With the changing of the seasons comes the beautiful changing of the leaves and scenery…along with the changing of the pests. Although pest activity in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) area peaks during the summer for most species, many “fall pests” will show up in full force with the cooler weather.
So while we can be grateful that summer pests like mosquitoes will die off in the colder weather, we must sadly prepare ourselves for the next wave of pest problems.
Although some of these common fall pests are around all year long, they become an even bigger problem for North Texas residents during the fall.
This is because just as we start to spend more time indoors to avoid the cooler, wetter fall weather, the pests want to do the same.
Pests like ants, rodents, and roaches all seek to find shelter indoors for winter survival. How can you avoid your home becoming a hotel for pests this fall? Follow our guidelines below to know which pests you’ll be dealing with and how to avoid and get rid of them.
As we dive further into the fall season, we notice the arrival of cooler temperatures and wetter weather. Unfortunately, however, along with new weather, many homeowners also notice the arrival of ants in their homes.
The colder and wetter it gets outside, the more likely you are to encounter ants inside. Ants appear indoors to seek food, warmth, and shelter from the chilly weather. In DFW during autumn, you are most likely to encounter carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, fire ants, acrobat ants, and argentine ants.
Your best bet to prevent these fall pests from entering your home is by not inviting them in for the food and shelter they seek. Keep your food sealed tight and put away. If any food or drink ends up on the floor or counters, clean them straight away.
Prevent ants from making it into your home by checking your house for any cracks or openings. Ants can squeeze through even the tiniest of gaps, so repair any openings around your home.
Avoid leaving any food outdoors, and dump any sources of standing water. Store your firewood at least 15 feet away from your home and have it stored elevated off the ground. You should also keep branches and bushes trimmed to avoid ants making their home there.
If ants have already arrived in your home, then the best method of treatment is to hire a local professional pest control company.
Ant problems are tricky to eliminate because correct identification of ant species is a crucial part of any ant control plan.
However, if you want to treat the pests on your own, try setting up some ant traps around your home and property. Traps are particularly effective in the fall as ants seek to move in.
“Ew!” is generally everyone’s first reaction upon spotting a cockroach around their home. However, there is actually a more significant issue with this pest than the disgust they cause (believe it or not).
The main problem with cockroaches is that they can actually be quite dangerous. These fall pests can spread bacteria, viruses, and diseases. That’s right – cockroaches are even worse than you may have thought.
The most active cockroach species in the fall in the DFW area are the American cockroach, German cockroach, and the brown-banded cockroach.
Although cockroaches thrive in warm weather, they are also very bothersome fall pests. As cooler weather arrives, cockroaches are forced to find shelter because their bodies can’t handle cold temperatures. During fall and winter, these pests bunker down in sewer drains, piles of leaves, and anywhere they can find warmth and food.
Although we’d rather the roaches stay away in those outdoor hideaways, for them, our homes are an ideal fall retreat. Cockroaches are the happiest hiding from cold weather in our walls, basements, and indoor spaces.
To prevent these nasty critters from entering your home this fall, keep your home as clean as possible. Regularly empty your trash, keep food sealed, clean spills and messes, keep bathrooms sanitized, and vacuum often.
You should also check around your home to close any gaps in your foundation, walls, or windows where the roaches may enter.
Rodents like mice and rats are common fall pests in the DFW area. During the colder and wetter weather of fall, they often move indoors for warmth, shelter, and food for themselves and their brood. Similar to cockroaches, these pests are major double trouble because they are both disgusting and dangerous.
As most of us are aware, rodents can be carriers of diseases, but there are many other ways that rodents are commonly dangerous. Rats and mice can chew through wiring in your home, build nests in insulation, and they can bring fleas and other insects in your home with them.
Rodents can squeeze through shockingly small openings to make their way in your home, so your first step to preventing rodents is closing any gaps in your home. Also, avoid your home calling to rodents like a neon “all you can eat” buffet sign by sealing all food, emptying the trash regularly, and cleaning all food/drink messes.
Rats and mice rapidly reproduce, and they can be hazardous to you and your family.
If you suspect you already have a rodent problem, call a pest control specialist for treatment immediately
Another fall pest that may be seeking shelter in your DFW home this fall is the brown marmorated stink bug. These insect pests are known and named for the tremendous odor they omit to repel predators that disturb them.
During the fall season, these stinky insects are on the hunt for food, warmth, and shelter to protect them from colder weather. Stink bugs will hide in walls, belongings, attics, and basements. Their odor and excrement often damage furniture and belongings.
Preventing stink bugs from entering your home can be tricky. These insects often use people to catch a free ride indoors, so do a quick scan of yourself and your belongings when you arrive home. Stink bugs also enter homes through gaps in windows, doors, and foundations. Repair any openings around your home.
Treating stink bugs that have already invaded your home is a delicate process. Remember, these bugs earn their name from the foul odor they emit when they’re scared.
One option is to use a vacuum cleaner to try to suck the stink bug up and put it outside before it smells up your home. However, the best way to avoid a very stinky mess is to have a professional pest control service take care of the problem for you.
One of the most commonly asked fall pest questions is, “why do we see so many more indoor spiders in the autumn and winter?”
There are two main reasons why spiders are more visible this time of year. The first is that spiders move indoors to seek shelter from cold weather, and our homes provide all the warmth and food they need. The second reason is that many of the spiders you’re seeing were already in your home hiding. Fall is the mating season of most spiders, so males are out on the hunt for females, and the females are making themselves visible to the males.
Many homeowners in autumn often spot common, non-threatening spiders like American house spiders, cellar spiders, domestic house spiders, and cupboard spiders.
However, residents of the DFW area need to be aware of the menacing brown recluse and black widow spiders, especially in the fall when they’re highly active.
Bites from these spiders can cause minor to very severe side effects, but the bites are undoubtedly painful.
Preventing spiders from taking over your house sometimes requires a sharp (and cautious) eye. Look around for spiders webs, and if you find any, destroy them straight away. However, always take great care to avoid spider bites while removing webs because the web could be home to a dangerous spider species.
Just as with other fall pests, seal food/drinks, clean up messes, and repair any gaps in your home’s exterior to help keep spiders out. You should also try to avoid having exterior lights on too much. The lights attract insects, and the spiders will go to lights to hunt for their insect prey.
Professional treatment options are available for preventing and removing spiders. Still, for any harmless species of spiders, removal can be as simple as killing the insect by hand. However, always be on your guard when dealing with spiders.
The brown recluse and black widow are fairly common in North Texas. If you spot a spider of either of these species, we highly recommend you have a professional remove them.
*Pest Prevention Tips to Remember*
Following these general pest prevention guidelines will help keep fall pests from overtaking your home.
Maintain your outside areas.
Keep your indoors clean.
Check the outside of your home for potential pest entry points.
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