Although we all like to curl up next to a warm fire during the wintertime, the luxury of keeping firewood to do so often comes with unwanted pest problems. If you aren’t careful about the way that you store your firewood, all sorts of insects and even rodents can take advantage of a temporary shelter, and even move inside your home to get warmer. Over our decades of service in Northern Utah & Southern Idaho, we’ve learned the best ways to protect your woodpile and keep pests out of your home. Read on for advice from our expert technicians at Rentokil.
What Types of Pests Do Woodpiles Attract?
A good number of pests that you might find around your woodpile in the winter will do no harm to your family or your home. Boxelder bugs, moths, earwigs, some species of spiders, and other pests might be a nuisance, but cannot cause damage to your property or spread diseases. However, there are a few pests that you should watch out for around your woodpile:
No one likes the sound of having bees or wasps around their property, but with carpenter bees, the potential for property damage is present, too. Additionally, termites, powderpost beetles, and carpenter ants all bore through our homes’ wooden structures, whether to eat the cellulose within in the wood or to make nests. Termites are one of the worst pests you can have in your home—in the United States alone, subterranean termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage every year!
How to Keep Pests Out of Your Piled Firewood
If you leave your woodpile in a vulnerable state for too long, you will certainly develop a pest infestation of some sort. Here are Rentokil’s three best pieces of advice to stop this from happening:
Keep your firewood elevated and covered: Woodpiles left on the ground can attract carpenter ants and termites that live in the soil beneath. Keeping your woodpile stored in a rack off the ground will reduce your chances of an infestation developing.
Keep it at a distance: Your woodpile should not be left resting against the side of your home. The further away you store it, the less likely your home will become infested.
Burn older wood first: When you take wood inside to start a fire, make sure you pick the older logs to burn first. Older logs are more likely to be infested, but if you get them into your home and burn them quickly, the pests shouldn’t spread around your home.
Winter Pest Control in Northern Utah & Southern Idaho
If you want to feel certain that your woodpile isn’t the reason for any pest infestations this winter, reach out to your local pest control company. Our technicians at Rentokil can perform a complete property inspection to find any vulnerabilities or potential causes of a pest outbreak. We can also help you take preventative measures to keep pests out of your home in every season.Don’t wait until it’s too late to stop pests this winter—reach out today for a free quote!
Entomologists from Rentokil’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021
READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.
To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.
1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:
With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.
“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban, and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”
Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.
“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows, or pipes.”
2. Mosquitoes on the Move:
Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and Zika virus, among other diseases.
“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”
Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.
3. Bed Bugs:
The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.
“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”
Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing, and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.
If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.
4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.
From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.
In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:
Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.
Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water, or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”
Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.
5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere
Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.
“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”
6. Pests in the News:
There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”
The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”
The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.
The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.
“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”
While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.
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Here in Utah, we are accustomed to pest problems being less abundant in the fall and winter months. However, it’s important to never let your guard down about termites. Termite colonies are active all year long, even if you may not always see them. These wood-destroying pests most often swarm between March and November. During the colder months, they will sometimes burrow deep down into the soil to keep warm until springtime returns. That said, the queen termite is able to lay eggs all year long, meaning a colony can grow at a constant rate. Because of this, it’s crucial to stay vigilant about preventing termites throughout the entire year. Keep reading to learn more from the termite exterminators at Rentokil!
Are Termites Infesting Homes in the Fall?
The short answer is: yes! Just because you may not see termites swarming doesn’t mean they’re still hard at work. A termite colony can infest your property at any time and continue to grow before you even notice the damage they’ve caused. Maturity is the number one determinant in a colony’s ability to damage your home. A two to four-year-old colony can cause damage to your property at any time of the year.
Termites need to stay warm in colder temperatures, which is why they will nest 25 to 30 feet down in the soil during the winter. This may make them slightly less noticeable this time of year, but it is nonetheless crucial to stay vigilant about looking for the signs of termites and the damage they cause.
Signs of Termite Activity in Your Home
Out of all pest problems, termite infestations are most feared because the damage they cause often doesn’t show up until you have a serious problem. In the fall and all year long, it’s important to look for the following signs of termites in your property:
Discarded swarmer wings
Termite frass (feces)
Loose tiles or buckling floors
Bubbling or uneven paint on walls
Holes in drywall
Hollow-sounding or crumbling wood
How to Protect Your Home from Termites This Fall
If you want to avoid the distressing discovery of a termite infestation in your Northern Utah or Southern Idaho home this year, it’s important to get the help of a professional termite exterminator. At Rentokil, we offer a number of options designed to protect your property from these pests in the fall, winter, spring, and summer! Contact us today to learn more.
Termites and flying ants: what’s the difference? Flying ants, known as carpenter ants, can cause a lot of damage with their wood-boring abilities. However, termites are even more dangerous! In the swarmer stages of their lives, these two wood-destroying insects are commonly mistaken for each other. Although they both destroy wood, they are quite different from one another. Keep reading to learn expert tips on the differences between termites & carpenter ants from the professionals at Rentokil.
How to Tell Termites Apart from Carpenter Ants
Termite and carpenter swarmers certainly look alike, but there are several key differences. The best way to differentiate the two is to look at the size of their wings in proportion to their bodies. Flying carpenter ants are black in color, but can have a slight red hue as well. The most telling feature of carpenter ants is that they measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antennae bent at a 45-degree angle. Carpenter ant swarmers are larger than termites, which is a good way to tell them apart.
Meanwhile, termite swarmers are dark brown to black in color and measure 3/8″ long including the wings. Their wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color, may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body. This is the best way to differentiate them from carpenter ants.
Behaviors of Wood-Destroying Insects
Termites and carpenter ants both tunnel through wood, but termites are typically more destructive. The main things to know about these wood-boring insects are:
Termites make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, under siding, porches, or any structure in contact with the soil.
Established termite colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day.
Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into normal wood, insulation, or wall voids.
Excavated termite galleries appear to have been sanded. Carpenter ants do not create the extensive damage termites do.
How to Control Termites and Carpenter Ants
Wood-destroying insects are feared by all property owners, and for good reason! Flying ants, known as carpenter ants, are the most destructive ant species in the nation. However, they don’t hold a torch to the damage caused by termites annually! Your best defense against a wood-destroying insect is to sign up for annual inspections from a professional pest control company such as Rentokil. We can help you learn how to tell the differences between termites & carpenter ants.
They say hindsight is 20/20, but when it comes to protecting your family and home against pests this year, you can be proactive with the help of Rentokil. We are helping homeowners prepare for the upcoming pest season by offering insight into anticipated pest activity.
The experts at Rentokil have examined trends, used our company data and our field experiences and to determine the following six pest predictions. We are also offering preventative tips to help keep your home pest-free this year.
In some Western states, disease-spreading mosquitoes, such as the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito, have surged in recent years. These mosquitoes, as well as the common house mosquito, can spread diseases such as the Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). A bite from a mosquito can also spread the parasite that causes heartworm in pets.
Homeowner Tips: The risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the West Nile virus can increase with rising populations. Mosquitoes only need one tablespoon of water to lay their eggs. To protect yourself and your family, dispose of standing water from your property and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when spending time outdoors.
Over the past several years, rat populations have increased and this may be partly attributed to warmer than normal winters. We can expect to see that trend continue as rodent populations in suburban areas increase this year. Warmer winters, a booming construction pipeline, lack of sanitation control, and lack of affordable housing are all issues that have advanced the swell of recent rat activity.
Homeowner Tips: Rats spread disease and can be extremely destructive to homes. To prevent rodents, try the following rodent control tips: Keep trees and shrubs cut back, especially thick low-vegetation that can serve as good hiding places for rats. Make sure that trees do not overhang onto the roofline. Seal any exterior openings larger than a nickel with rodent-proof material such as hardware cloth or flashing. Finally, seal and tie trash bags, placing them into garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.
Termites cause homeowners in the United States $6 billion in property damages each year and are one of the most destructive pests. These wood-destroying pests are a continual problem for homeowners in the Western U.S., and this year, termites could prove to be even more damaging. The experts at Rentokil have seen an increase in activity from subterranean and dampwood termites in many areas this year.
Homeowner Tips: Earth-to-wood contact provides an avenue for termites to enter your home. To prevent termites, eliminate soil to wood contact and avoid moisture build-up near your homes’ foundation. Remove excess wood (stumps, lumber, etc.) from your yard. Termites can be present for years before homeowners ever see signs of their activity, causing considerable and costly damage. Avoid these costs by having a termite protection plan in place. Speak to your pest control provider about risk and protection options for your home.
In the last several years, cockroach populations have increased dramatically, due in large part to warmer weather and increased rainfall. Cockroaches carry diseases, infest and contaminate stored food, and then spread bacteria through their excrement. Cockroach removal is critical as infestations can become serious if not taken care of in a timely manner.
Homeowner Tips: Cockroaches are not just a nuisance, they can make children sick. The presence of cockroaches increases the symptoms of asthma and allergies. To prevent an infestation, cockroach-proof your home by sealing small cracks and crevices around windows and door frames with a silicone-based caulk. Keep a clean kitchen, sweeping, mopping and wiping up any spills. If you’re experiencing cockroach problems, speak with your pest control professional to determine the best solution for your home.
If you have noticed more flies this past year, you are not alone. Although they’re more active in the summer, house flies reproduce year-round. Filth flies – house flies, bottle flies, flesh flies – generally live and breed near human habitats and their numbers have increased in recent years. Increasing population density, waste management practices that haven’t kept pace with growth, and a general trend toward a warming climate for the fly pressure all contribute to increasing this disease-spreading insect.
Homeowner Tips: House flies and “filth flies” are attracted to filth, and have the potential to harm humans and animals. Keeping a clean home is the first step to protecting yourself and your family. Keep trash closed in lidded containers and take it out often. Clean spills quickly and cover any non-refrigerated foods. Keep pet feeding and litter areas clean and fix drips and eliminate any areas of excess moisture.
Spiders are carnivores, eating other insects and thriving in wet environments. Increased moisture leads to an increase in the insects that spiders eat as a food resource. Heavy rain and warmer temperatures have created the perfect conditions for insects and spiders to flourish. Although beneficial for our ecosystem, most people prefer spiders to stay outside where they belong.
Homeowner Tips: To keep spiders out of your home, keep food put away in tightly sealed storage containers. This will help eliminate ants, roaches and other pests, which will leave spiders with no food source. If the thought of spiders lurking is alarming, try changing your white outdoor light bulbs to yellow light bulbs, which attract fewer insects that can serve as food for the spiders. There are a few species of spiders that can live indoors and need to be controlled by spider removal experts.
The experts at Rentokil agree that a proactive approach is the first step any homeowner can take to prevent pest problems. With these pest predictions in mind, take time to evaluate your current pest control plan and make sure that you have the protection you need to protect yourself and your family from pests this year.
Specialized and Rentokil have joined forces and will be operating as Rentokil moving forward. Rest assured that you will still have a highly-skilled, local specialist, committed to keeping your property protected from pests.