Summer can be a particularly complicated time for dealing with pests. Many factors can lead to different insects appearing in your homes and businesses. When the weather starts to become hotter, insects come out more actively to find food. This is the most common time of the year to see the significant increases in pest activity. Here are the top five summer pests you may have to deal with this year.
Wasps, Bees, and Hornets
Wasps’ behaviour changes in late summer as their preferred food shifts from sugars to proteins. Because of this, you will more likely encounter them wherever food is consumed outdoors and around garbage collection areas.
In Ireland, 2016 is set to be a bumper year for wasp populations because of the warm weather. In the warmer days of spring, queen wasps emerge from their winter hibernation. Their first priority is to find suitable locations to build new nests. As they build the nest, it reaches its maximum size in late summer and early autumn. Each queen lays queen eggs and drone eggs, with each nest holding up to 1,500 new queens.
If you notice large numbers of wasps in your home or garden, there is likely to be a nest nearby. It may be in your house, in your garden or very close by. A mature nest in summer/autumn can contain thousands of wasps.
- What are signs of wasps nests in your home?
- Wasp stings: what you need to know
- Difference between wasps and bees
How to Prevent Wasps
Prevention is key if you want to avoid problems with wasps, especially during the summer months when they are most active.
- Check for nests – Check your home and garden in early spring for nests, early on they will be walnut or golf ball in size – early small nests have fewer wasps and are easier to treat quickly. Look for nests in lofts, garages, sheds, cavity walls or under eaves.
- Secure bins – Ensure outside bins have tightly fitting lids. Keep bins at a distance from doors and windows so wasps are not attracted to the contents.
- Keep windows and doors shut – To prevent wasps entering inside your home and business premises.
- Keep safe – If you have spotted a nest, make sure you keep children and pets away from the area
Like many pests, ants swarm indoors once they find a good food source. Ants will travel in a wide range searching for food, following trails they have established and clustering around the source of food, becoming a nuisance in homes, organisations and businesses. Small piles of earth around holes in soil and at the base of exterior walls indicate their origin.
Word spreads quickly around the ant colony, and soon you could have a tiny army following the scent trail into your kitchen. However, because the kitchen is a food-preparation area, you’re likely to be reluctant to use pesticides or sprays to get rid of the ants, for fear of contaminating your food. However, by taking practical steps to eliminate the ants and then ensuring you prevent a re-infestation, you can soon take control of the problem.
- 10 interesting facts about ants
- How to identify ant infestations in your property
- How to get rid of ants in your home
- Flying ants: what you need to know
How to prevent ants in your home
If you’re worried that you might be at risk from an ant infestation you can put in place some simple ant repellant and ant deterrent measures. The checklist below will help you keep your home or business free from ants, or make sure your infestation doesn’t grow.
- Clear up – food and liquid spillages immediately.
- Sweep up – any food crumbs from under your kitchen appliances and units.
- Store your food – in airtight containers wherever possible.
- If you have a pet – clear away any food that isn’t eaten straight away.
- Block off – the entry points for ants by sealing all cracks and crevices around your doors and window frames.
- In the garden – keep your compost enclosed and make sure all rubbish bins have tightly sealed lids.
Webbing clothes moths are a particular menace to fabrics. Small buff-coloured insects, they can grow up to 5 cm in length. They tend to favour dark spaces, such as attics, closets, basements, and wardrobes. They often hide in the folds of fabrics and clothes and may have already caused a lot of damage before you’re even aware of their presence.
Interesting, they seem to have a taste for animal-based fabrics, usually avoiding synthetics. Clothes, pillows, blankets and even carpets can fall prey to their appetites.
- What are the common signs of moth infestation?
- What damage do moths cause?
- What are common moth species in Ireland?
How to prevent moths in your home
Preventing moths in your home or business must always include ways to deny them entry indoors. Once inside moths will lay eggs in dark and rarely disturbed areas such as wardrobes or cupboards, where clothes or other textiles are stored and could be damaged.
- Use fly screens – or draw curtains at night to prevent moths entering your home through doors and windows.
- Vacuum regularly – ensure hidden areas such as under large furniture or sofas are regularly vacuumed, to try and remove moth eggs before they hatch.
- Keep stored textiles in sealed bags – if you plan to store textiles for a long period of time, keep them in sealed plastic bags or suitcases to prevent moth’s access to lay eggs.
- Clean clothes – moths are attracted to dirty or soiled garments, so always clean clothes thoroughly before storing them.
There are over 120,000 species of flies worldwide. Flies are considered pests because they pose a health risk to humans, pets and livestock. They can infest your home or business and spread diseases like Salmonella and E. coli. A few species may even bite humans and animals. This current heatwave in Ireland seems to be leading to an increase in flies
How to prevent flies in home
Fly prevention units are critical to help prevent flies in areas where food is readily available. This will help to keep you and your family or your customers safe from harm. If you want to prevent flies, there are some practical steps you can take to deter them. Some of these methods are totally cost-free and only require your time to action.
- Deny flies access – after dark, keep windows and doors closed or block out the light with curtains.
- Fly screens - fit fly screens to windows especially around kitchen and waste areas.
- Cover food – flies spread diseases by landing on food before we eat it.
- Clear away – clear food debris and liquid spillages immediately from under kitchen units and appliances.
- Dustbins – ensure all dustbins have tightly sealed lids.
- Pets – clean up after pets. Not only are faeces a perfect breeding place for flies, they may land there before landing on your food.
- Clear up dead flies – they provide a tasty snack for other pests such as carpet beetles.
- Water butts - cover these with well fitted lids.
- Standing water - do not leave standing water (in watering cans for example) as this offers mosquitoes opportunity to breed.
- Ponds – if you have a garden pond, introduce goldfish as they will eat fly larvae
Bed bugs can be a huge burden for home and business owners alike and the sheer thought of these blood sucking insects is enough to keep anyone up all night. These crawling insects can deliver a multitude of aggravating bites which can itch for hours, and can sometimes be particularly troublesome to control.
In Ireland, 2016 sees 80% increase in bed bug infestation, compared to the same period in 2015. If you have bed bugs in your house, the only thing on your mind will be getting rid of them as quickly as possible. Bed bugs stay close to a food source, so are found where people tend to rest and sleep, hence the name bed bug. The frustration they can cause is not only due to the emotional stress of dealing with parasites, but also the irritation of their bites and the potential for secondary infection from constant scratching.
- What are the common signs of bed bugs?
- What do bed bug bites look like?
- How can I treat bed bug bites?
- How can I prevent bed bug bites?
How to prevent bed bugs
- Wash and dry clothes at the highest possible temperatures.
- Eliminate clutter in your house to give bed bugs fewer places to hide.
- Avoid spreading bed bugs to your friends and family by not taking any clothes, suitcases or furniture to their homes.
- Tidy all areas of your bedroom, especially the floor around/underneath your bed and bed-side cabinets.
- Vacuuming can greatly reduce the size of the bed bug population, but only when they’re clearly visible. It cannot guarantee total elimination. (Empty and clean the vacuum to avoid transferring eggs to other rooms.)
- Use DIY products, to help to eliminate some bed bugs – it’s a good start but shouldn’t be relied on to get rid of the problem completely.
Finding cockroaches in your home or business can be very distressing. As known carriers of diseases such as Salmonella, Dysentery & Gastro-enteritis, exposure to this pest also poses significant health risks. Increases in eczema and asthma have even been linked to cockroach droppings.
You might see cockroaches in a variety of places in your home: pipe holes, sinks, fridges, cupboards, wall cracks, boxes or bins. Cockroaches are very tough insects and their ability to breed rapidly makes professional treatment essential to control any infestation.
- 10 fascinating facts about cockroaches
- How to identify cockroach infestation
- Can cockroaches attack your body and your food?
- What are common cockroach species in Ireland?
How to prevent cockroaches in your home
Like it or not, homes and business properties are ideal breeding grounds for certain species of cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, these formidable pests can remain active all year round.
- Eliminate food sources - The most effective way to deter cockroaches is to deny them food, water and shelter. To get rid of them, get rid of what sustains them
- Clean - Clear all waste food and liquid spillage, cleaning up food debris from food preparation areas, under sinks and appliances. Remove pet food, drink and litter trays before nightfall.
- De-clutter - Cockroaches release an aggregation pheromone in their droppings telling others they have found a safe harborage. Remove old stacks of newspapers and magazines, unused cardboard boxes and all other forms of clutter from the floor or bottom of cupboards where these pests have easy access.
- Take preventive measures - Varnish or paint wood shelves to seal them, and wipe them clean regularly and check key risk areas where cockroaches may gain entry into the home – cracks, crevices, vents, sewers and pipe drains
- Take prompt action - Without specialist know-how and equipment, cockroach control can sometimes be a losing battle. Should you have an existing cockroach problem not responding to a DIY approach, contact a pest control professional.
If you suspect you have a serious pest problem in your property, you should contact a pest control specialist immediately. And remember to practise good sanitation afterwards to prevent a re-infestation.