A Guide To Common Pests In The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands, Texas, is home to lots of people and, unfortunately, lots of pests like insects and rodents that want to take advantage of the food, water, and shelter people provide them. The more you know about the many pests that live in our area of Texas, the easier it will be to protect your property from them. Learn more about the pests local to The Woodlands area with the pest control guide provided below.
Ants are easy to overlook because they are so common. Most people walk by ants daily without thinking twice about it. But, we can't ignore ants, especially ants that are in your yard, because at some point, they will end up inside your home. Once inside, ants will travel throughout your house and contaminate surfaces and food with bacteria they carry on their body and in their excrement. If the weather is not suitable or food sources are scarce, they may decide to stay and build a satellite nest inside, becoming an even bigger issue for you and your family.
Ants are related to bees and wasps, and like their relatives, they are social and live together in large groups. Some ants, like fire ants, have stingers at the end of the abdomen. Fire ants are aggressive and use their stingers to defend themselves and nest by delivering painful, venom-filled stings. During the summer and fall months, ants are most active and are out and about searching for food to bring back to their colony. Over time, ants have learned that some of the most reliable food sources are wherever there are people. We often spot trails of foraging ants in gardens, flower gardens, trash cans, compost, pet food, and eating areas. The social nature of ants and their ability to create many nesting sites make these common pests challenging to avoid and get rid of from our Texas homes and businesses.
The secret to controlling ants and other pests is to remove the things from your property and home that attract them. Some of our most effective ant control tips include:
- Remove the temptation of food from your property, Keep lids on trash cans, maintain gardens, keep covers on compost, and keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.
- Locate and repair leaks both outside and inside your home.
- Keep the inside of your home free of debris; if there is nothing to eat, ants won't want to stay.
- Maintain a barrier around your house that ants can't break. Regularly inspect your home's exterior and seal any spaces you find.
There are three primary species of cockroaches living across the United States that regularly enter into our homes and businesses; the American cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and German cockroach. American cockroaches are large roaches that like to live outside in damp, warm areas, and you'll often find them in sewage systems or garbage piles. They move into our homes when the weather is unfavorable or if food sources are low. German cockroaches are small cockroaches that have adapted to mainly living indoors in warm, damp areas. They are a significant pest threat and thrive anywhere food is being prepared or stored, with homes and restaurants being two of their favorite places to live. Oriental cockroaches have very high moisture needs and gather around pipes, drains, and sewers. They also won't hesitate to move indoors to seek out areas of moisture and food.
Though each species is unique, all three types of cockroaches are dangerous pests that should never be in our homes or businesses. Cockroaches pose serious health risks because before they found a way into your home, they were outside living in places full of bacteria, disease-causing pathogens, and parasites. Salmonella, cholera, gastroenteritis, and E. coli can all be spread by cockroaches. Cockroaches are prolific breeders, and just a few finding their way inside can quickly lead to a big problem. The shed skins and excrement that cockroaches produce are unsanitary and trigger allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. If you ever need help identifying and eliminating cockroaches that have found a way into your Texas home, contact Marathon Pest Control so we can evaluate your problem and provide effective solutions!
The secret to controlling cockroaches and other pests is to remove the things from your property and home that attract them. Some of our most effective cockroach control tips include:
- Sealing cracks in the foundation, installing door sweeps, placing weatherstripping around windows, and repairing loose screens to take away common entry points.
- Repairing leaking pipes and clogged drains and eliminating standing water from your home and yard.
- Keeping lids on trash cans and recycling bins and storing trash containers away from the outside walls of your home.
- Regularly vacuuming, wiping down counters, removing trash, and washing dirty dishes to limit crumbs and other food debris in your house that could make cockroaches feel welcome.
Both dog fleas and cat fleas live throughout Texas and can become a problem in our yards and homes. However, cat fleas are the most widespread species and the most likely culprit of your property's infestation. The physical differences between the two are microscopic, and they typically feed on the same hosts. Fleas are biting insects that feed on the blood of their hosts from the outside of their bodies. Though their names may make you think differently, dog fleas and cat fleas feed on a wide range of hosts, including cats, dogs, rodents, wild animals, and livestock. They will also feed on human blood, but they do not live on our bodies. Fleas are problematic because not only are their bites itchy, but they are capable of spreading some diseases and parasites through their saliva that make both people and animals ill.
One of the biggest myths associated with fleas is that if you don't own pets, you don't have to worry about fleas; this couldn't be farther from the truth! Fleas move onto our properties and into our homes many ways, not just on the backs of cats and dogs. Whether you have pets or not, fleas are a concern for anyone. After you spent time outside where fleas were present, usually parks or another place with long grass, fleas can hitch a ride into your home on your socks or pant legs. They also move inside on used furniture or rugs. Stray cats and dogs can introduce them onto your property as they sniff around your home and yard. Wild animals like squirrels, mice, and skunks, will transport them to your property and into your home if they decide to use it as a nesting site or food source. Since fleas can find their way into our homes in multiple ways, the best way to protect your home and family from unwanted fleas is to contact Marathon Pest Control and put a proactive plan of action in place!
Controlling fleas is difficult because wild animals are most often responsible for their transport. However, taking the following steps, in conjunction with our routine professional services, can help reduce the chances of fleas becoming a problem on your Texas property:
- Clear leaf piles and debris from your yard and keep your lawn mowed and maintained.
- If you have pets, partner with your vet to place them on a year-round flea preventative program.
- Vacuum your home regularly.
- Check any second-hand furniture, rugs, and clothing for fleas, and then thoroughly clean the items before bringing them into your home.
- Seal up openings in your home's exterior that could allow rodents and other wild animals into your home.
- Fence in your yard to keep your pets in and your neighbor's pets out.
Mosquitoes are prolific outdoor pests that, when living and breeding in our Texas yards, make it impossible to enjoy our outdoor spaces. Biting flies whose females consume blood meals, mosquitoes are never wanted on our properties. Not only do mosquitoes deliver itchy bites and are an annoyance, but they also spread diseases and parasites to people and animals. Being vectors of diseases like malaria, Zika, dengue fever, and West Nile virus is why mosquitoes are considered one of the world's most dangerous pests. Dogs, horses, and other animals are also at risk of being infected with mosquito-borne diseases like encephalitis and heartworm disease.
The female mosquito lays its eggs on top of standing water or the ground in areas prone to flooding. Any yard or outdoor space near breeding sites will have large populations of mosquitoes on them. If mosquitoes are in your yard, it's likely they're throughout the entire neighborhood. Containers like buckets, clogged gutters, wading pools, tree stumps, woodpiles, and puddles are some favorite breeding spots. During the day, mosquitoes like to rest in areas of dense vegetation and tall grass. Unfortunately, most of our Texas yards have breeding sites or resting spots that mosquitoes will take advantage of.
When it comes to mosquitoes, you can't totally eliminate them, but you can significantly limit their populations with professional help. Partnering with your neighbors to reduce mosquito populations is key to reducing the number of these biting, dangerous pests.
In combination with our mosquito control services, the following tips can help you reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property:
- Repair things on your property that can collect water like clogged gutters or low-lying areas.
- Containers like buckets or wading pools that collect rainwater should be kept upside down when not in use.
- Keep mosquitoes out of your home by placing screens in open windows and doors and sealing up gaps around air conditioners.
- Keep the grass cut short, cut back trees, and don't overplant landscaping near your home.
Rodents are omnivores, feeding on many of the same things we do, which is why they are so often found foraging for food in our gardens, trash cans, and compost bins. In Texas, rodents are regular visitors to our yards and often end up inside our homes. Rodents typically move indoors to search for food or to escape harsh weather conditions; this means both hot and cold temperatures in Texas. Our properties often provide rodents with everything they need — food, water, and safe shelter. Their ability to access their basic needs from us is why rodents are such a widespread pest problem that can pop-up in any home or business.
Many species of rodents invade Texas homes and businesses, with rats being some of the most problematic. Despite their larger size, rats only need a space the diameter of a quarter to get into homes and other buildings. In our area, there are two primary species of rats: Norway rats and roof rats. The Norway rat is a large, heavy-bodied species that enters into our homes at ground level. In comparison, roof rats are lean agile rats and are excellent climbers. They often enter buildings through the roof. No matter the species or how they enter your home, rats and other rodents do not belong living with people. At the first sign of these pests in your home or business, you must remove them as quickly as possible with the help of an experienced pest professional!
The secret to controlling rodents and other pests is to remove the things from your property and home that attract them. Some of our most effective rodent control tips include:
- Eliminate clutter, brush, fallen trees, and debris that rats can hide in from your property.
- Inspect for and seal any gaps and cracks discovered in the exterior of your home.
- Inspect your roof for damage, repairing any defects, and keep caps on chimneys.
- Keep locking lids on trash cans and compost bins to keep rodents out.
Subterranean termites are wood-eating pests that are problematic for home and business owners alike. These termites have high moisture needs, so their presence on a property usually indicates an underlying moisture problem. Subterranean termites nest undeground in damp soil and prefer to feed on water-damaged or decaying wood. Living together in expansive colonies, the workers continuously search for food to bring back to the nest. As the termites move through the soil, they often accidentally end up in our homes, moving through cracks in the foundation. Once inside, they are attracted to damp areas of a home and wood damaged by water. Termites often attack structural wood around windows and doors, near pipes and drains, and around tubs and sinks.
Termites are a pest problem that is not just local to Texas; these pests live across most of the country invading millions of structures a year and costing property owners billions of dollars for repairs and prevention. Moving through the soil or mud tubes, termites enter our homes without us knowing, working for months or years right under our noses. Typically you won't discover a termite infestation until either after observing a termite swarm (when winged reproductive termites swarm from a colony to find a mate) or when finally discovering the damage they have already caused to your structure. Repairing termite damage is costly and time-consuming because the wood they attack is usually behind walls, under floors, and above ceilings. Also, most homeowners' insurance doesn't cover termite damage leaving the cost of repairs up to you. Termites are small pests that make a big impact wherever they go.
The secret to controlling termites and other pests is to remove the things from your property and home that attract them. Some of our most effective termite control tips include:
- Eliminate excess moisture in and around your home that can lead to damp soil and water-damaged wood that termites need to thrive.
- Repair cracks in the foundation of your home to keep foraging termites out.
- Wood making contact with the soil attracts hungry termites. Make sure things like wood door trim, shingles, deck posts, fences, and play structures aren't making direct contact with the ground.
- Keep your home as dry as possible by repairing leaky pipes, using dehumidifiers, and making sure to ventilate attics, basements, and crawlspaces.
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