Pest Identification & Prevention In Irving, TX
To help you avoid pest problems in your home or business, the team here at Legacy Pest and Wildlife has put together a library of our area’s most common pests. Check out our helpful guide below to learn more about some of the most common household pests found in the Irving area, including how to identify each pest, what attracts them to your property, how you can prevent them, and more.
One of the most common misconceptions about bed bugs is that they only appear in dirty homes, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Bed bugs can become a problem for any home or business. These pests are nocturnal, good at hiding, and multiply quickly, all of which make an infestation challenging to get rid of. Another misconception about bed bugs is that they only infest the areas around beds. However, any area of your home or business can house bed bugs. They will hide in the crevices of furniture, seams of upholstery, and in appliances or electronics. Hot spots for bed bugs include luggage racks in hotels and motels, piles of dirty laundry, and high-traffic public spaces.
Bed bugs are small, about the size and shape of an apple seed, with flat, oval-shaped bodies, but will appear swollen after consuming a blood meal. These bugs can live up to 400 days without feeding, meaning they can hide and reproduce for over a year. Signs of active bed bugs are rusty and reddish spots on sheets and bedding, shed skins, and eggs that look like specks of dust. Bed bug bites will present as multiple bumps, usually around the ankles, arms, and neck. Their bites are painless but can cause itching and discomfort.
The following are helpful tips to prevent bed bugs from making your Irving, TX property their home:
- Always inspect and clean used and second-hand items before bringing them inside.
- Keep dirty clothes separated from clean clothes, especially if worn in a high-traffic public area.
- Use protective coverings on your mattress and box spring.
- Reduce the amount of clutter in your home to take away possible hiding locations for bed bugs and vacuum frequently.
- At the first sign of bed bugs, schedule a professional bed bug inspection.
Mosquitoes are one of the most common pests in Texas because of the humidity and warm temperatures. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most dangerous animals on the planet because of the number of deadly diseases they can spread. These diseases include malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, dog heartworm, and Zika virus. Mosquitoes reproduce rapidly, usually laying 100 eggs at a time. Female mosquitoes only need a few inches of water to lay their eggs, which can come from clogged gutters, birdbaths, ponds, and planters.
Female mosquitoes are the only ones that bite humans and consume blood meals, while both females and males eat honeydew made by aphids, nectar, and other sugary liquids. Other than water, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and sweat, which is why you should shower before going outside if you have been sweating. You should also avoid drinking alcohol if you're looking to avoid bites, especially beer, as research shows it can increase your chances of getting bitten. Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn when it's cooler and less sunny.
The following are helpful tips to prevent mosquitoes from making your Irving, TX property their home.
- Remove standing water from your property by keeping gutters clear, not overwatering plants, and using filters for ponds.
- Keep your yard maintained by not letting the grass grow too long, trimming back foliage, and removing debris to minimize shaded areas where mosquitoes can hide.
- Be mindful of what you plant in your yard and keep aphids out of your garden.
- Other plants such as lavender, marigolds, citronella, rosemary, and basil can deter mosquitoes, so consider planting them on your property.
- Set up ongoing pest control services for your yard that provides coverage for mosquitoes.
Rodents: Mice & Rats
Rodents like mice and rats are sneaky pests that can fit through small holes and cracks to make their way into Irving homes and businesses. Although often lumped together, mice and rats behave differently. While mice tend to shy away and hide when they see people, rats are more aggressive. You can distinguish them from each other by their size, ear shape, and tails. Mice are small, about 3 to 7 inches long with a hairless tail that is longer than their body and round ears. On the other hand, rats can be between 12 and 18 inches long with hairy tails that are shorter than their bodies and small ears compared to the rest of their bodies.
Not only are rodents annoying to deal with, but they are dangerous for several reasons. First, rodents' teeth grow continuously, which is why they are known for biting and chewing. To keep their teeth from overgrowing, mice and rats will chew through wood, pipes, wires, plastic, and just about any other material they can find. Rodents also spread several dangerous diseases, including salmonellosis, Lassa fever, hantavirus, plague, and leptospirosis. If you have rodents on your property, the structure of your home or business and the health of your family or customers and staff are at risk. Finally, rodents are highly food-motivated and will eat almost anything which means they can become a problem for anyone if the right conditions are present. They will feed on meat, fruits, vegetables, grain, grease, garbage, and more.
The following are helpful tips to prevent rodents from making your Irving, TX property their own.
- Keep all food including pet food stored in airtight containers and don’t leave anything out and accessible overnight.
- Sweep, vacuum, and mop your floors regularly to clean up any crumbs and spills.
- Take your garbage out regularly and use trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
- Remove debris from your yard and reduce clutter in your home or business to reduce potential hiding places.
- Seal off access points like holes in walls and floors, gaps between window and door frames, and spaces around vents.
- Invest in rodent control and prevention services from a pest control professional.
Stinging Insects: Bees, Wasps, Yellow Jackets & Hornets
Because of the warm weather in Texas, stinging insects such as bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets are not forced into hibernation like in other parts of the country. As a result, each of these species varies in the threat level they pose. They also range from social to solitary. Social insects live in colonies, working together to protect a queen or multiple queens. While solitary insects live alone, many stinging insects can become aggressive when they feel threatened, making it difficult to remove an active colony.
Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets all share resemblances making it difficult for the untrained person to identify what exactly they are dealing with. For example, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets have slim waists while bees have round bodies. However, there are many different species of stinging insects, so professional assistance is the best way to go when it comes to these pests.
The following are helpful tips to prevent stinging insects from making your Irving, TX property their home:
- Keep your yard well-maintained by trimming trees and bushes to reduce harborage areas.
- Use garbage, recycling, and compost bins that have tight-fitting lids.
- Clean out recycling containers before throwing them away.
- Remove fallen fruit from your property and keep gardens well cared for.
- Partner with a pest control expert for bee and wasp nest removal.
Termites cause billions of dollars in damages a year in the United States. They are known as silent destroyers due to their ability to move into a structure and chew away at the wood for months or years without being detected. Besides wood, termites eat other cellulose-rich materials such as cotton, paper, and plants. A combination of available food sources and moisture gives termites all the resources they need to survive. Because of the warm and humid weather in Texas, termites thrive in our area.
Termite swarmers are reproductive members of colonies that fly from their current colony to start a new one. Swarmers are often confused for flying ants, which can be a costly misidentification. Colonies typically range from 60,000 to 250,000 members but can reach up to a million members under the right conditions. When it comes to a termite infestation, catching them early on is vital to stopping extensive damage. These signs include discarded wings, which you can usually find following a rainstorm during termite swarming season, mud tubes at the foundation of your home, wood with holes, and wood that sounds hollow.
The following are helpful tips to prevent termites from making your Irving, TX property their home.
- Remove dead trees and stumps from your yard.
- Replace any damaged fencing around your property.
- Keep firewood stored property and away from the foundation of any structures.
- Ensure there are no leaks or pooling water on your property; this includes unclogging gutters and fixing leaky faucets and pipes.
- Keep mulch away from the foundation of your property.
- Invest in a year-round termite control and prevention plan.
Wildlife: Raccoons, Opossums & Snakes
Wildlife such as raccoons, opossums, and snakes are fine when they are out in the wild, away from people. When they get too comfortable on your property, they become a serious problem. Raccoons and opossums are nocturnal animals that will raid garbage cans when given a chance, strewing trash around and leaving a mess in their wake. While opossums are more docile, raccoons can be aggressive when approached by people. Both animals can spread disease. Opossums are known to carry tularemia, spotted fever, tuberculosis, and toxoplasmosis. On the other hand, raccoons can spread rabies, leptospirosis, giardiasis, salmonella, E. coli, and raccoon roundworm.
Because of the consistent warm weather in Texas, snakes are more active here than in other states as they are cold-blooded. Snakes have long, thin, legless bodies. Although there are several dangerous species in the area such as copperheads and timber rattlesnakes, most other common species are not venomous. Even with venomous snakes, you can get anti-venom from the hospital if bitten. However, they are still some of the most feared creatures in the world, and their sudden slithering movements can be highly unsettling. In addition, snakes eat other animals like rodents, birds, and small reptiles, so having these animals on your property may attract snakes.
The following are helpful tips to prevent wildlife from making your Irving, TX property their home.
- Use garbage cans with lids that fit tightly and are heavy enough that they won't be tipped over.
- Utilize fences around your property and gardens to keep wildlife out.
- Clear your yard of debris to limit the places where animals can hide and nest.
- Remove water sources like birdbaths and ponds or make them inaccessible for animals to reach.
- Call your local wildlife control company to remove wild animals from your property.