Written by David S.
If you garden, you may notice more signs of pests around the garden and in your home. Fall is the most significant time of year for pest populations. Food is abundant, their young have grown, and the ever-encroaching seasonal change looms just on the horizon. For insects, those attributes signal a time to store food, find shelter, and breed. Keep reading as we go through some of the worst fall pests and what you can do about them.
One of the largest groups of fall pests is rodents. As the season approaches, many crops are dying back. Pumpkins and winter squash plants are beginning to wither, and the fruit they produce is nearing harvest. It is not uncommon to walk through a garden and hear mice and rats scurrying about under the plants. You may also see signs where they have gnawed on pumpkins and squash, or you can find half-eaten tomatoes lying on the ground.
That level of damage is not uncommon, and it is a forbearing sign of a more significant pest problem. That many rodents mean most will seek shelter from the cooler weather and rain inside your home or outbuildings.
Spring traps are one way to reduce rodent populations. They work well and are non-toxic. Sonic deterrents are another tool that can help drive rodents away. These are best used outside the home to keep mice and rats from taking up residence with you. Frequent checking of outbuildings can also deter mice and rodents. Many pests prefer quiet surroundings, and the more you are present, the less they will like those places.
Squirrels are another pest that is also part of the rodent family of pests. Ground squirrels are the worst pests around as they are so destructive. Tree squirrels may help themselves to fruit from the garden and dig holes to bury nuts. Ground squirrels have to be euthanized as it is against the law to trap and relocate them. An outside cat can help with rodent control, including being a deterrent for squirrels.
There are many products available to control rodents. Some are humane, and others use toxins. In addition, there are mechanical traps that kill or capture critters alive. You can investigate all of these options by visiting any of our Green Thumb Nursery locations. Our garden experts can help answer your questions and suggest products that meet your pest control needs.
Wasp and Bees
Bees, for the most part, are more beneficial than they are pests. Carpenter bees, on the other hand, can be damaging to homes, fences, and outbuildings. An easy way to deter carpenter bees is to make sure that all wooden features of your home and yard are painted. They do not like to drill into painted wood. Unfortunately, that also includes the underside of decks where those lovely wooden posts are prime targets for carpenter bees.
By fall, the summer wasp populations have exploded. Yellowjacket colonies can number above 10,000 wasps, sometimes even more extensive. Paper wasps, yellowjackets, European hornets, baldfaced hornets are all common fall yard pests. They’ve probably been bugging you all summer long.
Bait traps are the easiest and safest way to deal with wasps. You hang these in your trees, and the bait inside attracts the wasps. They fly into the trap and cannot get out again. Some wasp traps are reusable, and others are single-use products. Replace the traps monthly or when full of dead wasps. Some DIY options, such as soapy water traps, are not as effective as hanging wasp traps.
If you have an in-ground wasp nest in your yard, hire a professional to remove them. There are spray products that stream toxins that kill the wasps. Unfortunately, without safety gear, you can easily breathe in the toxins too. A professional pest control technician has the tools and experience to safely and effectively remove in-ground wasp colonies.
Houseflies and Other Fly Species
Of all the orders of insects, flies are most likely to spread disease. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, West Nile virus, and other diseases. Houseflies can spread bacteria and viruses such as salmonella. By the time fall starts, fly populations are insanely larger. They are in the house, outside, and appear anywhere you have food. Fall is also a wonderful time of year to enjoy outdoor living areas, BBQ, and gatherings. As a result, flies and wasps, while not invited, will make an appearance.
The best way to deal with houseflies is to use baited hanging traps. Install these near the garbage and recycling cans. They are very effective at trapping houseflies. One downside to hanging fly traps is that they can smell. It is that strong odor that attracts the flies. Hanging fly traps are straightforward to use, but you do want to make sure not to touch the bait as it is toxic. When the trap is full, toss it in the garbage can and hang a new trap.
Drain flies are another household pest. They lay eggs in the drain, and the larvae eat the sludge that builds up there. Drain treatments are the only way to get rid of drain flies.
Many products help control fly populations. Some are very specific to the type of flies they target—mosquito misters target mosquitoes. Hanging fly traps target flesh flies and houseflies. Please stop by and browse the large selection of fly traps and products that we carry. In addition, our garden experts are available to help answer your questions and point out products specific to your pest control problems.
Cockroaches and Creepy Crawlies
Fall is the pentacle of cockroach season. There is so much wasted food around that cockroaches are in heaven. Outdoor BBQ and meals, leftover soda, dropped snacks are all a banquet for the lowly cockroach. As the food supply dries up outdoors, cockroaches move indoors. Several DIY products help control cockroach populations. If you have a severe infestation indoors, call a qualified pest control company. Getting rid of cockroaches inside requires special skills. Outdoors, baiting programs can work well to lower the cockroach population around your home.
Ants are related to bees and wasps, and it should not be surprising to learn that ant populations swell in size throughout the summer and decline in winter. Like many other insects, ants thrive in conditions food is plentiful. The end of summer and the beginning of fall are high food production months in gardens. That means plenty of ant activity around your garden and yard. Unfortunately, the hotter weather also means ants are drawn to water. As the food supply drops, ants begin to forage farther from their colony. Expect more frequent foraging ants to appear in your kitchen.
Ant infestations mean a couple of things. For the most part, those few ants you see on your counters are foragers. They are looking for a food supply, and if they find it, they will bring the rest of the colony to collect it. TheThe way to deal with ongoing ant problems is to destroy the colony. To do that, you need a comprehensive baiting program that takes out the colony at the source.
We carry many ant control products, and one of them is perfect for your ant pest control needs. So please stop by and browse the options and be sure to ask our plant experts about ant control products.
Fall is a fantastic time of year, but it does not have to be riddled with pest issues. Talk to our team about year-round pest control products that keep those populations low all year long.
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