More than 7,000 insect species call Vancouver and the Lower Mainland home – not all of them are considered pests but that is a whole lot of crawling and flying insects to deal with. Pests can present a number of serious health threats to you and your family including:
Allergic asthmatic reactions to cockroach allergens and or stinging insects.
Exposure to deadly bacteria and diseases such as E. coli and salmonella that pests such as rodents, flies and cockroaches can transfer to food and food preparation surfaces.
Mosquitoes can transmit the deadly West Nile virus with their bites.
Pests need three elements to survive: access to food, water and shelter. Your home offers all three and that is why pests are always looking to move in.
Pests can cause serious structural damage to structures without you even knowing it.
Do I Have A Pest Problem?
Pests can make you aware of their presence in subtle and not so subtle ways. For example, rodents are infamous for leaving their primary calling card – droppings – in foraging areas within your house.
Ants can leave a trail (literally!) from their nesting site to a food source in and around a structure and flies is quite a nuisance when you sit down at the backyard picnic table.
On the other hand, termites and bed bugs are far more elusive and secretive about their movements, preferring you not see how they carry out their destructive and disgusting behavior.
Homeowners can also do their part to prevent pests from becoming a problem. Protech pest experts assembled the following list of tips to keep insect pests from invading your family’s sanctuary:
Keep it clean; cleaning up food and beverage spills, placing garbage into cans with secure lids, and cleaning off kitchen counters will deny pests easy access to food and water sources.
Eliminate clutter in closets, garages and storage areas. Pests such as spiders, cockroaches and rodents like clutter since it provides them a place to establish a harborage area.
Store food in sealable containers in your pantry or kitchen cabinets to prevent pests from getting an easy snack. Do not leave pet food in feeding bowls overnight.
Pests need moisture to survive. Prevent excess moisture from accumulating both inside and out by keeping faucets, plumbing pipes, garden hose spigots, gutters and downspouts, and irrigation systems in good repair.
Remove any standing water on your property lest you want mosquitoes to come calling.
Trim trees and shrubs so ants and roof rats can’t gain easy access to your home.
Don’t over-mulch the planting beds near your home – maintain a 2ft. barrier from the foundation using landscape stones.
Inspect bags and boxes before bringing them in the house; one of the easiest ways for pests to gain access to a home is if you give them a lift.
Regularly wash pet bedding to help prevent fleas from attacking your dog or cat.
Make sure your window screens are securely fastened and have no tears in them to keep flying insects out. The same goes for doors and door frames – pests can easily slip through even the slightest opening.
Keep exterior lighting to a minimum or use yellow lights to reduce attracting flying insects.
Check around your foundation for cracks or openings in the bricks or mortar; seal these openings to deny pests entry.
Homeowners may want to keep an eye out for the following signs that pests may be lurking
Rodent droppings are found in pantry cabinets, under bathroom or kitchen sinks, or in garages or porches. Rodents will also chew through food packaging and eat pet food if left out overnight in feeding bowls.
The presence of bed bugs is distinctive – tiny dark spots left behind on light colored bedding and by the bites they leave behind on their victims.
If you see more than one yellowjacket or wasp flying around look up. Stinging insects often like to establish hives in trees or under the eaves of structures; also beware of hollowed out trees.
If small mound-like dirt piles suddenly appear in your lawn, it could be a sign of fire ant nests.
If dry food items like flour, sugar or cereal have an off smell to them it’s not always that they are past the expiration date, you may have stored product pests like beetles helping themselves.