What unwanted critters are you fighting?
If you are fighting off unwanted pests at your home, find out what they like to eat, where they like to sleep, and get rid of it!
For Creepy Crawlies
Crickets | Keep leaf litter picked up
If you have little geckos running around keep them. They will help to eliminate crickets for you. Scorpions also love crickets, therefore having a cricket problem can lead to a scorpion problem.
Scorpions | Eliminate hiding spots
The scorpion we see here in the desert southwest is the bark scorpion. Their poisonous sting can be fatal if a person is allergic to their venom. But, for most the sting is just terribly painful. Scorpions like to hide under things and are nocturnal. To find out if you are hosting them, use a blacklight at night to check your house and yard.
Black Widow Spiders | Alert! Get rid of clutter!
Nathan Woolf, of Rosie Certified Blue Sky Pest Control, says, "Arizona is a hot spot for black widow spiders. You will generally find them lurking in dark places no more than 2 feet above the ground. Some common places they like to hide are garages, outdoor storage units and behind A/C and pool equipment." Watch for irregular spider webs, not the beautiful symmetric webs that resemble artwork. Clear the webs with a broom and check the area for spiders. Woolf says that when little spiders hatch, they throw out a thread allowing them to travel, like a kite. So, if your neighbor has them, you could, too!
NOTE: Rosie advises that one of the best ways to keep bugs and critters at bay is by caulking and sealing any openings and cracks on the outside of your home. Make sure to buy clear caulk designed for exterior use so that it will expand and contract as temperatures change. Check out our article on How To Seal Cracks and Gaps Around Your Home for help with this DIY project.
TIP: Consider hiring a pest control company to inspect the house and treat on a regular basis. Choose a company who checks in with you each month and offers a visual inspection while they are on the property. You can choose to have the inside or outside of the home sprayed, or both, depending on the critter issues you are having at the time.
For Nesting Creatures
Pack Rats | Keep an eye on your parked vehicles!
Pack rats' nests are a jumbled mess of twigs and brush and are generally found under bushes and trees. Pack rats have a fondness for unused vehicles. They will move in and eat everything from the underside of the vehicle but the metal! Check your parked vehicle regularly. To win this battle, you will have to clear out the nests when they start to build them, before they get too comfy. They will keep trying to come back, you just have to be tenacious!
Roof Rats | Get rid of ripe fruit!
Signs of roof rats include gnawed out fruit from your trees and greasy spots on walls where they have traveled. Roof rats like to travel high off the ground. Sounds of scrambling or gnawing in the attic are common. To keep rats off of your roof and out of your attic, trees and bushes should be trimmed away from the house. Eliminate their food source by picking ripe fruit from trees and from the ground. It is a good idea to pick up pet food bowls when Fido is done eating as well. Roof rats are smart in that they learn to avoid dangerous situations making them hard to catch.
Critters That Buzz
Bees | Wait a minute.....
You have some choices to make when a beehive arrives in your yard. Occasionally, a beehive will come swarming into a yard late in the day and settle in a tree. Try leaving them for a day. Often, they will set off on their journey the very next morning. If a hive looks like it has decided to move in and is in a place that it will be easily disturbed, consider having a beekeeper remove and relocate it. If a beehive is well established and in a hard place to reach like in a wall or near a pool high in a tree, your best bet will be eradication. If it is determined that the bees are Africanized, then the only choice will be eradication due to their tendency to be aggressive.
Wasps | No floating allowed!
To keep wasps from hanging out at your pool don't provide anything for them to float on. Paper wasps, the most common of our wasps, live in a large round hive. Hive removal is one way to get rid of wasps. Discouraging them is the other way. One deterrent that seems to work is algaecide applied to the pool water (as per directions). Anti-static cloths by the side of the pool for deterring and diesel fuel poured into a plastic water bottle and hung from a tree to draw them away might be worth a try.
Don't invite them in the first place!
Wild animals are attracted by easy to access food and water. The worst thing a human can do to any wildlife is to provide food and water. This changes the behavior of the animal to depend on humans instead of on their instincts for survival. Wild animals including coyotes, javelina, bobcats, bears and birds of prey are of special concern if you have small pets or children.
Did you know, according to The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGF), it is illegal to feed wildlife in Pinal, Maricopa and Pima counties? If fined, this penalty carries a fee of $300. If wild animals try to settle in your area, AZGF suggests making them unwelcome; bang pots and yell to let them know that they are not welcome at your place. For information on specific species check out their website.
Critter Free Living
Keeping your yard trimmed and debris free will go a long way in keeping unwanted critters at bay. Clutter, inside and out, is your enemy when it comes to critters. Don't provide places for them to hide! As mentioned earlier, don't keep your pet's food bowl out. Pick them up and put them away as soon as your pet is done eating. This simple task is huge in preventing everything from ants, to roof rats and anything else that is hungry and looking for an easy snack!
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