Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Vermont Pest Control

Entomologists from Vermont Pest Control’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

Identifying Different Wasp Nests

Summertime in Vermont means more insects buzzing around. While this is to be expected, it’s important to keep an eye out for an increase in wasp activity. If you’ve observed a growing number of wasps flying to or from a certain area near your home, there’s a likely chance a nest is nearby. Wasp nests should never be approached—doing so puts you at risk of being stung.

Regardless, it’s important to learn how to identify the many different types of wasp nests you may see near your Vermont property. Read on to learn everything you need to know about wasp nest identification with the experts at Vermont Pest Control.

What Do Different Wasp Nests Look Like?

Different wasps build different nests, and it’s easy to confuse them. Here are the main types of nests we see in our region:

  • Paper wasps. Their nests famously look like upside-down umbrellas. These nests are often open and can get quite large in size. They are typically supported by a single stalk and consist of a paper-like material.
  • Yellowjackets. Nests are a papery material and have a single opening. The inside of a yellowjacket nest can have up to 100 tiers of cells. Yellowjackets can also build underground nests that can be enormous in size.
  • Mud daubers. True to name, these nests are made out of mostly mud. The nests are small and tubular in size, often looking like organ pipes. They are typically found in cracks or crevices.
  • Bald-faced hornets. These nests are almost always at least three feet off the ground. They are made of chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva. They often grow to be the size of a football or basketball.

Wasp nest infographic - Vermont Pest Control

Are Wasp Nests Always in Trees?

No! Wasp nests certainly can be in trees, but they often are built on buildings and in other spots as well. Paper wasp nests can be located under and within the eaves of structures, in attics and wall voids, and in other enclosed areas. Yellowjackets favor areas near the ground, in hollow trees, under porches, and a number of other areas.

Mud daubers tend to build their nests in sheltered areas, including under eaves, garages, attics, or on the sides of buildings. Lastly, the bald-faced hornet builds its nest oftentimes in trees, bushes, or wooded areas, but they also can build them on buildings.

What to Do About a Wasp Nest Near Your Home

If you noticed a wasp nest on or near your property, don’t panic. For the most part, wasps will not sting unless they feel threatened. Therefore, attempting to knock down a nest on your own is never recommended. Always call your local wasp control experts for help with any type of stinging insect.

Pests May Trigger Your Springtime Allergies

Pests can cause allergies in Vermont - Vermont Pest Control

Few places are as beautiful in springtime as Vermont. Unfortunately, with spring blooms comes seasonal allergies. From a runny nose to itchy eyes, most of us have dealt with springtime allergies at one time or another. But is it just the weather and trees triggering our allergies? Unfortunately, pests are a common cause of allergies, especially amongst children. With May being National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, all of us here at Vermont Pest Control are here to shine light on the dangers of allergies exacerbated by pests. Pest allergens are a result of certain types of pests in your home, making it important to know how to avoid them.

How to Remove Pest Allergens in Your Home

To get rid of pest allergens in your property, you need to get rid of pests in your property! Basic pest prevention tips will go a long way in protecting your family from allergies caused by pest infestations. Some of these include:

  • Seal cracks and holes in your property, including entry points for utilities and pipes, screen doors, and windows.
  • Store food in sealed containers and clean kitchens on a daily basis.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and use a tight-fitting lid.
  • Keep your basements and crawl spaces well-ventilated and dry!
  • Wash blankets, rugs, and bedding in hot water or get them dry-cleaned.
  • Vacuum and dust your property frequently!

Pests that Trigger Allergies in Vermont

Pests certainly can be dangerous, but most people don’t realize that they can cause allergies, too. The most common culprit is the cockroach. Roach droppings, skins, saliva, and more have all been linked to triggering allergic reactions and asthma in individuals, especially children. In addition to cockroaches, stinging insects and dust mites commonly trigger allergies. A sting from a fire ant or yellow jacket can be dangerous for anyone allergic.

It’s important to immediately call 911 or seek medical attention if you are having a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness, and more.

How to Get Rid of Allergy-Causing Pests

Avoiding pest allergens requires proper pest prevention. If you’ve done all you can to keep pests out of your home and are still getting infestations, it’s best to enlist the help of an exterminator. At Vermont Pest Control, our team customize a pest control plan suited to the unique needs of your property.