Dealing with the Most Common Household Pests

Posted on Aug 16 2017 - 3:01am

Exterminator smiling and ready to workInsect and rodent infestations have always been a nightmare for homeowners. Anyone who’s ever owned and lived in a house knows the sheer displeasure of discovering bugs or rats scurrying along walls or attic spaces. The knee-jerk reaction to getting rid of these pests — spraying them with pesticide — is seldom the most effective one, however.

Knowledge is half the battle, and knowing what kind of pest resides in the house helps homeowners take appropriate measures to purge them. Below are some of the more common and destructive pests in Massachusetts households, and some basic tips to prevent them from taking over your home.

Termites

Termites survive on a diet of wood, which means a single termite colony is capable of destroying a house’s foundation. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that termites cause billions of dollars’ worth of structural damage annually. The tricky thing about these pests is that they rarely emerge from where they’re tunneling for food sources (like mud tubes). They’re presence only becomes evident upon finding signs of damage in the woodwork.

There’s no way to get rid of termites in the yard, so do the next best thing: prevent the wooden parts of your home from coming into contact with soil. Inspect wood sidings near flower beds and low window frames for any evidence of termites. Moreover, store firewood at a good 15 to 20 feet away from the house. Moisture attracts termites, as well. It’s a good idea to seal leaking hoses and remove any stagnant water near your home.

Ticks

Lone star tick

These bugs don’t damage property but can they can inflict fatal diseases on humans with just a bite. In addition to the common dog and lone star tick, the deer tick gets the most attention as it can transmit Lyme disease upon contact with humans. Ticks are often found in overgrown gardens, where tall weeds provide ample sanctuary until they can launch and latch themselves towards unwitting victims. Deprive ticks of their habitat by trimming the yard, and apply tick repellent on the skin for protection.

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Wasps, Yellow-jackets, and Hornets

These insects hold a fearsome reputation for their seemingly indiscriminate hostility towards humans. The National Pest Management Association even notes that wasp/yellow-jacket/hornet stings are responsible for half a million ER visits every year.

The ER stats alone should be enough to dissuade amateurs from trying to remove these insects’ nests. It’s better not to provoke these bugs and let pest control professionals handle nest removal. To complement the professional service, regular inspections around the garden and home exteriors should help prevent nests from getting bigger.

Mosquitoes

Another breed of disease-carrying pests, mosquitoes thrive in environments with plenty of standing water. Beyond the itchy bites and annoying buzzing, mosquitoes transmit a variety of potentially-lethal diseases like the West Nile virus, malaria, dengue, and typhoid fever. It’s incredibly easy to accidentally provide mosquitoes with breeding grounds, as standing water in the yard, gutters, saucers, and plant trays are all suitable nests for egg-laying. Either dump any container with stagnant water or replace its contents every couple of days, so mosquito eggs don’t get a chance to hatch and cause buzzing havoc around the house and on your family.

In general, simply keeping the house clean and sanitary inside and out wards off any pest invasion. For out-of-control bug problems, never hesitate to contact professional pest control services in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to remove all pests and prevent any infestations in the future.