Ants are very common in the Gulf Coast region of our country - from fire ants to carpenter ants, sugar ants, flying ants, and more. They can be very annoying to get rid of. Ants are attracted to grease, sugar, syrup, honey, ripe fruits, juices, and food, which makes it crucial to clean with vinegar or soap and water in your kitchen. Water alone will not eliminate the smell of food that attracts the ants, to begin with. When not in the kitchen, ants like to hideout in damp areas such as the bathroom or AC units; you can also find ants on the inside of your walls.
If you think bed bugs are only found in hotels in large cities, think again! Bed bugs like to hide in mattresses and feed on animal and human blood generally at night. In addition to mattresses, bed bugs can be found in couches, clothes, luggage, box springs, and headboards. Bites will turn into itchy welts on the skin that was exposed while sleeping. Decluttering along with washing linens in hot water and using the hottest setting on your dryer is just one step to help rid bed bugs from your home, but you may need a professional chemical treatment to completely eradicate them.
Beetles do not bite or carry diseases, making them generally harmless to people, plus little children love to play with them. However, they can be a potential problem for your home. Beetles can destroy furniture, crops, packaged good, clothes, decor, structural wood, and decorative trim. They typically enter your home through gaps around doors and windows to seek shelter to avoid cold weather, or they are accidentally brought indoors. They can hide inside firewood or potted plants. Cleaning regularly, putting away food, vacuuming, and inspecting your fabrics and wood items can help prevent a beetle infestation.
These bugs are typically seen in the warmer months and are generally harmless to people and your home’s structure. However, during the colder months, they may creep in to seek shelter. While they do not destroy your home, they can leave stains behind on walls, curtains, and surfaces with their excrement. They usually travel in large numbers and enter your home through cracks and gaps. Prevention is key, so make sure to seal any cracks, replace damaged vents and screens, and seal exterior doors.
They’re creepy and they’re crawly! These arthropods have an elongated body with multiple legs. You have probably seen these crawling around on your floors during the warmer months. Defensively, they can bite humans if touched, but they are not dangerous. They are typically found in trash, soil, under leaves and stones, and inside of rotting logs. They can enter your home through cracks or gaps, and they like to hide out in crawl spaces, bathrooms, and potted plants. They eat flies, spiders, and plants.
Alabama is home to at least 25 different species of cockroaches with the German and Brown-Hooded Cockroach being the most common. Many cockroaches live in rotting wood like decaying tree trunks, stumps, and limbs, as well as under mulch or pine straw in your flower beds. Cockroaches can infest your home, restaurant, food pantry or cupboards. They are nocturnal, so they will come out at night looking for food. They typically hide behind appliances, vents, and plumbing. A cockroach egg contains 30 nymphs in each capsule and the egg is shaped like a pill. Eggs are generally laid near a food source.
These small insects pinch with their forceps if they are touched or if they are defending their young. They like to live under leaves and logs. Although they are all over North America they are most prevalent in the Southeast. They like to feed at night on foliage in gardens and flower beds, decaying organic material in soil and garbage, seeds of grain found in storage or garages, and they also prey on other insects, such as aphids, beetle larvae, and maggots. Earwigs can survive inside your home and generally crawl on the ground or floor.
Fleas are small wingless insects that feed on mammals and birds. Although, fleas cannot fly they can jump long distances. Their very small bodies are reddish brown in color. Typically, fleas are brought indoors from pets such as dogs and cats. Fleas rely on the blood of animals and birds to live. You can prevent fleas from invading your home by taking your pets to the vet for treatment and anti-flea products, regular bathing of you and your pets, keeping a clean home, and inspections.
These winged buzzing insects are quite the nuisance when they enter your home. They are very disgusting insects as they breed in filth like garbage, feces, and spoiled food. They can contaminate food and beverages and spread disease since they pick up and carry bacteria and viruses. Those sticky fly traps are great to put out if you have the occasional uninvited guest; however, if you suspect an infestation, it’s time to call the professionals to remove the eggs and treat your home.
You attract more flies with honey than vinegar, unless of course, you’re a fruit fly. Fruit flies like living in your fruit bowls, around drains, garbage, mops, under the refrigerator, or in your potato bin. Some ways to prevent them is to toss out overripe fruit, take out your trash regularly, clean up any spills on the floor, and keep your drains clean. You can set traps yourself by putting out a glass with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dishwashing liquid mixed in, then place a piece of plastic wrap over the top with several small holes poked in the wrap. The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar, then fall in and drown.
Gnats look like several small black dots flying all around. You will notice them around houseplants and windows. They tend to live in moist soil of potted plants, but do not harm your plants. Gnats can bite, and they do carry diseases to humans and livestock. One method of prevention is to let the soil completely dry before watering your plant again.
These “thousand leggers” as they’re nicknamed are nocturnal and feed on decaying plants and dead insects. They travel in large numbers and like living under trash, in piles of grass clippings and leaves, and in mulch in your flower beds. They can leave behind a fluid that is toxic to pets. To help prevent an infestation, you can rake your yard to remove leaves, store firewood off the ground, water your lawn in the early morning, and reduce moisture inside your home.
Mites are extremely tiny almost microscopic creatures, measuring in at less than 1mm long. Most mites are not harmful to people and pets, however, some are parasitic. Parasitic mites can cause mange in animals, and chiggers can spread diseases. You may notice skin irritation if you have parasitic mites. Dust mites are very common household mites and do not feed on people. They do live off dead skin, pollen and pet dander. They can also cause allergies. To aid in prevention reduce the humidity in your home, keep your home cool, vacuum regularly, use a mite-proof covering on your mattress, wash drapes and linens regularly, and use HEPA filters.
These blood-sucking, erratic bugs mean “little fly” in Spanish. They typically travel in a swarm during the warmer months. They can carry extremely deadly diseases, such as West Nile virus, malaria, elephantiasis, and encephalitis. Mosquitos breed in standing water like bird baths, for example, so it’s important to treat or remove stagnant water sources. In addition to treating or removing stagnant water, you can also use citronella candles or oils to deter mosquitos. Be sure to spray yourself with a bug repellant prior to enjoying the great outdoors.
Nothing can make you shiver like the thought of having a furry mouse or rat in your home, but those aren’t the only rodents that can invade your home. Squirrels can do just as much damage. Rodents can transmit a number of diseases, as well as carry parasites like fleas, lice and ticks. They can get into your home through cracks as small as a dime and hideout in your walls or attic. Rodents can do severe damage to your home structurally as they chew through wires, drywall, insulation, and leave droppings behind. Rodents also have a very high reproductive rate. For a rodent infestation, call for professional help.
These are small wingless insects with a silvery grey exterior color, and resemble a fish in appearance. They are harmless to pets and humans but can damage items like clothes, papers, linen and silk upholstery, wallpaper, and books, among other things. They prefer to dine on sugars, starches, shampoos, glue in books, fabrics, and dead insects. Sometimes they can be brought in accidentally in cardboard boxes, or they enter your home through cracks or gaps in doors and windows. The like to hideout in crawl spaces, bathrooms, and attics. Usually, professional treatment is required for an infestation.
These eight-legged frenemies can be venomous or non-venomous and only bite in defense. They do not like humans or human food. Instead, they eat on other insects. The best way to control spiders is to cut off their food source. Removing clutter, thorough vacuuming, good sanitation, proper food storage, and a clean yard is key to keeping spiders and other insects at bay. Spiders also do not like the smell of peppermint, which can be used as a natural repellent. Otherwise, a professional insecticide may be needed to get rid of spiders.
Stinging insects such as wasps, hornets, and bees are very common in South Alabama during the summertime. Bees are extremely beneficial because they pollinate flowers and make honey. They can be very threatening if they live in or near the home. Some people can be severely allergic to stinging pests and are sent to the emergency department for anaphylactic shock. It is very important to let the professionals handle a stinging pest infestation. If honey bees have taken over your home, be sure to contact a beekeeper to properly remove the bees and honeycomb.
They’re called stink bugs for a reason. These bugs release an unpleasant odor in self-defense when they are squashed. These short brown bugs like to suck on the juice from plants, as well as seeds, nuts and fruit. Stink bugs can really wreak havoc on farms and in gardens. Be sure to seal any cracks or openings to keep these bugs from invading your home.
Subterranean termites love to swarm as the weather begins to warm, following a rainy day. They are usually traveling in groups looking for their new colony. Termites are typically found in warm, humid tropical or subtropical places, such as The Gulf Coast. They are known to be very destructive as they consume wood, such as buildings, telephone poles, fences, and homes. The most destructive and difficult to control termite is the Formosan Subterranean Termite. They can be very devastating and costly, as they cause millions of dollars worth of damage each year.