Whether you own or rent your home, pests are likely to be an annoyance that you will have to deal with at least once. Pests come into your home and can wreak havoc on property, not to mention the emotional toll that they inflict on residents. The 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS) determined that 2.9 million homes reported incidents of both roaches and rodents on their property. The survey also found higher cases of roaches in renter-occupied homes in the South, while rodents were most common in home-owners’ properties in the Northeast.
Anyone who has been to the South knows it has its own host of critters. Between the humidity and warm climate, the area is perfect for several different common pests. If you can catch them early, you can save yourself a heap of money and headache in the long term. Be on the lookout for the following:
Mice are problematic pests because they can cause a host of different problems. First, they do a lot of structural damage to your property. Their instinct is to chew, eat, and make nests for their young. This means any part of your home becomes fair game for nibbling. Everything from walls, wires, insulation, food and more can be damaged by mice.
In addition to the structural damage they cause, rodents are nefarious spreaders of disease and illness. They get into food supplies and leave droppings on surfaces in your home. It is important to have these removed as soon as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria to your family. If not caught early, they can breed very quickly, and you will find your problem multiplied tenfold.
Mice can be pesky and dangerous, but this next pest is known for their aggressive demeanor and persistent behavior. Fire ants can and will sting unsuspecting targets repeatedly. Some species of the fire ant, known as the Red Imported Fire Ant, are known to destroy native insect populations and local vegetation.
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In fact, fire ants cause nearly $750 million in damage to agriculture yearly, from crop damage, livestock problems, and veterinary costs. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration reports that an estimated $5 billion is spent annually on medical treatment for victims and damage control for these pests. Fire ants can easily be eliminated by using a bait fire ant killer. Bait products tend to offer a more complete kill as they are designed to eliminate the queen, along with the worker ants. Fire ant poisons kill the ants that they come into contact with but may not reach the queen inside of the colony.
It has been said that termites are some of the most successful insects on Earth. They have been able to thrive on nearly every continent, except for Antarctica. Living in colonies, termites are split between a few queens and several hundred workers. In some cultures, these bugs are considered a delicacy, and eaten on special occasions. However, here in the US, these insects can cause serious property damage.
Termites ingest wood and try to stay as hidden as possible. This means that you can have a colony chewing away at the structural pieces of your home for weeks or months before you notice. By that point, the damage has already been done. This illustrates why it is so important to have regular pest control inspections performed on your home, before a problem arises.
Perhaps one of the most famous Southern pests is the mosquito. With their long noses and irritating bite, they quickly become the least favorite houseguest for anyone unfortunate enough to be around them. The itching that accompanies a mosquito bite is the human body having a mild allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva.
Not only do these pests annoy those outside, but they can also spread several different diseases, such as West Nile, Zika, and yellow fever. Most of these are not as dangerous in the US, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Mosquitos prefer temperatures between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, so try to stay inside if you can while the fall weather sets in!
TIPS ON PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
The best way to avoid issues with any of the creatures described above is to have regular pest control checks of your property. In addition, you want to make sure you are keeping an eye out for potential signs of rodent or insect activity. Look for rat droppings, chew marks, damaged vegetation in your yard, still bodies of water, and similar environments. By identifying areas of concern, you will be able to quickly identify changes that need further attention.
Pest control companies are great at quickly neutralizing threats to your home and family, using several different techniques to exterminate pests. Hiring an expert in this area may cost you in the short term, but can save you thousands of dollars in home value, emotional distress, and medical bills later.