Warm weather rolling in means summer vacation, time off work, laying in the sun at the beach and enjoying relaxing weekends at the lake. Unfortunately, it also means unwanted guests could be tagging along during your summer fun. Heat and humidity are two ideal conditions for some of our most annoying little neighbors to thrive.
Common flying or crawling summer pests at or around lakes, beaches, cabins and campsites will range in size, motive, and level of nuisance. They can be harmless or beneficial to us and the environment, but they can be a danger to yourself and even your pets. Here are the four bugs that you’re most likely to run into at the cabin or lake, what they’re after, the possible dangers they pose, and what to do about them.
Everyone has felt the nip on their body that leaves an itchy bump, signifying they’ve been visited by the single most irritating summer pest known to us. These insects need a combination of heat and humidity to breed and thrive, so are commonly found in standing water.
They’re looking for a blood meal, whether that’s sourced from the abundance of people around what are the largest standing water sources around (lakes, beaches) or their accompanying pets.
Mosquito bites are generally more so uncomfortable than dangerous, but mosquito-borne illnesses can occur. Some known diseases they may carry are malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever and dengue, among several others. These illnesses can be quite harmful, so it is better to avoid the bite.
Around the home, the scent of citronella can be unappealing to mosquitos. This can be found as air fresheners, candles, or hanging scent strips. Mosquitos don’t like a breezy environment, so fans are helpful in deterring them. Ceiling fans in the home, standing fans in a sunroom, or even mini personal fans can be used to make you and the room less easily accessible. Outdoors, netting around seating areas, picnic tables or swings will keep them out of your space. Wearable repellents are also effective – regular bug sprays and repellents are easy to find, relatively cheap to buy and great for when you’re on the go outdoors.
The most common bees found in Canada in either residential or rural, wooded areas will be the honeybee, the bumblebee, and the carpenter bee. Each of these species are on the lookout for a place to build a home.
Bees are not inherently aggressive, and will only sting if they are or their colony is being immediately threatened. Barring allergies to bees, they don’t pose a threat but can be a garden nuisance if you don’t like their buzzing or potential swarms flying around in search of a place to settle.
Bees are also helpful and beneficial to the environment with their pollination. Bees transport 80% of pollen needed by other plants such as fruits, vegetables and legumes!
If you find you have an excessive number of bees in your space this summer, you can paint, caulk or otherwise seal up wood to prevent burrowing. Screens over entrances like doors and windows are effective, as is filling in old animal burrows that bees may target to build their hive inside of. Use insect repellents, avoid using perfumes, and make sure any food or drink is covered up to reduce the possibility of scents attracting them. Make sure any extra standing water is covered, such as kiddie pools or bird baths. Otherwise call in the experts at Poulin’s to inspect and possibly remove the hive.
Wasps on the other hand are aggressive and capable of multiple stings. They have a smooth stinger that won’t tear out their insides after use as opposed to bees- who die upon their single self-defensive sting. However, wasps do act as minor pest control helpers, eating other insects such as caterpillars and crickets- so, we want to keep them far away from our homes, but not eradicate them entirely.
When checking your property for hives, be sure to wear protective clothing as the sting can be quite painful. Hives are built many places, most commonly underneath window sills and eaves, on plants, trees and bushes and the ground surrounding them, as well as underneath siding or other overhangs along the structure.
Things that attract wasps are sweetness or sources of protein. Sugary drinks left open will appeal to wasps, as will things like pet foods left out. Fruit trees and berry bushes should be monitored and any fallen fruit removed from the lawn immediately. Open garbage will be attractive as well – use plastic bins, or metal garbage cans to conceal the smell. Seal up entry points to the structure as you do with bees, particularly around the roof and attic area. Using decoy nests can be effective as well, since wasps are territorial and less likely to set up their hive where one is already visibly established.
Ticks are known hitchhikers. They do not crawl, fly, or jump- they catch onto you as you pass by and they get comfy, seeking the blood meal you provide. Ticks need to feed to live, however they can live up to a year without a fresh blood meal. They are very commonly found in hair and clothes after being outdoors in wooded areas, or fields with long grasses.
Some preventative measures: wear light-colored clothing, so any ticks that attach to you are easily seen and quickly removed. Tuck pants into socks where possible, to avoid them crawling up loose pant legs. Repellents containing DEET should be applied to clothing and any exposed skin – although should be used cautiously on children; use a repellent with a lower concentration of DEET for them and anyone else with sensitivities.
Preventative strategies are not guaranteed to keep you tick-free, and thorough inspections should be conducted on all clothing, hair and pet’s fur upon returning indoors from hikes, forest bike rides or walks in grassy areas or trails.
While the majority of people who do get bitten by a tick don’t experience adverse effects, watch out for things such as fevers, rashes, swelling, dizziness, nausea, burning or pain – and if these take place following a tick bite it is best to contact a doctor as soon as possible.
At Poulin’s Pest Control, we’re experts in elimination of pest problems. If you want to take care of the problem yourself, we carry a number of products to assist with many pest problems, and if you need our help, our technicians are standing by. Remember – there’s no foolin’ with Poulin.