Ohio and the rest of the Northeastern US had a more mild winter than anyone expected. Less snow fell, the temperatures were warmer than usual, and spring came relatively early. Sounds like a pretty good deal, huh? Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for a warm winter and an early spring, but–you saw this coming–there’s a catch.
When spring comes early, hibernators and migrators start coming out early. Including the ones we’re less than happy to see. By the time June rolls around in Ohio, we end up with even more pests than usual. Here’s a rundown on these early birds that have quickly established themselves as this season’s antagonists, and how you can get a headstart on keeping them out.
This year, a couple conditions aligned to create a renaissance for everyone’s least-favorite hitchhiker. Changing climate conditions have made winter less severe. The mild weather has made larger areas of the US accessible, allowing for widespread migration–including migration into Ohio. Second, the white-footed mouse population has exploded. White-footed mice are one of tick’s favored prey. Once they latch on, the mice carry them around like a furry taxi service.
Ticks transmit diseases, including the infamous Lyme disease and the Powassan virus. Ticks hunt atop high vegetation, where they can look for prey to cling to. Wear long clothing and apply tick repellent when outside. Stick to well-maintained walking paths, especially when walking in the woods. It takes about 24 hours for an attached tick to transmit diseases, so check for tick bites as soon as you get in and remove attached ticks immediately.
As you probably remember from the endless, itchy nights of your childhood, summer is prime mosquito season. Hot, humid summers attract the dastardly little suckers like nothing else. The early seasonal rainfall of spring leaves behind a lot of the standing water mosquitoes breed and lay eggs around. The earlier the rains start, the more mosquitoes will be around to make our lives difficult in the summer.
Unfortunately, mosquitoes can transmit diseases via their bites. State officials reported 17 cases of mosquito-transmitted West Nile Virus last year. There haven’t been any cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus reported in Ohio yet, but mosquitoes do carry it. Eliminating sources of standing water is the best way to prevent mosquito infestation. Look for leaks, flooding, or puddling and dry them out. Wear repellant and long clothes when you go out, and make sure your window screens can keep bugs out, especially at night.
Wasps and Bees
Queen wasps and bees emerge when the air temperature stays above freezing consistently. In spring, queens have one mission: building a colony. The queen starts a simple nest and lays her pre-fertilized eggs to produce workers. While the new workers continue to build, the queen hatches more and more eggs. The earlier this process starts, the more developed a bee or wasp colony will be by the time summer rolls around.
Wasps and bees build nests where they can get food. Bees feed on flower nectar, while wasps will eat nearly anything. Store all food products in plastic containers or tightly wrapped plastic bags, especially if you’re planning to eat outside. Clean up after every meal, and don’t leave dishes in the sink. If you spot a nest, don’t attempt to take it down yourself. Not only is it dangerous, but honey bees are vitally important to the environment as pollinators. Our experts can safely trap and relocate bees instead of killing them. They’ll stop bothering you, and they’ll be able to continue performing their important function!
Ants make a nuisance of themselves in summer for the reasons you’d expect. Ant workers wake from hibernation and start gathering resources to build their colony up before the ground freezes. Flying ants also reproduce and create new colonies around late spring. By now, ant season will be in full swing, as thousands of workers plunder their area around their respective colonies for easy-to-grab resources they can bring back home. They’re not too particular about where these resources come from, so if your home has them, they’ll help themselves.
Ants come into homes either to escape flooding or drought, or to get food. Make sure you don’t leave bread crumbs out after meals, and keep fruits and vegetables in bags in your fridge. Don’t leave out desserts like cookies or brownies, even for a little while. If you see ants, try to see if you can follow them to their colony. Some indoor ants may begin to form a sub-colony in your home if left alone, so you’ll want to be proactive.
Summer pests might be largely inevitable, but that doesn’t mean they have to be inevitable in your home or business. Take a few of the steps we outlined above, and it won’t matter how crazy a pest season we get this summer–you’ll be ready.
And remember, even if you do end up with a pest infestation some time this summer, you have options. You can call Varment Guard anytime for an inspection, prevention plan, or full-on removal and exclusion treatment. No matter the pest, we’ve got the answer. Have a great (pest-free) summer!BACK TO BLOG