The arrival of
spring weather brings with it an influx of insects and rodents. Though
they vary in type, depending on the region, they’re still a problem
most homeowners face. Some are more than just a nuisance; left to
their own devices, they can do serious damage to homes.
have such a high rodent population in the northwest, we always have a
large amount of rodent pressure," said Dan Huie of United Pest
Solutions Inc. in Seattle. "There are some mice, but it’s
mostly rats. With the dense vegetation we have and the moist
climate, there’s always enough food and enough protection for them
out in the wild. They’ve kind of acclimated and have kind of taken
over the city. Also, now we’re having a lot of small nuisance ants.
Those are the ones that tend to trail into peoples’ homes. People
call them either sweet-feeding ants, or moisture ants, things like
that. They’re the small little black ants that just cause headaches
for people all over their homes."
also making their presence felt this spring; everywhere from the
northeast part of the U.S. down to the southwest. Termites, also known
as swarmers, tend to emerge from their nest on the first warm spring
day of the year and can number in the thousands in one area, making
them easily visible to homeowners.
can easily be confused by homeowners with flying ants but can cause
significantly more damage. Homeowners who see a swarm of flying
insects around their property would be well-served to contact a
professional. Wood-feeding termites cost homeowners $5 billion a
year in damages, according to the National Pest Management
Association. Like bedbugs, treating for termites can be costly, so
homeowners should always seek a second and third opinion before
agreeing to any high-priced treatment.
also thrive in the spring, said Phil Coulson of Custom Care Pest
Services in Boise, Idaho.
seasonal," Coulson said. "In the last 30 days or so, things
are starting to warm up and we’re seeing emerging wasps, hornets and
yellow jackets. We’re getting calls for spiders and ants that are
There are a few
common denominators that homeowners can address on their own to
minimize pests being attracted to their homes. To start, trim branches
and shrubs that could reach the home.
basically a highway for insects coming from trees and tree
limbs," Coulson said. "Bagging and removing leaf litter from
the ground also helps. Insects survive the winter by clustering
underneath leaf litter that’s been there all winter long."
Soil and mulch
that is piled high enough to reach siding is also a gateway for
insects to make their way inside the home, Huie said. Keeping garbage
cans and pet food containers covered with lids can also reduce the
temptation for pests to linger.
want to do a good perimeter check and make sure there are no openings
on the exterior of your home that are larger than about the size of a
dime, to keep mice out," Huie said. "Rats require something
about the size of a nickel to a quarter, so just make sure the house
is very well-sealed."
dealing with insect and rodent issues can have more effective
treatment outcomes by establishing regular service. Most pest control
companies offer quarterly treatments that range in price from about
$80 to $120. Often, these companies offer a guarantee to come back in
between treatments and treat for free if homeowners continue to
Before hiring a
pest control company, check that it holds the proper licenses for your
area and has liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Look for
a company that follows Integrated Pest Management principals, in which
pests are controlled in the most efficient way possible with minimal
exposure of chemicals being introduced into the environment.
(preventive) maintenance customer, the basic principal we try to
accomplish is eliminate the pests that are there today by treating
inside, outside and under the home and then maintain a pest-free
environment inside by controlling the pests on the exterior of the
home before they get inside," Coulson said.