People and pests coexist throughout the Dallas area. The mild climate and population density in Texas makes it an ideal home for a variety of pests, but even our relatively warm winter can still entice critters to come inside. These unwanted house guests can be downright dangerous, triggering allergy attacks and bringing disease. Some, like the common carpenter ant, can even tear through the structural integrity of your home. Here’s our pest control expert’s guide on which pests to watch for this winter!
1. Pest to Watch for: Rodents
Rodents are commensal creatures, which means they’ve evolved to live side by side with humans (whether we like it or not!). Rats, especially the roof and Norway breeds common to the Dallas area, prefer to stay near you. Our discarded food or untouched pantry supplies provide a steady stream of nutrition for these pests, and our attics make the perfect place for them to settle in for the winter. Roof rats are so named because they like being high up and are a particularly nasty pest to watch for in the winter. They breed quickly, having multiple pups every few weeks, and settle into just about anywhere (including the walls!). Watch out for pest signs like droppings or chewed-up cardboard, wood, and blankets. They like to chew through soft items to make their nests. Storage containers full of home décor make a perfect home for a rat infestation. While it’s rare for Norway or roof rats to bite, they’ll do so if they feel threatened or alarmed. Their bites and droppings carry a ton of bacteria and disease, so avoid it at all costs.
2. Ants Don’t Stick to Just Picnic Invasions
While some Dallas homeowners think of ants as just picnic-ruining pests, we still need to watch out for them during the colder months. Ants go wherever they can find food and water. As the temperatures drop and outside food stores dwindle, they’ll come inside. Some ants are entirely harmless! Others, like the carpenter ant, tear through wooden structures such as your home’s support beams. Fire ants can give painful bites. If you’re allergic to an ant’s venom, you could suffer serious reactions. The bad news is ants are hard to stop once they enter a home. They nest by a process called ‘budding’, where they split the colony in two and then breed quickly to get each colonies’ numbers up. To prevent them, keep food stored in airtight containers (pet food too!). Do the dishes nightly, so they don’t feast on your leftovers. Remove the trash when full, and make sure to keep the bins away from the home.
3. Spiders Are Too Dangerous to Not Watch Out for
Arachnophobia afflicts a good chunk of the Dallas population. If you’re one of the many people afraid of spiders, you’re likely already watching out for this pest. Spiders, specifically the Brown Recluse and Black Widow, can be found throughout the Dallas area. They feed on smaller insects trapped in their web, often paralyzing them with a deadly venom before eating them. Anywhere small insects are, spiders are – so if you have any other pest problem, you likely also have a spider problem! They nest in undisturbed locations like basements or attics and can lay hundreds of eggs at a time. If you see a spider, it’s best to leave it undisturbed until a pest control professional can remove it. Many spiders are venomous, so don’t risk getting bit trying to remove them.
4. Nasty Cockroaches Spread Bacteria
Potentially the most reviled of all Dallas pests, cockroaches are one of the worst pests to have to watch out for. Cockroaches are after food, shelter, and water. They crawl in through the tiniest of cracks and settle under appliances, in drains, and behind paintings (to name just a few places). Anywhere they can sit undisturbed is a fine home for the humble cockroach. They breed quickly, adhering their eggs to any surface. Cockroaches are also known to leave droppings everywhere they go. The small black spots, stuck on every surface with a glue-like coating, are an easy-to-spot indicator you have a roach problem. Most Dallas homeowners don’t realize they have a problem until it’s too late; cockroaches are very good at hiding. It’s important to keep your eyes peeled for droppings or eggs in high-risk areas like the bathroom or kitchen. If you see any sign you have a cockroach problem, contact a pest control professional immediately. Their waste carries plenty of bacteria, which cause respiratory problems in humans and the potential for serious disease.
For more common pest and other related pest tips, please contact Integrity Termite & Pest Services Inc.