A Guide to the Most Common Pests for Each Season
Most people in the Phoenix area look forward to the seasonal changes each year: the first shoots and flowers of the spring, the warm, lazy days of summer, the cool football weather of the fall and cozy nights around the fireplace drinking hot chocolate in winter.
Just as the weather and our activities change with each new season, so do the pests around our Phoenix homes. Some pests prefer the wet weather of the spring or the warmer days of the summer, while others wait until the cooler temperatures of the fall and winter. If you want to keep these pests away from your home, use this seasonal pest guide to help you prepare.
When it comes to pest control, preparation is paramount. Whether it’s mosquitoes in the summer or rodents in the fall, almost every pest has a season when they are more active than they are during other points of the year. Knowing which pests are the most active at different times of year can help you keep your home safe from infestations with seasonal pest control.
Here is a guide to each of the four seasons, the pests you are more likely to see during different periods of the year and some suggestions about how you can reduce infestations.
The average spring temperature in Phoenix is 65 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Warming temperatures will bring many pests out of hibernation. As these pests emerge, their focus is on one activity – finding food and water. Spring is also mating time for many species. Some common spring pests are as follows.
Ants begin to look for food as the weather grows warmer. As temperatures rise, ants look farther afield for food. Phoenix receives about one inch of rain in March and April. It’s not a lot, but sometimes these downpours will drive the ants out of their colonies to look for drier ground. Carpenter ants can cause structural damage to your home because they excavate wood while building their nests.
Spring is when termites “swarm.” That means they leave their old nests to mate and start new colonies. Homeowners should inspect their house exteriors for termite tubes. Termites build these shelters across outer surfaces that allow them to gain access to their primary food source – wood.
Spring rains are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. While summer is their typical peak season, mosquitoes become more active as the weather warms.
Flies reach a level of maturity in the spring. Once a fly matures, they start to look for food, and that means they head for areas where humans live. Flies like sweet foods, liquids and raw meat. If you own horses or dogs, you more likely to see these seasonal pests in your home than people who do not have outdoor pets.
Snakes are most active in April in the Phoenix area. It’s molting season, so be careful – they will strike. There are seven venomous species of snakes in the Phoenix area alone. Don’t kill them, however, since they are a major aid in ridding the area around your home of rodents.
6. Bees, Wasps, Yellowjackets and Hornets
Stinging insects awake from their dormant stage every spring. It’s the start of their breeding season as they attempt to mate and establish new nests. Yellowjackets can be particularly nasty because they are secretive by nature, and it’s easy to stumble on them by accident. Never run away quickly from a stinging insect or try to swat it. Walk away slowly, and it is likely they won’t bother you.
The first few months of summer in Phoenix are when the temperature starts to rise to the low 90s. Rainfall is limited between May and the beginning of fall in October, and there are, on average, 107 days with temperatures of at least 100 degrees. Monsoon season in July and August brings high temperatures and humidity, which means summer pests will be overactive.
Increased summer activity signals you and your pets are more in danger from ticks. You’ll find these pests in shrubs and in areas with tall, outdoor grass. Ticks are an ambush predator. They wait for you or your pet to walk by and then jump aboard. Pets will often bring ticks into your home, so it’s crucial to check each time you go through an area known for tick infestation. A single tick bite can cause many severe diseases, so you’ll need to be vigilant.
2. Bark Scorpions
Scorpions love the warmer weather, and as the temperatures climb, they become more active. You need to be watchful around your home and property, especially if you have children or if seniors live with you. Young and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to scorpion venom.
Mosquitoes, one of the most common summer pests, mature faster as the temperatures increase because they lay more eggs. The summer monsoon season in July and August is also ideal for mosquitoes and gives them many more places to breed.
4. Bees, Wasps, Yellowjackets and Hornets
Summer is peak season for stinging insects. They look for any opening in your home to build a nest. Wasps will look for overhangs and hornets could build a nest in the ground near your home’s foundation. Wasps are particularly abundant during these months, as this is when they reach their peak population. As temperatures rise, wasps go looking for food to feed their young, often in swarms.
Ants can be a particular problem during monsoon season, as they will continue to seek shelter on higher ground or within homes, which also provide them with food.
Summer is a productive time for termites. They can eat a lot of wood in the summer months, when the queen will continue to lay more and more eggs and her offspring will build new colonies.
Summer is the most active time for flies. It’s their peak breeding season because it’s easy for them to find lots of places to spawn, like garbage, animal waste and rotting foods.
Temperatures begin to fall in the Phoenix area come September. The average temperature for September is 88 degrees Fahrenheit, and for October, it’s 77 degrees. The falling temperatures bring out pests that have been less obvious in the summer.
While spiders can often help rid your home of other insects, fall is when they begin to move indoors to escape the colder temperatures and to look for new sources of food. Fall is also breeding season for spiders, and males begin to roam your home in search of mates. You’ll often find the much larger female spiders sheltering in cooler places like utility rooms, sheds or garages.
Rodents move indoors for the same reason spiders do – to escape the colder temperatures and to look for food. Rodents can cause all kinds of problems and introduce fleas into your home as well. They chew electrical wires and wood supports and leave their feces scattered around your home. The protein in mouse urine can also trigger asthma attacks.
Fleas love warm weather, so they are usually outdoors during the summer. Once fall comes, however, they look to move inside and will piggyback on rodents or your pets. Fleas can bite, and while their bites are not particularly dangerous, they can trigger allergic reactions. Fleas can live for up to 100 days without a host, and can, therefore, hide in many places in your home.
4. Stink Bugs
Stink bugs are annoying and smelly pests. Whenever they feel threatened, they admit an extremely noxious odor. In spring and summer, they are more of a concern for farmers because of their effect on crops. But, when autumn arrives, they begin to look for warm places to hide, and it’s not unusual to see them almost block the light on a screen window or completely cover an outdoor dryer vent.
5. Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder bugs seek shelter once the temperatures start to cool so they can hibernate for the fall and winter months. These bugs occasionally bite, and although they are not dangerous, a boxelder bite can leave your skin irritated. Their fecal matter can also damage your home because it leaves a dark red stain.
Snakes begin to become more active around homes in the fall.
Winter is a time of hibernation for many pests. Temperatures in Phoenix in January and February stay between 56 and 60 degrees. While snowfalls are rare, they can happen. Though there may be less pest activity, you still need to be vigilant.
1. Wood Pests
When nights are chilly, people often use their fireplaces. The wood you bring in will often contain pests, as will the Christmas tree you buy in early December. If you’re not careful, these pests will jump off trees and firewood, and stay in your home as long as it’s warm through the winter months.
Winter is the time when rodents will seek shelter most often in your home. It is relatively easy to tell if rodents have infested your home because you’ll find their droppings in and around foodstuffs and nibbled holes in packaged products in your pantry. You may also hear them scratching and moving within your walls.
Silverfish are one of the pests that make their way into your home when you bring in wood for your fireplace. Once they enter your home, they are hard to get rid of, and they can remain there for a long time. The average lifespan of a silverfish is three years.
While seasonal changes affect most pests, some are active all year long.
Though they are most active in the fall, you can find cockroaches in your home all year long. Many cockroach species will die off in the winter, but two species remain particularly active – Oriental roaches and German roaches. Cockroaches look for damp, dark areas in your home, which is why you most often find them in the basement and bathrooms or near pipes and drains. Cockroaches exacerbate asthma and spread disease.
While they are active all year long, bedbugs flourish in months when people tend to travel, such as spring break or during the holiday season. A bedbug infestation can be a genuine problem, as bedbugs can multiply rapidly. It only takes them about a week after they hatch to reach a mature stage.
Best Pest Control Tips
While, in most cases, you want to call a company like Green Home Pest Control to handle your seasonal bugs, there are some things you can do to help reduce many of the more common pest issues.
- Remove fallen branches and clean the debris in your yard.
- If you want to avoid carpenter ants and termites, move log piles away from your home. When you start a log pile, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s at the edge of your property, as far away from your house as possible.
- Keep all sugary and sweet foods in your kitchen in tightly sealed containers.
- Regularly clean any area of your home in which you prepare food. Little scraps of food left on counters or floors are like nectar to ants.
- Whenever you go for a walk in a wooded area or an area with tall grass, make sure you check yourself and your pet for ticks. Try to wear lighter colors so you can see any tick that has landed on your clothing. If a tick has attached itself to your skin or to your pet, take it off with a pair of tweezers and make sure you remove the head.
- Check your property for all areas where there may be standing water to reduce mosquito infestation.
- Repair holes in window screens so mosquitoes, flies and other bugs can’t enter your home.
- If you compost vegetable leftovers, make sure you regularly empty the container. If not, it can turn into a breeding ground for flies.
- Remove all air-conditioning units from windows.
- Make sure there are no holes or cracks in your garage door, as this is a common way rodents enter your home.
- Store food in covered in sealed containers.
- If you bring logs into your home for your fireplace, never let them sit for longer than 48 hours.
- Before you bring your Christmas tree into your home, make sure you give it a good shake to remove as many pests as possible.
- Seal any crevices or cracks in your home’s foundation.
- If you have a damp basement, use a dehumidifier.
- Pests like stink bugs or boxelders love to hibernate in cardboard. Remove as many cardboard boxes as you can to prevent this.
If You’re Having a Problem With Pests in Your Home, Call Green Home Pest Control to Help
At Green Home Pest Control, we offer industry-leading pest control services and seasonal pest advice. You will also benefit from our competitive prices. All our pest control products are organically or botanically derived, unlike the toxic, cheap products traditional exterminators use. We strive to look after your property responsibly and safely. We provide services for homes, hospitals, schools, daycares, restaurants, government agencies and many other locations.
If you live in Gilbert, Chandler, Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix or any other location in the Valley, call us at (480) 525-7378 or visit our contact us page, where you can tell us about your problems with pests, leave your contact information and get a free quote. A member of our team will call you back as soon as possible.
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