Clark, your neighborly pest control expert, is a big fan of Halloween. It’s the one time of year when creepy, crawly pests are cool to have knocking at your front door, or sitting in your kitchen enjoying some delicious treats.
Unfortunately, the real pests – the ones that want to visit your home and feast on the tasty treats in your kitchen and pantry – are far less cool.
As temperatures start to cool overnight, and natural food sources outside diminish, pests from rodents to spiders will try to gain access to your home in search of food, water, and shelter.
California and northern Nevada homeowners should be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall. Clark has put together a guide to some common household critters, along with some easy-to-follow tips to prevent them from turning your home into a haunted house.
Rodents are one of the most reviled pests. They are primarily nocturnal and can be found nesting in a variety of places – inside garages, or in undisturbed areas of crawlspaces or pantries. They can fit through small openings – the size of a quarter for rats or the size of a dime for mice is sufficient – so it’s easy for them to enter your home. Once inside, they can spread diseases by contaminating food, and they put homes at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires.
Before you bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, you should inspect them for signs of an infestation, such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. Once Halloween is over and it's time to pack away the ghoulish decorations, make sure they’re stored in a plastic box with a sealed lid. This will prevent rodents from making a new home in your out-of-season decorations.
For centuries, bats have sparked unfounded fear in people, as they often are associated with vampires and haunted houses. Bats are nocturnal mammals that roost in dark areas of buildings, such as attics, belfries, and under fascia boards, and in other sheltered areas like caves. They are known to fly from their secluded nests at dusk to get food, and they return just before daylight. Bats are frequent carriers of rabies, which can be fatal if left untreated.
To keep bats out of your home, you can screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall. If your home has bats, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional like Clark Pest Control to assess the situation.
The sight of a spider crawling on the wall can frighten just about anyone, especially around Halloween. Although spiders often get a bad rap, only a few species are actually dangerous. You should be particularly aware of the black widow spider, as this type of spider is known to administer a painful bite when disturbed or threatened. (You may have read about another dangerous spider, the brown recluse, but this species is virtually unheard of in California and northern Nevada.)
You can avoid coming into contact with spiders by keeping garages, attics, crawlspaces, and basements clean and free of clutter. Make sure to wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time, like Halloween decorations.
Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. Although bed bugs are often found in beds, they can also lurk behind baseboards, underneath electrical switch plates, and in furniture crevices. Bed bugs will hide in luggage, purses, laptop cases, and other personal belongings, waiting to find a human food supply. Luckily, these elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin.
If you plan to get a Halloween costume from a rental or second-hand store, make sure you inspect it for bed bugs before dressing up to go trick-or-treating. Pay particular attention to the inside seams, looking for any signs of sticky white eggs and shed skins, along with the bugs themselves.
If you are experiencing problems with spooky pests around your home, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at 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.