Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

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Entomologists from Pest Defense Solutions’ parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

Common Seasonal Pests in El Paso

Mosquitoes are a common seasonal pest in El Paso TX - Pest Defense Solutions

El Paso is home to many types of pests that are, for the most part, active throughout most of the year. Due to our mild climate, pests don’t necessarily wait out the winter like they would in other parts of the country. That said, there are still a number of seasonal pests unique to our area. At Pest Defense Solutions, we believe it is very important to learn what pests are most common in certain parts of the year in order to prepare yourself for an infestation. With information provided to us by the NPMA, we are sharing expert information on common seasonal pests to keep your eye out for throughout the year.

Fall and Winter Pests to Look Out For

The NPMA has warned that the mosquito and tick season may extend well into fall this year due to the mild summer we experienced. Due to the fact that we have such mild winters, we deal with multiple pests throughout the fall and winter:

  1. Rats & mice. When temperatures dip, rodents will try to get indoors to wait out the colder months.
  2. Ants. Because they need moisture, ants will be driven indoors more than usual this time of year to seek out sources of water.
  3. Cockroaches. Similarly to ants, roaches will hide in dark, damp areas of the home in the fall and winter.
Winter pests in the South Central United States map
Rodent
Fly
Mosquito
Ant
Cockroach

What Pests are Common in El Paso Spring and Summer?

During the spring and summer months, we deal with a plethora of pests. Our warm mild weather drives all types of pests to be more active and reproduce. One of the most common pests we deal with is termites, which can infest homes throughout the year but usually swarm in the spring and summer. Mosquitoes are always active in the height of the summer months, which is also when hoards of flies come out of nowhere. Lastly, stinging insects are at peak activity in the summertime, which is when nests are often their most dangerous.

Seasonal Pest Prevention

Due to our climate and weather patterns throughout the year, El Paso residents and business owners experience a lot of pest problems. It’s important to know which pests to keep your eye out for in order to prevent a seasonal pest problem. The residential and commercial exterminators at Pest Defense Solutions can work with you to ensure you are protected from pests all year long.

Is Coronavirus Transmitted by Mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes and ticks do not spread coronavirus. Learn more from Pest Defense Solutions in El Paso Texas.

The team at Pest Defense Solutions understands how uncertain times are right now during the current pandemic. With a dedication to the health and safety of our communities here in El Paso, we are closely monitoring the information coming out each day about COVID-19. We understand there is a lot of misinformation spread about the nature of the virus, and we are here to set one of those myths straight. From what we know according to the CDC, coronavirus is not transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks. These two insects certainly play a role in the transmission of some of the world’s worst diseases, but COVID-19 is not one of them. Read on to learn what we know so far.

Do Mosquito Bites Cause Coronavirus?

As of now, there is no scientific evidence that mosquitoes or ticks transmit COVID-19. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that is spread to pass from person to person. Droplets from saliva or nasal discharge are often the cause of transmission, often generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Studies show that it can be spread through contaminated surfaces, and it  is increasingly considered to be an airborne virus. From what we know, coronaviruses are best avoided by avoiding exposure with infected persons. Diseases that are caused and spread by mosquitoes and ticks are entirely different from this current virus.

Deadly Diseases from Mosquitoes and Ticks

Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are considered vectors for some pretty serious infectious diseases. Vector pests are organisms that transmit diseases to humans through bites. More-so than fleas, ticks and definitely mosquitoes are infamous for transmitting dangerous diseases:

  • Malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more are just a few of the dangerous diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Lyme disease, which is currently the most common vector-borne disease in the nation, is spread by ticks.
  • If these vector pests feeds off a diseased host, they can transmit pathogens that can infect other hosts it subsequently bites. This is why so many people are exposed to the above diseases.

Pest Defense Solutions is Here to Help

Even though mosquitoes do not transmit coronavirus, they can still be dangerous. As always, it’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of a professional exterminator to prevent dangerous insects. We will provide essential pest control services to our communities during these times and all year long!

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, we want to encourage our customers to seek more information and follow guidelines released by the WHO and the CDC.

6 Important Pests of 2020

2020 pests to look out for in your El Paso TX home this year - Pest Defense Solutions

Hindsight may be 20/20, but when it comes to protecting your family and home against pests this year, you can be proactive with the help of Pest Defense Solutions. We are helping homeowners prepare for the upcoming pest season by offering insight into anticipated pest activity.

At Pest Defense Solutions, we have examined trends, company data and our own field experiences to determine the following six pest predictions. Additionally, we have provided preventative tips to help keep your home pest-free this year.


Mosquitoes

Disease-spreading mosquitoes, such as the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito, have recently surged in some Western states. These mosquitoes, as well as the common house mosquito, spread diseases such as the Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). A bite from a mosquito can also spread the parasite that causes heartworm in pets.

Homeowner Tips: West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, can increase with rising populations. And, mosquitoes only need one tablespoon of water to lay their eggs! To protect yourself and your family, dispose of any standing water around your home and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when spending any time outdoors.


Rats

Rat populations have increased over the past several years, and this may be partly due to warmer than usual winters. We can expect to see that trend continue as rodent populations, especially in suburban areas, increase. Warmer winters, a booming construction pipeline, lack of sanitation control, and lack of affordable housing are all issues that have advanced the swell of recent rat activity.

Homeowner Tips: To prevent rodents from entering your home, utilize the following prevention tips: Keep shrubs and trees cut back from home, especially thick ground cover that can serve as hiding places for rats. Ensure that trees do not overhang, touching the roof of your home. Seal any exterior openings larger than a nickel with rodent-proof material such as hardware cloth or flashing. Finally, seal and tie trash bags, placing them into garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.


Termites

Termites are one of the most destructive pests, causing homeowners in the United States $6 billion in property damages each year. These wood-destroying pests are a constant challenge for homeowners in the Western U.S., and this year, termites could prove to be even more damaging. The experts at Pest Defense Solutions have seen an increase in activity from subterranean and dampwood termites in many areas this year.

Homeowner Tips: Earth-to-wood contact provides an avenue for termites to enter homes and structures. To deter termites, eliminate soil to wood contact and avoid moisture accumulations near your homes’ foundation. Termites can be present for years before homeowners ever see signs of their activity, causing considerable and costly damage. Avoid these costs by having a termite protection plan in place. Speak to your pest control provider about risk and protection options for your home.


Cockroaches

Cockroach populations have increased dramatically over the past several years, due in large part to warmer weather and increased rainfall. Cockroaches carry diseases, infest stored food, and then spread these diseases through their excrement. Cockroach removal is vital as infestations can be serious if not taken care of in a timely manner.

Homeowner Tips: To deter an infestation, cockroach-proof your home by sealing small cracks and crevices around windows and door frames with a silicone-based caulk. Keep a clean kitchen, sweeping, mopping and wiping up any spills. Check that door seals, including the one on your garage, are in place and intact. If you’re experiencing cockroach problems, speak with your pest control professional to determine the best solution for your home.


Flies

If you have noticed more flies this past year, you are not alone. Although they’re more active in the summer, house flies reproduce year-round. Filth flies – house flies, bottle flies, flesh flies – generally live and breed near human habitats and their numbers have increased in recent years. Increasing population density, waste management practices that haven’t kept pace with growth, and a general trend toward a warming climate for the fly pressure all contribute to increasing this disease-spreading insect.

Homeowner Tips: The house fly and other types of “filth flies” are not only nuisance pests; they also have the potential to spread the disease to humans and animals. To protect yourself and your family, repair any damaged screens on windows and doors. Keep trash stored away from your home and make sure that all trash cans have tight-fitting lids.


Spiders

Spiders are carnivores, eating other insects and thriving in wet environments. Increased moisture leads to an increase in the insects that spiders eat as a food resource. Heavy rain and warmer temperatures have created the perfect conditions for insects and spiders to flourish. Although beneficial for our ecosystem, most people prefer spiders to stay outside where they belong.

Homeowner Tips: To keep spiders out of your home, keep food put away in tightly sealed storage containers. This will help eliminate ants, roaches and other pests, which will leave spiders with no food source. If the thought of spiders lurking is alarming, try changing your white outdoor light bulbs to yellow light bulbs, which attract fewer insects that can serve as food for the spiders. There are a few species of spiders that can live indoors and need to be controlled by spider removal experts.


The experts at Pest Defense Solutions agree that a proactive approach can help eliminate pest issues before they appear. With these pest predictions in mind, take time to evaluate your current pest control plan and make sure that you have the protection you need to protect yourself and your family from pests this year.