Your home is only supposed to shelter you and your loved ones. But there could be an army of unwanted guests lurking within your home. According to a recent study, the average American home is host to over 100 kinds of bugs. Before you start freaking out, the study also clarifies that most of these crawlies aren’t out to destroy your home or there to spread disease. They’re just part of the ecosystem.
However, certain types of insects can and will harm your family or damage your house. Learn about the top five pests in the United States and what you can do to keep them away from your property.
Rogues Gallery of Pests
Although most insect life inside and around your home isn’t harmful, there is still a handful that might make it necessary to call a professional home pest control company. The following are the top five most harmful pests that are common throughout the United States.
Ticks are usually found outdoors and are commonly encountered in wild areas. They can harm your family by spreading Lyme disease with their bite. This disease is common in deer ticks, usually only encountered in the woods. However, housing estates and subdivisions are encroaching on forested areas, leading to a surge of Lyme disease infections among humans.
Mosquitoes live near bodies of water, which they need to lay their eggs. They’re among the most dangerous insects in the world because they’re hosts to multiple diseases. Mosquitoes are vectors for diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, and dengue, which they can transmit with a single bite. More than 500 million people from around the world contract a mosquito-borne disease each year.
Bedbugs are tiny parasites that feed on blood. Although they’re only a mild nuisance in small numbers, they can infest a whole house if left unchecked. Once firmly established, they can be challenging to root out. The primary risk of bedbug bites is they can easily become infected because of their itchiness. They can also cause allergic reactions in people.
Few insects are as tenacious as the cockroach. These nasty bugs are drawn to food and dark, musty spaces. They can also track disease around on their legs as they crawl about your belongings in search of their next meal. Cockroaches can be found almost anywhere in the United States, preferably in dark, damp areas.
Termites are easily the most destructive of the insects on this list. In their natural habitat, termites are valuable parts of the ecosystem, returning deadwood to the earth. In homes, they can cause catastrophic structural failure and endanger the lives of occupants. Because they bore into wooden posts and form colonies within walls, they can be difficult to exterminate independently.
Protecting Your Home from Pests
Now that you know the kind of insectile threats you’re up against, what can you do on your own to stop them? Here are a few easy ways you can reduce the risk of insect lodging in your house.
Trim Your Lawn
This is effective for fighting ticks, which love to breed and live in tall grass. Ticks also like dead leaves and undergrowth, so after mowing your lawn, you should also trim your privet hedge and other ornamental plants. Make sure to dispose of clippings properly to avoid giving ticks convenient nesting areas.
Mosquitoes primarily lurk outside, but they can be a nuisance if they make it into your home. If you live in a particularly moist or humid area, and you’d like to keep your home ventilated, you can install mesh doors and window screens to prevent these tiny bloodsuckers from entering your home while you cool off.
Sanitize Your Kitchen
Cockroaches are drawn to food, especially the little bits of food that fall behind counters or open trash cans in your kitchen. Regularly clean and sanitize food preparation areas to prevent attracting cockroach colonies to your home. Aside from sweeping or mopping floors and surfaces, you could also sanitize them with disinfectant products for extra security.
Sun Your Mattress
The easiest way to defeat bedbug infestation is by heating your mattress and linens. For bedclothes, you can wash them in your washing machine’s hottest setting. To get rid of bedbugs in your mattress, haul out the mattress to your yard and beat it with a stick to dislodge dirt and bugs. Then leave it out under the scorching sun for a few hours to raise its internal temperature enough to kill the pests.
Store Firewood Separately
Termites feed on dead wood, and your winter woodpile is a huge treat for these insects. Instead of stacking your wood right next to your home’s walls, pile them in their own shed. If you don’t have a shed, a carport will do. In a pinch, you can pile the wood up in the open air and cover them with a tarp to keep them dry. It’ll be much easier to separate firewood from your home than rebuild it because of a termite infestation.
Keep Property Dry
Insects love to hang out in damp spaces because these areas often contain mold they can feast on, a steady supply of water, and a moist wood to chew through. Mosquitoes also enjoy the damp because they can only lay their eggs in stagnant water. Thoroughly check each water pipe and fixture inside and outside your home to ensure they’re not leaking. Fixing a leak or a cracked pipe will keep insects away as well as prevent water damage.
Your home is meant to shelter your loved ones, not unwanted guests. These tips will help you protect your family and your home from pests and the damage they can bring.