For many Houston residents, summer brings sun, heat, rain, and with it, more opportunities to go outside and have some fun. Unfortunately, summer also brings out a lot of pests. And while you may notice some of these like ants and cockroaches year-round, the increased Houston heat provides a thriving environment for them and more pesky pests. For example, ticks and scorpions, actually prefer warmer temperatures.
If you’re shaking your head worried that these creatures might derail your summer days, don’t worry. Just because the summer welcomes these critters into your life, doesn’t mean you have to deal with them. For every bug, there are methods to prevent and protect yourself against them. With these pest control practices, you’ll be able to keep them away from your home and yard this summer.
As a sub-tropic climate, Houston is no stranger to mosquitoes. The added rainfall during the spring and summer months increases the amount of these tiny, flying creatures. Not only do these bugs cause itching and sometimes allergic reactions, but they’re also known to carry and transmit many viruses that are dangerous to humans. That’s why it’s extra prudent to understand the prevention methods of these bugs.
How to protect yourself against mosquitoes:
- Keep your arms and legs covered with lightweight clothing
- Avoid being outdoors during dawn and dusk when they are most active
- Reduce the amount of standing water in and around your house and yard (this is where mosquito like to breed)
- Replace any torn or broken window sills or windows screens
- Using bug spray
- Get a professional service like Cypress Creek to fog your backyard or trap mosquitos
Warmer months lead to an increase in tick population because milder temperatures are attractive to ticks’ hosts. For instance, more humans and pets explore the outdoors where ticks are when the weather is nicer. Warm weather can also lead to an increase in certain plants that animals ticks prey on like to eat. Like mosquitos, ticks carry disease, making their bite dangerous to humans and pets.
How to protect yourself against ticks:
- Avoid walking in areas with tall grass, weeds, or shrubs, if possible
- If walking in wooded areas, wear closed-toe shoes and clothing that covers your body
- Use a pest repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Treat your cats and dogs for ticks at your vet’s office
- Check for ticks (under the arms, in and around your ears, near your belly button, behind your knees, and on your scalp) before going inside
- Shower after being outdoors
- Keep your yard nicely landscaped by removing weeds, woodpiles, and any debris that may be a suitable home for ticks
Also read: 8 Facts You Didn’t Know About Ticks
Bees and Wasps
Encountering bees and wasps during the summer is practically inevitable. Bees begin flying around in April and May when flowers bloom and continue to hang around until deep summer before the cold temps set in. Wasps first become noticeable in June but persist until the later summer months like bees. While not particularly dangerous, both have painful stings. And unlike bees, wasps are territorial and will actively sting you if they feel threatened. Avoiding both come with similar measures.
How to protect yourself against stinging insects:
- Keep your lawn healthy by covering any dirt patches with new grass
- Wear shoes and long-sleeved clothing outside, especially around grassy areas
- Avoid sweet-smelling perfumes that attract stinging insects
- Remain calm if you come into contact with one
- Remove any unwanted food and keep your trashcans covered
- Repair any broken fixtures or structures, like panels or doors, in and around your home
- Call a professional like Cypress Creek to remove any nests if you find any around your house
Ants and summer go together like, well, ants and summer. Frequent outdoor picnics, pool parties, and other happenings that involve food are appealing to ants, encouraging them to come out from their nests. To survive the cold winter, they eat extra food during warmer months to live off their stored fat. And for some unlucky Houston residents, ants invade their home and infest drywall, air conditioners, kitchens, and more.
How to protect yourself against ants:
- Thoroughly clean up after any event involving food
- Get rid of any unnecessary leftovers inside your house
- Properly dispose of food and keep your trash cans sealed tightly
- Seal any cracks or holes that may provide an entrance to your home
- Trims your trims and shrubs
- Fix any leaks or dripping pipes that give ants the moisture they need to survive
- Get professional treatment from Cypress Creek that targets specific breeds of ants
Cockroaches can sense the humidity in the air – making Houston summers a stomping ground for these universally disliked creatures. They also breed in summer, making them more prevalent due to the rapid increase in population. Although they do not bite or sting, cockroaches live in areas that harbor dangerous bacteria and carry it on their backs – meaning they could potentially spread it.
How to protect yourself against cockroaches:
- Eliminate any source of water or condensation including spills and dirty mops
- Keep your drains clean
- Avoid clutter in your home
- Move any piles of items to an area in your house cockroaches can’t reach
- Discard any cardboard as some breeds prefer hiding in corrugated cardboard
- Get rid of your trash immediately and keep your bins sealed
The peak season for bedbugs is June through October, as they are yet another pest on this list that prefers heat and humidity. The summer months generally mean more travel and movement for people in the Houston area, which means more chances for bed bugs to hop onto luggage, pets, and people who are on their way to a new location. A bedbug’s bite can be irritating, so it’s wise to be cautious.
How to protect yourself against bedbugs:
- Purchase a high-quality protective mattress cover to eliminate hiding spots
- Check and clean your sheets and mattresses regularly
- Reduce any clutter in your home that can provide a hiding spot
- Clean and vacuum frequently
- Seal cracks in your baseboards, light sockets, or window sills
- Place your clothing and items in sealed, plastic bags when traveling
- Inspect hotels when staying overnight
- Double check your home after visitors stay over
- Avoid buying or uses discarded furniture
- If purchasing secondhand items, inspect carefully before bringing home
Also read: What to Do When You First Notice Bed Bugs
Scorpions love making rocks, debris, crawl spaces in the warm Texas environment their home. Although they’re typical in summer, these small bugs with sharp stingers try to avoid the heat by hiding underneath the areas mentioned above or sometimes inside your home. Luckily, these pests’ sting is not fatal. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not painful and something you should avoid.
How to protect yourself against scorpions:
- Remove debris like wood and firewood from inside your house
- Prune your trees and shrubs that hang above or near your home
- Shake out your shoes and bundled up towels before using
- Seal any potential entrances to your home
- Eliminate any standing water
- Inspect dark areas in your home regularly with a blacklight (scorpions will light up)
- Clean corners and other hidden areas in your home
- Remove rock piles, decaying wood, or other trash in and around your home
- Get a professional like Cypress Creek to spray appropriate pesticide inside your house
Making your home and yard unwelcoming to pests is the best way to ensure your summer goes undisrupted. Things like keeping your home clean, dressing appropriately, eradicating hiding places for bugs, can help do just this. However, sometimes preventative measures include calling in a professional. Not only can they remove any critters from your house, but they also can take an inventory of your issues and create a personalized preventative plan to keep pests away from good. At Cypress Creek, all of this and more is just a call away. Contact us today!