For many people, bugs are a scary topic, but much of that fear comes from the unknown. Luckily for you, we’re here to shed a little light on those scary creepy-crawlies. We’ll cover everything from where to find them to how to prevent them. Best of all, our experts are here to not only remove your pests, but to answer any lingering questions you may have after learning a little more about their habits.
1) Carpenter Ants
The first pest on the list is the carpenter ant. These pests are not just annoying; they are destructive! Carpenter ants are the largest common ant, measuring anywhere from .25” - .5”, with the queen reaching 1”. Carpenter ants enter your home, chewing through wood in search of food. If they decide to move inside your home, carpenter ants can build nests and satellite nests within the structure. If the infestation is left untreated, it can cause structural damage.
Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation
- Keep an eye out for the presence of a few carpenter ants within your home, as they could be part of a larger group. Large, winged ants can be a sure sign of an infestation.
- Carpenter ants burrow into the wood to build their nests. Wood shavings, which may look like sawdust, is a tell-tale sign that you have an infestation..
- The sound of rustling in your walls or ceiling
- Seal cracks and openings in the foundation of your home. These openings provide an easy entrance for ants and other pests.
- Find and correct any areas in your home that have moisture problems. Carpenter ants prefer to build their nests in soft, wet wood.
- Cut any limbs or branches that may be touching your house. These branches can act as a bridge to your house for carpenter ants that are in surrounding trees.
- Contact a professional ant control exterminator company that can identify weak spots in your home and treat your home and yard with preventive treatments.
2) Odorous House Ants
The odorous house ant is native to the United States. Measuring from 1/16”–1/8”, these small ants are most easily identified by the foul odor they release when crushed. So how do they end up in your home? Odorous house ants tend to venture into homes when their source of food dries up. Being fond of sweets, they send out forager ants to locate sugary foods within your home. Once a food source has been found the ants will establish an ant trail, carrying the food back to the colony.
Although odorous house ants are not difficult to control, it does require patience.
- Perimeter spray treatments will kill any ants that pass through the barrier.
- Bait traps can be very effective. Forager ants will carry the bait back to the nest, killing the colony.
- For fast results and long lasting prevention, contact a professional pest control company that is licensed to handle the most effective treatments and chemicals.
Another common pest to be on the lookout for is mice and rats! Common to all of North America, these rodents can often be found in garages, pantries, or anywhere else there may be food and shelter. With dusty grey fur on top and white on the bottom, the field mouse measures anywhere from 4.5”- 6", with large ears and a long tail. The common rat is covered in brown, black, and grey fur, and measures in around 9” from its nose to the tip of it’s tail. Rats and mice will eat almost anything people will. Nibbling throughout the day, rats and mice can get into a number of different items, spreading disease and infection to anything they touch.
A few keys to avoid inviting a rat or mouse in:
- Keep your pantry organized and clutter free. Remove any excess cardboard or old food items.
- Store all opened items in airtight plastic containers. Unlike cardboard, sealed plastic is much harder for rats and mice to get to, and they’re much less likely to be attracted to the smell.
4) Bed Bugs
Known for disrupting your sleep and rapidly reproducing, bed bugs can be a headache for anyone that encounters them. So how do they find their way into your home? Bed bugs have to be carried from place to place, which means that if bed bugs show up in your home, you picked them up from somewhere you’ve been recently. This is most common in hotels, but any soft surface can serve as transport for these pests.
The most important prevention method is being a smart and diligent traveler. Thoroughly inspecting a hotel room upon arrival may seem like a hassle, but it could save you from regret later on.
Here’s what to do upon arrival:
- Leave all luggage in the hallway or in the bathroom until you’ve inspected the room. Even a few minutes is long enough for a bed bug to hitch a ride.
- Check all mattresses for any signs of small black bed bugs or small blood stains. Pay special attention to the creases and folds in the sheets and mattress where they may hide.
- Check behind headboards and mirrors. Bed bugs can stay hidden in small spaces until stimulated by a host.
- Keep luggage off of soft surfaces. Even if you’ve cleared the room, it’s still always a good idea to keep luggage off of the bed and floor. Instead, store it on the desk or suitcase rack.
- Immediately request a new room if you have any suspicions! This is one instance where it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you find any signs of bed bugs, immediately head back to the lobby to find another room!
Similar to bed bugs, fleas feast on a host. More commonly carried by animals, fleas can often find their way into your home through your pets. Uniquely dangerous, not only do they cause irritation and itch from bites, but they can also carry dangerous diseases.
A few key facts to remember:
- Eggs and fleas can remain in cracks and crevices even after the initial host has gone. That means that getting rid of a pet, or moving it outside isn’t enough to get rid of fleas.
- Fleas have small black bodies with no wings and like to hide under rugs, around baseboards and within cracks and crevices in flooring.
- Adult fleas can live for months without food, so unless you’ve had a professional clear your home, they can return at any time.