Homeowners Sound Off On Top Five Pests of Summer

In a recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a nationally representative sample of American homeowners sounded off about the pests that concern them most and pose the biggest threat to their health and safety during the summer. Mosquitoes came in on top followed by ants, ticks, wasps and hornets, while spiders round out the top five. The poll conducted in early June 2006, had a margin error of plus or minus 3.47 percent.

Not only are these pests persistent and annoying, they can also cause health and safety concerns. "Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus and Malaria among other diseases, ticks can spread Lyme disease, and ants, spiders, wasps and hornets can produce painful bite/sting marks and pose a larger threat to those who have an allergic reaction," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "If a person is experiencing an allergic reaction or signs of illness from an insect bite or sting, they should seek immediate medical attention."

NPMA offers these five helpful tips to avoid the top five summer pests:

  • Clean out all parts of your kitchen where food products are stored to ensure that there are no crumbs or spills. Keep foods like cereal, crackers and cookies in sealed containers. This eliminates the food supply that attracts ants, mice, and cockroaches.
  • Dust and vacuum regularly to prevent cobwebs and the spiders that weave them.
  • Many pests invade from the outside by way of vegetation that runs along side your home. Make sure all tree branches, shrubs, and plants are trimmed back and that an ample barrier exists between your shrubbery and your home. Check for and seal off any holes on the outside of your home that might have been caused by winter damage. This will eliminate entry points for small pests such as mice, spiders, termites and ants.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water around the home. Still, stagnant water attracts mosquitoes that can transmit harmful viruses. Also be sure to regularly check gutters, windows, grilles, porch lights, etc. for wasp and hornets nests. These stinging insects build nests in and around most solid surfaces outside the home.
  • Check yourself and your pets for ticks regularly before coming indoors, especially if you've been in high grass or wooded areas. If a tick has latched on, be sure to completely remove it from the bite mark, especially it's head. This can be done using a hot matchstick or vegetable oil.
  • If your pest problem persists, contact a local pest professional to safely eliminate or remove the problem.