The pest predictors at Clark Pest Control and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are calling for increased pest activity this fall and winter in California, as forecasted colder temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions will drive pests – especially ants and rodents – indoors in search of water, shelter, and warmth.
This is according to the NPMA’s Bug Barometer, a seasonal forecast of pest pressure across the United States. Homeowners in California and northern Nevada will want to prevent these potentially harmful pests, some of which can pose serious health threats to humans, from gaining access to their homes.
“Rodents and cockroaches spread countless germs and diseases, and can even trigger serious allergy and asthma symptoms,” says Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., chief entomologist for the NPMA. “Mice and rats invade an estimated 21 million U.S. homes each winter in search of shelter from cold temperatures, so be sure to eliminate any areas of moisture found in the home, and be sure to keep your kitchen clean, storing food in airtight containers to keep pests out.”
Rodents also pose a threat to the structural well-being of your home. Were you aware that a mouse’s incessant gnawing on wiring can cause damage and even spark an electrical fire? Or that a roof rat in your attic can seriously damage your home’s thermal insulation? Who wants to sleep in a bed under a ceiling with a rat infestation and hundreds of rodent droppings and urine marks? It doesn’t make for a restful night’s sleep.
Pests that move inside your home during the fall to overwinter can often go unnoticed until the weather warms up in the spring. Then they reemerge and become active, often revealing larger problems – and there often will be a lot more of them.
Overwintering pests are attracted to your home when their instincts for survival kick in, and they begin searching for an indoor place to live during the winter until they can return outdoors. In addition to rodents, there are several other overwintering pests that you should be aware of. These include:
Stink bugs: The brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive species from Asia, has quickly spread throughout much of the United States. Most of these insects’ lifecycle is spent outdoors, but they become a smelly nuisance when they invade homes in high numbers in search of overwintering sites. Populations of brown marmorated stink bugs have become established throughout the Central Valley and greater Los Angeles, and have been detected in many other areas in California.
Asian lady beetles: Most of the 200-plus species of this beetle family found in California pose little threat to humans, but the multicolored Asian lady beetle can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions. They also tend to exude a staining, yellow, foul-smelling fluid. These beetles, commonly known as ladybugs, can be found throughout the state.
Boxelder bugs: These insects congregate on warm spots on buildings before migrating indoors to overwinter in insulated cracks and crevices. Their fecal material can discolor fabric, and they occasionally bite when handled, causing slight irritation. However, boxelder bugs are more of a nuisance than anything else. They can be found in most parts of California.
To prevent overwintering pests from getting inside this fall and winter, Clark, your friendly pest, termite, and lawn care expert, would like to remind you that you are the first line of defense in preventing pests and rodents from gaining access to your home.
Invest the time and resources now to repair torn screens, seal cracks with high-quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk, fill voids around pipe, wire, or cable ingresses with exclusion material, and install door sweeps on exterior entrances. Remember: Once pests gain access to your home, they are much harder and more costly to remove than if you can act in advance.
Clark Pest Control remains committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks. and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify you before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.
If you’re experiencing an issue with unwanted pests in and around your home this fall, call or text California’s trusted, friendly pest management expert, Clark, at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.