You want to feel safe and comfortable in your home. Unfortunately, there are literally thousands of critters that strive for the exact same thing: safety and comfort in your home. Your house may be efficient in stopping a wandering deer from coming in and staying for the winter, but it has a much more difficult time keeping out animals a million times smaller. Every home needs some form of pest control in order to keep the great outdoors out the door.
Pest control can be defined as a series of methods carried out to rid your property of undesirable and potentially harmful wildlife. The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) defines pests as unwanted plants, animals, insects, germs or other organisms that interfere with human activity. They make everyday life more difficult by biting, destroying food crops, or damaging property. While there are several forms of pests, this article will discuss the effects of and treatments for a few different groups of common pests found in the area around East Idaho.
Rodents come in various shapes and sizes. The ones most commonly invasive to your home are mice and rats. Squirrels, gophers, raccoons, and voles normally stick to the property outside your house, though there are always some exceptions. All rodents can be a nuisance whether they chew up your pantry or dig out your garden. While they may seem like nothing more than a general annoyance, their presence on your property can have several harmful effects.
Let’s look at the effects of mice as an example. Once mice nest in your home, they will maneuver all throughout your infrastructure. They can damage insulation and weatherproofing, gnaw holes through walls, and ruin furniture. Mice are also prone to spreading disease and contamination. They carry their own pests in the form of fleas, ticks, and lice, which leads to an indirect spread of pathogens. Rodents carry a whole range of diseases in their own urine, saliva, and feces, which they leave everywhere they go. This can be particularly problematic when they get into your cupboards, pantries, or food storage and contaminate everything they nibble. Mouse droppings are especially prone to making unsuspecting victims awfully sick.
If small-scale demolition and chemical warfare weren’t bad enough already, mice will burn your house to the ground. Seriously! Roughly 20% of undetermined house and structure fires are attributed to rodents. They are known to chew through electric cables in your walls. Damaged cables are prone to overheating and sparking which under the proper circumstances will lead to an electrical fire. If left unattended, your whole home could go up in flames.
Ants, termites, cockroaches, hornets, beetles, and all other things creepy and crawly will quite literally come out of the woodwork if their numbers are not kept in check. Their small size combined with their large populations make them excellent at discretely exploring every nook and cranny of a home in search of food sources and places to nest. It is also important to acknowledge that bugs are unclean. They are known to carry several harmful diseases and pathogens that can harm humans and spread them with ease.
Ants will overrun your trash, your driveway, and your kitchen if they get a foothold. Termites alone cause over $5 billion in damage to homes in the U.S. every year. Carpenter ants will chew up your home’s wood to make shelter and raid any place where they can find food. Cockroaches are known to trigger allergies and even asthma. Territorial yellowjackets and hornets can terrorize you, your pets, and your children in your own backyard. Any homeowner who values the comfort and structural integrity of their home will understand the need to control these pests.
It is important to note that bugs aren’t just a pest in the home, but they can have a negative impact on your surrounding property in even more noticeable ways. One particular menace to lawns all over East Idaho is the Billbug. These weevils lay their eggs in the grass which in turn hatch around Spring. These lawn grubs grow up feeding on the blades of grass around them, moving into the top layer of soil as they get bigger so they can feed directly on grass roots. This step in their life cycle is severely damaging to your lawn as it occurs at the height of summer when your grass needs to be at its strongest. Lawn grubs will weaken your lawn and make your grass appear tan and unwatered, despite any amount of moisture already present in the soil. Pest control is key in preventing issues like this.
Wolf spiders, cellar spiders, hobo spiders, house spiders, and black widows are all regularly found on properties throughout the western United States. While it is true that they help curb local pest populations, they can become a pest themselves when they start to overreach and establish a strong presence in your home. You will know if spiders have become a problem if you can see the following around your home:
- Several cobwebs and egg sacks around the house
- Consistent spider sightings around basements, room/ceiling corners, windows, and roof/porch eaves
- Cluttered, dark areas
- Excessive amounts of other insects
Fortunately, most spiders in Idaho do not pose a real threat to humans aside from Black Widows and Brown Recluses, the latter being a rare find in Idaho, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Staying on top of your spider population, regardless of the risk of physical harm, will lower incidents with children too curious for their own good and save your heart from the occasional startling close encounter with the eight-legged kind.
Yes, we are including plants in this list of most problematic pests. Imagine the following: Dandelions, bindweed, crabgrass, and thistle. You probably winced at the thought of one or two of these noxious weeds and for good reason. These pests relentlessly attack your property by choking out flowerbeds, invading the lawn, and crowding the garden. They come back year after year and without any intervention, these weeds will not hesitate to overpower your yard.
Because so many weeds have tap roots that grow deep into the soil, it is difficult to completely eradicate them by only manual weeding. A combination of chemical treatment and weed pulling can go a long way. The application of pre-emergent herbicides prevents weed seeds from sprouting up in inconvenient locations. In extreme cases and in areas where you don’t want any vegetation growing at all, you might consider using a ground sterilant that effectively kills off all plant life in the applied area.
There are several forms of pest control out there available to the concerned homeowner. There is a myriad of traps made for everything that moves and a chemical compound ending in “-icide” for anything that gets in your way. Herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, and all manner of sprays or applications can be very effective at defending your home, but only if used properly.
Certain preventative measures around the house can also be taken to avoid full-on home invasion. Actions as simple as keeping a lid on your trash, maintaining a clean kitchen, and replacing torn or broken screens will ward off infestation for a wide amount of home intruders. More involved processes include sealing off the edges of exterior outlets and vents, filling in any cracks found in your foundation, and installing or replacing door sweeps on doors that lead outside.
There are so many pests to account for making it difficult to pinpoint which pests you are personally dealing with and which tactics to implement. Setting aside time in your schedule to do all the research, identify your pests, and get rid of them can be a lot to handle. In every case, we recommend The Yard Butler’s various pest control and lawn care services. Aside from all-purpose pest control, The Yard Butler offers these specific services:
- Lawn Grub Control
- Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent Application (used to get ahead of weed sprouting)
- Ground Sterilants (used to clear all vegetation in an area)
- Dormant Oil (applied to trees and shrubs to kill wintering insects and their eggs)
- Tree & Shrub Bug Spray
- General Weeding
Choosing to work with The Yard Butler for your pest control needs will also save you money in the long run. By hiring a professional you save money on expensive pesticides and ensure that they are applied the right way. Proper pest control applications will save you even more money because you will be avoiding the costly damage that can be caused by pests.
Pest Control For Your Home
You deserve to know that your home is safe and secure. Pest control adds another layer of security to everything you already do to keep your place in good shape. Getting ahead of pests whether they are rats, bugs, or weeds, will help you maintain your property value, avoid damage to your home and yard, and reassure you that the only thing allowed into your home is invited guests.
Contact The Yard Butler for an inspection today.