Will Rodents Damage My Insulation?

rat covering eyes with paws

You may already know the signs of a mouse or rat infestation. There are the droppings, the punctured bags of food and gnawed-on stored belongings. Some people don’t even need to hear the trademarked scratching coming from inside their walls or above their heads at night, but anyone who does knows they need help. Leo’s Pest Control can handle a rodent infestation, regardless of the species. But if the rats or mice get into your insulation, they can cause damage beyond our scope of expertise.

How does a rat or mouse infestation get in your insulation? What can you do to protect your home, and how can Leo’s Pest Control Help? Let’s go into all of that below.

Insulation: A Rodent’s Best Friend

Rodents aren’t that different from any other living thing in the world. All they want is shelter, something to eat, and to not be bothered while they do so. When it comes to the average home, a rodent can find all of that in the quiet corners of the attic or in the void between walls. It’s just a happy coincidence that these are also the two most insulated parts of the average property. Happy for them, at least.

Fiberglass insulation is the most common in households in Tennessee and Virginia, as it’s affordable and fairly durable. Unfortunately, it’s also the favorite amongst invading rodents. Once rats and mice get inside the structure of a house, they enjoy tunneling through the soft and fluffy material. They’ll even tear it apart to either eat it or use the material for their nests. You can call us and get your property clear of mice and rats, but that might not be enough to solve your rodent problem in its entirety. The nest they can leave around can be foul-smelling and messy. And rodent droppings may contain Hantavirus, a flu-like condition that can be fatal, so trying to handle damaged insulation on your own can actually be hazardous to your health.

You can’t fix insulation once it’s been contaminated. What you can do is call for professional home technicians to replace the material safely and efficiently. Or, even better, you can make sure rodents don’t get into your home to begin with.

How Leo’s Pest Control Can Help

We already said that there isn’t much we can do with insulation once rodents have damaged and contaminated it. We offer TAP® Insulation, but that borate solution isn’t designed to deter or kill anything larger than a slug or cockroach. What we can do is plan and execute a wildlife exclusion strategy tailor-made for your specific property. This will involve finding every potential point of entry in your home and addressing it, covering gaps and filling cracks as needed. When we’re done there will no longer be easy access for not only rodents, but many other pests as well. This is only one step in our rodent exterminating process, which we’ve been using to treat homes around Bristol and beyond for years. So if you want to protect your insulation, your home, and your peace of mind, do so with Leo’s Pest Control. Contact us today to get started!

What Should You Do If You See an Atlas Moth?


In August 2022, reports of a giant Atlas Moth spotted near Seattle, Washington, made headlines because it was the first time this gargantuan species had been seen in the United States. It’s a beautiful species, the second largest moth in the world, but it’s also a big problem. That’s because the Atlas Moth is native to the boreal parts of southeast Asia and Borneo, about 7,500 miles away. They’re evolved for the forest ecosystems of that part of the world, not the forests of North America. So what should you do if you see an atlas moth here?

They shouldn’t be here, and they pose some very real threats here, like outcompeting native species and throwing ecosystems out of balance. That’s why the Atlas Moth has been classified by the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife as a “quarantine pest.” Essentially, that means it’s an invasive species. That’s why, if you see an Atlas Moth, the first thing you should do is marvel at it, and then it’s your duty to report it.

What Does the Atlas Moth Look Like?

Atlas Moths are awe-inspiringly large. If you see one, it will probably be the biggest moth you’ve ever seen. Its patterns and coloring look like the cecropia moth or polyphemus moth, both of which are native to the U.S., but those two species are significantly smaller.

The cecropia moth is the largest moth native to the U.S. Its wingspan can reach 7” – 8” long. An Atlas Moth, by comparison, can reach 10” or more. Polyphemus moths are much smaller than either: they’re usually about 3” – 4”. Polyphemus moths also have fuzzier bodies, and fuller wings.

How Did the Atlas Moth Get Here?

It’s an unfortunate dilemma because the Atlas Moth did not choose to come here. They’re not adapted to fly thousands of miles across the ocean. Sadly, it appears that a person smuggled them here for economic gain – there’s a thriving black market for insects. Shortly after the discovery of the specimen in Seattle, an eBay listing offering Atlas Moth cocoons for $60 each was found. However, the listing was quickly taken down and authorities have not been able to trace the seller.

It’s hard to know how many Atlas Moth cocoons were sold and shipped, but there could be many across the United States, which is why it’s important to know what it looks like – even if there hasn’t been a sighting in Bristol yet.

The Atlas Moth’s Potential Harm to Ecosystems

Anytime you introduce a new species into an ecosystem, there are unknown risks. Nature is a delicate balance, so removing one species can have a domino effect for years to come. It may not seem like a big deal, but one change can alter a natural area permanently.

We do know a few things about the Atlas Moth life cycle, and the ecosystems in southeast Asia they inhabit.

Atlas Moths are impressively large caterpillars before their metamorphosis. They ward off predators by spraying a foul smelling liquid. They’re voracious eaters, and spend every possible moment eating. (They have to – because adult Atlas Moths don’t eat at all, they survive only off the nutrients and fat stored when they were caterpillars). It’s because they’re such hungry caterpillars that lead to worries that Atlas Moth caterpillars may be able to outcompete cecropia and polyphemus moth caterpillars, and ultimately threaten their numbers.

What to Do If You Spot an Atlas Moth

Atlas Moths are not dangerous to humans. They won’t bite, and they’re not poisonous, yet they pose a significant threat to humans in their potential to harm ecosystems.

That’s why if you see one of these hard-to-miss Atlas Moths, we ask that you please notify the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife or your state’s office for plant and animal regulation.

Which Fall Pests Could Be Lurking in Your Walls?

a group of mice waiting out the winter inside a wallWhich Fall Pests Could Be Lurking in Your Walls?

Every year when temperatures drop, insects and vermin that don’t die off take part in a phenomenon called “overwintering,” which basically means they find a habitable environment to wait out the winter months. Some of these fall pests will migrate to warmer climates. Some find hiding spots outside under debris. The ones we’re most concerned about are those that make their way indoors into homes and buildings.

You should be aware of this possibility even if you don’t see them in places like your bedroom or bathroom. Fall pests love low-traffic areas like the space behind your walls or your attic. They can spend the entire season camping out there and come spring you may find that you’re dealing with a full-blown infestation.

Common Overwintering Pests in Tennessee

The most frequent fall pests we receive calls for here in Bristol include rodents, termites, stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and wasps.


Vermin can get into your attic by climbing up onto the roof. Squirrels are the most well-known culprits, but roof rats and mice are just as notorious for invading homes and making nests in the attic. How can you tell if you have rodents living in your home? The most common sign of a rodent infestation is scratching or gnawing sounds from above or from inside the walls. If you hear these sounds, it’s time to call an expert rodent exterminator.


It’s no wonder that termites are considered the most destructive pest in the United States. The cost of termite damage in the is estimated to be up to $30 billion annually. While termites are present all year, fall and winter can worsen an already-existing situation. Subterranean termites burrow deeper into the ground to survive cold weather, allowing the infestation to cultivate undetected until the following spring. Before you realize, entire colonies are ready to do significant damage to the wood structures of your home. How can you tell if you have termites? You may notice blisters on painted wood surfaces, pinhole-sized holes, and hollow-sounding wood.

Stink Bugs

As the name suggests, stink bugs release an unpleasant odor when they feel threatened or are squished. Not what you want in your home or office! Brown marmorated stink bugs are the most common type, ranging in size from about 1/4″ to 3/8″, so they’re very small and difficult to detect until you have a lot of them. The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species that’s taking over more and more territory across the country. They breed quickly, so if you start noticing them don’t wait, give us a call right away.

Asian Lady Beetles

Asian lady beetles are a type of beetle that look very similar to ladybugs, but they tend to be a bit larger, and not all have spots. They typically can be found in groups communicating with each other using pheromones – so if one lady beetle finds its way into a nice warm crack in your home, it will likely leave a signal to attract many more. Asian lady beetles do not pose any direct threat to your home’s structure and don’t bite or sting, but they can trigger allergic reactions for individuals with sensitivities and breathing problems. Additionally, they can cause unsightly stains around the house with their waste.


Generally, wasps die off before each winter and the colonies do not overwinter like the rest of the creatures on this list. But to ensure the colony’s survival the following year, fertilized queens will find a warm hiding spot to overwinter, often in stumps or hollow logs outdoors, or in protected structures like crawlspaces and attics. Make sure to have your house checked for wasp queens during the winter to avoid having dangerous nests on your property the following year when it gets hot again.

Our Expert Exterminators Can Help

Think you might have pests in your walls?  As Bristol’s leader in fast, effective, and long-lasting pest control services, Leo’s Pest Control is here to keep your home pest-free all year long. Give us a call today for a free, no-obligation quote.

Tips to Prevent Pests this Holiday Season

Raccoon in attic during the wintertime in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlIt’s officially the holiday season here in Tennessee. With summer far behind us, you likely think the threat of pests is gone as well. Unfortunately, there are a few winter pest problems to keep in mind as we move into the colder months ahead. Overwintering pests are any insect or wild animal that gets into your property, typically in the fall, for shelter during the winter months. Rather than hibernate during the cold winter, these pests will nest and remain active in your attic or crawl space until spring rolls around. To prevent the unwanted gift of a pest problem this holiday season, the experts at Leo’s Pest Control are here to share everything you need to know.

Pest Infestations in the Winter

Whether it’s an overwintering pest getting indoors during the fall or pests lingering in your holiday decorating boxes, there are more risks of a pest infestation this time of year than you may realize. Some of the most common pests and wild animals that try to get inside this time of year include:

  • House mice: Many mice prefer secluded areas and will look to nest in your attic using insulation and other stored items for shelter.
  • Roof rats: As their name implies, roof rats can squeeze their way inside and build their nests up in the attic.
  • Bats: Big brown bats will roost in an attic and use it as their cave. Bats can create a big mess with their droppings.
  • Wildlife: Raccoons and squirrels are strong climbers and can make their way into your attic to escape dropping temperatures outside.

Tips to Keep Pests Out During the Holidays

No one wants to deal with a pest infestation during the holidays. To keep them out of your home, here’s what to do:

  1. In your attic, organize all items and eliminate any clutter. Use plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes for storage, especially when it comes to holiday decorations.
  2. When unpacking these decorations each year, shake out the items outdoors before bringing anything inside.
  3. Inspect both inside out outside the attic, and seal any cracks or crevices with caulk or steel wool.
  4. Secure your chimney with a chimney cap, and install wire mesh over any vents or holes.
  5. Trim overhanging tree branches, overgrown bushes, and vines away from your home to limit roof access to pests.
  6. Ensure your garbage cans are securely stored in your hard with tight-fitting lids to keep pests out.
  7. If you store firewood outside, always inspect it for signs of spiders and other pests before bringing the firewood inside!

Winter Pest Control Services in Bristol TN

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the last thing you have time to deal with is a pest infestation. To prevent pests this winter, it’s best to team up with your local exterminators at Leo’s Pest Control. Our exterminators will implement pest prevention tactics to keep all overwintering pests out. Contact us today to get started!

Can Rats Climb Into My Home?

Rat in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlRodent Awareness Week is upon us here in Tennessee. For anyone not familiar, Rodent Awareness Week is an annual event established by the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) to help educate the public about the dangers of rat and mouse infestations. Here at Leo’s Pest Control, we aim to contribute by helping our communities learn more about the threats rodents can cause to homes and businesses.

Today, we’re focusing on rodent behavior, namely how they manage to get into our homes in the first place—do they climb up walls? Squeeze through tiny openings in the roof? Keep reading to learn all you need to know with the experts at Leo’s Pest Control!

How Do Rats Climb?

Rats and mice alike are very adept at getting into your home much easier than you may want to believe. In addition to squeezing in through tiny openings (small mice can fit into holes that are just 5 mm wide), one of the most common means by which rodents get indoors is by climbing.

Rats are apt climbers and scale vertical walls with disturbing ease. In fact, they can climb up a number of types of walls: concrete, wood, brick, stucco, drywall, and more. Roof rats in particular are known for their climbing skills, and rats in general have a vertical leap of about 36 inches. Needless to say, this makes rodents very capable of climbing your home or trees around your home.

Where Do Rodents Live in My Home?

If and when rodents get into your home, where do they stow away? Here’s where you may find rats and mice hiding around your property:

  1. Attics or lofts: In your attic, rodents will shred insulation and hide in cardboard boxes.
  2. Kitchens: Especially in restaurants, rodents are known to harbor around appliances to stay warm.
  3. Laundry rooms: Similarly to kitchens, laundry rooms provide rodents with the warmth and moisture they seek.
  4. In the walls: When you have a bad infestation, rodents could be found in crawl spaces or wall cavities.
  5. Garages: Rats and mice are frequently found in residential garages amidst your stored items.

Rodent Awareness in Bristol TN

No matter whether it’s Rodent Awareness Week or not, the experts at Leo’s Pest Control are committed to educating our Bristol TN communities about the potential dangers of rodent infestations. Avoiding rodents means learning about how they get indoors in the first place. To learn more about keeping rats and mice out this fall and winter, contact us today to learn more!

5 of The Most Common Wildlife Pests

A skunk living in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlWildlife pests usually don’t want to be on our property, but they have to get by however they can. Our homes provide sources of temporary shelter and food for wildlife, albeit along with the stress of living among humans. On top of this, with more and more wildlife losing their usual homes to human development, some animals have nowhere else to live.

It’s important to remember that any wild animals living on your property are more scared of you than you are of them. However, this doesn’t mean you should try to get rid of wildlife on your own. Read on to learn from Leo’s Pest Control’s wildlife experts about what animals we commonly deal with here in Bristol TN and what you can do to prevent them in the first place.

5 Common Wildlife Pests in Bristol TN

These are the five wildlife pests that our technicians deal with most often:

  1. Raccoons: These nocturnal animals are after our food, our trash, and a warm place to stay. Raccoons have no problem burrowing in our yard or tearing through our roofs to find a good place to hide.
  2. Bats: As the most common winged wildlife pest in the area, bats take up a category of their own. Bats love to hide in our attics, and when they take up residence, they can put your family at risk of diseases.
  3. Squirrels: Although they don’t cause problems in smaller numbers, a big group of squirrels nesting on your property can become quite a nuisance. They chew on roofing, wood, wires, and more surfaces to keep their teeth trimmed down.
  4. Skunks: Everybody knows why you don’t want skunks around. Unfortunately, they’re fairly common in Bristol TN, so we have to tread carefully around them.
  5. Rodents: Rats and mice are probably the two most common wildlife pests that we’re called to come control. They can cause fire hazards, property damage, exposure to disease, and general filth when they breach your walls.

How to Prevent Wildlife on Your Property

There are several steps that you can take to make your property less susceptible to wildlife outbreaks:

  • Use trash bins with lids that seal tightly
  • Clear away any yard waste as often as you can
  • Keep your trees and plants trimmed and away from your home
  • Make sure not to leave out any food or drinks

These strategies can help you avoid wildlife pest issues, but sometimes you will just be a victim of circumstance. Wild animals need places to live, too.

Wildlife Control for Bristol Homes

If you have wildlife living on your property, the safest bet is to leave it to a professional pest control company to remove them. At Leo’s Pest Control, we use a variety of wildlife control strategies to safely and quickly remove pests from homes in Bristol. To learn more about our services or for a free quote, contact our wildlife removal team today!


Professional vs. DIY Pest Control

DIY vs professional pest control in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlIf you have a pest problem, you may feel inclined to try to get rid of it on your own. Unfortunately, DIY pest control is not reliable. A professional pest control company offers highly trained staff to handle disease-carrying and dangerous critters, and will eliminate your home pest control problem the first time, saving you time and money. When it comes to pest control problems, it simply isn’t worthwhile to take on the critters yourself. For one thing, if you don’t eliminate your infestation the first time you waste time and money. Relying on an expert pest control company means peace of mind as the job is done right, with a guarantee. At Leo’s Pest Control, we know how important it is to provide you with pest-free living. Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of professional vs. DIY pest control.

Considerations for DIY vs. Professional Pest Control

At-home remedies for pest control are unreliable, timely, and can even be more expensive than you think. For quick, effective, and guaranteed results, it’s always best to use a professional exterminator such as Leo’s Pest Control. Read on for info on the pros and cons of DIY vs. professional pest control here in Bristol TN:

  1. Some pest control companies offer low-toxicity as well as organic options for home pest control. If you do opt for a chemical treatment to eliminate the pests in your home, it is much safer to leave the chemical application to the pros.
  2. For some types of pests or animals, the products prepared at the hardware store will not eliminate your problem. When you hire a professional pest control company, you will receive a recommended course of action and the expertise of someone highly trained to execute it with the right product to ensure your pests are gone for good.
  3. Did you know that some mice carry Hantavirus in their feces, and breathing it can be toxic to humans? Even if you don’t mind touching the creepy crawlers that might infest your home, there could be a risk involved when dealing with rodents, roaches, snakes, and more. In addition to disease, some pests are simply dangerous to approach and can cause harm by stinging, biting, or clawing.
  4. While you may be able to remove your pest control problems for a while, you may only be keeping the pests while the infestations keep on thriving. DIY pest control solutions are short-term solutions, which won’t work in the long run. A professional pest control company will search for the root cause and solve it.
  5. If your first, second, and third attempt to eliminate pests on your own fails, you have not only wasted money but precious time. An expert can deal with pests right away and save yourself the added frustration of time lost. Many people think professional pest control is expensive. But when you add up your own personal time, the money spent on different products, and the health and safety risks involved, most people find hiring a pro is the smartest option in the long run.

Professional Pest Control Services in Bristol TN

DIY pest control might sound like a good idea at the time, but it rarely delivers the results you need. To protect your property from pests all year long, a professional exterminator can make sure you never have to resort to DIY pest control methods again. For more information, contact the team at Leo’s Pest Control today!



Why DIY Wildlife Removal May Not Be the Best Idea

Opossum in Bristol TN backyard - Leo's Pest ControlNo matter the pest problem, many homeowners look to take a DIY approach to resolve the issue. While intentions are likely good, trying to get rid of wildlife in or around your home isn’t just dangerous—it’s typically ineffective. Wild animals can cause a lot of damage and, when under duress, can be more aggressive than you think. For this reason, squirrels in your attic, raccoons on your roof, or opossums in your yard should always be dealt with by a professional wildlife removal expert.

The team at Leo’s is here to advocate for the importance of enlisting professional wildlife removal by bringing to light the dangers of trying to get rid of them yourself.

Dangers of DIY Wildlife Removal

At Leo’s, we understand that you want wildlife gone the moment they become a problem in your home. However, trying to get rid of them yourself is a gamble for a number of reasons.

  1. Safety concerns: Depending on your situation, there are several ways to get rid of those unwanted pests. You may wish to use store-bought pesticides, but it’s important to consider the danger poisons and pesticides pose to family members, pets, and the environment in general. The risk of using some type of toxic remedy without experience or training just may not be worth it.  Some pests, such as squirrels, don’t have any poisons registered for use in wildlife control, which presents even further issues.
  2. Wildlife diseases: Wildlife such as rodents, squirrels, and raccoons are known to carry diseases, bacteria, and parasites. These risks are present in both alive and dead animals and knowing how to handle either one in a safe manner is important when it comes to limiting the risks of infection. While generally not life-threatening, rabies is always a threat and should be something that is considered when encountering any type of wildlife.
  3. Identification and prevention: Professional pest control companies use exterminators that are trained and experienced in wildlife identification. Not only is it important to know what type of pest you are dealing with, but it is also just as important to identify how and why that pest is taking up residence in your home. Even if you are able to identify the pest correctly, you may not be able to determine the extent of the infestation or how to prevent the problem from coming back.
  4. Time and money: When you think of doing something yourself, you often think of saving money because you don’t have to pay someone else to do the dirty work. But consider the fact that not getting the job done right the first time will result in a lot of time and money wasted while you are trying to figure it all out. Many times, you will find that the money you spent and the time you’ve spent doesn’t really save you much at all when you compare it to the services of a professional wildlife control expert.

Bristol’s Professional Wildlife Removal Experts

When you work with the wildlife control and exclusion pros at Leo’s, we take the danger and the guesswork out of your wildlife problem. You can trust that any current wildlife problem will be controlled, and any future problem will be prevented. Contact us through our website for affordable, effective wildlife removal.

The 5 Best Ways to Keep Wildlife Out of Your Home This Winter

Raccoons are common winter pests in Bristol TN - Leo's Pest ControlWildlife is an expected part of our environment here in Tennessee. However, they can quickly become a nuisance when they make their way onto our properties. Just like us, wild animals need shelter when winter is on the horizon so they naturally look for somewhere to shelter for the coming season.

Oftentimes, your home is the perfect spot for them, making it important to learn how to prevent these animals from making their way inside. The wildlife control experts at Leo’s are here to share their top tips to keep wildlife out of your home this winter.

How to Prevent Wildlife in Your Home This Winter

Raccoons, rodents, skunks, and opossums are just a few of the common winter pest problems. Here are five things you can do to get your home ready for winter and send all that wildlife on their way to search for a better home.

  1. Don’t leave out food for animals.

Sure it’s kind of fun throwing scraps and leftovers to a raccoon or some other wildlife, but come winter, that bit of fun is like a personalized invitation to make your home their home. Wild animals will look for the best place to rest and get fed. Don’t make your home an option for them.

  1. Clean up your yard.

If your yard has trees such as pecan trees, etc., make sure to keep all those falling snacks cleaned up.  This can be worse than actually feeding those pests and attracts all kinds of wildlife like squirrels and mice.

  1. Keep your garage door closed.

That goes for any basement or other doors that would let a wildlife pest sneak in without you noticing.  Garages are notorious for being less than neat and tidy and those stacks of newspapers, boxes, and other overflows make perfect nesting places.

  1. Secure your crawlspace.

Crawlspaces are great places for animals to nest during winter so make sure this prime real estate is secure. Make sure the crawlspace door has some sort of latch and check all those vents to make sure they are nice and tight.

  1. Secure and seal your roof.

Many wildlife pests are great climbers and there are a lot of ways a pest could make its way into your home right there on the roof. Make sure your chimney has a secure chimney cap so an animal can’t nest there or get into your home. Check all vents and anywhere else there is a potential opening like around eaves and soffit.

Professional Winter Wildlife Prevention

Prevention is the best medicine, but if you do find you have a wildlife invasion, a professional wildlife control company can help you get rid of the problem. These animal pests are best left to the pros because they can pose some real risks, including disease, rabies, and injuries. Contact Leo’s today to learn how we can keep you safe from wildlife problems this winter and all year long.

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

LEOS PEST CONTROLEntomologists from Leo’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.