As National Pest Management Month, April is an annual reminder to take steps to protect yourself and your family from the health threats posed by common household pests – and to turn to professionals for pest-proofing your home safely and effectively. With this observance, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) also calls attention to just how important pest control professionals are to our daily lives.
“Pest control professionals play a key role in today’s society, working year-round to protect our homes, families, and businesses from the many threats associated with pests,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs at NPMA. “While the tireless work these men and women perform should be recognized every day, National Pest Management Month is the perfect time of year to remind homeowners and business owners to be vigilant in pest-proofing their properties at the start of spring, and of the importance of working with a licensed pest control professional before an infestation gets out of hand.”
Why April? Spring brings warmer weather, and with it increased activity of common house insects. Many types of household pests can invade your home without any signs of an infestation – until it’s too late.
An invasion of pests can be costly and dangerous. Termites, rodents, and carpenter ants cause extensive property damage by chewing through walls, flooring, and even electrical wiring. Other pests pose health threats to humans. Ticks spread Lyme disease, while mosquitoes carry West Nile virus. Cockroaches trigger asthma attacks, while stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year.
To help you prepare this season, here’s a list of household pests that often turn up in the spring and basic tips for helping keep them away.
Ants: Ants are the most common household insect invading homes and yards. In most parts of the country, they are a year-round problem. Minimize the risk of infestation by eliminating moisture in and around your home, keeping tree branches and other plants cut back away from your home, reducing food sources, and caulking or closing potential entry points.
Termites: Called “silent destroyers,” termites can chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper undetected. They’re attracted to moist, secluded areas within a structure. To help keep them away, install downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks to divert water away from your home’s foundation.
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes can carry numerous diseases, including West Nile virus, encephalitis, Zika virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya virus. Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so remove sources of moisture around your property. Remember, it doesn’t take much – mosquitoes can breed in just half an inch of water, roughly the size of a bottlecap.
Rodents: Mice and rats carry a long list of diseases and germs, including salmonella, hantavirus, typhus, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus, and trichinosis. To keep them out, seal any cracks or openings, even small ones, with the appropriate sealant. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime, and rats can slip through holes the size of a quarter.
Ticks: Ticks carry Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, human babesiosis, and Powassan encephalitis. Lyme disease cases have risen across the country in recent years; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring the nation’s tick population. Carefully check anyone – including pets – after spending time outdoors. Seek medical attention if you’ve had a tick bite and you can’t completely remove the tick, or if you develop flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches, or a rash.
Flies: Nobody wants flies buzzing around their head, but these pesky insects are more than a nuisance. Flies contaminate food and transmit diseases such as malaria, salmonella, and tuberculosis. To keep them out of your house, regularly remove the garbage, and use well-sealed receptacles.
Six Steps Toward a Pest-Free Home
A survey of homeowners conducted by HomeTeam found that two-thirds of do-it-yourselfers are unable to resolve pest problems on their own. Your best pest defense is working in partnership with a licensed pest control professional. If you suspect an infestation, contact us so we can help you properly identify the problem and determine the best treatment.
HomeTeam’s 6-Point Advantage service is designed to offer you genuine comfort and peace of mind and includes these steps:
Inspect and identify: Address any known issues and inspect to identify potential pest problems.
Remove cobwebs and wasps’ nests: Remove accessible webs and nests to discourage their return.
Apply pest control: Administer conventional pest control or inject HomeTeam’s built-in Taexx treatment to the homeowner’s in-wall network.
Treat entry points: Target and reinforce treatment around doors and windows.
Protect perimeters: Apply pest control materials around the perimeter of the home, with attention to cracks and crevices.
Review and report: Provide a detailed service report and preventive tips to keep you home pest-free between scheduled visits.
If you suspect that you have a pest infestation, don’t wait to take action. Regardless of the type of pest, the problem is likely to grow without proper pest control methods. Wait too long and you risk contending with a resilient insect capable of hiding in the most obscure nooks and crannies. Contact HomeTeam today to schedule an inspection and begin treatments.