Summer is when outdoor activities are at their peak and millions of Americans hit the road for vacations. It’s a time for fun and relaxing—but not so much so that you forget to be careful about pest control.
This summer, there are three ongoing situations in particular that make it important to focus on pest control while you’re outside, traveling, or simply kicking back in the AC.
1. This summer has seen record temperatures throughout the country, but the repressive heat isn’t bothering most pests. In fact, they like it. Mosquitoes, ants, termites, bed bugs, and other insects are cold-blooded, so during cold weather, they slow down, while in hot weather, they speed up—becoming more active and reproducing faster. The drought in much of the country is compounding the problem, as insects make their way indoors in search of water. Preventative pest control (e.g., not leaving out food, removing standing water around the home, sealing up any entry points from outside, regular professional pesticide treatments) can keep pests from seeking to quench their thirst in your home.
2. West Nile Virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, is alive and well. Hard-hit Texas accounts for nearly half of the 694 reported cases of the disease in the U.S, but the problem is widespread. Forty-three states have reported cases, and 26 people have died nationwide. Thankfully, West Nile Virus doesn’t cause symptoms in most people, but about 20 percent develop body aches, fever, nausea, and/or rashes. And about one in 150 people become severely ill, suffering serious neurological problems. To protect against this disease, always wear mosquito repellent when outdoors and be sure that there isn’t standing water around your home (in gutters, bird baths, ditches in the yard, etc.) that allows mosquitoes to breed. If mosquitoes are prevalent around you home, you may need to call a pest control company to bring them under control.
3. Bed bugs are continuing their resurgence. Over the past 15 years, the bed bug population has rapidly and steadily increased, and this summer has seen no letup. Unfortunately for vacationers, traveling always carries with it the risk of picking up bed bugs and transporting them back to your home. So as you travel this summer, be cautions. Inspect hotel rooms for bed bugs before settling in. Always immediately wash your clothes in hot water when returning home. Treat your luggage with heat by putting it in a heating unit designed for that purpose. (Bed bugs die at about 120 degrees.) If you discover you have bed bugs in your home, or you suspect you do, you’ll need to call a pest control specialist, because bed bug nests are extremely hard to locate and to exterminate.