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Pest Library

What You Need To Know About Pests In Salt Lake City, UT

Let our pest guide help you identify what pests have decided to move to your Salt Lake City area property. Pests come in a variety of sizes, shapes and have various feeding and nesting habits. Learning a bit about our area's most common pests will help you identify a problem sooner rather than later and help minimize the damage they can cause.

Ants

If there is any pest that we can almost guarantee will find its way into your home at some point, it is the humble ant. We often overlook these pests because they are so common to see wandering around our yards and gardens. However, just because ants are a common sight doesn't mean they should be able to nest in our yards and move in and out of our homes as they please. Ants are problematic because they all contaminate food and surfaces with bacteria they carry on their bodies; some bite, some sting, some cause structural damage, and others spread disease-causing pathogens. Ants that regularly invade properties in our area include:

  • Pharaoh ants
  • Pavement ants
  • Red ants
  • Army ants
  • Leafcutter ants

The ant's small size, social nature, and ability to work closely with each other to protect their nest and gather food make them tricky to control and prevent. As with many of the pests that end up calling our Utah properties home, food is the biggest attractant for ants. When an ant discovers a new food source, it lays down a chemical pheromone trail to alert its other colony members. Ants have an excellent sense of smell, and things like gardens, open trash cans, pet food, and outdoor kitchen or eating areas will quickly attract ants. As ants wander around your yard searching for food, it is common for them to wind up inside, moving through spaces in exterior walls, cracks in the foundation, and gaps around windows and doors. Inside, they may decide to stay and create a satellite nest to expand their colony if they discover food and an appropriate place to nest.

To help you prevent problems with ants, we want to offer you some of our most helpful ant prevention tips:

  • Keep wandering ants out of your home by placing weatherstripping around windows and doors and replacing torn screens.
  • Get rid of entry points into your home or business by using a caulking gun to repair cracks in the foundation and exterior walls.
  • Regularly vacuum your floors and wipe down counters to remove food debris.
  • Remove trash from your home daily, placing it in containers outside of your home with locking lids. 
  • Keep outdoor eating areas clean and free of food debris.
  • Maintain garden areas picking up fruits and vegetables that have fallen to the ground.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are pests that have learned to move from place to place with the help of people by hitchhiking. These insects live indoors with people and move into new homes and businesses on our clothing or belongings (bags, luggage, second furniture). Bed bugs have developed a close relationship with people because our blood is their favorite food source. Like other pests, bed bugs want to live close to their source of nutrition which unfortunately for us means our homes and places where we spend a lot of time (hotels, schools, hospitals, and airports).

Adult bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped, and wingless. Many people say they look like an apple seed with legs. Before feeding, they are reddish-brown; after feeding, their bodies swell and turn darker in color. Bed bugs use elongated, piercing mouthparts (proboscis) to feed; with the help of a blood thinner and anesthetic bed bugs have in their saliva, the feeding process is painless and does not wake their sleeping hosts. Those allergic to their saliva will develop a red, raised rash. However, because not all people are allergic to bed bugs or show a physical reaction, it is important to know the other signs of a bed bug infestation.

  • Piles of their shed skins on the floors, in drawers, or under mattresses
  • Dots of blood on sheets, pillows, and mattress covers
  • Dark spotting and staining from their excrement on bedding, furniture walls, and floors
  • A sweet, foul odor developing in areas of your home

To help you prevent problems with bed bugs, we want to offer you some of our most helpful bed bug prevention tips:

  • Place bed bug-proof covers on mattresses and box springs located in your home.
  • Avoid purchasing secondhand mattresses, box springs, and furniture.
  • When spending time in work, school, or public places, always keep your personal belongings off the ground and away from other people's belongings.
  • Regularly vacuum your house and wash bedding on a high heat cycle.
  • Regularly inspect your home for bed bugs to identify an infestation sooner rather than later. Inspect the seams of mattresses and box springs, within upholstered furniture, in the cracks of walls or wood furniture, behind wall hangings, and behind electrical outlets.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most common and unwanted pests to invade our Utah homes. Having a general knowledge of what cockroaches look like is important, so at first sight of these pests in your home, you can call for professional help to eliminate them. What these pests look like depends on their exact species, but most roaches have oval-shaped bodies, are light or dark brown, have six spiny legs, and antennae as long or longer than their bodies. While most cockroaches have wings, most are not great flyers. These insects are prolific breeders, so if you see one or two cockroaches in your home, know that more are hiding throughout your house, and you should take fast action to eliminate them!

If you have discovered cockroaches in your Salt Lake City area home, they are likely one of three species- German cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, or smokey brown cockroaches. These three species have adapted to living with people and taking advantage of the food, water sources, and hiding spots our homes can provide them. Having cockroaches in our homes is more than just an annoyance; it is dangerous. Cockroaches move across the ground and through drains, trash cans, toilets, and other less than sanity spaces. When cockroaches make your house into their home, they will contaminate it with parasites, bacteria, and disease-causing pathogens. Their presence also causes problems like allergies, skin rashes, and asthma attacks. 

To help you prevent problems with cockroaches, we want to offer you some of our most helpful cockroach prevention tips:

  • Install dehumidifiers in the areas of your home that are high in humidity
  • Repair leaks or water buildup in your home.
  • Regularly wipe down your kitchen counters and tables to remove crumbs and spills.
  • Routinely vacuum your floors, not forgetting the spaces under furniture and behind large appliances.

Mosquitoes

While hate is a strong word, mosquitoes are pests that we tend to strongly dislike and never want to spot on our Utah properties. Mosquitoes are small, biting flies, well-known for delivering itchy bites to people and animals. They drive us indoors from our backyards and stopping us from enjoying activities like hiking, playing in the park, and outdoor festivals. Mosquitoes can spread diseases and parasites through their bites, making them dangerous pests to have living in large populations around people. 

Mosquitoes are common outdoor pests, their wings allowing them to move to wherever there is food, resting, or breeding sites. The following things will attract mosquitoes to a property:

  • Mosquitoes look for shady spots to rest during the day to escape the direct sun and heat, like trees and shrubs.
  • Plant nectar is the primary food source for female and male mosquitoes, and therefore they like to live near properties with lots of flowering trees and plants. 
  • Mosquitoes seek standing water where females can lay their eggs. Things like clogged gutters, ponds, pools, drainage ditches, and containers all collect rainwater. 

To help you prevent problems with mosquitoes, we want to offer you some of our most helpful mosquito prevention tips:

  • Store containers that collect water upside down when not in use.
  • Remove things like tree stumps, woodpiles, and debris from your yard that can allow rainwater to pool in them. 
  • Fill low-lying areas on your property that create puddles.
  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris to prevent water from pooling in them.
  • Keep the grass on your property cut short and cut back overgrown trees on your property.
  • If you have a pool or man-made pond on your property, make sure you properly maintain it.

Spiders

Spiders are predatory arachnids that feed on various insects, helping to control insect populations when living outside in wooded areas, fields, meadows, deserts, and almost any other habitat. However, when spiders make their way into our homes or yards, they become unwanted pests. People usually identify spiders by their eight legs and two body parts. More than 3,000 species of spiders live throughout the United States, each species having different food, and shelter preferences. In our area of the country, the spiders we deal with most often are wolf spiders, hobo spiders, grass spiders, orb weaver spiders, black widow spiders, and tarantulas.

Though all spiders produce silk, some spiders, like wolf spiders, live at ground level and don't build webs; instead, they create burrows to live and rest in. Other species like the orb-weaver spider build the classic style webs that spiders are known for and are pictured in our kid's storybooks to capture their food or rest in. Most of the spiders that we come across are harmless, and though they can bite out of defense, they don't have venom strong enough to harm us. The spider we need to be most concerned about in our area is the black widow. They are dangerous and have venom strong enough to trigger health problems in people. We have difficulty with spiders on our properties because our yards, gardens, and trash cans provide them and their insect prey with places to live and forage for food. When their insect prey then moves inside your home to escape harsh weather or while looking for food, the spiders that hunt them will follow. Spider and insect problems often go hand in hand. 

To help you prevent problems with spiders, we want to offer you some of our most helpful spider prevention tips:

  • Repair any leaking hoses, faucets, and pipes that provide water sources for spiders and their insect prey
  • Repair holes along the roofline, in exterior walls, and the foundation that spiders can enter your house through. 
  • Place weatherstripping around windows and doors, and replace torn screens.
  • Switch out white exterior lights to yellow insect-resistant bulbs to help reduce the number of insects attracted to your windows and doors.

Termites

Termites are one of the few organisms that can convert cellulose into a usable food source. They can process the cellulose with the help of specialized bacteria found in their gut. Termites are pests that you don't want on your property for a day longer than necessary! They are wood-eating insects and capable of causing more than five billion dollars each year in repairs. They cost homeowners not only money but peace of mind. Knowing something is in your home feeding on its structural wood, causing more and more damage each day, is unsettling.

Outside termites feed on tree stumps, logs, and decaying wooden structures (fences, play structures). When termites are nesting outside, either on your property or a neighboring property, it is common for them to find their way into your home while foraging for food. Common entry points for termites include cracks in the foundation, gaps in exterior walls or the roof, or through wood making contact with the ground. Once they move into our homes, termites feed on and damage structural beams, wood trim, flooring, and other wooden structures.

To help you prevent problems with termites, we want to offer you some of our most helpful termite prevention tips:

  • Seal up cracks and crevices in your foundation.
  • Repair any loose or missing roof shingles or other roof damage.
  • Reduce as much soil-to-wood contact on your property as possible. Make sure wood shingles or trim on your home aren't making contact with the soil. 
  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and other excess debris from your yard.
  • Avoid water damage by repairing roof damage, replacing damaged weatherstripping, and quickly repairing leaky pipes. 
  • Use dehumidifiers and ventilate crawl spaces to reduce moisture levels in your home.

If you have discovered pest activity in your yard or home, reach out to Liberty Pest and Lawn Services. We are committed to our customers and helping homeowners become "liberated" from their pest problems! Learn about our home pest control solutions in Salt Lake City by reaching out today and speaking to one of our helpful and knowledgeable professionals!

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