For anyone that has experienced issues with “minor” pests, you can confirm that these critters can be just as much of a headache as major pests, if not worse.
Carpenter ants are considered one of the most important pests in western Washington due to the frequency of their occurrence and the economic damage they often inflict. Another insect that destroys wood and inflicts serious economic harm is the Western subterranean termite. Both of these are considered “major” pests. But there are numerous other invaders here that don’t necessarily get the same attention:
- Cluster flies: These flies are slightly larger than house flies (about 3/8″ long) and are a dull gray color. They cause major headaches when they decide to use the voids in your home to hibernate during the winter. They become a real nuisance when they periodically enter your home all winter long, then come boiling out in the spring in huge numbers. After they emerge inside the home they’ll fly toward windows or lights, constantly buzzing around trying to escape. You’re then left with piles of dead flies in your windowsills on a daily basis. The solution to cluster fly problems can be difficult. It is usually best to exclude them by sealing openings on the outside, if possible. This combined with one or more residual pesticide applications on the exterior can help keep them out and reduce their numbers.
- Ladybugs: Ladybugs are considered highly beneficial when they occur naturally outside and eat insects that can damage your plants. When they decide to use your home for living quarters the love affair with them can end abruptly as hundreds buzz around, following light sources. The imported species known as the Asian ladybeetle is the main culprit that enters structures and has become a major pest in our area. Amazingly, this species has more than twenty different “morphs,” or different forms that exhibit a wide variety of color patterns and markings. For minor infestations, only vacuuming may be needed. For heavy infestations, the solution is similar to that for cluster flies.
- Crickets: If you’ve never experienced a cricket hiding in your home that keeps you awake at night with incessant noise then consider yourself lucky. Crickets sound charming outside but inside they can be annoying as they sound twice as loud. Although they don’t usually invade homes, if one does get in it can be difficult to find even as it chirps away, as the sound can echo off of walls. Treating with pesticides is usually not necessary; simply removing the culprit (if you can find it) is all that is needed. If you experience continual problems with crickets, this may be an indication that there are some fairly large gaps around the exterior doors of your home (a favorite entry point), since these are fairly large insects (3/4″ to 7/8″ long).
- Seed bugs (non-native type): These small (about ¼”) fast moving bugs can invade homes in giant numbers as they search for a place to spend the winter. They have a somewhat cylindrical shape, are brown, black, or red in color and have triangular markings on their back. Often they’ll enter a building that’s adjacent to a pasture or an overgrown grass field. If they only occasionally appear in small numbers vacuuming usually is enough but sometimes their numbers can be staggering, suddenly overwhelming a building. If this happens, call us for help. Like the Asian ladybeetle, this is another recently imported pest that is simply looking for a place to hibernate. They pose no danger to your home as they only feed on weed seeds.
- Millipedes: Millipedes range from 1/16″ to 4 ½” long and resemble a worm. In actuality, they have 30-90 plus hair-like pairs of legs. Their color is usually a nondescript brown or black, but some can appear red. They normally live in damp areas like in mulch or leaf litter, but occasionally migrate into structures in large numbers. They usually die quickly after they enter and will curl up into a spiral shape near an exterior door. If the problem is serious, relief can sometimes be found by replacing any beauty bark or mulch around the building with gravel or river rock. Nevertheless, sometimes pesticide applications are necessary.
- Springtails: Although very small (1/32″-1/8″), occasionally springtails can be giant trouble due to their habit of congregating in high numbers. Springtails were given this name because they tend to hop (like fleas). In fact, they’re sometimes even referred to as “snow fleas” since the most common family that occurs here may be seen in large numbers on the surface of mud puddles or snow. Their color usually appears blue or purple, but they can also appear whitish or gray. Like millipedes, they’re also attracted to moist areas such as mulch and decaying vegetation. If the area they live in begins to dry out, they may enter your home looking for moisture. When high numbers are involved, the solution is a targeted pesticide application.
These are just a few of the “minor” pests or occasional invaders that can cause major headaches for homeowners, property managers, and business owners. If you need help taking care of an infestation of any of the above pests contact Whitworth Pest Solutions. We know that the problem may not be “minor” to you.