Creepy, Crawly Pests: A Nightmare for Homeowners

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spiders, bats, and bugs are all part of the typical Halloween décor, but finding the real thing inside a home usually elicits screams from residents. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers a guide to several "scary" pests.

Spiders - Arachnophobia aside, most spiders are mere annoyances, but the brown recluse and the black widow pose a danger to humans. Both species tend to bite when threatened. Their bites can be painful, cause allergic reactions and be fatal to small children. To prevent spiders from nesting, keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free.

Bats - These nocturnal mammals can cause alarm if they are found inside structures. Bat droppings pose a health concern as fungi which grow in the droppings can cause histoplasmosis, a lung infection. Because bats are protected by law in most states, homeowners should contact a licensed pest professional to remove the bat in order to comply with the law. Close off any entry points to prevent bats from coming into homes.

Rats - One of the most reviled pests, rats damage materials, contaminate food and carry a host of diseases. Rodents can enter homes through quarter-sized openings, so seal up holes and cracks on the outside of the house.

Bed Bugs - These blood-sucking pests are found in homes, apartments, hotels, retail stores, hospitals, and numerous other places where people live and gather. Bed bugs easily travel from place to place in bags, furniture, suitcases and on clothing. Vigilance is key in detecting and preventing bed bug infestations- and Halloween is no exception. Before wearing any clothing that came from a rental or a second-hand store, put it in the dryer on high for 20 minutes to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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