a massive amount of ants and their eggs in a home in navarro california

Learn More About The Common Pests Found On The Mendocino Coast

When pests like ants, rodents, and termites invade your home or business, you'll want to know exactly what you’re dealing with, and more importantly, how to get rid of them. Our pest library can help! If you find yourself dealing with pests on your property, use this helpful reference guide to determine which pests are invading your property and learn some tips on how to eliminate these pest invaders and prevent them from returning! If you don't see your pests below, feel free to give us a call at (707) 964-7909 for assistance!

Ants

a carpenter ant on the ground outside of a home in fort bragg california

Ants are a common type of insect. All ants have three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have six legs and a pair of antennae. The reproductive members of the colony are winged. Their exact size and color are species-dependent. Being able to identify the particular species of ant that is invading your home and property is important so the infestation can be correctly treated and eliminated by a professional. Ants are difficult pests to control because they tend to invade properties in large numbers, and more often than not, have multiple nesting sites. Common species of ants found living in our area include Argentine ants, carpenter ants, and odorous house ants.

Ants are often described as either dangerous or a nuisance. Where ants live and what they feed on can vary greatly. Argentine ants and odorous house ants are both examples of nuisance ants. Nuisance ants generally invade homes in large numbers. They are difficult to prevent and tricky to eliminate, but pose no real threats to people or properties. Dangerous ants are those species that carry and transmit diseases and bacteria, bite or sting, and cause damage to structural components of buildings. One example is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants damage the structural integrity of a home by tunneling through and nesting inside of its wood.

There are some ways that you can prevent ants from invading your property. Trim back overgrown trees, bushes, and other vegetation from the exterior of your home. Leave a barrier between any mulch or grass and your home’s foundation. Seal entry points leading into your home. Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels in your home and fix leaky pipes or fixtures. Limit ant food sources by keeping locking lids on trash cans and compost bins, and keep outdoor eating areas clean.

Rodents

a rat inside a home in fort bragg california

Rodents are a type of mammal that are characterized by a single pair of front incisors in the upper and lower jaws that continuously grow. Some of the most common species of rodents are mice and rats. Both mice and rats have come to somewhat rely on people for their food, water, and shelter needs. Keeping rodents out of our homes is a difficult task because they can find so many different ways to invade your property. Mice can squeeze their bodies through a space the diameter of a dime, and rats through a space the size of a quarter.

Rodents are found living outside in many different habitats, depending on their exact species. Common outdoor nesting spots include underneath fallen trees, in tree stumps, under firewood piles, in dense vegetation, along riverbeds, and under decks and porches. Rodents that have found their way inside of your home prefer to nest in dark quiet places where people don’t frequent. Common indoor nesting spots for rodents include behind large appliances, underneath furniture, in boxes, in basements, in crawlspaces, and behind wall voids. Keeping rodents out of your home is important to prevent them from spreading bacteria and disease, causing costly structural damage, and contaminating food.

In order to prevent and keep rodents off of your property make sure outdoor trash cans have tight-fitting lids on them and place gardens, compost piles, and wood piles away from the exterior of your home. To stop them from finding their way into your home, eliminate as many entry points as possible by caulking cracks in the foundation and exterior walls, and sealing spaces around utility entrances. Trim overgrown tree limbs, shrubs, and bushes back away from the outside of your home or business. 

Spiders

a black widow spider spinning a web in the mendocino coast area of california

Spiders are a type of arachnid. All spiders have two body regions, eight legs, and fangs (chelicerae). They lack wings, and have no antennae. Spiders range in size from very small to very large. Their bodies can either be smooth or covered in fuzzy hair, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns. Spiders are predators, and feed on insects and other spiders; helping to keep their populations in check! Three common species of spiders that live in our area and invade properties are black widow spiders, cellar spiders, and redwood spiders.

In nature, spiders live in a variety of environments, but typically choose secluded areas. Spiders usually create their webs or burrows in garden areas, areas of dense vegetation, in overgrown grass, wood piles, rock piles, or densely wooded areas. Spiders prefer to live outside, but will follow their prey inside of homes or other buildings. They may also move inside if the weather outside becomes too hot, wet, or cold. Most species of spiders that live in the United States, like the cellar and redwood spider, are harmless, and their venom is not strong enough to cause health problems in people. The exception to this rule is the black widow spider. Their venom is potent enough to cause significant health problems in people, and contact with them should always be avoided.

Keeping spiders away from your property can be challenging. However, there are some helpful steps you can take to lessen the spider populations on your property. Place gardens away from the outside of your home, and trim back overgrown shrubs and bushes from the exterior of your home. Clean up excess piles of debris from your property that spiders could hide in and nest inside. Inspect your home’s exterior and seal any openings in the foundation, exterior walls, or around windows and doors. Inside your home, regularly vacuum and dust, especially the corners of rooms, closets, and underneath furniture. Keep storage areas organized and free of debris.

Termites

termites damaging wood in a mendocino california building

In our area, there are three different species of wood eating termites that home and property owners have to contend with: the drywood termite, dampwood termite and the Eastern subterranean termite. The Eastern subterranean termite is a ground-nesting species, and one of the most common species found in the United States. They live together in large colonies and have a complex social structure. Subterranean termites nest under the ground, and enter into homes and wooden structures from the soil. The drywood termites live in much smaller colonies and work at a much slower rate than subterranean termites. They do not require contact with the soil to invade wooden structures. Drywood termites are extremely efficient, and leave almost nothing behind after they finish feeding on pieces of wood.

Termites living outside in nature are considered to be beneficial. They are responsible for helping to speed up the process of breaking down decaying trees and other organic matter. Termites become problematic, however, when they find their way inside homes and other buildings to feed on structural wood. Termites enter silently into homes, and can work for months, or even years, before their damage is discovered. Termite damage in your home can become widespread and is costly to repair. Termite damage is not something that is typically covered by insurance companies because their damage is not something that happens overnight, and is often viewed as damages that could have been prevented with the proper care.

In order to prevent termites from invading your property, you should inspect the foundation, exterior walls, and roofline of your building. Look for small holes, cracks or crevices, and seal all entry points found. Leave a stone barrier between the foundation of your property and any mulch or soil. Limit wood-to-soil contact on your property, and store firewood and scrap wood away from your home. Reduce moisture levels in your home by using dehumidifiers, fixing leaky pipes or fixtures, and removing any wood that has been damaged by water. Of course, the best way to prevent costly termite damage in or around your property is to use a professional termite control service!

Wasps

a yellow jacket wasp on a deck in the mendocino coast area of california

Wasps are a type of stinging insect that are mostly predatory, and feed on species of nuisance insects. Some stinging insects feed on pollen and nectar, and are responsible for a bit of pollination. Most species of wasps have pinched waists, two pair of wings, and six legs that hang down when in flight. Depending on the exact species, they can be extremely social and live together in very large colonies; semi-social, and live together in relatively small colonies; or solitary in nature, and live by themselves.

Wasps often become a problem on residential properties because these properties provide them with everything they need to live successfully. Wasps are attracted to properties with gardens, flowering trees, outdoor trash receptacles, compost piles, and outdoor eating areas. They create their nests in trees, on utility poles, in shrubs and bushes, under roof eaves, in chimneys, and in abandoned ground holes left by small animals. Wasps will not hesitate to defend themselves and their nests from perceived threats. Their smooth stingers allow them to sting their victims repeatedly, and their venom is potent enough to trigger allergic reactions or even anaphylaxis, in some people.

You can keep help to keep wasps away form your property by removing water sources and limiting the number of flowering plants planted near your home. Reduce nesting spots by trimming back overgrown vegetation, removing debris from your property, filling in ground holes, placing caps on chimneys, and sealing any possible entry points into your home. Make sure to maintain outdoor eating areas, keeping them clean and free of food debris. Keep tight-fitting lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.

Wood-Boring Beetles

a powderpost beetle in navarro california

Wood-boring beetles are a type of wood-damaging insect. After termites, wood-boring beetles are the most significant wood-destroying insect. Female wood-boring beetles lay their eggs on wood that has not been seasoned or processed. When the larvae hatch from their eggs, they burrow into the pieces of wood, tunneling through it, and feed on it.

One of the most common species of wood-boring beetle is the powderpost beetle. They are reddish-brown in color and have long, flat bodies that allow them to easily enter into and attack wood. Powderpost beetles prefer to attack hardwoods, damaging things like floors, structural timbers, wooden trim, and antique furniture. Wood-boring beetles often enter into homes by hiding inside pieces of wood, or wooden items that are already infested with their eggs or larvae. Adults can enter inside buildings through openings around windows and doors. Powderpost beetles are good flyers and are attracted to light. The damage that wood-boring insects cause can be extensive and costly to repair.

Structural damage on your property can become a costly expense. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent wood-boring beetles from invading your home or business. Seal cracks and crevices found in your home’s foundation, exterior walls, and spaces around windows and doors. Make sure the wood you are purchasing has been properly stored and dried. Paint or stain exposed bare wood in your home, along with wooden structures on your property. Limit the use of old barn wood inside your home. Finally, inspect any antiques made of wood before bringing them into your home or business.

Of course, investing in a professional pest control program or termite control service for your home or business is the best way to effectively eliminate termites and other common pests. For more information from one of our friendly pest experts, or to schedule an appointment for your property, contact us today!

 

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