Common Springtime Pests and How to Handle Them

Easily the greatest part of Winter is that there are no bugs, or at least significantly less bugs. But alas, along with Spring comes our desire to sit outside and remember what fresh grass feels like. But the second you sit down, each tickle of a grass blade feels like it could be a bug. And the magic disappears. Is that just me? If you’re not the biggest fan of the influx of bugs and other pests come Spring, please enjoy this list of ways to keep them at bay so you can enjoy the warmth in peace. I promise not to include pictures of any gross creatures…mainly because I don’t want to look at them either.


While these tips are mainly home remedies, please reach out to professionals if you are having a hard time managing on your own, especially when it comes to safety. Some pests aren’t just annoying, but can carry disease or do serious damage to your home.


Mice: These little critters might be cute as pets, but as trespassers, not so much. I still shiver when remembering one scurrying over my foot as a child. They can slip through cracks you might assume are far too small for any animal. Sealing these off is step number one. In addition, you want to make sure to keep a clean house. If they know your home is the one where they can sneak in, grab a quick bite, and get back out safely, they will continue to come back. Remove their temptation! As an added precaution, mice are known to hate certain smells. Ammonia, pepper, cinnamon, citrus, tea bags, dryer sheets, moth balls, and vinegar to name a few. Leave some of these around the perimeter of your home to repel them from entering in the first place. Also be sure to keep things like bird feeders far away from your home, as mice and other rodents tend to pick up what the birds leave behind.


Spiders: I know everyone says spiders are great because they eat the other bugs. What these people fail to understand is that they are also gross bugs that I don’t want in my house. Similarly to the mice, you want to make sure cracks are filled in, as this is the easiest way for them to get into your house. If you like to keep your windows open to let out the stale Winter air, make sure you have screens properly put in place. Spiders also don’t like strong smells, so consider these around your home as well: citrus, peppermint, tea-tree, lavender, rose or cinnamon. Even if these don’t work, at least your house will smell nice!


Mosquitoes: These pests tend to be more of a problem outside the home. They can be real party-poopers outside at night. The best way to prevent them from making a home (and a family) in your yard is by removing any standing water. After the next rain storm, check your property to see if there are any areas where water is having a hard time dissipating, and address it. But this won’t keep them all away. A good citronella candle and some bug spray always helps. 


Ticks: These are one of the most dangerous pests on our list. They can carry diseases that, if you are bitten, can be with you for life. It’s important to protect yourself and your loved ones - including your pets! The simplest fix is to keep a well maintained property. Keep your lawn cut and edged, avoid piles of leaves, keep wood for burning in a dry place, and maintain plant borders with mulch or gravel. Fenced in yards are at an advantage because they are less likely to have unwelcome visitors like deer or racoons who might bring ticks with them. If you have any pets, either treat them for tick prevention or do regular checks to make sure they aren’t bringing ticks into your home. There are plenty of companies that treat yards against ticks too. 


Termites: A close second to ticks, termites can be extremely dangerous as well. The damage they can do to a home is shocking. But there are ways to tell if your home is, ever was, or might be at risk in the future. If you see piles of wings, large collections of what looks like sawdust, or pinholes and strange lines that look like trails in your walls, you most likely have an active infestation, which you should address immediately with a professional who can assess the damage. But to prevent your home from being a victim in the first place, take away their food source - wood. Obviously you can’t eliminate wood all together, but replacing rotting wood within the home, removing dead trees, and keeping wood for burning dry and away from the house, you give yourself a step up. Termites are also attracted to light, so keep them off in areas like the basement or outside at night. Also be wary when there is construction happening near by, because when one food source is removed without proper remediation to the termites themselves, they will be on the hunt for a new place to set up shop.


Bees & Wasps: There are countless types of bees and wasps in our area, so knowing the difference is key. Certain ones are protected, some are harmless, and some can be deadly. If you start to see a hive forming on your property, it’s always best to ask for a professional’s opinion. But as a precaution, peppermint, clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils are some of their least favorite scents. Spraying a mixture of these and water around your home can hint to them, this won’t be the best place to form a hive. 


There are of course so many other types of bugs and pests, but I’m getting nauseous looking them up, so continue researching at your own risk. If you have any tips on ways to keep them out of our homes and yards, please share them with us!


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