Under Pressure: A Look Ahead at Spring Pests

Mar 8, 2017, 11:50 AM by Fred Speer

California’s wet and wild winter certainly was a departure from the dry and unusually warm winters the state has endured over much of the preceding decade. But what will the change in weather mean for pest pressures this spring and summer?

Water – along with food and shelter – is one of the three basic staples that insect pests need to survive. Cockroaches, flies, and ants are only a few of the pests that flourish when they have consistent access to water, which keeps them from drying out. Abundant water also factors into where they instinctively locate harborage and nesting sites.

The Clark Man visited with Darren Van Steenwyk, B.C.E., Technical Director for Clark Pest Control, to see what impact this winter’s weather will have on pest pressures this spring. Here’s what he has to say:

“Based on the extremely wet weather we experienced this winter, it is possible that homeowners could see increased pest pressure this spring,” says Van Steenwyk. “Spiders could be more of a nuisance, and there is good chance we will see more small flies, due to increased moisture levels and decaying organic matter as a result of flooding and standing water.”

Clark Pest Control’s technical point man also thinks this year’s termite swarms could be more prevalent, due to moist soil conditions that are music to subterranean termites’ ears. These destructive pests silently attack structures from well-hidden nests that are entrenched in the soil beneath homes and other structures.

Other soil-dwelling pests, such as crickets and earwigs, may also experience a renaissance due to the moist conditions that exist in and around homes.

One pest that may suffer a setback because of the wet conditions is also one of California’s most commonly encountered household pests – ants.

These insects, like the Argentine ant, do need moisture to survive. However, heavy flooding may have wiped out their underground nests. Also, such food sources as grasses and plants, on which the ants feed, may be getting choked out by weeds that are thriving due to the wet conditions.

What can you do to deflate spring pest pressures due to excess moisture? The Clark Man offers the following tips:

  • Eliminate standing water in your yard or in crawlspaces
  • Repair leaky faucets and irrigation sprinkler heads and pipes
  • Make sure attics and crawlspaces are well vented
  • Clean out leaves from gutters to avoid water buildup
  • Empty bird baths regularly

If you think the wet weather is causing increased pest activity in and around your home, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com

Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.