How to Prepare for Fall Insects

As July comes to a close, it’s hard to think about the end of summer, especially with the dog days of summer in August still coming. But before you know it, the leaves will start to turn colors and temperatures will drop.

That’s when the “fall crawl” begins. You might have heard that phrase thrown around, but to the experts in green pest control, it’s a busy time of the year. Fall crawl refers to the insects and other pests that try to move into your house when the temperature drops. Desperate to find some place warm to wait out the cold weather, these pests will exploit any crack or open door to make your way into your home — and if you don’t stop them, you could have a whole infestation on your hands by springtime.

But worry not: here’s the lowdown on all the fall insects that should be on your radar — and some green pest control tips to keep them out.

Ants

These insects may be small, but they can cause a massive amount of damage if given the chance. Ants will jump at the opportunity to move into your home in the fall, so you should be on the lookout for these pests.

Our green pest control experts have seen different types of ants in Houston homes:

  • Carpenter ants: These nocturnal ants come out to forage for food, mainly eggs, meats and greasy or sweet foods. You may not see them, but they’ll find water sources in your home and build nests nearby. Carpenter ants can compromise the wooden structure of your home if left to their own devices, so if these pests make their way, you need to get them out.
  • Fire ants: These pests are both destructive and potentially painful. Fire ants aren’t afraid to attack if their mound is in danger, and their bites are painful, causing a burning, itching sensation. You don’t want these pests hanging around, and they will definitely require an expert in green pest control to get rid of them.
  • Pharaoh ants: These ants are small, measuring only 1/16th of an inch long. But don’t be fooled, these tiny insects can be destructive. They make their homes in dark, narrow spaces around electrical boxes and appliances.
  • Acrobat ants: You know when you’ve disturbed a nest of acrobat ants. Similar in look to the carpenter ant, acrobat ants let out a terrible odor and attack when their nest is distrubed. Though they usually make their nests in trees, they do like to nest in insulation and wood in your home.

If any of these ants make a nest in your home, call a green pest control expert right away.

Cockroaches

Known for their heartiness, cockroaches may rule the world in the event of a nuclear apocalypse, but until then, it’s us against them. Cockroaches are probably the most hated pest, and the last thing that you want is an infestation. After all, isn’t one roach gross enough?

But roaches are fairly common in Houston, and you’re probably seen the two most common types around — though hopefully not in your home. They are:

  • German cockroaches: You can tell a cockroach is German by its light brown color and the two stripes on its back. These pests like to hang out in dark, humid spaces, which could describe any place in Houston all year round, really. Unfortunately, these pests can quickly lay eggs and reproduce, which means it doesn’t take much for an infestation to take hold.
  • American cockroaches: If you’ve ever seen a giant cockroach scurrying across your driveway, it was probably an American roach. These pests can also fly, which makes them all the more terrifying to find in your home. If you find droppings near food sources, then you could have a real problem on your hands.

These are not pests that you’ll want hanging around your home, so don’t wait: call a green pest control expert at the first sign of an infestation.

Wasps

Have you ever been sitting quietly in your home when you started noticing a faint buzzing noise? That’s not the calm humming of the refrigerator. That’s a wasp. You probably think of wasps as just a summer problem, but it’s quite possible for wasps to stick around and build nests in homes.

These wasps are called paper wasps, and it’s true that most of them die off as the weather gets cooler. But those are the male wasps. The female wasps, usually those that are destined to become queens of a colony, look for a protective space to survive the winter — a place like your home. These females will start looking for a home when the first frost comes, and they may seek shelter in your chimney or drywall. Some even make homes behind the siding of your home or in the attic.

Once inside, these wasps tend to go into a state of hibernation. They find a warm place in your home and go into a state of diapause, which means that their development stops. All winter long, they stay hidden in their wam spot, and in the spring, they wake up and look for a way out of your home to start a colony. This is usually when you start noticing wasps around your home.

Wasps do have memories for safe places, so if a female took shelter in your attic, then she may choose to start a colony in or around your attic, and that can be a huge problem. Wasp nests can be difficult to remove and downright dangerous for anyone living in your home, so if you spot one, it’s time to call a green pest control expert.

Luckily during the winter, these wasps will probably be slow and sluggish. If you happen to spot one, it should be easy enough to get rid of it without risking a sting. But if you do see one in your house in winter, it should put you on alert. It means that there’s an easy way to get into your home, and you need to be looking into how the pest got in. Like ants, wasps can access your home through cracks and tiny spaces that you might otherwise think are too small.

Wasps can also get into your home through holes in the attic. As your attic probably isn’t a place you like to hang out, it can be easy to miss a problem in your attic’s structure. At least once a season, you should be looking around your attic and checking for any potential problems.

Green pest control tips

As temperatures fall outside, you can bet that all of these pests will start looking for warmer environments with great access to food. While it can be difficult to prevent every single insect from invading your home — you do have to leave your house once in a while — there are still some preventative measures you can take when it gets cooler out to stop insects from coming in.

First, look to your doors and windows. Are there any cracks or any means of entry? Are all of your screens in good condition? Is there a gap between the bottom of your door and the floor? This is a big weak point in your home’s defense. Ants especially find these to be easy entry points, so the first thing to do is make sure your doors and windows are in good condition. If you feel a draft near windows or under doors, get them looked at before it gets too cold. While you’re looking at windows, check to make sure your screens are in good condition. Any holes in the screens will be an easy entry point, so replace or repair them as needed.

Next, start checking your pipes. Look under all sinks and anywhere else water flows. Termites and mold (obviously not an insect, but a dangerous pest) thrive in damp areas, so any leaks should be repaired right away. Make sure you check your basement for any leaks down there are well. You may find signs of a leak upstairs down in your basement.

You should also do a tour of your attic and look for any potential holes, gaps or cracks where pests might get in. Ants and cockroaches can slip in even through the tiniest cracks, but in your attic, you also need to be worried about bigger pests, such as possums, mice and even bats. It can be difficult to tell when you’ve got a gap in your attic, especially since you probably don’t spend so much time up there. Before the temperature drops, take a look around your attic and make any repairs necessary.

So what do you do when you find small cracks in your kitchen and bathroom? Caulk them! Pick up some caulk at your local hardware store and fill in these cracks. They may seem small, but remember, pharaoh ants are only about 1/16th of an inch long. It doesn’t take much for them to get inside.

As the seasons change, you may be planning to do a deep clean of your home anyway, but doing so can help you prevent pests. Here are a few cleaning tips:

  • Sweep, vacuum and mop: Pests love crumbs. Make sure your home in crumb-free by scrubbing and getting rid of every possible food source.
  • Clear off your counters and seal up all food: Food is what pests really want in your home, apart from the warm environment. The best thing you can do is clear off your countertops and put all food away in containers. Get your family on board with this and make sure no one is leaving anything out.
  • Keep recycling and trash bins away from your home: Does anyone in your family like to drink soda? The sweet, sticky liquid attracts ants, and if your recycling bin is near your garage door, then it won’t take much for those pests to find their way into your home.
  • Declutter unused spaces: Old magazines and newspapers, cuts or fabric — these are all safe havens and sometimes food sources for pests. Recycle and clear out clutter.

Now none of these solutions are full proof. Even the cleanest, most clutter-free homes can still have pests. But these green pest control tips can help keep most pests out, and if there is an infestation, it will probably be a smaller one.

When to call in a green pest control expert

There are some pest problems that the average homeowner cannot handle. For example, if a hive of wasps have built a nest in your attic, it’s simply unsafe to try and remove it yourself. And do you really want to try to remove stink bugs while holding your nose? Probably not.

We at Natran Green Pest Control know how to help when a pest problem gets to be just too much. Our experts will use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to remove pests from your home and make sure every one of them is gone. We use green solutions to protect your family members, pets and the environment, so not only will your home be protected, but you’ll be doing your part to help the environment.

Our experts will not only remove pests, but they will also work with you to help you keep them out. Since 2006, we’ve been providing green pest control in Houston, and our technicians have seen it all. They’ll look for sites of infestation and determine how the pests got into your home. They’ll work with you to not only remove the pests, but make sure they leave for good. Our green pest control technicians can help you decide which of our protection plans — EcoZone, EcoPlus and Natranized — best fits the needs of your home, and they will help you protect your home from pest invaders in each season.

Tell us: How do you prepare for the fall crawl? Share your thoughts with us in the comments and let us know how green pest control can help keep your home safe and pest-free.

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