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Common Woodbridge, VA Pest Identification Guide

If you have pests around your house or commercial facility, you may or may not know what they are. We've designed our Pest Library to help you identify the pests that are most likely to get into properties and structures around the Woodbridge area. Each entry gives important details you need to know about the pests in your area while also answering some of the most common questions about these pests so that you know what to expect if they infest your home or business.

Ants

an ant on gravel

Ants are one of the most persistent and problematic pests property owners deal with regularly. Every year when the weather starts warming up, ants begin trailing through the grass around our yards, searching for food to gather and bring back to their nests. As ants move around our outdoor spaces, they eventually enter into our homes after finding small openings, moving in and out each day, bringing food they find inside back to their colony. As if using our homes as their own personal grocery store wasn't enough, ants sometimes decide to stay and build a new nest inside our homes, creating even more significant problems.

It is essential to understand that having a problem with ants like carpenter ants and odorous house ants is more than a nuisance; these pests can create structural problems, health problems, and property damage our lawns. Odorous house ants, when crushed, emit a very unpleasant odor that can overwhelm a space. On the other hand, pavement ants living in your yard create unsightly mounds of dirt next to sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and the foundation of your home.

Carpenter ants nest inside of wood, causing structural damage that is costly and time-consuming to repair. While not all ants spread serious diseases, they will contaminate surfaces and food with bacteria and other pathogens they carry on their bodies. Whether you have ants wandering around your driveway or traveling through your kitchen, you need to get rid of them as quickly as possible to protect your property and family from their dangers and damages!

At Bluebird Pest Solutions, our pest control solutions eliminate current problems you are experiencing with ants and stop future ants from nesting and feeding on your property. In addition to our professional services, we want to offer the following tips to make your property less appealing to ants:

  • Reduce moisture in and around your house. Moisture attracts many species of ants. Ensure your lawn has good drainage and that your gutters are in working order. Repair any leaky pipes and utilize dehumidifiers in damp basements.
  • Reduce food odors and access to food on your property for ants by keeping lids on trash cans and compost bins, keeping indoor and outdoor eating areas clear of food debris, and storing all food (your own and your pet's) either in the fridge or in containers with airtight lids.
  • Remove clutter from your yard that ants may want to nest under or within such as tree stumps, fallen trees, brush piles, and woodpiles.
  • To keep ants from easily trailing into your home, eliminate their potential entry points. Seal cracks in the foundation, caulk openings around utilities entering your home, and use weatherstripping around exterior-facing windows and doors.

Cockroaches

close up of a cockroach

When it comes to cockroaches, the most important thing to remember is that if you discover one in your home, there are many more lurking in the dark spaces of your house you aren't seeing. Just a few cockroaches finding a way into your home will quickly lead to a large infestation. The cockroach's flat, oval-shaped, dark-colored body might be instantly-recognizable, but their activity most often takes place in the dead of night or within our walls, keeping them out of view. Some of their favorite hiding spots include the backs of drawers, behind large appliances, inside cardboard boxes, inside crevices in walls and floors, and within gaps behind sinks or tubs.

There are three primary species of cockroaches in Virginia that often wind up in our homes and businesses: American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, and German cockroaches. While all three have slightly different physical appearances and preferences, one thing they have in common is they do not belong living near people - for a number of reasons. 

The two biggest problems with roaches are their ability to contaminate our food and the various other diseases and health problems they bring to homes they infest. Cockroaches are scavengers, feeding on anything they come across, including decaying organic debris. Their bodies pick up pathogens such as salmonella, cholera, gastroenteritis, and E. coli, then spread those diseases to every other surface they crawl across. 

Roaches are also well known for triggering allergies and asthma attacks through their excrement and shed skins. If you are experiencing problems with cockroaches, partnering with a professional is the best way to rid them from your property and have the peace of mind of knowing these pests are no longer a threat to you and your family.

At Bluebird Pest Solutions, our pest control solutions eliminate current problems you are experiencing with cockroaches and stop future issues with these dangerous pests. In addition to our professional services, we want to offer the following tips to make your property less appealing to cockroaches:

  • Cockroaches often hitchhike their way into structures. Always inspect used appliances, furniture, boxes, deliveries, and anything stored outside for cockroaches before bringing the items inside.
  • Keep cockroaches out of your home by sealing openings in the foundation, installing door sweeps, placing weatherstripping around windows, and repairing loose or damaged screens.
  • Eliminate leaking pipes, clogged drains, and other sources of standing water that attract these moisture-loving pests.
  • Keep your home clear of clutter and food debris. Regularly vacuum floors, wipe down counters, remove the trash, and wash dirty dishes.

Just remember, no matter how well you fortify your home against them, cockroaches are able to get into almost anywhere. If and when they become a problem in your home or business, don't wait: call the professionals at Bluebird immediately for help. 

Mosquitoes & Ticks

a mosquito on human skin

Mosquitoes and ticks are outdoor pests that can take over our yards in the summertime, biting us and our pets to consume blood meals.

Ticks (male and female) solely feed on blood, while only female mosquitoes (not males) have blood meals. Both ticks and mosquitoes feed on a wide variety of animal hosts (pets, wild animals, livestock) as well as people. Their varied diet enables them to spread many serious diseases including Lyme disease (ticks) and West Nile virus (mosquitoes). Both pests are most active during the warm weather found in the spring, summer, and early fall and are an unwanted sight in our Virginia backyards!

Mosquitoes gather in large numbers around areas of standing water. Females lay their eggs on top of standing water, and the larvae develop in the water, emerging as adults. Mosquitoes can fly long distances, but most stay close to where they hatch. Properties near areas of standing water are most at risk for large populations of mosquitoes.

Ticks are most often found on the skin of their host, whether that be a human or a pet dog or cat. When not on a host feeding, ticks can sometimes be found lying in wait on the ground for a host to brush past that they can climb onto. Wooded areas, walking trails, ditches, fence lines, tall grass, and leaf piles are places where people and animals come into contact with ticks.

Mosquitoes and ticks are difficult to control because these outdoor pests are continually finding a way onto our properties. The best way to reduce their numbers is to partner with an experienced pest control expert. At Bluebird Pest Solutions, our mosquito and tick control solutions significantly reduce populations of these outdoor pests on Virginia properties. In addition to our professional services, we want to offer the following tips to make your property less appealing to mosquitoes and ticks:

  • Remove leaf litter and brush piles from your yard that could collect water for mosquitoes to use as a breeding site or where ticks can hide.
  • Cut back overgrown vegetation from your yard's perimeter and cut your grass regularly to keep it short.
  • Remove standing water from your yard by filling in low lying areas, fixing clogged gutters, and storing containers that are not in use upside down.

Rodents

a mouse on a log

Field mice, deer mice, roof rats, and Norway rats are rodents that regularly invade Virginia homes and businesses. Rodents vary by species in appearance and nesting habits.

Norway rats are large, heavy rodents that live mainly at ground level. On the other hand, Roof rats are light, sleek rats that seek out nesting spots above the ground. Field mice and deer mice are smaller than rats, and both live outside and are common around fields, parks, and wooded areas. Mice and rats live outside all around us and regularly find their way inside while searching for warm shelter and food. Rodents have a high metabolism, so finding a regular food source is important and something our homes often provide them with.

Mice and rats are commensal creatures, meaning they have come to want to "share our table" with us. They have learned that people provide them with food and shelter and have adapted to living close to us. Though they might want to live with us, keeping rodents away from our homes and tables is essential because they are both dangerous and destructive.

Rodents are responsible for spreading a large number of dangerous and even deadly diseases, so it's important to know the warning signs of an infestation in advance so that you can react immediately should they get inside. Rodents in the home are rarely seen with the naked eye, so instead keep a look out for the signs of their activity they leave behind. 

Discovering holes in boxes and food packaging, hearing noises behind walls at night, and finding gnaw marks on cabinets and furniture are common signs of a rodent infestation. Things like grease marks along walls or baseboards or droppings on counters, drawers, or floors are other indicators of an infestation. At any inkling that rodents could be inside your home, immediately reach out to Bluebird Pest Solutions for assistance! The sooner you act, the less damage rodents will be able to cause. 

At Bluebird Pest Solutions, our rodent control solutions eliminate current problems you are experiencing with rodents and stop future issues with these dangerous and damaging pests. In addition to our professional services, we want to offer the following tips to make your property less appealing to rodents:

  • Rodents will take advantage of any opening in your home's exterior to move inside and make themselves at home. Regularly inspecting your home, sealing any spaces discovered, keeping caps on chimneys, and repairing roof damage will help to keep rodents out of your house.
  • Keep food away from rodents. Store pantry items in hard-sided containers, store produce in the fridge, keep lids on trash cans, and remove bird feeders from your yard.
  • Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed back away from your home's exterior, and don't allow woodpiles or other clutter near the exterior perimeter of your home.
  • Inside of your house, keep storage areas organized and free of the clutter where rodents could nest.

When prevention fails, don't wait: call the rodent professionals at Bluebird Pest Solutions for help. 

Stinging Insects

a wasp on its nest

Among pests, stinging insects are somewhat unique in that they are an important part of the ecosystem and we need to protect them, but we also don't want them living in our yards or homes. We can't live without them, but living with them puts your family and pets in danger. The only solution is to find a way to get them off your property responsibly. 

The spring and summer seasons are when stinging insects are most active because the weather is warm and food sources are plentiful. Depending on the species, stinging insects feed on various things, including other insects, plant nectar, and sweet liquids and proteins. Stinging insects are unwanted in our yards because they use the stinger extending from their hind end to deliver painful stings as a way to protect themselves. The closer you come to a stinging insect nest, the more likely you will be stung. Not only are their stings painful, but those allergic to their venom can have a life-threatening reaction. Stinging insects greatly limit your ability to enjoy your outdoor space.

In Virginia, if you have a stinging insect nest on your property, it is likely one of the following species: paper wasps, European hornets, yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets, or honey bees. Our yards attract stinging insects because they offer so many different nesting spots, including trees, woodpiles, shrubbery, ground holes, and spaces under decks or roof eaves. Food is also a factor when stinging insects choose a nesting spot. Things found in most of our yards like trash cans, recycling bins, grill areas, gardens, and flower beds are where these pests will forage for food. If stinging insects have become a problem on your property, it is best to contact a professional that can accurately identify the species and remove the nest.

Honey bees are protected, and you can't destroy their nests; you need to relocate them. At Bluebird Pest Solutions, we ensure this happens by calling and working with local beekeepers.

In addition to our professional stinging insect control services, Bluebird Pest Solutions wants to suggests using the following tips to make your property less appealing to stinging insects:

  • Cut back overgrown shrubbery and tree branches away from the outside of your home. Don't plant flowering vegetation near the entrances or exits of your home.
  • Keep grill and outdoor areas free of food debris and keep lids on both trash cans and recycling bins. Clean outdoor grilling areas after use. 
  • Remove water sources by keeping gutters clear and filling in low-lying areas that collect water.
  • Screens in windows and doors should be tight-fitting to help keep stinging insects out of your home. Seal spaces in exterior walls that can allow them to get inside of wall voids.

Even with preventive measures in place, stinging insects can show up anytime for most homeowners. Call Bluebird first when the stinging insects start buzzing. 

Termites

a termite in its mound

Termites are insects that strike fear into the hearts of homeowners because of their ability to cause extensive and expensive structural damage. Worst, most of the time, it won't be covered. 

Though we don't want termites living on our properties, they are an important part of the environment, feeding on and helping to rid the ground of decaying trees and other vegetation. In our area of Virginia, the subterranean termite is the most widespread species we find invading our indoor and outdoor spaces. Termites are social and live together in large colonies, dividing their members into three castes: workers, soldiers, and reproductives. Termites work together to build, maintain, and protect the colony, with the worker termites having the critical job of leaving the nest to find and gather food to feed the entire colony.

The high moisture needs of subterranean termites prompt them to build their nests underground in damp soil, and they prefer to feed on water-damaged or decaying wood. When termites find their way into our homes, it is usually accidental and happens when the workers are out looking for food. As the workers move through the soil, they enter inside through cracks in the foundation or wood on your home that is making contact with the ground. Things like leaking pipes, humid basements, and poor ventilation cause structural wood inside homes to get damaged by water and become susceptible to termite damage. Once termites find a reliable food source like water-damaged structural wood in your home, they will keep returning day after day, working 24/7 to feed the colony.

At Bluebird Pest Solutions, our termite control solutions eliminate the current problems you are experiencing with termites and stop future termites from choosing your property to nest. In addition to our professional services, we want to offer the following tips to make your property less appealing to termites:

  • Make sure your yard has good drainage.
  • Repair leaking pipes and use air conditioners or dehumidifiers to ensure your home is well-ventilated to reduce humidity levels.
  • Regularly inspect your foundation and if you spot any cracks or defects, swiftly repair them.
  • Create a barrier between any mulch or soil and your foundation.
  • Don't allow any wood on your house or that is used to build structures on your property to make direct contact with the ground.

Don't leave your most important investment at risk for these destructive wood-destroying pests. Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control services.

 

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