5 Spooky Carolina Pests To Keep An Eye Out For
It’s October in the Carolinas and you know what that means — Halloween is right around the corner! Although you may love a good scare, nothing will compare to finding these five spooky Carolina pests in your home. From ticks and spiders, to bed bugs and bats, let’s take a closer look at the pests that don’t need a costume to deliver a fright.
Ticks have long been pests of humans and animals in the Carolinas. From larvae to adult stages, ticks attach to a living host and feed on the host’s blood. In doing so, they may transmit germs that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease, both of which can have serious consequences for humans.
What To Know About Ticks
Ticks have four stages of development: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. After hatching from the egg, the tick must take a blood meal to complete each stage in its lifecycle. Usually, a different blood meal is required for a tick to complete each stage. No, this isn’t straight from a Halloween horror movie, this is really how a tick survives — scary, right?
Ticks are usually active in the spring, summer and fall. When seeking a blood meal, ticks move out of their secluded hiding place to attach themselves to an animal as it passes. If a host is not found by fall, most species of ticks move into sheltered sites where they become inactive until spring.
Once it has found a host, the tick crawls upward in search of a place on the skin where it can attach to take a blood meal. A tick’s mouth parts are barbed, which is why removing a tick is usually easier said than done. Once attached, the tick produces a glue-like substance to hold its mouthparts in place.
Tricks To Treat Ticks
Trim weeds and grass. Unkempt grass and weeds look inviting to tick hosts, such as rodents. Keep weeds and grass trimmed to keep wildlife and ticks at bay.
Rake your lawn. Ticks commonly hide under leaf litter in your lawn, so be sure to keep leaves and other debris out of your lawn this fall.
Closely inspect pets and pet enclosures. When treating for ticks inside of your home, keep the areas your pets most frequent in mind. Treat these areas with an insecticide to eliminate ticks. Exterior treatment should include lawn and shrubs with particular attention to areas bordering woods, under dog houses and around outbuildings.
Lastly, pets, particularly dogs, should be regularly inspected for evidence of ticks. If ticks are present, your pet should be shampooed, dipped, or sprayed with an approved acaricide product to poison ticks.
Spiders in Halloween decorations are one thing, but a spider in your home? Forget about it. Spiders are highly misunderstood, however that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be apprehensive around these eight-legged arachnids.
What To Know About Spiders
Since spiders have eight legs and no antennae, they are not considered insects. Their exoskeleton and fangs differentiate them from other pests, making them seem like more of a threat in some cases.
While not all spiders are poisonous, no one wants to experience the bite of a spider. Spider bites are usually more painful and long-lasting, unlike the bite of a bed bug or mosquito. Spiders aren’t known for biting unless they feel threatened though — which may make you feel better about the spider in your home.
Yes, in your home. As it turns out, you’re never far from a spider — within 10 feet to be exact. Spiders sneak into your home in a variety of ways. From cracks, crevices and overhanging branches, to open doorways and windows, spiders usually don’t have a hard time making their way inside.
This fall and winter, you’ll likely find more spiders around your home as they try to find protection from cold temperatures and harsh weather.
Tricks To Treat Spiders
Clean up around the house. Keep the corners of rooms and window sills clean — this is typically where spiders like to hide.
Purchase handy tools. There are ways to remove spiders from your home without killing them. If you feel comfortable enough, you can grab one of these Critter Catchers on Amazon to safely remove spiders from your home.
Call a local pest control specialist. If spiders are building extensive webs on the outside or inside of your home, contact a pest expert. Some local pest control companies offer a de-webbing service that can remove spiders and their webs from your home.
3. Bed Bugs
Want to hear something scary? One in five Americans will experience bed bugs at some point in their life. Now that’s a true horror story!
You can encounter bed bugs just about anywhere — at home, at work and even on an airplane. As long as there’s a tasty host nearby, bed bugs can survive.
What To Know About Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have existed for thousands of years, even dating back to ancient times. Many believe that bed bugs carry diseases, and only bite at night which couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, bed bugs don’t carry diseases and can bite at any time of day.
Related: 10 Common Bed Bugs Myths: Debunked
Many people also believe that bed bugs cannot be seen. However, an adult bed bug is approximately the size of an apple seed. Even if you can’t see bed bugs, you’ll definitely be able to tell they’re there upon closer inspection.
If bed bugs have infested your mattress, you may notice dark spots or even dried blood on the mattress. This is usually the first sign of bed bugs — aside from their welting bites. Unlike mosquito bites, bed bugs usually bite in a cluster or zig-zag pattern. If you notice these bites on your body, contact a pest control specialist because chances are, you have bed bugs!
Tricks To Treat Bed Bugs
Use natural remedies. If the bed bugs in your home seem treatable, you may decide to try natural bed bug treatments. Essential oils, cayenne pepper and diatomaceous earth among other remedies have been found to work well against bed bugs.
Thermal remediation. One thing bed bugs can’t tolerate is heat. Contact your local pest professional to really bring the heat when it comes to bed bugs.
Mice and rats are scary enough — especially when they’re scurrying in and around your home. Removing rodents from your home is crucial for a multitude of reasons, disease and home damage being two of the most notable.
What To Know About Rodents
A mouse or rat will do just about anything to get in. After all, your home offers heat, shelter, water and food — what more could they want? It doesn’t take much for them to get inside your home either. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime, while a rat can squeeze through an opening the size of a quarter. We apologize if you think differently of the change in your wallet from now on.
Rodents are known for being vectors of bacteria and disease, which is why fortifying your home against rodent invasion is crucial to your health. Moreover, rodents love to chew, and will gnaw through just about anything they can sink their teeth into. This could not only damage your home, but also result in unexpected and expensive repair bills.
Tricks to Treat Rodents
Make necessary repairs. Since rodents can squeeze through just about anything, make sure the outside of your home is completely sealed. Look for holes, cracks or crevices that may allow rodents easy entry into your home and repair them.
Set out traps. While the traditional mouse trap may work, there are other, more efficient methods for trapping rodents. Here at Killingsworth, we use SMART technology to identify, trap and dispose of rodents. Ask us about our SMART Pest Control rodent traps.
Bats — the ultimate Halloween pest. Portrayed as bloodsucking creatures that turn into evil vampires, it’s safe to say that bats have a bad reputation. Just like many of the other Carolina pests on this list, bats are highly misunderstood. Bats aren’t malicious creatures, and they aren’t on the hunt for your blood (they don’t turn into vampires either, just to clarify).
What To Know About Bats
The most common place to find bats is in the attic. Since bats are so small, it’s easy for them to sneak through holes in the roof. Once inside, bats begin to roost and colonize, sometimes resulting in hundreds of bats in one attic.
Bats in your home are cause for concern for multiple reasons. One, their droppings can cause an airborne disease called histoplasmosis which can harm your lungs if the spores are breathed in. Two, bats can be difficult to remove and may be Federally protected, meaning they can’t be harmed and must be released.
Bats are most active at night, so if you hear squeaking or rustling noises coming from your chimney or attic, you may want to contact a professional to check for bat activity.
Tricks to Treat Bats
Secure your home. Check your roof and chimney for cracks or crevices that may let bats inside. Make any necessary repairs.
Protect yourself. In the event there is just one bat that accidentally got inside, there are ways to safely remove it without harming yourself or the bat. Read our blog, Wildlife Protection 101: How To Protect Your Home From Bats, for more information.
There you have it — the five spooky Carolina pests to keep an eye out for this fall. If you see these pests around your home, or hear something else go bump in the night, give your friends at Killingsworth a call. We’ll be sure to scare away any pests that may be invading your home!
You shouldn't be scared inside of your own home, even during this spooky season! Be sure to schedule a service with our pest professionals today to remove these creepy critters!