While Americans may be getting into the swing of summer, most will be doing more swatting of insects and pests throughout the next couple of summer months.
According to a news release issued earlier this month, pest control provider Terminix partnered with Harris Interactive to identify the top five most irritating summertime bugs, and those that sting or bite took highest honors.
The Top Five Most Irritating Summer Bugs according to the survey, are mosquitoes, ants, wasps, spiders and bees.
Below is more detail about each of the most irritating summertime bugs, including the percentage of adults ranking it as one of their top five, along with simple tips and pointers to help avoid these annoying summer pests.
1. Mosquitoes – 88%
Those in the Midwest (94%), South (90%) and Northeast (89%) find mosquitoes more bothersome than those in the West (78%), with women more likely than men to say they’re irritated (91% versus 84%, respectively).
Terminix also recommends the following practical tips to keep families and pets better protected from mosquitoes this season:
Repair damaged and clogged gutters that allow water to collect. Use soil to fill in low areas in lawns and landscaped sections where rainwater may accumulate and stand for more than seven days.
Regularly empty standing water found in outdoor pots, saucers, barrels and “kiddie pools.” Empty and refill birdbaths at least once a week.
Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to allow water to properly drain.
Install an agitator in garden ponds or buy fish that eat mosquito larvae. The wave actions created by an agitator discourage female mosquitoes from laying eggs.
Switch outdoor lighting from mercury vapor lamps to sodium vapor lamps to attract fewer mosquitoes to the building. Mercury vapor lights can be used to light areas away from the building and help to lure insects away from the building at night.
2. Ants – 67%
Women (71%) are more likely than men (62%) to be irritated by ants, as are those ages 45-54 (76%) compared to 18-44 year olds (62%) and adults 55+ (68%). Simple tips to avoid ants ruining your summer include:
When landscaping, avoid using plants like roses, shrubs and fruit trees that are prone to aphids and similar insects, which ants use as a primary food source. Layers of mulch and heavy vegetative ground covers hold the moisture needed by ants to thrive.
Store any firewood away from the home and remove any dead wood or wood scraps from around the exterior foundation, where ant colonies can often be found. Trim dead limbs from trees and remove stumps.
Seal all plumbing or roof leaks and check crawl spaces and attics for excess moisture.
Water from rain gutters should be directed away from the home and not be allowed to accumulate close to the foundation.
3. Wasps – 62%
Survey participants in the Midwest (67%) and Northeast (64%), as well as more women (65%) than men (59%) ranked wasps as one of their “top five” most irritating bugs. The key to avoiding being stung is to be aware, as outlined by these pointers:
When working in a garden or flowerbed, be aware of numerous wasps flying into and away from a single point in the garden or to a hole in the side of the house. This will usually indicate where a colony might be located.
Be careful when using powered lawn equipment, such as edgers, trimmers and mowers. Loud, vibrating noises disturb wasps and may send them into an attacking frenzy.
If wasps are seen entering and exiting a wall, DO NOT plug the hole – you will only force them to find another way out. Sometimes they might actually eat through an interior wall and enter the house.
Stay away from nests once they are located, as the colonies may contain several hundred workers by the end of the season. Instead, call a professional with expertise in wasp removal.
4. Spiders – 54%
Women aged 18-34 (61%) are more likely than any age group of men to identify this bug as a “top five” summer irritant. The good news is that while there are thousands of species of spiders found in the U.S., most are not dangerous. However, the sight of even the smallest spider can send arachnophobes running.
Terminix suggests these simple steps to help prevent the next scary encounter:
Remove clutter in the basement and garage, as these are potential harborages for spiders as well as for the insects they prey upon. Do not store any items in a crawlspace.
Remove all items lying on the ground, such as piles of lumber and other debris to prevent new infestations coming from the home’s exterior.
Heavy vegetation like ivy and other ground covers should be cut at least 18 inches away from the building foundation. Branches of trees and shrubs touching the house should be cut back away from the roof and walls of the building.
Seal cracks around pipes, wires, and cables leading up into the structure from the crawlspace or basement and down from the attic. Also seal cracks around vents and light fixtures in the ceiling.
5. Bees – 50%
Those in the Northeast (63%) are most likely to say bees irritate them as compared to those in the Midwest (52%), South (46%) or West (44%). For most, bees are simply an irritating insect, but for about two million people in the U.S., bee stings can result in allergic reactions or even death. Terminix suggests these simple pointers to keep your back yard bee-free this summer:
Fill in all animal burrows and holes in the soil to prevent bees from establishing underground nests.
Seal holes in the building’s exterior and ensure that all vents have tight-fitting screens.
Paint bare wood to deter carpenter and other bees.