Spring has sprung, and so have the bugs. What can you do about it?
Winter is a challenging time for most pests. Water sources start to freeze, shelters become inaccessible or dangerously cold and food sources stop growing or die off. As living conditions get rough, many pests seek escape inside your home or business. Once inside, they hunt for new food and water sources and establish homes and colonies until early spring, when warm temperatures coax them out of hiding.
Learn more about common spring bugs in the Cape Cod region and how you can protect your property from unwanted infestation.
Table of Contents:
- Why Bugs Are More Common in the Spring
- Common Spring Insects You Might Find in Your Home or Business
- How to Prevent and Remove Spring Pests
- Keep Pests Away with Help From Pest Pros
Why Bugs Are More Common in the Spring
When winter comes, bugs that are unequipped to handle the cold have a few options — migration, overwintering or escape. Many bugs choose to spend winter indoors, remaining undetectable and relatively inactive while there. Once spring comes, overwintering pests wake up and start moving around, eager to resume their normal routines.
Bugs who entered your home by accident and didn’t overwinter or hibernate — and instead spent the season eating at your walls, fabrics or food — will try to get back outside by moving toward windows and lit areas. This is why pests seem more active in the spring.
Common Spring Insects You Might Find In Your Home or Business
While many springtime pests are harmless aside from being a nuisance around the property, some pose a significant threat to your family, pets, customers or belongings. Here are 11 common household bugs you might encounter in the spring and how to spot them.
Though not technically insects, spiders are household pests that enter your home or business and behave similarly to other bugs. They build webs, sometimes becoming invasive, and make many people feel uncomfortable. Infestations can start quietly and spread quickly, making it easy for a small spider problem to turn into a larger, more unsettling situation.
Most spiders are harmless to humans and pets. The most significant exceptions are the brown recluse and black widow spiders. Spiders enter through gaps between doors, open windows, utility lines and inside secondhand furniture, crates or packaging. They migrate toward dark, mild environments, like the basement, cellar, crawlspace or attic.
Each type of spider has its own mating habits and preferences. As a result, you might find spider egg sacs all year long, depending on your environmental conditions and what types of spiders congregate nearby. Some spiders won’t leave the egg sac until spring brings warmer weather.
The most common spiders in Cape Cod are the:
- Daddy longlegs spider
- Black widow spider
- Jumping spider
- Common house spider
- Nursery web spider
Ants make their move inside during autumn and winter, though some may choose to overwinter deep underground. Those who start overwintering as larvae emerge when spring warms the soil. During overwintering, an ant might seem dead because they slow their bodies down. The warmer the weather gets, the more mobility they regain. Whether seeking warm shelter or a springtime snack, ants will take advantage of any opportunity to get indoors and find new food sources, including:
- Pipes and plumbing
- Wall and foundation cracks
- Attic vents
- Utility lines
The biggest springtime offender is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants aren’t like the other tiny black bugs in your house — they are far larger and more destructive than other ants. These bugs create homes inside walls and wooden structures, causing damage along the way. Though they excavate wood as they move, they do not eat it. They travel from their nest throughout the rest of your house seeking food.
Carpenter ants tend to colonize wet, hard-to-reach areas because they require constant moisture. This makes them common in rooms without proper ventilation. A few indicators of a carpenter ant infestation are rustling sounds in your walls, piles of sawdust and wood shavings or sightings.
Termites are the gluttons of the insect and pest world. They have soft bodies with straight antennae, and you might see them in shades of brown or white. Their most common swarming time is in the spring and after rain showers. They eat enormous amounts of wood around your property and can cause extensive, expensive damage before you even know they’re there. Many colonies live undetected inside a structure for years and consume several feet of wood in the same span of time.
Signs of a termite infestation are:
- Hollowed or excavated wood around your property.
- Mounds of wood shavings.
- Sagging wooden floors and ceilings.
- Crumbling wooden structures.
- Chipped or warped paint on wooden surfaces.
- Visible insects or wings.
- Mud tubes along walls or near excavation sites.
Mosquitoes spend winter “dispaused,” meaning they pause all growth and movement. Though most prevalent in summer, they start getting active as soon as warm temperatures return. Mosquitoes don’t typically seek indoor shelter, but they may enter your home by accident. They are especially troublesome in outdoor gathering areas and near light sources after dark. They are drawn to standing water and wet debris.
Mosquitoes bite and suck blood, leaving behind itchy spots. Their biggest threat is the viruses and bacteria they can carry, including:
- Zika virus
- West Nile virus
- Chikungunya virus
- Heartworm for pets
Because mosquitoes can lay one hundred eggs at a time, they quickly overrun residential and commercial properties, creating a dangerous and uncomfortable environment for all.
Flies are common in spring because they start to wake up and feed after overwintering during the colder months. Upon waking, they move more sluggish than normal. They make a lot of noise and erratic movements in search of a way out of your house. You’ll often see them near windows and lights.
Cluster flies form large swarms indoors after sneaking in through cracked siding and open windows. Many flies are harmless, but all of them are dirty. Some can spread filth and sickness. They contaminate surfaces, food and pet food, and may lay eggs near the garbage. They are challenging to eradicate on your own.
6. Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder bugs are named for their tendency to feed on, lay eggs on and make homes in boxelder trees, but they will also latch on to other trees and plants if available. These pests are dark grayish-black with red stripes. They move indoors during fall and winter, seeking warmer temperatures, becoming active again in the spring. Outdoors, they form large carpet-like droves that may be unsightly.
Otherwise, these pests are harmless. They don’t bite people or pets and won’t eat through structures. The worst part of a boxelder bug infestation is the stains their feces can leave behind and the foul odor they emit when stepped on or crushed.
The two most common springtime beetles are the multicolored Asian lady beetle and the larder beetle. Each one poses a unique threat:
- Multicolored Asian lady beetles: Multicolored Asian lady beetles resemble ladybugs and emit a foul-smelling yellow liquid when they feel threatened. They come inside during autumn, flying around and climbing furniture. They get more active during warm weather, though they aren’t destructive. They don’t typically breed indoors.
- Larder beetles: Larder beetles spend winter overwintering in warm, indoor places. Some may accidentally enter in the spring as well if they’re following a food trail. They feed on meat, pet food and other dead insects and contaminate the surfaces and foods they encounter. They can also bore into wood on their quest to feed.
8. Stink Bugs
Stink bugs are one spring pest that are instantly recognizable thanks to their distinct odor. The most common is the brown marmorated stink bug, which is 1/2 inch long with a brown shield-like body. These pests invade homes and businesses in cooler months, entering through cracks and gaps. They come in large groups, feeding on fruit, soybeans and weeds. They emit their distinctive smell anytime they feel threatened.
Though stink bugs don’t make pleasant roommates, they are fairly harmless to humans. The only significant threat they pose is to farmers and gardeners, since they easily destroy plants and crops.
Ticks are wingless, oval-shaped and mostly flat until they feed and swell. Adults and nymphs have eight legs, while larvae have six. Ticks start getting active on warm spring days and get more prevalent through summer. The 90 types of ticks in the United States are categorized as either hard ticks or soft ticks. Hard ticks feed over several days and lay thousands of eggs at a time, while soft ticks only feed for an hour at most and lay hundreds of eggs. If you’ve ever encountered a tick on your skin or outdoors, it’s probably been a hard tick.
When a hard tick feeds, it creates a feeding wound on its victim. While it’s gorging on blood, it regurgitates fluid back into the wound, spreading sickness. Unfortunately, ticks are often only visible after they’ve fed, since this is when they grow larger and easier to spot.
Ticks are a serious threat to humans and pets. One of the most well-known side-effects of a tick bite is Lyme disease. Though not every tick bite results in Lyme disease, those infected experience extreme and often long-lasting symptoms, like chronic fatigue, nausea, fever and skin rash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30,000 Lyme disease cases are reported each year.
Paper wasps are common in Cape Cod. They have black and yellow markings with orange antennae, and they feed on other insects. Outdoors, they form nests under eaves, on furniture or inside the soil. Most adults die in the winter, except for mated queens who overwinter underground or inside homes, businesses, basements and garages. They emerge in the spring to start a new colony.
The most obvious threat wasps pose is their sting, which can be very painful. Some people are allergic to bee and wasp venom, and reactions can be fatal. This makes them dangerous to move or handle on your own.
Earwigs are slender bugs with sharp pincers that eat seedlings and garden plants. They are very resilient bugs, but winters can kill those adults who fail to seek shelter under rocks, in soil or indoors. Many lay eggs in the winter before dying, leaving the eggs protected by the natural compaction and insulation in dirt and snow. In the spring, these eggs hatch and larvae eat gardens and enter homes. They are also drawn to wet areas.
Though they aren’t venomous and don’t have stingers, they can pinch humans and secrete a foul odor from their scent glands if handled. They are not naturally aggressive. They can quickly reach large numbers and threaten gardens and crops, so prompt removal is necessary.
How to Prevent and Remove Spring Pests
Spring pest infestations are complex, often beginning in autumn. Because most infestations go undetected until spring, prevention and thorough removal are key.
How to Prevent Household Pests
Preventing household pests is the best way to avoid dangerous or costly bug infestations. Since most spring bugs come indoors in the colder months, you should start prevention planning long before your spring cleaning.
Some helpful tips for pest prevention include:
- Keep things clean and clutter-free: Though pests do not discriminate between neat and messy homes, they are drawn to areas with debris and food crumbs. They are also harder to spot hidden among clutter.
- Maintain your yard: Keep hedges and bushes trimmed and never leave rotting wood stumps or decaying trees. Store your firewood away from your porch and siding to prevent easy entry.
- Inspect and make repairs: Inspect your home for leaks, cracks and damage and make repairs as soon as possible to avoid standing water, moist wood or other optimal pest conditions.
- Enroll in seasonal pest management: Quarterly pest control service from Pest Pros targets seasonally-specific pests — including these common springtime invaders — and helps you create a line of defense around your property.
Tips for Removing Common House Pests
Even a single bug sighting can indicate a larger infestation elsewhere on your property. Thorough removal is the best way to keep your property and family safe. Pest Pros are trained to locate, identify and remove all household pests and help you develop an effective strategy to keep them from returning.
Do-it-yourself removal attempts fail to eliminate the source of an infestation and are usually ineffective. However, there are a few things you can do to make removal easier:
- Act quickly: Never ignore infestation warning signs. If you wait too long, infestations become more challenging to eliminate, and you may incur even costlier damages.
- Remove food sources: If you know what kind of pest you’re dealing with, do your best to remove all food sources. For example, carpenter ants thrive in moist areas — if you’ve seen one around your property, remove and replace all rotted structures, fix leaks and patch up moisture-damaged wood.
- Take notes: Note important facts about your pest infestation. Where did you first notice warning signs? Which direction were the pests traveling? What signs have you noticed around the property? Do you have any history of previous bug problems? The more you can tell your pest professional, the better equipped they are to help you prevent future problems.
Keep Pests Away With Help From Pest Pros
Pest infestations threaten your home, family and business, and they may result in costly damages. Some are even a threat to your health and well-being. Many pests are more active in spring after spending winter dormant and hungry, emerging to find new food sources. Combat springtime bugs with a professional consultation from Pest Pros.
Our team can inspect your property to identify vulnerable entry points or help you eradicate an existing infestation using quick, safe and effective methods. Browse our blog to learn more tips for house bug identification and schedule your free inspection today!