveling, make sure you unpack your clothes and put them directly into your washing machine to clean. Always inspect your luggage for bed bugs and use a vacuum to clean it before storing it away.
Most cockroaches can survive year-round if they have access to a warm and moist environment. Unfortunately, this means that your home is the perfect place for these pests to inhabit. German cockroaches are the one species that are known to survive harsh weather conditions. When the cold hits, they are great at sneaking indoors through small gaps and holes.
Cockroaches prefer to live in humid habitats such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. To ensure they don’t infest your home, make sure to clean up any spills or food crumbs, vacuum often, and use weather stripping to seal doorways.
To help prevent these overwintering pests from invading your home once spring and summer hit, consider contacting your local pest control company. A trained professional can provide you with an inspection, prevention, and treatment plan.
Many will debate which is more effective – professional pest control or do-it-yourself pest control. There’s a growing trend among homeowners who want to be able to tackle pest control themselves to save time and money. Regardless of the route you take, prevention is always key to controlling pests. Below are some effective DIY pest control tips to try:
Keep Everything Clean
A clean house is much less attractive and hospitable for pests. Cleaning any dirty dishes and food scraps out of the sink will help keep pests away. Also, wipe down your kitchen counters and surfaces daily. Store food and drinks in sealed plastic or glass containers. Empty your garbage cans regularly. Keep your grass mowed and make sure to get rid of weeds. Lastly, keep all shrubs and trees trimmed back so they aren’t touching your house.
Make Your Home Less Attractive to Pests
Pests will come into your home in search of 3 things: food, water, and shelter. If you’re able to eliminate these attractants, pests will have no reason to come in. As referenced above, make sure you keep your home clean. Repair any leaky pipes and faucets both inside and outside of your home. Do not leave pet food or water bowls out overnight. Lastly, declutter your home and try to use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes.
Use Plants as Natural Repellents
Some plants are known to be good pest repellents. Instead of using traditional chemical methods, these plants provide a green pest control alternative. Plant any of these around your home for a natural remedy to common pests:
- Spearmint (for ants, beetles, fleas, moths, and rodents)
- Rosemary (for beetles, roaches, flies, slugs, snails, and mosquitoes)
- Lavender (for fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and moths)
- Lemongrass (for fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and lice)
Seal Them Out
Pests can’t get into your home unless they find a way in. Some pests only need a small opening to get in. Inspect the outside of your home for any potential entry points and seal them up. Make sure to check door frames, windows, utility pipes, and the roof. Repair any broken windows and screens.
Use the Pros
Sometimes an infestation can go beyond the scope of DIY pest control methods. In these circumstances, it’s best to call a professional who can properly identify the pest you are dealing with. They can provide proper treatment as well as ongoing prevention techniques that you can use at home.
If you suspect that you have a pest problem, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation.