Summer brings warm weather, sunshine, and lots of time outdoors. Unfortunately it also brings a whole lot of pests. Several species breed and grow during the summer months, putting a damper on your outdoor fun and causing damage to both your home and your health. Here are 8 of the most common summer pests and how to prevent them.
Peak mosquito season is in the summer and they use the warm weather and humidity to reproduce in huge numbers. Mosquitoes breed in standing water so you’re more likely to see them if you have this on your property. Mosquitoes can be dangerous to humans by spreading dangerous pathogens that cause Zika or West Nile; they are also dangerous to pets as they cause heartworms.
Mosquitoes can be prevented by avoiding being outdoors at both dawn and dusk; wearing long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors; getting rid of any standing water on your property; making sure screens are in good repair; and wearing insect repellent.
Ants come out in full force in the summer months after being in hibernation all winter. They go on the hunt for food in the summer so they can feed their growing colonies and build up their stores for the cold fall and winter months. They make their way into your home in search of food and water.
Ants can be prevented by keeping your home and especially your kitchen clean; keeping food and water bowls inside and not out overnight; keeping trees and bushes trimmed back from your home; and sealing cracks and holes in the outside of your home.
Fleas are especially common in the summer even though they can be found year-round. You’ll know when your pets have fleas by the biting and scratching they do when they come in from outdoors.
Fleas can be prevented by using preventative medication on your pets; vacuuming frequently and disposing of the bag immediately; spraying your yard with flea spray; and washing your pet’s bedding every week in hot water.
Ticks can spread serious diseases to both humans and pets. Tick bites increase in the summer because we spend more time outdoors.
Ticks can be prevented by using preventative medication on pets; wearing long sleeved shirts and pants and closed toe shoes when outdoors; avoiding high grass and the woods whenever possible; getting rid of wood piles and other debris from your yard; wearing insect repellent; and checking for and immediately removing any ticks from you and your pets after coming inside.
Although termite swarming season is in the spring, termite colonies grow significantly in the summer months. Because termites can go long periods of time without being detected, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of termites to help catch an infestation early.
Termites can be prevented by getting rid of any wood to soil contact around your foundation; ensuring a 4 inch barrier between mulch and your home; planting shrubs and other landscaping a few feet away from your home; ensuring drains are pointed away from foundations and not clogged; fixing leaks and getting rid of any other sources of moisture; having an annual termite inspection performed.
While grasshoppers may not be high on your list of common summer pests, they can be quite devastating to gardeners and farmers. In fact, they can destroy an entire field of crops in just a few days. They are also one of the only pests that is known to be able to chew through screens.
Grasshoppers can be prevented by planting flowers that grasshoppers don’t like (lilac, crepe myrtle, verbena, sage, juniper); planting vegetables that grasshoppers don’t like (squash, peas, tomatoes); making your garden more attractive to birds as they eat grasshoppers; installing floating row covers on crops and plants; using natural products that kill grasshoppers but are safe for other animals and plants (Nosema locustae or Beauveria bassiana).
While flies don’t cause serious illnesses in humans, they can be quite a nuisance, especially when they invade in large numbers. Flies will mostly come indoors in the summer months to escape the heat. They also reproduce during the hotter months so once they get inside they will proliferate quickly. They also stick around well into the Fall.
Flies can be prevented by making sure doors, windows, and vents are sealed; using garbage cans with tight-fitting lids and taking the garbage out when it’s full; keeping food stored in airtight containers; not leaving dirty dishes or food out overnight; not leaving grass clippings in the yard; and turning off outdoor lights at night.
Stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets mate in the spring and spend their summer months growing. Nests are usually found under decking, piles of leaves, or in dirt patches in the yard. Stinging insects are especially dangerous to people who have allergies. Yellow jackets and bees can also get into the walls of your home and cause tremendous damage.
Stinging insects can be prevented by wearing shoes when you’re outdoors; using trash cans with tight-fitting lids; getting rid of dirt patches on your lawn; not wearing sweet smelling perfumes; and not swatting at them if they buzz around you.
Don’t let these common summer pests ruin your fun. If you suspect you have an issue with any of these pests, contact a professional pest control company who can evaluate your situation and provide you with a customized elimination and prevention plan for your situation.