ants marching on dirt

A Guide To Common Pests In Katy, Texas

If you’ve been finding pests crawling up your walls or hiding in your cupboards, you might be wondering how they got there and if you should be concerned. Whether you recognize the pest or not, our Pest Library can help. You’ll find all the most common pests in Katy, TX listed here with the information you need to know about them.

Ants

a black ant on gravel

Ants come in many different sizes and colors, but they all have three body segments, six jointed legs, antennae, and chewing mouthparts. Despite looking different, the various ant species living in Texas also have unique behaviors, food preferences, and nesting habits. Examples of regular visitors to our indoor and outdoor spaces are fire ants, leafcutter ants, carpenter ants, harvester ants, and sugar ants. Ants are among the most frequent invaders of our yards and structures like homes, hospitals, restaurants, warehouses, and anywhere else that provides them with food and shelter.

While ants are mainly a nuisance, some are dangerous to people or our property. For example, the fire ant can deliver painful stings, injecting a potent venom during the process. For those people allergic to the venom, a severe and sometimes life-threatening reaction can occur. Fire ants are aggressive, and you should never take their presence lightly. The carpenter ant causes damage after moving into a structure and tunneling through and nesting within its structural timbers.

Ants can cause other problems for us, including spreading bacteria and disease, contaminating food, causing electrical shorts, and even creating unpleasant odors in our home. The large colony size and many nesting sites that these social insects create make controlling and eliminating them tricky. If ants are wandering around your yard or home, contact us at Pro Pest!

To help you stop ants from taking over your property, Pro Pest has put together a list of helpful prevention tips that are effective and easy to implement:

  • Keep lids on trash cans, compost bins, and recycling bins to keep ants from feeding their colonies with the food and sweet liquids found inside.
  • Seal spaces in the exterior of your home. If you see a line of ants traveling toward your home, follow them to see where they are entering and repair the cracks or gaps.
  • Vacuum floors and wipe down counters in your home to get rid of crumbs and spills.
  • Many ants are attracted to areas of moisture. Reduce moisture in and around your home by repairing leaky pipes and using dehumidifiers in basement areas.

Bed Bugs

a bedbug on human skin

Troublesome, sneaky, difficult to avoid, and hard to find are just some ways people describe bed bugs. Bed bugs are successful because they are good at what they do; they hide during the day, and feed without notice at night while their hosts are sleeping. Bed bugs solely feed on blood to complete their life cycle. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, with people being their favorite hosts. When living in our homes, they may also decide to feed on our pets, but again, much prefer human blood.

Found almost anywhere there are people, these pests are difficult to avoid. Bed bugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed and are reddish-brown. They have a short antennae, six legs, and are wingless. Bed bugs are prolific breeders, and just a few finding a way into your home can lead to a large-scale infestation in seemingly no time at all. Each female lays a few eggs a day and hundreds over their lifetime.

Bed bugs are avid hitchhikers; they move from place to place by traveling on people or our belongings. They don't fly or jump, so hitchhiking has become their most efficient mode of transportation. Once inside your home, they take cover in tight cracks and crevices. Some of the bed bug's favorite hiding spots include the seams of mattresses and box springs, cracks in wooden furniture and headboards, behind electrical outlets, in upholstered furniture, and in cluttered areas.

If you ever discover bed bugs or signs of bed bugs in your home, immediately call Pro Pest for help. Some of their most common signs include red drops of blood or dark streaks of excrement on linens, walls, floors, and furniture, a musty odor developing in your home, or you or family members waking with unexplained bug bites.

To help you stop bed bugs from taking over your home, our professionals have gathered a few helpful and easy to execute prevention tips:

  • Reduce hiding spots in your house. Keep bed bug proof covers on mattresses and box springs. Reduce areas of clutter. Prevent dirty laundry from piling up in your home.
  • When at work or school, do not place coats and bags near or on top of other people's.
  • Regularly vacuum floors and upholstered furniture in your home.
  • Routinely wash your bedding and pet bedding on a high heat setting.
  • Be wary when purchasing used items like mattresses or furniture. Always thoroughly inspect the items for bed bugs and clean them before bringing them into your house.

For help eliminating bed bugs from your residential or commercial property, reach out to Pro Pest today. Our friendly and helpful professionals will be happy to go over our bed bug control solutions and work with you to develop a plan of action.

Fleas

a flea in white pet hair

Despite being the size of a speck of dirt, blood-feeding fleas can cause significant problems for people and animals. Fleas feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals as their sole source of food. Dogs, cats, rodents, and wild animals are their favorite hosts. Luckily, people aren't their preferred hosts, but that doesn't mean that they won't jump onto our ankles and bite us if we are around.

There are two flea species in our area of Texas that we need to guard our properties against: the cat flea and dog flea. However, the cat flea is much more widespread. Each feeds on a variety of hosts, not just their namesakes! The warm weather in Texas is ideal for fleas to thrive and reproduce in high numbers.

Fleas have a flat body, and large, back legs that help them jump onto a host and move through their fur. Adult fleas spend most of their life on a host, feeding and breeding. After a female lays its eggs, they roll off the host and onto the ground, where they will develop quickly into new adults. When animals like mice, dogs, cats, raccoons, and skunks are on our property, either nesting, feeding, or just while passing through, they will introduce fleas. Fleas can then move into our homes in various ways, including on our pets, on our clothing, on invading rodents, or on used furniture or rugs.

If environmental conditions are not right, developing fleas can remain dormant for a long time. Once the conditions are right, they continue growing into adults; a big reason as to why a flea infestation may seem to pop-up overnight. Fleas can reproduce both outside and inside structures, making controlling these pests difficult.

To help you stop fleas from taking over your property, Pro Pest has put together some helpful prevention tips that are effective and easy to implement:

  • Place any pets you own on a year-round flea prevention program under the guidance of their veterinarian.
  • Don't allow pets to wander around outside without supervision.
  • Place a fence around your yard to keep wandering pets and wildlife away from your home.
  • Remove brush, overgrown vegetation, and leaf piles from your property where developing fleas can hide.
  • Regularly vacuum your home, especially in areas where pets spend a lot of time.

Rodents

close up of a mouse

In Texas, rodents are a year-round threat to home and business owners. These hungry critters are always on the hunt for food and shelter to hide safely from predators and raise their young. All rodents are part of the order "Rodentia" (meaning to gnaw), and no matter the species, all rodents have front incisors that continually grow. In order to prevent their teeth from overgrowing, rodents constantly chew: a very destructive habit when living in our yards and homes.

Rodents are unwanted, unwelcome intruders, but that doesn't stop these persistent pests from moving onto our properties. Things that may attract rodents to your property include trash cans, gardens, fruit trees, pet food, outdoor eating areas, a lot of dense vegetation, woodpiles, and other hiding spots. Some of the most problematic rodents in the Texas area include rats, mice, gophers, and moles – and more specifically, Norway rats, roof rats, field mice, and house mice.

Rodents aren't just annoying to have around our homes; they are dangerous and destructive. They will chew their way into a home using their sharp front teeth or through an entry point already present (vents, holes in the foundation, spaces along a roofline, etc.). Once inside, they cause various problems like chewing through wires, drywall, flooring, furniture, boxes, food containers, and more.

Rodents spread diseases and bacteria and contaminate food; their presence causes short circuits, fires, and even water damage. Because they are frustrating and challenging to control, having a professional help protect your property from rodents is always recommended.

To help stop rodents from taking over your property, Pro Pest has put together some helpful prevention tips that are effective and easy to implement:

  • Remove tall grass, overgrown landscaping, woodpiles, and fallen trees from your property; these all act as hiding and nesting spots for rodents.
  • Remove food sources by keeping lids on trash cans, maintaining gardens and fruit trees, and cleaning up leftover food from indoor and outdoor eating areas.
  • Seal any openings that are larger than the diameter of a pencil leading into your home. Foundations, exterior walls, chimneys, and utility entrances are common entry points for rodents.
  • Remove overgrown grass, vegetation, and shrubbery where rodents can hide back away from the exterior of your house.

Stinging Insects

wasp hovering over skin

There are many types of stinging insects and arachnids living across the state of Texas. Bees, hornets, mosquitoes, mud daubers, red wasps, scorpions, and yellow jackets are common intruders of our yards and homes. One thing all stinging insects have in common is a stinger. The stinger is at the end of the abdomen or, in the case of the scorpion, at the end of the tail.

Stinging insects place their nests in various locations, including the ground, aerially, or on our homes. Some places you may come across stinging insects or their nests include flowering vegetation, woodpiles, tree branches, ground holes, roof eaves, doorways, wall voids, and chimneys.

The venom a stinging insect possesses is critical to its survival. It helps to paralyze prey and is a means of defense. Stinging insects are eco-important as they help to pollinate crops and reduce populations of nuisance and dangerous insects. While their venom is very helpful to a stinging insect, it is dangerous to us. Stings from these pests can happen accidentally or intentionally if they feel you're a threat to themselves or their nest. Their stings are painful, and those allergic to their venom can have reactions that range from mild to severe to life-threatening.

When stinging insects live away from our yards, they pose little threat, but on our properties, they are dangerous, and you should avoid them until a professional can come and safely remove them. Removing stinging insects from your home or business on your own is never suggested.

To help you stop stinging insects from taking over your property, Pro Pest has put together some helpful prevention tips that are effective and easy to implement:

  • Remove woodpiles, brush piles, and other debris from your yard where scorpions can hide, and where other stinging insects can nest.
  • Cut back tree branches, shrubs, and bushes from your home's exterior.
  • Caulk any openings you discover in your foundation or exterior walls.
  • Get rid of excess water from your property that they can use as a water source, such as leaky pipes, clogged gutters, or low-lying areas.

Termites

close up of a termite

Subterranean termites live across most of the country and, unfortunately for us, thrive in the warm weather of Texas. Subterranean termites invade and damage hundreds of thousands of homes each year and create billions of dollars in damages. With all the damage they are capable of causing, it is hard to believe that these wood-eating insects are helpful, but they are.

In nature, termites are incredibly eco-important; they help to aerate the soil, act as a food source for many animals, and of course, help to rid the earth of decaying wood and other organic matter containing cellulose.

Subterranean termites nest in the ground. These tiny insects are dangerous because when they nest near our homes and businesses, there is a good chance they will find a way into our structures. As the blind worker termites forage for food, they move through the soil and often find their way inside through cracks in the foundation or pieces of wood, making contact with the soil. Once they move into our homes, they gravitate to structural timbers damaged by water. Areas around water pipes, windows, and doors are most susceptible to termite damage.

Termites move into our homes unnoticed and can work for months or years without us noticing them. When it comes to termites, the best way to protect your home and bank account from these damaging pests is to be proactive.

To help you stop termites from taking over your property, Pro Pest has put together some helpful prevention tips that are effective and easy to implement:

  • First and foremost, rid your home and its perimeter of excess water. Clear clogged gutters, repair low-lying areas, don't overwater flower beds, and fix leaky pipes.
  • Maintain a barrier of at least 12-18 inches between any mulch and the foundation of your home.
  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, logs, leaf piles, and other debris from your property that could initially attract termites to your yard.
  • In your home, use dehumidifiers, properly ventilate crawl spaces, and replace water-damaged wood.
  • Inspect your home's foundation and seal any cracks you find. Don't allow things like porch steps, deck posts, or wood shingles to have direct contact with the ground.

For help eliminating termites from your residential or commercial property, reach out to Pro Pest today. Our friendly and helpful professionals will be happy to go over our termite control solutions and work with you to develop a plan of action.

 

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