Pest Talk with Western: Tom Mayfield & Doug WiseWhat are your predictions for PA pest pressures this winter? "Roach and rodent issues will be especially troublesome in the greater Philadelphia region…and the worst problem in Philadelphia is almost always mice," Mayfield says. "They will get to be even more of a problem as the weather cools, not because the mice are cold, but because their food supply starts to disappear and they come inside in search of food." What other issues do you predict? "Two issues that will most certainly affect all regions are the stink-bug and bed-bug epidemics," Mayfield says. "Stink bugs are often perceived more as nuisance than threat, but issues will continue, even as stink bug populations expand out from their original PA introduction point." Mayfield and Wise also predict ongoing issues with mice and German cockroaches, with German cockroaches re-emerging after a decade of diminished activity levels. Any tips for homeowners seeking to curb rodent problems? "With rodent control, it's extremely important that monitoring stations are checked monthly," says Mayfield. "You also have to change the baits regularly, even though that takes time. It's a step that pest-control companies sometimes skip." How does the weather in your region impact pest activity? Heavy rains force American roaches into commercial buildings in the city from city storm drains and infrastructure. In hot dry weather, pests search out water which may include travelling further than normal and into the home.What are some of the most common pests encountered in homes in your area? Ants and mice residentially; American cockroaches and mice commercially. What is the most unusual pest encountered in your area? Plaster beetles. These small beetles can come in big numbers from wet, moldy areas that may be behind sheetrock, damp basements or outdoors close or attached to the structure. Any tips for homeowners in your region? Seal all faucet, plumbing, electrical openings from the outside that penetrate into your house with a foam or mesh sealant to keep mice out. Change lighting to sodium vapor low intensity lighting that is less attractive to night flying insects that then attract spiders. Keep vegetation away from the perimeter of the home and prune back any limbs that touch the home to keep crawling insects away and squirrels!
From the farms and fields of Lancaster to the back-to-back residences of Philadelphia, PA pest control covers a wide range of regions and terrain. Tom Mayfield currently serves as Branch Manager for Lancaster and Newtown Square / Philadelphia. Service Manager Doug Wise has experience in both locations, and currently works in the greater Philly region. Recently, we checked in with the two of them to see which winter pests are poised to create headaches this year.
The Year of the Termite
Termite activity has had a recent resurgence, appearing in NJ & PA as early as February. This is a great reason to inspect your home regularly for termites and to take precautions both on the interior AND exterior of your home as soon as possible.
Look around in your mulch because termites find the moisture and warmth rather inviting. It is a good idea to probe around, digging down into the mulch bed since termites will not always be close to the surface.
While you’re outdoors, also try to keep an eye out for termites or termite swarms around your plants and shrubbery. Termite swarms are indicated through the appearance of lost wings, because they often swarm in the air while loosing their wings in the process.
German Cockroaches Flare Up in Philly
German cockroaches used to be a huge issue. When Tom Mayfield, Branch Manager for Newtown Square and Lancaster, started out in the industry in the late eighties, businesses throughout the Philadelphia area experienced challenges with this persistent pest. Then the tides turned. A combination of improved bait efficiency and enhanced roach monitoring put a great dent in German cockroach populations. They then diminished to occasional-invader status – but unfortunately, it looks like the tides may be turning once again.
“Especially in hotels and hotel kitchens, we’ve seen an uptick in German roach problems over the last two years,” Mayfield says.
Resistance to bait materials may play a role in the resurgence of problems, along with effects of the lingering economic slowdown. With higher staff turnover and lower budgets for maintenance and cleaning, conditions are amendable to German cockroaches, which are attracted to starch, grease, and meat, among other things. Learn more about German cockroaches and how to detect problems before they escalate.
Mice and American Cockroaches Invade Philly
From architecture differences to the realities of properties close to one another, urban conditions contribute to different pest problems than those commonly seen in the suburbs. As Branch Manager for both Newtown Square and Lancaster, Tom Mayfield sees these differences firsthand. Contact Western Pest for rodent and pest control services near you.
“The worst problem in Philadelphia is almost always mice,” Mayfield says. “They will get to be even more of a problem as the weather cools – not because the mice are cold, but because their food supply starts to disappear and they come inside in search of food.”
American cockroaches are another common city intruder. Mayfield notes that “you can’t walk the city sidewalks at night without noticing a few of these large, reddish-golden roaches, which are often associated with steam tunnels, boiler room equipment, and sewers.” He explains that they typically become more prevalent at the onset of any major construction project or road repairs.
Odorous House Ants
What’s in a name? Apparently a lot especially when it comes to Odorous House Ants. These pests give off a strong, coconut-like scent when they are crushed, and are incredibly difficult to get rid of once they have started a colony, and in areas like West Chester and eastern Pennsylvania, homeowners are seeing a ton of them.
We recently met up with Curtis Pratt, Western’s Residential Termite Supervisor of the Newtown Square branch, who said he’s been getting a lot of calls from homeowners who are seeing these pests in their kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and throughout the exterior of their home.
These pests’ colonies can range from 100-10,000″ in size, and the longer you wait to take action, the larger the population will get, making it a matter of weeks before the area can be cleared.
Odorous house ants can creep into exposed soil and cracks in walls, hide underneath sinks, and gather throughout your kitchen wherever they can find leftover crumbs, sweets, or spilled drinks. They can even make nests in piles of leaves in your gutters, creating a path for them to run across your roof and get inside.
Mayfield warns against using hardware store DIY treatments, though, because products like Raid and other sprays can splinter colonies and spread them out, making the problem exponentially worse.
If you have an odorous house ant issue, contact a professional who can treat for these pests inside and out – along the perimeter of your home, and prevent them from getting inside in the first place.
Outdoor Pest-Avoidance Tips
There are small things you can do around the exterior of your property in order to prevent pests from entering your home or creating a nuisance outside of it. In suburban or agricultural areas, the likelihood of standing water and other pest-friendly targets is high. But there are ways to ensure your outdoor area is significantly more enjoyable.
Avoid jumping spiders by making sure your shrubs are trimmed back. This will also help prevent a multitude of insects in general, but no one wants to see a spider jumping around their back porch.
Also try to remove any webs you see on the outside of your house because this will lower the likelihood of a spider finding its way indoors.
- Seal up all receptacles
- Pick up after pets, whose droppings may attract flies
- Clean up recyclable bins because spillage can attract a multitude of pests
About Western Pest
Western Pest is a longstanding pest control company serving the Eastern United States. We offer residential and commercial pest control services near you, including termite protection, bed bug control, and rodent removal. Our comprehensive service offerings also include our Home Protection Plan, a year-round program designed to keep pests out for the duration. If a pest infestation occurs in your home or business, trust Western Pest to take care of the problem safely and effectively.