As we head into the summer season, more and more pests are out and about. Some we don't have to worry about too much, but others can be a genuine concern. It is important to know which pests are dangerous and damaging, and which are simply a nuisance to have around. It is also helpful to know how to keep both nuisance and dangerous pests out of our homes. In this article, we will focus on a few of the most dangerous pests we can expect to encounter here in the Greater Houston area.
Dangerous To Health
Deer ticks (also called black-legged ticks) are arguably the most dangerous of all tick species since they are the ones most likely to spread Lyme disease. Adult deer ticks have 8 legs and are brownish in color but may change to a rusty brown-red color after feeding. Males are smaller than females and are uniformly brown. A female, unfed deer tick is approximately 3-5 mm in length and is colored red and brown. Females appear darker and can be up to around 10 mm long after feeding.
Ticks are vectors for many diseases besides Lyme. Some of these diseases are Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, tick paralysis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, tularemia, Powassan virus, and 264D rickettsiosis. These all can be transmitted via tick to humans and some also affect dogs and cats.
To protect yourself from ticks, stay away from tall grass areas, tuck your pants into your socks, and wear insect repellent on your feet and legs or on your pant legs.
The most common types of cockroaches we see here in Texas are American, German, Asian, and Oriental cockroaches. American cockroaches are dark reddish brown with a lighter outline around their bodies. They also have a yellowish figure 8 pattern behind their heads. German cockroaches have light brown bodies and 2 distinctive black stripes that run horizontally behind their heads. Asian cockroaches are similar in appearance to German roaches, and Oriental cockroaches are glossy black in color and give off a distinctive musty, foul odor.
Cockroaches are directly linked to stomach illness, asthma, and diseases such as dysentery, cholera, leprosy, typhoid fever, and viral diseases such as poliomyelitis. They also will bite humans if their populations grow large enough.
To keep cockroaches out of your home or business, seal up gaps or cracks in your foundation and walls, keep your home free of food particles and water sources, and make sure all of your trash is stored in tightly sealed containers.
Pests That Are Damaging To Property
Texas is home to all kinds of termites, including both drywood and subterranean termites. Termite workers are often described as "little white bugs." Actually, they are insects with 6 legs, 2 antennae, and 3 body parts. Termite soldiers are white with very large heads and menacing mandibles. And termite swarmers are termites with long translucent wings. Swarmers are the termite caste you are most likely to see, and they only appear once or twice a year and only for about 1/2 an hour.
Termites cost United States home and business owners billions of dollars a year in prevention and repair costs. Subterranean termites come up from the soil, hidden from sight, through mud tubes to the wood of a home. Once there, they can silently eat away at the structure for years without detection. If a homeowner is not aware of the signs these little home wreckers leave behind, it can mean financial ruin.
To prevent termites, it is imperative to know the signs and to partner with a qualified pest control company.
These are the largest type of ants that make their way into homes, and the most dangerous. They are usually all black, they have a single node between the thorax and abdomen, and they are around 5/8 of an inch in length.
Carpenter ants, similar to termites, carve tunnels through wooden structures. Although they do not eat wood, the way termites do, they can do quite a bit of damage if allowed to multiply and start new colonies.
To prevent carpenter ants, make sure there is no wet or rotting wood on your home. Fix broken or obstructed gutters, fix leaky spigots or hoses, and make sure the area directly surrounding your home is kept as dry as possible.
These are just a few of the dangerous pests that plague us here in the Greater Houston area. For help with these, and any other harmful or nuisance pest, reach out to Modern Pest Control to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control solutions.