“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky.” They’re…spiders, bats and bed bugs?
During Halloween, forget the typical haunted house! For most homeowners, just the thought of a spider building a web in the kitchen, a bat flying around in the attic, or bed bugs nesting between the sheets is all they need to deem their home a “haunted” one. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that autumn is a prime season for pest infestations as insects and rodents seek shelter from cooler weather.
“Halloween is a celebration of all things spooky and scary, but the holiday also serves as an important reminder for homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence in their homes,” says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. “Although plastic spiders and faux cobwebs are meant to be frightening, it is real life critters that can cause nightmares when they invade your home.”
NPMA offers these tips to homeowners for preventing a pest infestation during the Halloween season:
- Seal cracks and holes in and around the home’s exterior to block entryways for pests.
- Repair broken or poorly fitted window screens and loose/missing shingles; insure that locations where pipes and wiring enter homes are properly sealed.
- Do not leave unsealed food lying around, as it attracts insects and rodents.
- Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
- Check wood for insects – especially spiders – before bringing it indoors.
- If you see signs of a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and control the problem.
The National Pest Management Association recently released its Bug Barometer, a forecast indicating what Americans can expect from pest populations this fall and winter. NPMA’s Bug Barometer takes into account the weather patterns of the summer season in every region of the country.
Spring and summer are typically the most active seasons for the majority of pests, such as ticks, mosquitoes and ants, and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, the start of fall doesn’t necessarily mean an end to pest activity, with many of these pests remaining active until temperatures consistently stay below the 50-degree mark and they begin to seek overwintering sites.
After winter storms and frigid cold battered the Northeast earlier this year, consistent warmth made May one of the warmest on record for many cities. That was followed by periods of record-setting rainfall and exceptional humidity, which combined with the heat to provide ideal conditions for pests. Mosquitoes, especially, are expected to take advantage of an increase in areas of standing water and remain active until temperatures consistently dip below 50 degrees. The summer conditions have also helped tick populations to remain at average levels, where they will remain well into the fall season. The heat and humidity have also benefitted overwintering pests, such as brown stink bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles that will begin to gather on exterior walls as they search for winter shelter in the coming months.
As you head out into the outdoors and woods this fall, remember that Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are a few of the states with the highest rates of Lyme disease in the country. Lyme disease is a multisystem inflammatory disease that affects the skin in its early, localized stage, and then may spread to the joints, nervous system and, to a lesser extent, other organ systems in its later, disseminated stages. Infected ticks, which draw most of the nastiness from infected mice and deer, transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Untreated, the disease can cause problems in joints, the heart and the nervous system. Always remember to cover exposed skin with protective clothing like long sleeves and long pants when you enter woodsy areas. Keep in mind that most ticks need to feed for 24-48 hours before they can successfully transmit infections. So, it is very important that after hikes you do a full body check (including in the hair) to look for ticks. If ticks are removed promptly, before they become engorged with blood, infection is unlikely.
Pets are also carriers of these insects, so protect your pets with flea and tick control, and examine them after coming indoors, too.
Call Reardon at 302-792-9300 if you suspect an infestation on your property. Leave it to the experts!
Four people in Delaware have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. Three were in New Castle County and one in Kent County.
Mosquitoes have been bad this summer because of early, heavy rains and are expected to spread the virus until cold weather arrives.
You can read more information at delaware.gov
Honeybees have a very interesting method of winter survival. Honeybees stop flying when the weather drops below 50 degrees. When the temperature drops below that, the bees all crowd into the lower central area of the hive and form a “winter cluster.” The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering in order to keep the center around 80 degrees. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold. The outside edges of the cluster stay at about 46-48 degrees. The colder the weather is outside, the more compact the cluster becomes.
Hibernating honeybees have been studied and shown to consume up to 30 pounds of stored honey during the winter months, which helps the bees produce body heat. Heat energy is produced by the oxidation of the honey, and circulated throughout the hive by the wing-fanning of worker bees. Note the diagram at right.
On warmer days, bees will venture out for short flights to eliminate body waste. The flights do not last long nor do the bees travel very far because if their body gets too cold they might not be able to return to the hive.
As summer slowly begins to wind down, please use caution when dealing with stinging insects. Be aware that these stinging pests are entering into their most active time of year as they forage for food that will sustain them during the winter. Those spending time outdoors need to remember that stinging insects, such as bees, wasps and hornets, remain a threat even as the days get shorter.
While some stinging insects are beneficial in that they pollinate plants and eat other harmful insects, they also send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. For the majority of Americans, stings cause localized swelling and pain. However, 3 percent of the population experiences severe allergic reactions such as rashes, hives and shortness of breath.
If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your property, DO NOT attempt to move it on your own. Contact our pest professionals at 302-792-9300 to safely remove the threat.
For many pests, including rodents, spiders and cockroaches, the change in season indicates the need to find refuge from the cold winter ahead. Homeowners should be mindful of the importance that fall pest-proofing can play in keeping pests from making their home in yours. And let’s not forget stink bugs, wasps, cluster flies, and ladybugs which are looking for warm places to overwinter.
To keep pests from overwintering in your home, Reardon recommends these fall pest-proofing tips:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house; keep shrubbery well-trimmed.
If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact Reardon professionals at 302.792.9300 to inspect, identify and treat the problem.