By Gregory Pettis
AAs the weather gets warmer with the arrival of spring and summer, many pests appear both indoors and out. These pests include termites, ants and mice, none of which are welcome guests. Learn more about which pests to protect and steps you can take to prevent them from getting in here.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), spring is the prime termite season. Termites are silent destroyers. They chew through wood, floors, and even wallpaper undetected, explaining the need to be vigilant when inspecting and controlling termites. Also, they cause about $5 billion in property damage each year. Signs of termites include:
- Mud shelter pipes along basement sill plates and beams, or along baseboards.
- Sometimes termite material is hidden in the wooden beams behind the wall. In some cases, damaged termite wood can be noticeable when holes and hollow galleries appear, out of nowhere! When this happens, a simple tool such as a screwdriver can penetrate the wood.
Preventing termite colonies from making your facilities their home is not easy, as they only need a small crack in your foundation wall or a crack in a floor slab to enter. The best approach is to avoid an environment that attracts termites to the structure in the first place. This includes:
- Keep woodpiles and firewood away from your facilities.
- Make sure that the water runs away from the building, not towards it, to reduce the moisture content next to your business.
- If you’re planning to build a facility, it’s a good idea to have a termite treatment done before the walls are put in place.
As the weather warms, many different species of ants come out to play as well. Ants work with one goal in mind: Manage resources. This means that ants tend to compete with humans for shelter and food sources. Here are a few types of ants that can have conflicts with humans when near your businesses and facilities:
- Carpenter Ants: These carnivorous ants are attracted to moisture and other insects, which serve as a food source for Carpenter Ants.
- Argentine ants: These ants form “super colonies” and take a “hit and run” approach in your home. They don’t usually set up shop, but you’ll want to prevent them from stopping by and grab all possible food sources before they leave.
- fire ants: Fire ants usually nest outside and enter structures to find food sources. Block their access to prevent unwanted (and potentially painful!) encounters.
As with all ant colonies, preventing ant invasions into a structure includes:
- Sealing obvious cracks leading to the structure.
- Look for moisture problems on the edge that can attract ants.
- Prune any shrubs or tree branches that touch the building.
- Make sure outdoor dumpsters are away from the building, including trash cans and dumpsters.
One of the most common rodents, mice tend to appear year round. Spring brings an extra concern around mice – it’s their breeding season. This means that by the time you see one mouse, you may already have a family of mice in your walls, behind the stove, and even under desks. Once mice are identified, the war for dominance has begun! Whatever you choose to tackle a mouse in your facility, from snap traps to glue boards or even bait, remember one thing: there are likely more to come unless you take corrective action!
Here are some sobering facts about house mice:
- The average female house mouse has more than 6 litters per year, with about 5-8 babies per litter.
- Two mice can produce more than 5,000 offspring in one year!
- Every year, about 20% of human food sources are contaminated by mice.
- About 20% of unknown house fires are caused by rodents, including house mice.
What you can do
Keeping rodents out of a facility is what we call exclusion. This process involves making every effort to close your facility. Here are some good ideas:
- Inspect all access points that include utility lines (electricity, HVAC lines, etc.), exhaust vents (bathroom, kitchen, and dryer), louvers, ridge vents, dormers, ash pit doors, and chimney vents. Make sure there are no gaps where siding and flashing meet.
- Make sure windows have well-sealed screens.
- Install door sweeps on doors if there are gaps at the bottom.
- Seal all holes leading to the building with copper mesh and foam insulation.
- Remove any ground covers and trim any overgrown shrubs around the building to allow natural predators to catch the mice.
Spring brings many things: hope, a fresh start, warmth and unfortunately a resurgence of pests to protect you from. It is important to take the necessary precautions that apply to your facility. It’s much better to do the work now to keep out termites, ants and mice than to try to expel them after they arrive.
Gregory Pettis is the VP Business Development for Med-Xs Nature-Cide all-natural pest control products. As a leader in green and pest control, Gregory has over 28 years of experience in sales and business management. Gregory’s industry experience includes the creation and management of: Dominion Pest Controll – a Pennsylvania-based pest control and eradication educator. Dominion is a certified partner representative for: Med-Xs Nature-Cide products, a line of all-natural, green, effective and safe products for insect control and repelling rodents, reptiles and various birds.