July 19, 2021
Identifying and preventing summer pests in Maine
You know summer has officially arrived in Maine when Interstate 95 is filled to brim with tourists heading to all corners of the state, construction is happening on just about every road, you start heading upta camp to relax, and the bugs start taking over every available square inch of your home and property. That last one might be a slight exaggeration but make no mistake summer is here and so are the pests.
Types of summer pests
While Maine does not have to contend with venomous spiders or destructive termites like states south of us, property owners in Portland, Augusta, and Brunswick as well as those in communities throughout Maine are likely to be inundated with crawling insects, biting insects, stinging insects – all the insects. And let’s not forget about rodents. Yes, they’re active too. Here’s a rundown of the most commonly encountered pests of summer in the Pine Tree state.
Ants in Maine become active in the spring and by the time June 20th hit this year, they were just about everywhere. Odorous house ants crawling across the kitchen floor, pavement ants building nests in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways, carpenter ants tunneling in rotting tree stumps outside and possibly inside in water damaged wood or foraging for food in the pantry.
I love mosquito season said no one ever. At least we’ve never met anyone who loves these biting pests. Unfortunately, Maine offers mosquitoes everything they need to survive – water (we have marshes, ponds, and lakes in spades) and shade from the sun. It would be one thing if they left us alone but female mosquitoes also need our blood in order to reproduce and when the ladies come biting, the risk of acquiring Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) becomes a possibility.
Another biting pest that has serious consequences, deer ticks in Maine are infamous for their ability to transmit Lyme disease to people and pets. And that’s not all they spread. Anaplasmosis and babesiosis are two other tick-borne illnesses common in our state. Relatives of spiders, ticks are just as much as threat in backyards as they are in the deep woods so unless your property has been professionally treated, we urge property owners to be aware when out of doors. And check for ticks (more on that shortly)!
While bees, wasps, and hornets are present in June and July, they become an increased threat in late summer. That’s because their nests are at capacity or beyond and the number of mouths they have to feed has grown exponentially. That coupled with the fact that their normal go to food sources are dwindling and you have stinging insects that are agitated and aggressive. This is when you really want to be aware of these pests and not provoke them into stinging. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. You may push a lawn mower over a ground nest in your lawn or disturb a nest in the bushes, or inadvertently find yourself sharing your soda with one.
Stinging insects active during Maine summers include:
- Carpenter bees
- Yellow jackets
- Paper wasps
- Bald-faced hornets
- European hornets
Make no mistake, rodents in Maine are a problem from January 1st through December 31. Sure, you may notice them more when the cold weather hits but they are just as likely to infest homes and camps in Maine during the summer months as they are the rest of the year. And they’re not exactly ideal houseguests. First of all, they go to the bathroom anywhere they want. Secondly, they gnaw on just about anything they can get their constantly growing incisors on and finally, they help themselves to anything that looks good to eat (and since their palates aren’t that sophisticated, that’s pretty much everything). What’s more, they often bring fleas, ticks, and mites in on their backsides. If that’s not enough, mice and rats are vectors for harmful bacteria and can introduce serious health risks.
Summer pest prevention tips
One of the secrets to keeping insects and rodents as far away from you, your family, and your pets over the summer is to eliminate the conditions that attract them in the first place.
- Eliminate standing water
- Mow your lawn regularly
- Trim back shrubs and tree limbs
- Diver rainwater away from houses and outbuildings
- Keep gutters clear of debris
- Pick up fruit that has dropped from trees
- Don’t leave veggies to rot in the garden
In addition to pest-proofing your property, you should also:
- Replace weather-stripping around windows
- Repairs loose mortar around the foundation
- Seal every crack, gap, and opening on the exterior
- Fix moisture issues in the basement, attic, and crawlspace
- Keep exterior trash cans covered with tight-fitting lids
- Clean the kitchen after every meal and wipe up every spill and crumb as soon as you notice them
- Make sure your window screens are in good condition with no rips or tears
- Install a screen door if you leave your storm door open during the summer months
Sign up for home pest control services and let the pros take care of the pests!
Pine State Pest Solutions, a locally owned and operated pest control company serving several Maine counties offers home pest control services that eliminate common house-infesting pests and keep them from returning. With three plans to choose from, you can select the coverage that addresses your pest pressures and fits your budget!
*initial start-up fees may apply.