By Gregory Pettis
As the weather gets warmer with the approach of spring and summer, many pests start appearing inside and outside. These pests include termites, ants, and mice, none of which are welcome guests. Here is more info on which pests to protect against, and the steps you can take to prevent them from intruding.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), spring is prime termite season. Termites are silent destroyers. They chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected, which explains the need to be observant about termite inspection and control. Also, they cause around $5 billion in property damage each year. Signs of termites include:
- Mud shelter tubes along basement sill plates and joists, or along baseboards.
- Sometimes termite evidence is hidden in the wooden beams behind the wall. In some cases, damaged wood from termites may be noticeable when holes and hollow galleries appear, from what seems out of nowhere! When this occurs, a simple tool such as a screwdriver may penetrate through the wood.
It is not easy to prevent termite colonies from making your facilities their house, since they only need a tiny crack in your foundation wall or a crack in a floor slab to enter. The best approach is to prevent an environment that attracts termites to the structure in the first place. This includes:
- Keeping any wood piles and firewood away from your facilities.
- Keep water running away from the building, not towards it, to reduce the moisture levels next to your business.
- If you plan on building a facility, having a termite prevention treatment performed before the walls are up is a good idea.
As the weather gets warmer, many different types of ants come out to play as well. Ants operate 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 they are around your businesses and facilities:
- Carpenter Ants: These carnivorous ants are attracted by moisture and other insects, which serve as a food source for Carpenter Ants.
- Argentine Ants: These ants form “super colonies” and follow a “hit and run” approach in your home. They usually don’t set up shop, but you’ll want to prevent them from stopping by and taking whatever food source they can before leaving.
- Fire Ants: Fire Ants usually nest outside and come into structures to find food sources. Block their access to prevent unwanted (and potentially painful!) encounters.
As with all ant colonies, prevention of Ant invasions into a structure includes:
- Caulking any obvious cracks that lead into the structure.
- Looking for any moisture issues on the perimeter that could attract ants.
- Trim any bushes or tree branches that touch the building.
- Make sure that outdoor trash containers are away from the building including trash bins and dumpsters.
One of the most common rodents, mice tend to make appearances all year round. Spring brings an additional concern around mice — it’s their breeding season. This means that by the time you see one mouse, you might already have a family of mice in your walls, behind the stove, and even under desks. Once it is determined that mice are present, the war for dominance is on! Whatever you decide to tackle a mouse in your facility with, from snap traps, to glue boards, or even bait, remember one thing: more are probably on the way unless you take corrective action!
Here are some sobering facts on house mice:
- The average female house mouse will have more than 6 litters a year, with about 5-8 babies per litter.
- Two mice can produce over 5,000 offspring in a single year!
- About 20% of human food sources are contaminated by mice every year.
- About 20% of undetermined house fires are believed to be caused by rodents, including House Mice.
What You Can Do
Keeping rodents out of a facility is what we call exclusion. This process includes doing everything you can to seal up your facility. Here are some good ideas:
- Inspect all entry points that include utility lines (electric, HVAC lines etc.), exhaust vents (bathroom, kitchen and dryer), louvers, ridge vents, dormer corners, ash pit doors, and chimney openings. Make sure that there are no gaps in any places where siding and flashing meet.
- Make sure windows have properly sealed screens.
- Install door sweeps on doors if there are any gaps at the bottom.
- Seal up any holes that lead into the building with copper mesh and foam insulation.
- Remove any ground cover and trim any overgrown bushes around the building to allow for natural predators to catch the mice.
Spring brings a lot of things: hope, fresh starts, warmth and unfortunately, a resurgence in pests to protect against. It’s important to take the necessary precautions that apply to your facility. You’re far better to do the work now to keep termites, ants, and mice out than attempting to evict them after they’ve arrived.
Gregory Pettis is the VP of Business Development for Med-X’s Nature-Cide all-natural pest control products. As a leader in the green scene and pest control space, Gregory has over 28 years of sales and business management experience. Gregory’s industry experience includes the foundation and management of Dominion Pest Control – a Pennsylvania-based pest control and exterminating educator. Dominion is a certified partner representative for Med-X’s Nature-Cide products, a line of all-natural, green, effective, and safe products for the control of insects and repelling of rodents, reptiles, and various birds.