The bees, wasps and mosquitos may be scarce at this time of year, but winter pests are no less frustrating. In fact, they can multiply rapidly, so you will want to respond quickly at the first sign of an infestation.
These critters are a growing problem at least in part because Americans have become increasingly transient. Bed bugs are hitchhikers, hiding in your belongings during a hotel stay, in airplane and bus baggage, and in storage units.
Because they like to feed at night, and only on blood, their favorite nesting areas are mattresses and cushions. With holiday travel upon us, and the cold months pushing us indoors, bed bugs could become a problem.
About half of all people bitten by bed bugs will have a reaction in the form of red, itchy bumps. If you suspect they may be in your home, check the seams of your mattresses and couch cushions. Bed bugs are readily visible, so look for live and dead bugs, as well as cast-off skins. You may also see tiny black stains from their fecal matter.
Don’t try to exterminate yourself. Bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding, and store-bought chemicals that kill the bugs generally don’t kill the eggs. A professional will treat the bugs and eggs to prevent a recurrence of the infestation.
If you are traveling, check your hotel room. Even the most upscale hotel can become a victim of a bed bug infestation, and your attention can save you a problem later. Report your concerns to hotel management immediately. Hotels will want to deal with bed bugs quickly.
Urban and suburban areas can be equally impacted by cockroach infestations, but the winter months in cold climates can be especially troublesome because of their tendency to trigger allergic reactions. Those who suffer from asthma are most vulnerable, with more time indoors leading to more exposure to the allergens carried by cockroaches.
The American cockroach, also called palmetto bug, is the largest cockroach, and the main offender in the United States. If you have an infestation, you may hear them skittering across floors at night or see them crawling into bathtub drains when you turn on the light. Victims of an infestation also have reported a musty smell, especially in cool, dark basements, where they like to reside.
Regular treatment from a professional exterminator is the best way to keep cockroaches at bay, especially in more urban areas where it is harder to eradicate the bugs. You can reduce the likelihood of a growing population in your home by keeping counters clean and clear of food, and by vacuuming frequently.
Typical household spiders can be more of an annoyance to homeowners than anything else. An infestation, however, can be a big problem, especially with spiders that bite.
The brown recluse is the most common biting spider to infest homes. Its bite can be painful, lasting several hours for those sensitive to its venom. These spiders prefer to nest in areas where they will not be disturbed, such as stored boxes, stacks of paper, and stored clothing, Attics, basements and crawl spaces are favorites for them.
Your can discourage these pests by storing papers, books and clothing in plastic containers and by avoiding creating piles of these items to be put away later.
Most people think of fleas as a warm weather problem, since these pests usually victimize our pets in the summer and seem to die off with freezing temperature.
It’s true that neither fleas, nor their eggs, can survive the cold Ohio winter. However, fleas can easily find warm shelters, such as sheds and garages, or warm hosts, such as racoons, to aid their survival. One inopportune trip outside by your dog or cat, and you can find yourself with a winter flea infestation. An adult flea can live several weeks on your dog. If she lays eggs that ultimately hatch within crevices of furniture or carpeting, the larvae can survive a long time before finding another warm-blooded host.
If you suspect a flea problem, call a professional immediately. A flea can complete its life cycle in just two weeks, so its important to address the problem quickly to avoid a major infestation.
You can prevent a winter flea problem by vacuuming frequently and checking your pet. Most important, continue your pet’s flea prevention treatments all year.
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