FAIRFAX, Va. - National Pest Management Month, an annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events each April, highlights the professional pest control industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, property and food from the diseases and dangers posed by pests. And this year, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is calling attention to just how important pest control professionals are to our daily lives.
“Pest control professionals play a key role in today’s society, working year-round to protect our homes, families and businesses from the many threats associated with pests,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs at NPMA. “While the tireless work these men and women perform should be recognized every day, National Pest Management Month is the perfect time of year to remind homeowners and business owners to be vigilant in pest-proofing their properties at the start of spring, and of the importance of working with a licensed pest control professional before an infestation gets out of hand.”
The onset of spring brings warmer weather and increased pest activity, and many of these pests can move indoors without leaving visible warning signs of an infestation until it’s too late. From termites that cause $5 billion in property damage a year in the U.S., to the diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks, flies and rodents, pest-proofing should be a top priority this April to stave off a whole host of critters that can wreak havoc on both property and human health.
To help property owners prepare this season, NPMA is identifying the top springtime pests and how to prevent them from taking up residence:
Termites: These voracious pests are known as “silent destroyers” for their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected, and are particularly drawn to moist, secluded areas within a structure.
Pro tip: Install downspouts, gutters and splash blocks to divert water away from the foundation, and be sure to eliminate mulch or wood contact with the exterior of the structure.
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases, including malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis and chikungunya virus.
Pro tip: Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so be sure to remove sources of moisture around the property, as they only need half an inch to breed – that’s roughly the size of a bottle cap.
Ticks: Ticks are also vectors of numerous diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, human babesiosis and Powassan encephalitis. Due to the rapid rise in Lyme disease cases across the country in recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced it will be monitoring the nation’s tick population moving forward.
Pro tip: Check both persons and pets before heading inside after spending time outdoors, and seek immediate medical attention if a bite is suspected.
Flies: In addition to being a nuisance, flies can contaminate food and are also responsible for transmitting diseases, such as malaria, Salmonella and tuberculosis.
Pro tip: Regularly remove garbage and use well-sealed receptacles to help deter flies from entering the premises.
Rodents: The house mouse and deer mice are vectors of Salmonella and hantavirus, respectively, while Norway rats and roof rats are also vectors of Salmonella, as well as plague, typhus, jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox virus and trichinosis.
Pro tip: Mice are able to squeeze through spaces as small as a dime, and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter, so be sure to seal any cracks with an appropriate sealant.
With all types of pests, it is critical to contact a licensed pest control professional at the first signs of an infestation. For more information or to find a qualified pest control professional in your area, visit PestWorld.org.