Common Pest Identification & Prevention In West Palm Beach, FL
We have such a wide variety of pests living throughout Florida, and keeping all these pests from making themselves comfortable in your house with your family is difficult. At the first signs of insects or rodents in your home, it is essential to contact our professionals for immediate help. In addition to our professional services, refer to the below pest control guide to learn more about our area's pests, including steps you can take to make your indoor and outdoor spaces less appealing to them!
Ants are pests that people run into in both indoor and outdoor spaces. People often overlook these tiny insects when they live in our yards and homes because they are so common around Florida properties. We have several different species of ants in West Palm Beach that we see more than others. Regular invaders of our properties include big-headed ants, carpenter ants, crazy ants, fire ants, and ghost ants. The temperature and humidity levels in Florida allow these pests to thrive year-round, and if the outside proves unsuitable, they won't hesitate to move indoors. Ants prefer to feed on sweets, meaning our kitchens, pantries, and eating areas are susceptible to ant infestations.
Regardless of whether they are common or not, you should always address ant infestations as quickly as possible. Outside, ants come in contact with bacteria and other unsanitary pathogens before invading our homes. Once inside, they contaminate surfaces and food. Food waste is a huge concern when it comes to ants. In addition to food waste, ants can cause some other major issues. Take, for instance, carpenter ants; when they get into our homes, they cause structural damage by tunneling through and nesting in structural wood. Fire ants aren't usually a problem inside our homes, but our yards are another story. Fire ants create large outdoor nests and defend those nests aggressively by biting and stinging anything they view as a threat, including your family and pets.
Implement the following prevention tips to help you make your West Palm Beach property less attractive to opportunistic ants.
- Check the exterior of your home regularly and with care. Use caulk or another appropriate material to seal cracks in the foundation and exterior walls.
- Seal gaps around wires and pipes entering your home.
- Eliminate standing water from your property and repair leaky pipes to avoid providing ants with a water source.
- Trash cans, recycling bins, and compost bins need locking lids to keep ants out of them.
- Vacuum your house regularly to remove food debris.
- Routinely check your home for excess moisture and water-damaged wood that could attract carpenter ant activity.
A bed bug is an insect whose sole source of nutrition comes from the blood of its warm-blooded hosts. While bed bugs may feed on wild animals and pets, their preferred and main food source is human blood. Since our blood helps them to complete their life cycle, it only makes sense that they have adapted to living where we live and spend most of our time. Bed bugs in Florida and throughout the U.S. live indoors with people in order to have easy access to their preferred food sources. Some of the most common places to come into contact with bed bugs include hotels, schools, hospitals, movie theaters, amusement parks, resorts, cruise ships, and anywhere people move to and from in large groups.
Living in Florida, we are used to many tourists and seasonal residents coming to and from our state; this is why bed bugs thrive here. They are constantly being introduced into our state and transported throughout it. Bed bugs are exceptional hitchhikers and move into new homes on people and our personal belongings or items purchased that are already infested with these pests, such as secondhand furniture. At first, bed bugs may be able to conceal their presence, but after time and after their populations have exploded, their presence usually can't be missed. They will leave behind signs like drops of blood or streaks of excrement on bedding, piles of shed skins, or a musty, sweet odor. Those allergic to their saliva will develop itchy raised rashes at the bite sites. In addition, not many people can sleep soundly or be comfortable in their home if they share it with bed bugs.
Implement the following prevention tips to help you make your West Palm Beach property less attractive to bed bugs.
- Keep your personal belongings away from other people's belongings at work, school, or when in any public place.
- When traveling, inspect your hotel room for bed bugs before bringing luggage inside.
- Vacuum your home thoroughly and regularly to remove any stray bed bugs you may have unknowingly brought home.
- Wash bedding regularly and inspect mattresses and box springs for bed bugs while doing so. Use bed bug-proof mattress and box spring covers.
- If possible, avoid purchasing used furniture, mattresses, or box springs for your home.
Cockroaches are unique insects that have withstood the test of time because of their adaptability. They can survive almost anywhere, including inside our Florida homes. Their oval bodies are flat and allow them to squeeze into tight spaces to hide during the day. If you ever spot a cockroach in your home, scurrying across a floor or counter, it is likely a German cockroach, an American cockroach, or a smoky brown cockroach. All three species are common in our area; our Florida weather allows cockroaches to thrive outside, and our temperature-controlled homes enable them to thrive indoors.
Wherever you turn in Florida, you may run into a cockroach. Keeping cockroaches out of our homes is important because of the damage they can cause by chewing on fabrics, furniture, papers, and other personal items. They will also stain surfaces with their excrement and create an unpleasant odor. Not only is the damage they do problematic, but so are the health risks they introduce. Cockroaches live and feed in unsanitary areas and carry on their bodies and in their excrement bacteria, pathogens, and parasites that will make people sick. The allergens found in cockroach feces and their shed skins also trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
Implement the following prevention tips to help you make your West Palm Beach property less attractive to cockroaches.
- Get rid of unseen crumbs from your home by pulling out and cleaning behind large appliances.
- Eliminate water sources by regularly checking your home for leaky pipes, faucets, and air conditioners.
- Seal openings in your home's exterior walls and foundation to stop cockroaches from squeezing their bodies through those openings and into your home.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors.
- Store trash in containers with locking lids, regularly wash dishes and make sure leftover food is properly put away and not accessible to cockroaches.
Fleas & Ticks
Fleas are small ectoparasites that love hot, humid weather, making Florida, much to our dismay, a place where they thrive. Fleas and ticks are constantly being introduced onto properties by wild animals, are prolific breeders, and are insects whose sole source of nutrition is blood. Fleas and ticks feed on many hosts, including people; however, their primary hosts are animals. Rodents, dogs, cats, and wild animals like raccoons, foxes, rabbits, deer, opossums, and others are typically infested with these pests.
Having large populations of fleas and ticks regularly introduced into your yard is not okay. Not only will these pests bite and feed on your blood if you come into contact with them, but in doing so, they could transmit diseases or parasites that cause illnesses. Fleas spread parasitic tapeworms, along with some diseases. Most people are allergic to their saliva and develop very uncomfortable itchy rashes. Ticks are responsible for spreading many diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and tularemia. Fleas and ticks should never be allowed to become a part of your outdoor space; partnering with a professional is the best way to acquire the continuous services necessary to control their populations!
Implement the following prevention tips to help you make your West Palm Beach property less attractive to fleas and ticks.
- Keep your grass cut short; both fleas and ticks like to hide out in tall grass.
- Remove things like leaf piles and brush piles from your yard that provide moisture and shade that they can hide beneath.
- Make your yard less attractive to rodents and wild animals by keeping lids on trash cans and compost bins, removing bird feeders, and maintaining gardens.
- Vacuum your home daily, especially in areas where your pets sleep and rest.
- Regularly wash pet bedding, vacuum upholstered furniture, and wash your family's bedding to get rid of stray bed bugs.
- If you own pets, place them on a year-round flea and tick preventative program.
Mice and rats live in large numbers all around Florida, and these animals are regular invaders to our properties. They have learned how beneficial living with people can be and take advantage of food from our garbage cans, gardens, and kitchens. They also have learned to drink from leaky pipes and hoses and know that our properties provide them with plenty of shelter and safe nesting spots. Florida is a place where these pests thrive because of its overabundance of vegetation, warm temperatures, and large numbers of buildings and outdoor spaces they can use as feeding and nesting grounds.
The damage rodents cause to our properties, and the dangers they introduce to our families are why these pests are never welcome. One of the biggest concerns for rodents is food. They won't hesitate to feed on almost anything they come across, including the food they discover in our trash cans, gardens, kitchens, and pantries. Another major issue with rodents is that they spread diseases, bacteria, and viruses wherever they travel. One of the other major concerns is that rodents use their sharp front incisors to chew through drywall, floors, furniture, and cabinets; the destruction they cause is costly to repair and unsightly.
Implement the following prevention tips to help you make your West Palm Beach property less attractive to rodents.
- Make it as difficult as possible for rodents to move into your home by sealing any openings that develop in your home's exterior.
- Never keep food out on counters or tables for longer than necessary; after eating, immediately pick up and put away leftover food.
- Rodents love pet food; make sure to store pet food in hard-sided containers and pick up uneaten pet food each evening.
- Maintain garden areas, clean up yard debris and place lids on trash cans to make your yard less attractive to rodents.
In our area, we have two different species of termites that regularly find their way to our properties, feed on wood in our homes, and cause significant damage. Subterranean termites and drywood termites have diets made up of cellulose but have different feeding habits and preferred nesting sites. Subterranean termites live underground, have high moisture needs, and feed on decaying or damp wood. They move inside through cracks they find in your foundation or wood on your home that's making contact with the ground. Drywood termites feed on dry, sound pieces of wood, nest within the wood they are feeding on, and more often than not, are introduced into our homes in wood we bring inside that's already infested with them.
In Florida, termites are a serious year-round threat to our homes. Each year these pests cause more than five billion dollars in damages across the U.S. One of the most destructive and damaging pests to invade our homes, termites are not pests you want to tangle with. They infiltrate our homes without fanfare and can work for a long time before they or, more likely, their damage is noticed. The damage they cause can become substantial and quite time-consuming, and costly to repair; remember, most homeowners' insurance doesn't cover termite damage.
Implement the following prevention tips to help you make your West Palm Beach property less attractive to wood-eating termites.
- Moisture attracts subterranean termites. Eliminate areas of standing water near your home, fix leaky pipes and fixtures. Leave a barrier between any mulch and your foundation.
- Run dehumidifiers in your house to keep humidity levels as low as possible.
- Repair any damage to your foundation, exterior walls, or the roof that could provide an entrance into your home.
- Before bringing them indoors, inspect wooden furniture, antiques, trim, or other wooden items for drywood termites.
If you are looking for a one-stop-shop to take care of your West Palm Beach property's pest control needs, look no further than Gulfstream Termite & Environmental Services. We are a family-owned, fully licensed company and are proud to be a pest control industry leader. Providing our customers with environmentally friendly services, we are committed to ensuring our customer's homes and businesses become and stay free of pests. Learn more about our pest control offerings by reaching out to us today!