The new season is almost here, so better watch out for these common spring pests!
If you are fond of gardening and landscaping, you may find yourself battling against bugs and insects to protect your plants in summer and springtime. Sure, you can always hire a good pest control team to care for the bugs for you. But wouldn’t it be so much better if you could predict how and when these bugs will flourish and attack? Experts at Tracy pest control recommend gathering some basic knowledge of garden pests and bugs before indulging your green thumb.
Common Spring Pests
Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t take much study to recognize and understand spring bugs and their lifecycles. Just a little bit of experience and a love for plants is enough. And that’s why we have put together a short guide to understanding the most common spring bugs in the house and insects that you may find in your garden.
Bees: Bees are among the first insects to come out of hibernation, and they look forward to feasting on spring flowers after going hungry in the winter months. They are natural pollinators and are easy to identify. Usually, bees don’t cause much damage to garden plants, but they can –
- Cause property damage by building nests in chimneys or wall cavities
- Sting you and cause allergic reactions that can sometimes be life-threatening
Wasps: Like bees, wasps are also among the first insects to start building nests and looking for food at the beginning of spring. They usually accumulate around standing water and open garbage bins. Wasps can cause –
- Constructional damages by building nests
- Allergic reaction by a sting
- Cluster Flies: Cluster flies look like house flies but are larger. Usually, they enter homes to escape cold temperatures. Cluster flies are not harmful, but they may carry germs or bacteria into your house from outside. Seal any cracks or openings in your windows, screen doors, and attic vents to prevent cluster flies from coming inside.
- Boxelder Bugs: As the name suggests, boxelder bugs feed on boxelder trees and some other trees or plants. Usually, they are dark grey with distinctive red stripes. Boxelder bugs don’t bite or cause any property damage, although they may stain upholstery or furniture. You can prevent them from entering your home by sealing all cracks or gaps in the exterior of your home.
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: Native to Asian countries, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is the dreaded stink bug in spring in homes and gardens during the spring season. They have a brown shield-like shell and emit a foul-smelling odor when they feel threatened. Use caulk to seal any openings, repair damaged screens and remove debris from near entrances to prevent stink bugs from entering your homes.
- Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants are giant, black ants that live in moist, damaged, or rotting wood. Carpenter ants can cause severe damage to wood structures, including homes. Store firewood away from your home, eliminate deadwood and keep your plumbing in check.
- Bedbugs: Among all the insects that can infest your home, perhaps a bedbug infestation is the worst. If there are bedbugs in your home, you may find rusty or reddish stains on mattresses and near your bed. They spread quickly and if you misidentify a bedbug infestation and let it be, they can spread not only to your home but to other houses as well.
- Carpet beetles: If you find mysterious holes in your carpet or other upholstery, it could be due to carpet beetles. These beetles are banded in appearance and covered in tiny bristles. Even though, they are known as carpet beetles, they are not choosy about which fabric they feast on.
- Spiders: Spiders are not technically characterized as insects, but they can infest your home just as well. Except for the brown recluse or the black widow spider, most species are not harmful to human beings. Spring spiders enter homes through utility lines, open windows and inside secondhand furniture or packaging.
- Carpenter bees: In the spring season, you may have noticed giant black bees hovering outside your home. These could be carpenter bees who get their name from their habit of burrowing holes in wood to rear their young. Paint or pressure-treat your wood to prevent a carpenter bee attack.
- Fleas: Fleas are common external parasites that can affect many different mammals. They harm pets and humans with their bites and feed on blood. Their bites cause intense itching and irritation, and a hypersensitive animal may need veterinary assistance. Fleas also transfer tapeworms, viruses, and bacterial infections.
- Ticks: Ticks are a severe threat to humans and pets. They can also cause Lyme disease in human beings. They are wingless, oval-shaped insects that feed on blood. Hard ticks may feed over several days and lay thousands of eggs, while soft ticks feed for a few hours and lay hundreds of eggs.
- Ants: As soon as the spring season arrives, ants get active and begin looking for new food sources. You may find ants foraging for food in your pipes and plumbing, wall and foundation cracks, and attic vents.
- Earwigs: An earwig infestation can be harmful to your garden and home. Usually, earwigs hatch in early spring and feast on garden plants and seedlings. They are slender bugs with pincers that live in wet areas. Even though earwigs are not poisonous and don’t have stingers, they can pinch humans and release a foul odor if threatened. They quickly grow in numbers, and any presence of earwigs should be nipped in the bud.
- Termites: Termites in spring are tiny pests that eat enormous amounts of wood and cause extensive property damage. They appear in large swarms and may be brown or white. Many colonies may live undetected under a wooden structure for years, eroding it from the inside. To prevent a termite infestation, conduct regular termite inspection processes in your home.
How to Prepare, Control & Prevent Damage to Your Home & Garden from Common Spring Pests
Your best bet for preventing an attack or infestation by insects in the springtime is to start the prevention process early on. At the end of a growing season, do a thorough cleaning of your home and garden. Clear your greenhouse and give it a good scrubbing. Don’t forget to wash out any pots and planters you plan to reuse. Next season, start your plants with a clean, well-balanced soil mix. Use the following controls to tackle destructive pests.
In Your Garden
- Plant alyssum and buckwheat to attract beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, and paper wasps. Some plants will help repel pests like lavender, basil, lemongrass etc
- Check for larvae eggs or cankerworms less than half an inch in length. At this time, you can eliminate these insects and stop an infestation.
- Plant vegetables like carrots and beetroots in June, past the egg-laying season for flies and other bugs.
In Your Home
- Clean out your kitchen
- Store food in air-tight containers
- Keep garbage in tightly sealed containers
- Seal all cracks in windows, screens, and attic vents
If you experience an infestation of spring bugs in your home or garden, talk to an expert. Pest control professionals can inspect, identify and permanently remedy the problem in your home to stop the infestation and prevent a recurrence.
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Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.
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