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Summer’s most popular pests

Jun 21, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

With warmer temperatures and changing seasons, comes an increase in summer pests, which brings forth a new set of challenges for facility and maintenance managers.

Additionally, recent climate data indicates temperatures are getting warmer with changes in weather patterns globally. These ongoing climate changes result in milder winters, which causes more pests to survive. The mild temps also indicate an early spring which extends the pest season, enabling them to reproduce and boost their populations’ survival once the warm weather is here to stay.

Knowing which pests to watch out for this summer is crucial for effective pest management and prevention. Read on for a list of this year’s trending pests and recommended prevention tips to help protect your facility this season:

  1. Mosquitoes: These notorious summer pests seek out standing water around your property — such as gutters, flat rooftops, landscaping, water features or puddles in parking garages — and can be a real nuisance to your employees and visitors. These blood-sucking insects not only cause itchy bites but also pose health risks by transmitting diseases such as West Nile Virus and malaria. With climate change leading to a warm, early spring and near-normal to above-normal precipitation, mosquito populations are expected to surge early, extending well into the summer if there are wet conditions. This makes proactive mosquito control measures essential for outdoor areas around your facility.

Prevention tips:

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water, and if water sources cannot be eliminated, apply approved biological larvicide by following label directions
  • Eliminate outdoor redundant clutter containers or objects that can hold water
  • Fill ditches or holes to prevent water retention
  • Ensure water drains effectively off flat rooftops
  • Confirm downspouts and gutters are clean and flowing
  • Practice good pond and fountain management by aerating and agitating water at least weekly or larviciding to prevent breeding by following label directions
  • Trim down vegetation around your building
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors
  • Install standard sized mesh door and window screens to keep mosquitoes out
  • Wear Health Canada-approved insect repellent and protective clothing when outdoors in mosquito prone areas
  1. Ticks: Climate change is also influencing tick populations and their movement. Not only are ticks expected to have a longer season this year, but they are also expanding towards the northern regions due to warmer temperatures. The black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, proves to be problematic as these tiny arachnids transmit various diseases including Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can cause serious problems if left untreated. It’s essential to do routine tick checks and wear protective clothing to reduce the risk of tick bites and Lyme disease transmission.

Prevention tips:

  • Keep grass around the building mowed and short, including along pathways and fence lines
  • Trim vegetation and tree branches around the building
  • Eliminate leaf litters that attract ticks
  • Eliminate clutter and food sources which are hosts for ticks and may attract rodents and wildlife to the property
  • Wear proper footwear and clothing, with pants tucked into socks or footwear when in potential tick-infested areas
  • Wear light-coloured clothing which makes it easy to spot ticks on the body
  • De-tick yourself after being in potential tick areas (wooded and vegetative) by checking for ticks on the body
  • Use Health Canada-approved tick repellents on any bare or exposed skin
  1. Subterranean Termites: As the name suggests, these termites will survive underground no matter the temperature, though warmer temperatures favour their survival. They thrive in moist soils and are drawn to moisture and wood. However, human activity around infested areas, along with above-normal rainfalls and warmer soil temperatures, may see an increase in subterranean termite activity and expansion.

Prevention tips:

  • Reduce indoor moisture sources by fixing leaky plumbing and faucets
  • Reduce/eliminate ground-wood contact both inside and outside
  • Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation to prevent entry
  • Eliminate standing water from around the building foundation by ensuring all drainage flows away from the building
  • Inspect roofs for leaks and ensure drains, eaves, and downspouts are not clogged for proper drainage
  • Remove wood debris or wood clutter from landscapes and around the building
  • Keep shrubbery and trees maintained so that the vegetation does not contact the building structure
  • Inspect the structure regularly for termite activities, look for mud tubes, or actual termites
  • Schedule regular professional inspections
  1. Carpenter ants: These pests aren’t only nuisances, but they also pose a threat to the structure of your business. They become an even bigger problem during the summer months as they seek out moisture and wood to build their nests. Carpenter ants are known for excavating tunnels and galleries for nesting purposes, making them a possible threat to the structure and foundation of your building.

Prevention tips:

  • Remove wood debris from around the building
  • Remove old rotting tree stumps and wood
  • Move wood piles away from structures
  • Trim back surrounding tree branches and shrubbery
  • Seal cracks and services that allow entry
  • Eliminate redundant water sources indoors (e.g., leaky pipes and taps, condensations on windowsills)
  • Repair/correct any water damage to the structure
  • Ensure gutters and downspouts are free-flowing
  • Clean up crumbs and food spills immediately in breakrooms and common areas
  1. Wasps and hornets: These aggressive pests not only disrupt the enjoyment of outdoor areas around your facility, but they also threaten those allergic to their venom. If a stinging pest population is found on your property, make sure to call a professional pest control provider to manage and remove the nest, as certain species need to be handled in specific ways.

Prevention tips:

  • Seal cracks, crevices, and voids in wall to prevent nesting inside
  • Clean up food spills and crumbs promptly in the outdoor break areas
  • Keep dumpster/compactor areas clean and lids closed at all times
  • Maintain a regular garbage pick-up schedule to prevent overflow
  • Keep recycling containers and bottles in closed bins, preferably indoors, to prevent attraction
  • Cover trash cans with tight-fitting lids
  • Trim back bushes and vegetation to help deter nesting

As you prepare your business for the summer months, being aware of the top seasonal pests can help minimize encounters and mitigate potential risks to your employees and customers. By implementing proactive pest management strategies and taking preventive measures, facility managers can help protect their business from pest infestation and keep their business operations running smoothly all summer long.

RELATED: Maintaining a pest-free property

Alice Sinia, Ph.D., is the Quality Assurance Manager of Regulatory/Lab Services for Orkin Canada, focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. For more information, email Alice Sinia at [email protected] or visit orkincanada.ca.

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