Ahhhh…summertime. As the mercury climbs (or explodes, as it seems to be doing here in eastern Carolina) fond memories of summers gone by resonate through my being. I am reminded of classic songs, classic movies, classic tastes, and classic celebrations. But I am also reminded of classic nuisances like the Squash vine borer and the Whitefly. Both predators of the summer solstice they are but a couple of the the pests that use our lazy, hazy, das as prime eating time! So as pests are either coming out from their eggs or returning from hibernation, here are the top 5 insects to watch out for in the summertime:
- Mosquitoes: There is nothing worse than that perpetual itch you keep scratching at once you get a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes are flying pests that like to suck human blood. Known to carry disease, such as the West Nile Virus, these bugs can make anyone run for the cover of the indoors. The best way to prevent these airborne vampires from biting you is to follow a few simple tips. First, remove all stagnant water and replace waddle and bird baths often. Mosquitoes love to breed in stagnant water. Next, stay inside (or behind a net of some sort) at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. When you do go outside, ware loose long sleeved pants and shirts to prevent mosquitoes form stinging through your shirt. Yes, it sounds a bit excessive but it does work! If you want to go a bit more organic though you can grow a healthy crop of rosemary, basil, lemongrass, or citronella. Heck. Even marigolds are rumored to keep the ‘skeeters at bay!
- Ticks: We’ve all seen the scene. Oh wait. That was leeches. Still. It is a horrible scene, right? Well, leeches aside, ticks are small pests that like to latch on to human skin. They crawl around, find a nice piece of real estate and then bit down. Like mosquitoes, ticks can carry diseases, such as Lymes Disease, that can be very harmful to humans. To make sure ticks don’t bite you, make sure you do the following. Wear long sleeved pants and shirts when outside and make sure you tuck your pants into your socks (or boots) to prevent the buggers from crawling up your leg. Yes, ticks like to crawl up your leg and then bite, so make sure you are well covered and tucked. Make sure you keep your lawn cut at all times. When spending time outside, be sure to stay away from the area where your lawn meets the woods. Ticks can rub off from a branch right onto your skin if you brush against a leaf.
- Termites: For all of our garden friends, termites may not seem like such a big deal. But when you are in the middle of building a stick-frame tiny house which employs the use of new wood and refurbished wood, termites can be a serious issue. In fact, termites cause billion of dollars of damage each year. They like to chow down on wood products. You can tell if you have termites by noticing if your wood floors or walls are getting hollow and weak. The best way to treat termites is to call a pest control company plain and simple. Termites will continue eating your house unless you put a stop to them.
- Carpenter Ants: I am pretty sure the ad for Ant Farm showed a family of carpenter ants marching along and building their tunnels. They had to be carpenters. They were big and brownish-black which very defined features. But they aren’t all that cute. In fact, carpenter ants are another pest that can destroy your home. Carpenter ants are big, black ants with 6 legs. Many people get carpenter ants and termites get confused with one another. Both termites and carpenter ants have wings through a stage in their life. Unlike termites, carpenter ants will only burrow through the wood and not eat it. Saw dust is an indicator of activity and usually you will see activity by the base of structures. The best way to prevent carpenter ants is to contact a pest control company.
- Carpenter Bees: I hate bees. I hate wasps. I hate hornets. Etc. (Yes, I do like honey….when other people comb it, of course.) Bees of all kinds are a very big nuisance to our summers. The problem with carpenter bees specifically is that they also do damage to homes. Bees will drill small holes on the outside of homes to nest it. You can spot their activity by saw dust at the base of a home. If there is not activity by the base, look up until you find small holes. Carpenter bees will drill in then down wood. You could have a 2 foot long tunnel in the wood and not even know. Again, the best way is to contact a pest control company. When people try and treat pest issues with box store products they waste precious time and even more precious money.
So have you been affected by summertime pests yet? What plagues you and yours? What about your garden? Do you know of any pests we should be aware of?