Summer Bugs and How to Deal with Them
School’s out, the pool is ready, the BBQ and block parties are beginning… Ah, summertime! While it’s officially the most beloved time of the year for many, it’s also an active time for certain insects. Here are some common pests during summertime and how to avoid “running into” them.
- Wasps. Ask around and we’re sure someone will tell you a horror story of how a swarm of wasps almost ruined their summer. The behavior exhibited by wasps changes during late summer, when their preferred food shifts from sugar to protein. This is why you’ll see them at a cookout or around garbage cans. Warm weather also marks the awakening of queen wasps, which hibernate during winter. The main priority of the queens is to find the perfect place to build a nest. Each queen will lay queen eggs and drone eggs, with nests holding up to 1,500 new queens. Yikes! If you’ve noticed them in your home or flying around your garden, there’s a big chance a nest is nearby.
Solution: Check for nests first. Inspect your home (including loft spaces, garages, sheds, cavity walls, and under eaves) and your garden for walnut or golf ball sized nests. These will be newer nests and these contain fewer wasps. Make sure all outside bins are sealed tightly. Keep them at a distance from your doors and windows so wasps won’t be drawn by the contents inside. Keep all windows and doors shut so they won’t enter your home. Most importantly, remember to practice caution. If you spot a nest, keep your children and pets away from it.
- Ants. Once they locate a food source that’s pleasing to them, it can be difficult to stop these pesky insects from invading your home. They travel in wide ranges during the hunt for food, often following trails they’ve established as they cluster around the food source. They’re most often found in the kitchen, which makes sense since that’s where you prepare food and often has spills or crumbs lying around.
Solution: It can be dangerous using pesticides and sprays in the kitchen, as you wouldn’t want for your food to become contaminated. But, there are other ways you can prevent ants from entering your home. Clear up all food and liquid spills as soon as they occur. Sweep up any crumbs; including those that fall under appliances and units. Keep your food stored in tightly sealed containers, including pet food. Seal all cracks and crevices around doors and windows. As for your garden, keep your compost enclosed and make sure all of your garbage bins are tightly sealed.
- Moths. This insect comes in many varieties and can damage crops, food, and fabric. Webbing clothes moths favor just what you’d expect them to – fabric. These small beige colored moths can grow up to five centimeters in length and prefer attics, closets, basements, wardrobes…anywhere that’s dark. They tend to hide in the fold of fabric and clothes; many of them have already caused damage by the time they’re spotted. Clothes, pillows, blankets, and carpets all fall “victim” to these moths.
Solution: Make sure all cracks and crevices are sealed around doors and windows. Use screens or draw your curtains at nighttime to prevent them from entering through doors and windows. Vacuum your home on a regular basis, especially under large pieces of furniture and sofas. This will remove any eggs that are present before they hatch. Store your textiles in a sealed bag or suitcase. Finally, do your laundry! Moths are drawn to dirty clothing, so make sure you keep up with your laundry on a regular basis.
- Flies. It’s horrifying to know that there are over 120,000 species of flies throughout the world. These insects pose a health threat to humans, pets, and livestock, as it’s possible for them to spread diseases such as salmonella and E. coli. Some species even bite!
Solution: Once night falls, keep your doors and windows closed, and block out any light by drawing your curtains. Utilize screens on windows and doors, particularly ones around the kitchen and areas where you keep waste materials. Keep all food covered; especially if cooking or eating outdoors. Clear away any food debris and spills as soon as they occur, especially those under appliances and units. Make sure all garbage bins are tightly sealed. Clean up after your pets. Clean up any dead flies, as they can attract the likes of carpet beetles and various other bugs that eat dead flies. Get rid of any standing water; this will attract the likes of mosquitoes. If you have a pond, add goldfish to it (they consume fly larvae).
- Bed bugs. The phrase “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” is more than just something cute we say to each other before bedtime. Bedbugs aren’t a myth, they’re an actual insect that can be quite the nuisance. These bugs can draw blood and leave behind itchy bites. They stay close to their source of food, which explains why they’re called bed bugs.
Solution: Do your laundry at the highest possible temperature. De-clutter your home so they won’t have places to hide. If you have bed bugs, don’t take any clothing, suitcases, or furniture to the homes of your friends and family; this will likely cause their homes to become invaded. Keep your bedroom clean, especially the floor around and under your bed, as well as your bedside cabinets/night stands.
- Roaches. These bugs are known to carry salmonella, dysentery, and gastroenteritis. Roach droppings can lead to eczema and asthma. Roaches can be spotted within pipe holes, sinks, fridges, cabinets, wall cracks, boxes, and bins. They are almost indestructible it seems, and they breed at a rapid pace. They can remain active year round if they have access to plenty of food, warm temperatures, water, and nesting sites.
Solution: Prevent them from obtaining food, water, and shelter. Clean up all crumbs and spills, and de-clutter your home on a regular basis. Remove uneaten pet food and drink, and empty litter boxes each evening before going to bed. Varnish or paint any wooden shelves to seal them, and clean them regularly. Inspect cracks, crevices, vents, sewers, and pipe drains often.