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.

Learn What Different Wasp Nests Look Like

Wasp nest identification in El Paso TX - Pest Defense Solutions

It’s summer here in El Paso, and insects are everywhere! The warm weather invites insects of all kinds to come out in full force. This includes wasps, which play a needed role in our environment. However, wasps can build nests near residential areas, creating a hazardous environment for anyone nearby. If you notice a growing number of these stinging insects flying to and from a certain area, there’s a chance you have a nest nearby. Because there are different types of wasps, it’s important to know how to tell them all apart! The team at Pest Defense Solutions are here to help you learn what different wasp nests look like.

Wasp Nest Characteristics

The four main types of wasps we have in our area are paper wasps, mud daubers, yellowjackets, and bald-faced hornets. Here is what to know about the appearance of their nests:

  • Paper wasps
    1. A paper wasp nest often looks like an upside-down umbrella.
    2. These nests tend to be more open, and can get quite large in size.
    3. They are typically supported by a single stalk and made out of a papery substance.
    4. Nests can be located under and within the eaves of structures, in attics and wall voids, and in other enclosed areas.
  • Mud daubers
    1. Female wasps construct their nests out of mud.
    2. The nests are small and tubular in size, often looking like organ pipes.
    3. They are typically found in cracks or crevices.
    4. Tend to build their nests in sheltered areas, including under eaves, garages, attics, or on the sides of buildings.

Identifying different wasp nests in El Paso TX - Pest Defense Solutions

  • Yellowjackets
    1. Nests are a papery material and have a single opening.
    2. The inside of a yellowjacket nest can have up to 100 tiers of cells.
    3. Yellowjackets can also build underground nests that can be enormous in size.
    4. Favor areas near the ground, in hollow trees, under porches, and a number of other areas.
  • Bald-faced hornets
    1. These nests are almost always at least three feet off the ground.
    2. They are made of chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva.
    3. They can grow to the size of a football or basketball.
    4. Builds its nest oftentimes in trees, bushes, or wooded areas, but they also can be on buildings.

The Danger of Wasp Nests

It is important to avoid approaching wasp nests if you have one nearby. It’s especially crucial to never attempt to knock one down on your own. There are likely many more stinging insects inside than you’d expect, creating a hazard for anyone nearby. Wasps can sting at will multiple times. In the case of a wasp nest on or near your El Paso property, contact the wasp removal team at Pest Defense Solutions today.

The Threats of Murder Hornets

Murder hornets - Info from Pest Defense Solutions in El Paso Texas

Asian giant hornets, also known as “murder hornets” have certainly made their presence known in the past few months. After being sighted in the Pacific Northwest, this hornet has struck fear in the heart of many nationwide. As the largest hornet in the world, it’s easy to understand why! Their sting is known to be potentially fatal, but the true threat they pose is to the honeybee population. Thankfully, these Asian giant hornets have yet to be spotted in El Paso. Regardless, it’s important to stay aware of the threats they pose, and the team at Pest Defense Solutions is here to share the facts.

Are Murder Hornets as Dangerous as Everyone’s Saying?

Asian giant hornets are definitely the most threatening of their kind. The biggest concern scientists have is the fact that they are a big predator to honeybees and hives. A single murder hornet can kill dozens of honeybees in minutes, and a group of 30 hornets can devour a hive of nearly 30,0000 bees in hours. If these hornets were to have a bigger presence in the states, the honeybee population would be in severe danger.

But what about their stings? Like many stinging insects, the Asian giant hornet will not attack humans unless they feel provoked or threatened. Their stings contain neurotoxins and are extremely painful. If someone is stung multiple times, the neurotoxins can cause organ failure and eventual death.

What Does a Asian Giant Hornet Look Like?

If you came across one of these hornets, you’d know it wasn’t your ordinary stinging insect! Here’s how to tell them apart: 

  • Workers are 1 ½ – 2” in length while queens can exceed 2”
  • Light orange head with an orange, black, and brown striped body.
  • Large, prominent eyes
  • Distinctly sharp mandibles
  • Six legs and a set of antennae
  • ¼” (6 mm) length stinger

Should You Worry About Murder Hornets in Texas?

Right now, no. As mentioned earlier, there are no current sightings of these anywhere in America besides Washington state. Scientists are currently leading the way to find, trap, and eradicate this pest before it becomes more widespread. In any case, it’s always best to enlist the help of a licensed pest control company for any type of stinging insect.

Keep an Eye Out for These 3 Summertime Wasps

Learn about summertime wasps in El Paso Texas - Pest Defense Solutions

Summer is right around the corner here in El Paso, and many people are ramping up to enjoy the warm weather outdoors. Unfortunately, with the summer months comes the influx of pest problems. One of the most common pests in the summer is wasps! Especially during the late summer months, certain wasp species can get especially aggressive. When nests are built near your home or business, they can be dangerous for everyone involved. At Pest Defense Solutions, we want to provide our customers with the info they need to know about common summertime wasps and how to prevent them. Keep reading to learn more!

Yellow Jackets

These wasps are notoriously aggressive and very common, especially in the late summer. Some things to know about yellow jackets include:

  • Yellow jackets congregate in colonies of up to or more than 1,000 workers.
  • Their nests look globe-shaped and are built above ground, often near garages, sheds, and more.
  • Yellow jackets will not bother you unless they feel threatened, in which case they may sting repeatedly.
  • Yellow jackets can be best identified by the yellow and black horizontal stripes that run across their bodies.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps aren’t as hostile as other wasps, but they are common this time of year. Here’s what to know about this summertime wasp:

  • They are similar in body shape to yellow jackets, but are mostly brown in color with yellow markings.
  • These wasps are known for the papery nests they build, which look like upside-down umbrellas.
  • Paper wasp nests often hang from tree branches and twigs, as well as porch ceilings and door railings. They typically contain up to 30 wasps.
  • Paper wasps aren’t as aggressive as yellow jackets, but they may sting to defend their nests. Their sting is known to be especially potent.

Common summertime wasps in El Paso Texas - Pest Defense Solutions

Mud Daubers

As their name implies, mud daubers are known for constructing their nests out of mud. Although they aren’t as aggressive as yellow jackets, it’s important to know how to identify them:

  • They are mostly black in appearance but may have light-colored markings. Mud daubers can be identified by their thin, thread-like waist.
  • Nests are usually located in covered areas such as porch ceilings, sheds, and attics.
  • These wasps are less social than other types, often preferring to be solitary.
  • Mud daubers aren’t as aggressive and will only sting when directly handled or threatened.

How to Stay Safe from Summertime Wasps

Bottom line: it’s important to avoid wasps when you see them. Some can be more aggressive than you realize, especially if their nest is nearby. To avoid getting stung, always be on the lookout for nests nearby. To keep wasps away from your property, make sure to cover foods and drinks that are outside and to seal your trash cans securely. If you need assistance with wasp prevention or removal, the team at Pest Defense Solutions is here to help.

Could Pests be Contributing to Your Springtime Allergies?

Pests could be triggering your springtime allergies in El Paso Texas - Pest Defense Solutions

It’s spring here in El Paso, and seasonal allergies are affecting millions of people! We’ve all had a runny nose or itchy eyes from springtime allergies, but is there something else contributing to flare ups this time of year? Believe it or not, household pests can be a big trigger for allergies and asthma, especially amongst children. From cockroaches to dust mites, it’s important to learn how to get rid of pest allergens in your home for the safety of you and your family.

The team at Pest Defense Solutions has gathered information provided by the NPMA on how to prevent pest allergens in your property–keep reading to learn more!

Pests & Allergies

It may seem crazy to think about, but pest infestations can often be dangerous for those who suffer from allergies. Cockroaches in particular are tied back to asthma and allergies. Their droppings, skins, saliva, and more can trigger allergic reactions and asthma, particularly in children. Dust mites are often linked to allergies, along with stinging insects such as yellow jackets and fire ants. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and an infestation in your home can exacerbate your already-bad springtime allergies. If you experience severe symptoms (wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc.) from an allergic reaction, it’s urgent to seek immediate medical attention.

How to Remove Pest Allergens From Your Home

To keep pest allergens away, it’s important to keep pests away in the first place! By implementing basic pest prevention tips, you can lessen the risk of having your allergies exacerbated by pests:

  • Seal cracks and holes in your property, including entry points for utilities and pipes, screen doors, and windows.
  • Store food in sealed containers and clean kitchens on a daily basis.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and use a tight-fitting lid.
  • Keep your basements and crawl spaces well-ventilated and dry. Moisture attracts pests.
  • Wash blankets, rugs, and bedding in hot water or get them dry-cleaned.
  • Vacuum and dust your property all the way through on a regular basis.

Getting Rid of Pest Allergens

As mentioned earlier, the best way to avoid pest allergens is to avoid pests altogether! By routinely implementing pest prevention tactics into your home maintenance routine, you can hopefully prevent pests. If you’re dealing with an infestation, it’s always best to call a professional exterminator. Our team is committed to keeping you and your family safe from pests and the dangers they can bring into your home–allergies included.