When you think of a New York City summer, what do you picture? Heat? Humidity? Smelly garbage? Every Big Apple summer tends to bring about plenty of all three, but that’s not all. Summer is also one of our prime pest seasons. Many kinds of pests reach mature adulthood around this time of year, and the heat and humidity means they can be more active and stay active longer.
Everyone deserves to enjoy a beautiful summer, but it’ll be hard if you spend it dealing with a pest infestation. Learning what kinds of pests to watch out for and how to keep them away is a crucial part of enjoying the season. Here are four of the most prevalent summer pests in New York, and what you can do about them:
Centipedes become an issue in early summer, when their eggs usually hatch. The house centipede is the most common centipede pest, because it’s the only centipede that can complete its entire life cycle indoors. The heat and humidity of summer allows the centipede to stay active longer. House centipedes are nocturnal, carnivorous hunters. They subsist on fleas, spiders, ants, cockroaches, and other common pests.
Centipedes come into houses to get at moisture and water. They tend to be a problem for homes and businesses made of brick. Because brick is naturally porous, it can sweat in high humidity, leaking moisture that attracts pests. House centipedes aren’t dangerous, but they are freaky. To prevent a centipede infestation this summer, invest in a dehumidifier and prevent moisture accumulation. You should also take other pest prevention steps, to deprive house centipedes of possible prey.
Both pantry and clothes moths become a bigger problem than usual in summer for a variety of reasons. First of all, moth eggs hatch much faster in hot environments than they do in cooler ones. Second, moth larvae are active longer and grow faster in heat. Most importantly, moths are attracted to humidity and moisture. Fabric moths, in particular, love sweat. Everyone sweats more during the summer, and that sweat tends to linger on unwashed clothes, turning your dirty pants into a moth beacon.
Adult moths lay eggs on top of food sources like pantry foods and clothing. When these eggs hatch, the larvae begin feeding immediately. Wash clothing as soon as possible after wearing it, especially after physical activity. Keep pantry foods, especially cereals, pastas, and other grains, in sealed plastic containers. If you suspect you have a moth infestation, throw out affected foods and/or dispose of affected clothing.
Wasp queens come out of hibernation and begin laying eggs in early spring. Queens can lay up to 25,000 eggs in her lifetime, and eggs hatch in only a few days. Queens do nothing but lay eggs to grow the colony, so by summer wasp colonies tend to be quite populous. Wasps become even more active in late summer when they stop collecting protein for offspring and start hunting on their own.
Wasps tend to swarm around dumpsters, garbage cans, composts, or anywhere else they can chow down. They’ll generally make their nests near a food source, so they can provide for offspring easily. Look for round structures resembling paper or wood that are built into nooks and crannies like the corners of walls or alleyways. Keep your garbage in sealed plastic bags and rinse out bottles and cans before recycling or tossing them. If you see a wasp nest, don’t attempt to take it down yourself; call us instead.
In established colonies, ant workers come out of hibernation in late spring and start ramping up colony development starting in early summer. Though most ants remain near their outdoor colonies, droughts or rain storms may bring them inside seeking shelter. They could also infiltrate homes in search of easy to take or large quantities of food. In some cases, ants might establish an “indoor nest” as a kind of offshoot of the larger outdoor colony.
Ants thrive in moisture and darkness. Most species make their nests in hollow or rotting wood, cracks and crevices, or insulation. The best way to prevent ants is to deprive them of the food they want. Clean up countertops and tables after each meal, and vacuum at least once a day. Keep food in sealed plastic containers inside the pantry or cupboards. If you see ants, try to follow them back to their colony, where you may be able to wipe them out.
You’ve probably made peace (or something like it) with the idea that you’re going to see more bugs during the summer than you usually do. That doesn’t mean you have to make peace with the idea that those bugs are going to be in your home or business, however.
Follow these steps and take the usual pest precautions, and you won’t have to worry about walking around barefoot in your own apartment at all this summer. If you need some help reclaiming your summer from creepy-crawlies, give us a call today. We’ll make sure your pests’ summer vacation reaches an abrupt end, so you can get back to enjoying yours.