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Pest Library

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What You Need To Know About Richmond-Area Pests

Pests are a common problem in Virginia, and most of the pests that commonly get into homes in Richmond and the surrounding areas are well-known. When you come across a pest in your house, you’ll probably want to know a few more details. Our Pest Library describes the most common pests in our area, explains the problems they typically cause, and provides information about the best way to eliminate them.

Ants

When the weather begins to warm every spring, creatures that have been less active over the colder winter months become active once again. Ants are common insects that most homeowners start to notice in the yards every spring, moving around foraging for food to bring back to their nest. Areas of your yard where you are most likely to see ant activity are places that provide them with food and moisture. Gardens and flowerbeds, trash cans, recycling bins, pet food bowls, and outdoor eating or cooking areas are where you're likely to find ants. The more food you have available on your property for them to take advantage of, the more active ants will be, and the more likely they will eventually find their way into your home.

There are several different species of ants in the Richmond area that homeowners regularly contend with, such as carpenter ants, little black ants, and fire ants. Fire ants are mainly a problem in our yards; they prefer to nest outside and are ferociously protective of their nests. Large groups of these small ants will swarm, delivering painful venom-filled stings, and making it impossible to enjoy your yard safely. The little black ant's small size enables them to easily find their way into our homes while foraging for food, water, and shelter. They invade in large numbers, and you'll regularly see them in traveling over floors and across counters. Carpenters ants are one of the largest ants to invade our homes, and their nesting habits cause them to be destructive. Inside buildings, they tunnel through and create nesting galleries inside water-damaged or decaying structural beams.

The following tips will help you make changes around your property to make it less appealing to ants looking for food, water, and shelter:

  • Always keep tight lids on trash cans.
  • Maintain gardens and flowerbeds.
  • Keep indoor and outdoor eating areas free of food debris and sticky spills.
  • Remove things like tree stumps, fallen trees, and brush piles from your yard where ants could nest, and that will put them in close proximity to your home.
  • Help stop ants from finding their way into your home by installing door sweeps, sealing cracks in the foundation, and placing weatherstripping around windows and doors.

Bed Bugs

Why are bed bugs in your home? They are in your home for two reasons; they were introduced by you, a family member, or visitor, and because you and your family provide them with food in the form of human blood. Bed bugs solely feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, with people being their preferred food source. Bed bugs have adapted to living indoors with people, and their main mode of transportation has become hitchhiking. They hitchhike on people or inside our belongings to new locations, making anywhere people spend time a place where bed bugs spend time.

After bed bugs move into your home, they multiply quite quickly and can cause a large-scale infestation that takes over your house and causes you and your family stress and sleepless nights. Another problem with bed bugs is that while they don't spread diseases like other blood-feeding pests, they still bite. Bed bug bites can cause some to develop a red, itchy rash which can become infected due to scratching at the bite sites. Knowing where bed bugs are likely to congregate is helpful so you can regularly inspect those areas and identify an infestation quickly. Common bed bug hiding spots include the seams of mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture. They also like to hide inside electrical outlets, behind wood trim and baseboards, and within clutter.

The following tips will help you avoid introducing bed bugs into Richmond, Virginia area home. These tips will also help prevent bed bugs from taking over your home if they ever get inside:

  • Regularly vacuum your floors and upholstery to help remove stray bed bugs.
  • If possible, don't purchase secondhand items like mattresses and upholstered furniture for use in your home.
  • If you do purchase secondhand items, make sure to inspect and thoroughly clean them before bringing them into your house.
  • Keep your home free of of clutter where bed bugs like to hide.
  • Keep belongings away from other people's belongings and up off the ground as much as possible in public places.

Follow these prevention tips to prevent bed bugs, and if you do get a bed bug infestation, reach out and learn more about our bed bug control services.

Mosquitoes

Virginia is an area where mosquitoes thrive. Our geography, climate, and large populations of people and animals provide these small flying, biting pests with everything they need. The primary food source for mosquitoes is plant nectar and other sweet liquids; however, female mosquitoes require blood meals. Females need to feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals to gain the protein they need to create viable eggs. Females then lay their eggs on top of areas of standing water. Populations of mosquitoes spring up very quickly as it only takes around eight to ten days to develop from egg to adult. Some of their most popular breeding sights include clogged gutters, tree stumps, containers like buckets or wading pools, the tops of trash cans, birdbaths, water bowls, and low-lying areas that allow rainwater to puddle.

In order to feed, the mosquito uses their elongated piercing mouthpart called a proboscis. After being bitten, a red, itchy welt usually develops; scratching at the bite site can lead to scarring and a secondary infection. However, the diseases and parasites these insects transmit to people and animals during the feeding process are a bigger problem. As they feed, they can acquire infections that they pass onto their next host; diseases like the West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis. They are also well-known for transmitting parasitic heartworms to our pets, which can be fatal if not treated. Limiting populations of mosquitoes on your property and limiting your contact with them in outdoor spaces is key to protecting the health of your family.

Use the following prevention tips to help reduce the number of dangerous mosquitoes living and breeding on your Richmond, Virginia-area property.

  • The most important step to reduce mosquitoes numbers is reducing the amount of standing water on your property.
  • Always store containers upside down or indoors.
  • Fill in low-lying areas that collect rainwater.
  • Do not overwater gardens and flowerbeds.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris.
  • Remove overgrown shrubbery, trees, and landscaping and keep your grass cut short. Mosquitoes love to hide in dense vegetation during the heat of the day as it provides them with cooling shade.

Spiders

A type of arachnid, the spider is a predatory creature that feeds on many different insects and other spiders. In nature, spiders are helpful; however, when they are in our yards in large numbers or in our homes, they are a nuisance to deal with. While all spiders are a nuisance to having crawling around your house or outdoor spaces, some in our area can actually be dangerous. The black widow spider and brown recluse spider have venom strong enough to affect a person if a bite were to occur, making them dangerous to have in our yards and homes. Luckily most of the spiders we run into, like the common house spider, are not a threat to people, as their venom is not strong enough to cause harm if a bite were to occur.

The reason spiders are in our yards and homes is because they often find an abundance of food sources there. Spiders hunt and feed on flies and various other insects; the things that attract insects to our yards will also attract hungry spiders. Open trash cans, garden areas, exterior lights, outdoor eating areas, landscaping, and areas of standing water are often gathering points for spiders. Spiders don't necessarily want to live inside our homes but usually wind up inside when following their insect prey. Spiders will follow insects that move indoors searching for food or shelter; once inside, they tend to stay inside if food, water, and shelter are available. The more insects activity you have in your yard or home, the more problems with spiders you will experience.

The following tips will help you make changes around your property to make it less appealing to spiders looking for food, water, and shelter:

  • Remove sources of standing water from your property, keep gutters clear of debris, store containers that collect water upside down, and fill in low-lying areas.
  • Reduce the amount of food that a spider's prey can access on your property. Keep lids on trash cans and recycling bins, keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris, and maintain gardens.
  • Keep outdoor lights off as much as possible and use caulk to seal the areas where they attach to your home.
  • Do away with entry points by sealing cracks in the foundation, repairing roof damage or damaged siding, and weatherstripping around windows and doors.

Stinging Insects

While stinging insects are extremely beneficial when living outside away from our yards and families, when in our yards or homes, they are dangerous and, for the most part, unwelcome pests. The reason that stinging insects are so dangerous is because of their stingers. A stinger extends from the end of the abdomen that they use to inject venom into their prey to paralyze them; they also use them as a means of defense. When sharing our yards, stinging insects often come to view people as a threat and deliver painful, venom-filled stings to defend themselves. While their stings are painful, the bigger concern is that the venom is strong enough to trigger (sometimes life-treating) allergic reactions in people.

In the Richmond area, several species of stinging insects may decide that your property is a good place to nest. The most common species include wasps, bees, yellow jackets, hornets, and bald-faced hornets. Usually, when stinging insects decide to build a nest in a high-traffic area of your yard, such as under decks, in gardens, in landscaping, on play structures, or inside ground holes, they become problematic. Like other pests, food often attracts stinging insects to a property. Gardens or flowering plants provide stinging insects with pollen or nectar and a place for their insect prey to hang out. Trash cans, recycling bins, and outdoor eating areas are other places you'll run into stinging insects in your yard. If you ever notice large amounts of stinging insects in high-traffic areas of your yard or around your home, it is best to contact a professional to identify them and provide the services needed to safely remove them.

The following tips will help you make changes around your property to make it less appealing to stinging insects looking for food, water, and shelter:

  • Cut back tree branches and other dense vegetation from your home's exterior.
  • Place garden areas well away from the outside walls of your house.
  • Don't plant or place planted pots next to the entrance of your home.
  • Keep your grass cut short and fill in ground holes that develop in your yard.
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on trash cans and recycling bins.
  • Remove areas of standing water that could provide a water source.

Termites

The Richmond, Virginia area is full of lovely parks, forests, and wooded neighborhoods. Trees are a visible part of our area and make it a beautiful place to call home. However, living in an area populated by trees means that our homes and businesses are more at risk of a termite infestation. These insects feed on cellulose found in wood and other organic materials. Though many of the buildings and homes in the Virginia area are built from brick, don't let that fool you into thinking you don't have to worry about these wood-eating pests. There are many different wooden building materials found inside your home that these pests will target and utilize as a food source, causing major structural damage in the process.

The most widely distributed termite species in our area and across the country are eastern subterranean termites. These termites nest in the ground, and to maintain their high moisture needs, they travel through the soil or through above-ground mud tubes they create. Subterranean termites travel each day from their nest to a food source. Termites are persistent pests that will eat 24/7, year-round. They are attracted to areas of moisture and damp soil and wood such as mulch, landscaping ties, and leaf litter. When these areas are close to your home, foraging termites will move inside through cracks in the foundation or concrete slabs or pieces of wood, making direct contact with the ground. Once inside, they will move to damp areas begin feeding. Structural wood near pipes, windows, and doors are especially susceptible to termite damage.

The following tips will help you make your Richmond, Virginia, area property less attractive to hungry eastern subterranean termites:

  • Reduce as much wood to soil contact on your property as possible. Create a barrier between the ground and things like wooden steps, trim, play structures, and fences.
  • Keep the soil around the perimeter of your home as dry as possible. Cut back shrubbery and landscaping from your home's exterior, and make sure gutters and downspouts are directing rainwater away from your home.
  • Quickly repair leaky pipes.
  • Make sure to ventilate basements and crawlspaces properly.
  • If wood materials in or around your home ever become water-damaged, remove them and replace them with sound wood.

Custom Solutions For Your Richmond, VA Pest Problems

If you are looking for a modern solution to your Richmond, Virginia area property's pest problems, reach out to the professionals at Cobalt Pest Control. We are dedicated to our customers and to providing the best family and pet-friendly pest control solutions possible. Our professionals provide efficient, stress-free services that offer peace of mind and a pest-free home. To learn more about our home pest control services, please give us a call at Cobalt Pest Control today!