While summer in Pittsburgh promises lazy days at the beach and warm star-lit nights, it’s also a time of fun, show-and-tell for the fearsome critters that live among us.
After hiding all winter, they are now in full force and ready to reappear in our homes and backyards, wreaking havoc with outdoor and indoor activities and our general health.
The five most wanted criminals (or in this case, unwanted) are: Ants, bees, wasps, American cockroaches and ticks.
Below is more information about each of these pests, not necessarily in order of importance.
Odorous house ants get their name from the fact that they emit a rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
They use branches and vegetation to enter a habitat and once inside, seek out sources of moisture and are known to nest inside wood damaged by termites.
They can be difficult to eradicate and will require the expertise of Pestco’s pest control and pest-maintenance specialists.
If not stopped, this species can overrun living spaces where there is food and moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Small black ants are problematic because the small size of their nests can make them difficult to spot.
These ants feed on sugary or fatty foods including candy, fruit, grease, oil and meat.
In Pittsburgh homes, they typically nest in wall voids and decaying wood.
They have stingers but are too small and pose no threat to vulnerable humans or pets.
The moniker given to pavement ants derives from the fact that this species nests in or under pavement cracks.
They will eat anything they come across, including bread, meat and cheese, and have been known to forage for food by following trails up to 30 feet.
Pavement ants are found in ground-level masonry walls but are also known to nest in insulation and flooring.
Eliminating bees is a double-edged sword because bees are beneficial to mankind and planet Earth.
Although they build their hives very close to Pittsburgh homes, they can become a nuisance.
The best way to remove them is to have Pestco’s pest control and pest management experts relocate the hive.
This is not recommended as a do-it-yourself project.
The three most common bee species in the United States are honey bees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees.
Wasps are hot-weather, invasive pests that live near humans. Some species, such as yellow jackets, have been known to nest inside the walls of Pittsburgh homes.
Unlike bees, a single wasp can sting multiple times in quick succession. In the event of an infestation, a Pittsburgh homeowner will likely easily notice the nests, which resemble recycled paper cartons layered like envelopes.
Some wasps’ nests resemble papier mache and are usually dull brown or gray in color.
Removing nests is best left to Pestco’s experts, as it’s very likely to be on the receiving end of many painful stings.
4. American Cockroach
These ferocious critters prefer warm, moist and dark environments with temperatures generally between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
They often enter homes by traveling on people’s belongings, emerging from sewer systems through drains, or sometimes by extensive migration from other nearby structures.
During the warmer months of the year, Pittsburgh homes usually find themselves outside in yards and alleys, but sudden changes in climate cause them to venture inside in search of food or shelter.
These roaches plague even the most carefully maintained restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, and hospitals.
In these locations, they are known to infest food storage and preparation areas, boiler rooms, steam tunnels, and basements.
In private residences, they are attracted to kitchens, bathrooms, basements or laundry rooms where they look for food and water.
According to Pestco’s expert pest-control and pest-maintenance experts, these insects enter through poorly weather-sealed or unventilated basement windows and garage doors.
Although they will eat anything, they prefer anything rotten or rotting.
This can include: leaving pieces unattended under appliances, in drains, behind kitchen cabinets and on the floor.
They will eat any pet food that is uncovered. Outside, they look for decaying leaves, fungi, algae and small insects.
According to fossil evidence, ticks have been biting men, women, children and animals for at least 90 million years, since the Cretaceous period.
There are over 800 species worldwide, but only two families, Ixodd (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks), known to transmit disease.
Four known species of ticks are problematic in the Pittsburgh area and environment.
These include: the American dog tick; black-legged tick; Lone Star Tick and Groundhog Tick.
American Dog Tick
American dog ticks are the main carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
This species can accumulate enormously when feeding, sometimes reaching the size of an average grape.
In addition to humans, other hosts include: cats; cattle donkeys; pig horse; mule sheep coyote; deer fox wolf wild cat; badger opossum; Rabbits, raccoons; Rats, skunks; the squirrel; Weasels and ground pigs.
Black legged tick
Pennsylvania has the rather dubious honor of being the state with the highest number of Lyme disease cases.
This public health challenge affects every Pennsylvanian, as all 67 counties are known to have black-legged tick populations.
Formerly known as the deer tick, this species is the primary vector of Lyme disease.
A recent study of Pittsburgh parks estimated a tick density of about one tick per 2 square yards.
The Lone Star Tick
Known to transmit tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, this hard-bodied tick is active from early spring to late fall.
This species is easily recognized by the visible white dots on the dorsal shield of females, which gives this tick its name.
They are found near urban areas and feed on humans and animals, especially deer.
Lone star ticks can be dangerous because they have a more aggressive nature than other species.
Creepy aside, they work together and seek out animals and humans crawling towards them in large numbers at once.
Ground hog tick
Common in parts of western and northern Pennsylvania, this species is also known as the woodchuck tick and is the primary vector of Powassan virus which, unlike other tick-borne diseases, can be transmitted while the tick is attached. Host for as little as 15 minutes!
Its name comes from its preferred host, but these ticks Sometimes found in birds, small animals and humans.
They look a lot like black-legged ticks and it will be up to our expert technicians at Pestco Professional Services to determine if it is one or the other.
The very best Pittsburgh pest control service
At Pestco, our pest-control and pest-maintenance experts have been part of the Pittsburgh commercial landscape since 1948.
Five-star-rated and family-run, we’ve spent nearly eight decades maintaining an excellent reputation for superior performance and customer service throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area.
Our effective pest-control and pest-management solutions always begin by identifying the source of any infestation.
Based on their findings, our highly experienced technicians will implement a unique Pest control plan This will both eliminate current infections and prevent future problems, which are often involved exclusion service.
Insect repellants are becoming more and more popular for residential use in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
This is not only due to environmental considerations, but our pest-control experts use fewer chemicals and our services are cost-effective and more efficient than their counterparts.
The need for pest extermination is as old as time itself, and relies heavily on the principle that it is easier and safer for the environment to prevent an infestation than to exterminate a space once it has taken over.
Now is the time to fortify your Pittsburgh home against summer invaders.
Call or team today! We are here to help.
Photo credit: Pixabay