No one wants pests in their home, but some pests are more than just a nuisance. There are many pests and rodents that carry diseases that are harmful to you and your family. The following is a compilation of the top five most harmful household pests, starting at number five and counting down to the number one most harmful. Knowing the dangers is important, but prevention and treatment is even more important.
#5 – Roaches
Dangers: Allergies, Asthma, E coli, Salmonella
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one-in-five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens. These allergens come from the bug’s saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies. Roaches can also carry E coli and Salmonella on their bodies, which can contaminate any food, kitchen appliances and cooking surfaces that they come into contact with while hiding out in your home. Proteins that are found in the roach’s feces can trigger asthma symptoms, especially in children.
Prevention: When you notice roaches in your home first check all windows and doorway to make sure that they are properly sealed. Eliminate the food source by cleaning up all crumbs and spills and avoiding leaving dirty dishes out. Store all your food items in air tight containers. Refrain from leaving cardboard boxes sitting outside and do not leave pet food sitting out overnight. Make sure to repair leaky pipes, as roaches are attracted to moisture.
Treatment: A Quarterly Pest Management treatment plan is the best way to treat and prevent roach infestations. An exterior barrier treatment will preventing cockroaches from entering the home through places, such as small cracks in the walls and spaces near electric sockets, and up through drain traps. If you already have roaches inside your home, an interior spray will help eliminate the problem faster. Having a clean and sanitary home will make it less inviting to cockroaches.
#4 – Fleas
Dangers: Painful bites, Bubonic Plague, Murine Typhus, Tapeworm, Allergies, Round Worm
Fleas can make your home extremely uncomfortable for everyone, especially your pets! They have a painful bite and are also carriers of the Bubonic plague. There are very few cases reported today, but this rare disease wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th century. Fleas can also spread a bacterial disease known as murine typhus, which is transmitted to humans through infected rats that have been bitten by the fleas. Fleas are a host for tapeworm, which can be transmitted to humans as well as pets. The saliva of fleas can cause an allergic reaction in dogs and cats. One little known fact about fleas is that they can cause round worm in dogs and cats. When the flea bites the animal, the animal will bite it and swallow the flea and since fleas are hosts for worms the animal will get the worms.
Prevention: Fleas most commonly enter your home on pets that have been outdoors. Make sure you treat your pets for fleas regularly, using a flea collar or flea bath. Fleas favor dark, cool, grassy areas, so it is best to keep foliage cut short. The best way to prevent a flea infestation is to treat the problem as soon as you notice it.
Treatment: At the first sign of a flea infestation you should treat the animal and remove them from the home. While the pet is gone, vacuum the house thoroughly and wash all the pets bedding and plush toys. You can then call your pest control company for a flea treatment. At American Pest Control, flea treatment is included in the price of Quarterly Pest Management. You will have to vacate the property for three hours after the treatment to allow the product time to dry. After treatment of both your pets and your home, make sure to stay on top of prevention by brushing your pet everyday to remove flea eggs and wash the pet’s bedding as often as possible.
Dangers: Itchy Bites, Allergies, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Heart Worm Disease
Mosquitoes cause itchy, unsightly marks as well as severe allergic reactions in humans. Mosquitoes are carriers of many serious diseases including, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis and West Nile virus. The most common in the United States is West Nile virus, which can disguise itself with cold and flu-like symptoms. Mosquitoes are carriers of heart worm disease in animals. When a mosquito bites an infected animal and then later on bites your pet, it transfers the disease into the bloodstream. While heart worm disease is preventable with monthly medication and treatable if you catch it early, it can be deadly.
Prevention: Minimize the number of mosquitoes in and around your home by eliminating stagnant water, especially around places where children play, and screening windows and doors. Protect children against bites by dressing them in long pants and long-sleeved shirts, when possible, and cover strollers and baby carriers in mosquito netting. If using mosquito repellent, be sure to closely follow the instructions on the label. Mosquitoes favor dark, cool places, so it is a good idea to trim shrubs and keeps the grass cut short.
Treatment: Mosquito service is available from American Pest Control, from March – October. The technician treats shrubbery, wooded areas and standing water. Price is based upon acreage.
#2 – Bed Bugs
Dangers: Painful Bites, Psychological and Emotional distress
Bed bugs cause painful, itchy bites but they are not known to carry any diseases. Bed bugs move quickly and will attached to clothing, bags and people as a way to move from room to room or even house to house. Bed bugs cause psychological and emotional grief due to the difficulty of elimination and the ease with which they spread.
Prevention: Bedbugs can enter your home on clothing, suitcases or furniture that has been in an infested area. You can prevent an infestation by keeping a close eye on your luggage when you are traveling. Check your hotel room closely and keep your suitcase off of the floor or in the bathroom to prevent bedbugs from crawling into your clothes. Refrain from buying mattresses and even upholstered furniture second hand.
Treatment: Getting rid of bedbugs is difficult and requires removing clutter and all clothing from the room and vacuuming. Bedbugs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so thoroughly wash clothing and bedding in very high heat. Furniture that is severely infested may need to be discarded. Anytime you are removing items from an infested room make sure to enclose the items in plastic so that bed bugs do not drop off into other areas of the home. American Pest Control offers an eight week bed bug treatment that includes mattress covers. Price is based upon inspection.
#1 – Mice and Rats
Dangers: Allergies, Hantavirus, Salmonella, Pest Host
What makes rodents the most dangerous pest of all is the fact that they can bring additional pests into your home with them! Mice can bring fleas, mites, ticks and lice into your home. Rodent droppings most often cause allergic reactions in humans but can also cause disease, including the potentially deadly Hantavirus. Most commonly, rodents serve as carriers of bacteria, such as salmonella, contaminating food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment. Mice also multiply quickly if you do not take care of the problem as soon as you see signs of activity.
Prevention: Rodents can enter a building through almost any opening or crack. It is important to inspect for rodent droppings, especially in undisturbed areas such as pantries, under baseboards and along walls. Cleaning up dishes and food crumbs is the best way to keep rodents away, as well as using air tight containers for food. Other things that attract rodents are pet food, bird seed, newspaper, cardboard and full trash bags.
Treatment: Rodent control is included in the Quarterly Pest Management at American Pest Control. We use baits and traps as well as integrated pest management techniques to identify where the mice are entering and living within your home.
Bonus Pest – Stinging Insects
Dangers: Allergies, Painful Stings
Stinging insects such as wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bees, are common warm weather pests and their stings can be more than just a painful nuisance. The National Pest Management Association reports that stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. Those with allergies to stings are most at risk, although anyone can be affected if exposed to a large number of stings at once.
Prevention: Walk around the exterior of your home, paying special attention to overhangs, eaves, the underside of porches and decks for nests. Also inspect shrubs, trees, sheds and other structures. If you do find a nest on your property, do not attempt to remove it on your own. The colony can become defensive and attack. Instead, contact a licensed pest control professional who will be able to remove the hive in a safe manner.
Treatment: Most stinging insects are included in the Quarterly Pest Management at American Pest Control if the hive is on or near the house. It is difficult to treat flying insects unless you know where the nest or hive is since It is most effective to treat the actual nest. We use a combination of liquid spray and dust to eliminate flying, stinging insects. You may continue to see the insects flying around for a day or two as they will have to enter the hive or nest to be exposed to the treatment. The exception is honey bees, which are protected by law. If you want to have a honey bee hive removed from your property it is best to contact a bee keeper who can safely relocate the hive without disturbing the bees.