|MARCIE JESSEE - Daily Herald|
Hear that buzzing in your ear? Chirping in the night? You guessed it -- those backyard pests that drive you buggy are back and ready to swarm onto your property. Whether it's ants marching one by one or hairy-legged spiders and their web-weaving buddies, don't get stung with an insect invasion this summer bug season.
Ants come in large numbers, can carry large loads, and can crawl through the smallest of cracks. Weaver said ants are more of a nuisance for people with wood and tile floors because ants can get into the foundation where there are grooves. If you notice ants popping out along the edges of the wall, chances are you have an invasion in the foundation of your home. If the infestation is uncontrollable even with the help of household pesticides, a pest-control specialist could become necessary.
To keep these pesky pests off your property, Weaver recommends keeping a close eye on your floors because even a crumb for an ant is a feast.
"Ants are kind of like sharks," Weaver said. "Sharks can sniff out a drop of blood in millions of gallons of water. With ants you can drop a bit of sugar on the floor ... in the morning you can have whole swarms."
With names like "giant house spider" and movies such as "Arachnophobia," it's no wonder that this type of insect is highly feared and avoided. Here in Utah, the majority of spiders found in homes are harmless. The exceptions are the black widow and hobo spider, the two most common dangerous spiders in Utah. The black widow is recognized for its two red dots on the belly, large thorax, and slick, hairless body. Cory Weaver, owner of Express Pest Control in Lehi, said the hobo spider is a little harder to recognize because its light-brown color and long, unmarked legs resemble ordinary house spiders.
The hobo spider also carries the formidable title of the "aggressive house spider," at 12 to 18 millimeters in length.
"They don't attack people, but if you walk up to them or something and they feel threatened, they tend to turn around and stand their ground," Weaver said.
To protect your home from a possible invasion of spiders, Weaver recommends keeping your doorways and entryways closed, and keeping your home as clutter free as possible.
"Hobo spiders and wolf spiders love clutter, like clothes on the floor, things like that," Weaver said. "They will go jump in them, and when you go to pick up the clothes they jump out at you."
Ever wonder where the word "waspish" comes from? Weaver said this type of insect is not generally aggressive -- unless it's irritated.
"I've been on many jobs where they're buzzing all around and people look at me like I'm nuts," Weaver said. "The only time I get stung is when I find the one that got in my truck and I sit on it or something."
Because wasps tend to create their homes on wood, be on the lookout for their nests on anything from wood fences to eaves and children's playgrounds.
To get rid of a wasp nests, a store-bought pesticide sprayed onto the nest can generally do the trick. For nests high in the eaves, Weaver recommends pest-control specialists because they have sprays that can reach the tall areas.
Don't let its size fool you. The mosquito is capable of laying 100-300 eggs at one time and reaches adulthood only four to seven days after it was laid as an egg. This miniature menace depends on warm-blooded animals (that means you) to provide the protein necessary for the female mosquito to produce her eggs.
Attracted to carbon dioxide in the air, the mosquito is naturally attracted to homes and places where humans and animals are present.
"You can't keep them away, but preventative measures would be to make sure that your home is well screened and that you wear insect repellent with DEET mosquito repellent, because there is always going to be a few that are going to be around," said Robert Mowler, manager of Utah County mosquito abatement.
Because mosquitos breed in areas with standing water, Mowler recommends checking your property for any shallow containers of stagnant water. Homes with excessive mosquito problems often have a container such as a bucket, wheelbarrow, or leaf-filled gutter with trapped water.
In the past couple of years, mosquitos have become more dangerous as carriers of West Nile virus.
"That's the thing that has changed: The mosquito used to just be a nuisance, but now in our area they are a concern," Mowler said.
Because the carriers of West Nile tend to be dusk and evening biters, Mowler recommends always dressing appropriately in long sleeves and pants and keeping protected with DEET.
The name for this bug comes from the old superstition that earwigs would crawl into the ears at night and try to bore into the brain. While untrue, earwigs do prefer nighttime activity and are more likely to get on your nerves then in your brain. They are easily recognized for their reddish-brown flat body and large, pincer-like appendages on their hind end, which can give a harmless pinch to humans.
Dusty Rhoads, a pest-control specialist with a Utah branch of Preventive Pest Control, based in New Mexico, said earwigs generally will live right up against the foundation of your home.
"Since they live so close to the house you could just pull the grass back and count them in a row," Rhoads said.
Because the majority of indoor pests originate outside, Rhoads said, you will want to treat the outside perimeter of your home with an insecticide to kill them where they are living and breeding.
"You want to push them back as far as you can," Rhoads said.