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Your Guide To Baton Rouge, Louisiana's Most Common Pests

When you see a pest that you don’t recognize crawling across your floor or counter, you will want to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Our pest library is the place to go for more information on invading pests! The greater Baton Rouge area of Louisiana is a haven to a wide variety of pests that invade both homes and businesses. Highlighting the most common insects and rodents found in our service area and what you can do to eliminate them and prevent them from returning, you’ll find this resource indispensable!

Bed Bugs

a bed bug crawling on bedding in a baton rouge louisiana home

Bed bugs are parasitic pests that feed on the blood of mammals, but humans are their preferred hosts. Adult bed bugs are about 1/4 of an inch long. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that are wingless and reddish-brown in color, and they have six legs. Adult bed bugs are often compared to apple seeds with legs. After consuming a blood-meal, the bed bug's appearance slightly changes: its body turns purplish-red in color and expands in a balloon-like manner.

Bed bugs hitchhike their way from place to place by crawling onto people or their belongings. They typically first invade sleeping areas, hiding underneath or in the seams of mattresses and box springs, in upholstered furniture, behind baseboards, under rugs, and in piles of dirty laundry. However, if the infestation remains unnoticed and as their population grows, they will travel throughout your home, invading multiple rooms where they may be found hiding behind wood trim, in the cracks of walls, and inside outlets and electronics.

To prevent problems with bed bugs, we suggest always keeping bags, luggage, coats, and other personal belongings off the ground of public places and away from other people's belongings. Inspect your hotel room or other rentals before bringing luggage and personal belongings into it. Do not purchase used furniture, mattresses or box springs. Immediately wash and dry newly purchased clothing on the highest heat setting the fabrics can handle. Utilize bed bug-proof mattress and box spring covers to help reduce hiding spots. Regularly vacuum your home and wash bedding. At the first sign of bed bugs in your home, it is important to immediately contact a professional.

Cockroaches

a cockroach crawling on a bowl in a baton rouge louisiana kitchen

Cockroaches are large insects with hard, flat, oval-shaped bodies and small heads. Cockroaches are scavengers and feed on a wide variety of food and non-food items. They are social and prolific breeders that live together in large groups. Cockroaches are considered to be very dangerous pests, as they carry a large number of viruses, bacteria, and parasites on their bodies and legs, as well as in their feces. Their shed skins and excrement can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks in people, especially in children and those with weakened immune systems. Common species of cockroaches that can be found living in our area include the American cockroach, Australian cockroach, German cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and brown-banded cockroach.

Cockroaches are insects that are very adaptable and are found living in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor environments. Inside, cockroaches are found living and nesting in a variety of locations, including above ceilings, in attics, inside of crawlspaces, behind large electrical appliances, and near pipes and faucets. They also commonly reside in basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. Outside, depending on their exact species, they live in places like under mulch, in gardens, on trees, in garbage dumps, and near sewers.

To prevent problems with cockroaches, we suggest inspecting your home’s exterior and sealing any spaces found in the foundation, placing weather stripping around your windows and doors, and making sure door sweeps are installed on basement doors. Place tight-fitting mesh covers over all vents. Always inspect used furniture, appliances, and packages for cockroaches before bringing them inside. Eliminate food and water sources by fixing leaky pipes and fixtures, using dehumidifiers, and storing all food in air-tight containers or inside the refrigerator. Additionally, you should place garden areas a distance away from your home to keep from attracting these pests close to your home.

Mosquitoes

a mosquito has landed on and is biting a baton rouge louisiana resident

Mosquitoes are a type of biting insect. Adult mosquitoes have slender bodies; long, thin legs; narrow, hairy wings; and extended mouthparts that they use for feeding. Plant nectar and pollen are the main food sources of mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes also feed on the blood of mammals, as they require the protein found in blood to create eggs. Limiting exposure to mosquitoes is important because they have the potential to spread a wide variety of diseases to people in the United States, including the West Nile virus and the Zika virus. They also transmit potentially fatal parasitic heartworm to pets.

Living across the United States are over 200 species of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to outdoor spaces that offer them ample places to feed, breed, and rest. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on top of standing water, and any amount of standing water on your property will attract mosquitoes. Objects where water pools, like plant pots, buckets, ponds, wading pools, birdbaths, and clogged gutters, as well as low-lying areas in driveways all attract mosquitoes. During the middle of the day when the weather is at its hottest, mosquitoes are found resting in tall grasses, under trees and bushes, and decks and porches. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn when the weather is at its coolest.

To prevent problems with mosquitoes, we suggest reducing as many areas of standing water on your property as possible that could function as breeding sites for mosquitoes. Store containers that can collect water upside-down when not in use, and regularly empty and refill wading pools, birdbaths, and pet bowls with fresh water. Eliminate resting spots by keeping your lawn cut short and by pruning or removing overgrown vegetation from your property. Reduce food sources for mosquitoes on your property by limiting the amount of flowering vegetation in your yard. When spending time outside, especially in wooded areas, always use mosquito repellent, preferably containing DEET.

Rodents

a mouse crawling near a foundation of a baton rouge louisiana building

Rodents are a very common type of mammal. They are found living on every continent, except Antarctica, and make up more than a quarter of all mammal species. Rodents are all characterized by a single pair of front incisors in their upper and lower jaws that continuously grow. Rodents can become problematic for home and business owners in urban, rural, and suburban areas. Two of the most common species of rodents are mice and rats. Mice and rats are both considered to be dangerous, as they damage property, spread disease and bacteria, and contaminate surfaces and food with excrement and saliva.

Most properties provide rodents with the basic things they require to feed, breed, and nest. This means that rodents have the potential to make themselves at home almost anywhere. Things that mice and rats find attractive include open containers of garbage, compost piles, gardens, tall grasses, bird feeders, fruit trees, areas of dense vegetation, outdoor eating areas, and pet food. And once on your property, it will only be a matter of time before they make their way inside your home to take advantage of the safe, temperature-controlled shelter and the food sources your home offers. Inside, rodents typically take up residence inside wall voids, attics, under floors, and behind large appliances.

To prevent problems with rodents, we want to suggest a variety of helpful tips. Make sure outdoor trash cans and compost bins have tight-fitting lids on them. Place gardens and woodpiles away from the exterior of your home. Keep outdoor eating areas clean. Trim back overgrown trees and bushes from the exterior of your home, and keep your lawn cut short. Remove excess woodpiles, rock piles, fallen trees, and other debris from your property. Eliminate entry points into your home by caulking cracks in the foundation and exterior walls, placing mesh covers over vents, sealing spaces around the utilities entering into your home, and making sure chimneys have tight-fitting caps.

Spiders

a black widow spider making a web outside a home in baton rouge louisiana

Spiders are arachnids, and therefore, all spiders have eight legs. They are closely related to mites, ticks, and scorpions. In addition to their eight legs, spiders have two body parts and hollow fangs called chelicerae that they use to inject their prey with venom. Their bodies are either smooth or covered in fuzzy hair, and they all lack wings and antennae. They range in size from very small to very large and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Spiders are predatory pests and feed on nuisance insects, helping to keep them from overpopulating.

Spiders prefer to live outside, creating their webs or burrows in densely wooded areas and other quiet, secluded areas like gardens, in between rocks, and in overgrown grass, shrubs, and bushes. However, it is common for them to move inside while following prey or if the weather outside becomes too harsh for them to live comfortably. Most species of spiders that live in the United States are harmless; their venom is not strong enough to cause health problems in people. There are, however, some species of dangerous spiders living throughout the United States that should always be avoided. The black widow spider is an example of a dangerous spider. Black widow venom attacks the nervous system of its victim and is strong enough to cause significant health problems in people.

To prevent problems with spiders, we suggest eliminating as many hiding spots from your property as possible. To accomplish this, trim back overgrown shrubs and bushes from the exterior of your home, place gardens away from the outside of your home, and clean up excess piles of debris from your property. It is also important to inspect your home’s exterior and seal any openings in the foundation, exterior walls, or around windows and doors and make sure your screens aren't ripped or torn. Inside your home, regularly vacuum and dust, paying special attention to the corners of rooms, closets, and underneath furniture. Keep storage areas organized and free of debris.

Termites

a subterranean termite crawling near a baton rouge louisiana home

Termites are a type of wood-destroying insect that live together in large colonies, working together to feed and protect each other. Termites divide themselves into different groups, or castes, that perform specific jobs for the colony. The groups are workers, soldiers, and alates (reproductive swarmers). In our area, the most common type of termites that invade our homes are subterranean (ground-nesting) termites. Examples of ground-nesting termites include Formosan termites and eastern subterranean termites.

Termites that nest and feed outside are very beneficial. They help to speed up the process of breaking down decaying or water-damaged pieces of wood and other debris made of cellulose. Formosan termites generally invade properties at the ground level as they are foraging for food sources. In addition to nesting under the ground, this species also creates carton nests that allow them to nest above the ground while still being able to maintain the moisture levels they require. The carton nests are typically placed on the rooftops of buildings, especially buildings that have a flat roof. In contrast, eastern subterranean termites only nest underground. They travel from their nest to food sources, either underground or through mud tubes. Mud tubes are placed along the ground, foundation, or basement walls to protect them from predators and sustain moisture.

To prevent problems with ground-nesting termites, we suggest removing decaying vegetation from your property. Get rid of fallen trees, tree stumps, piles of leaves, and other organic debris. It is also important to limit wood-to-soil contact on your property, seal cracks in the foundation, and leave a barrier between your home’s foundation and any soil or mulch. To keep termites out of your home, repair damaged or missing roof shingles, place weather stripping around windows and doors, and seal cracks in the foundation and exterior walls. Repair leaky pipes and fixtures, remove any water-damaged wood, and use dehumidifiers in the basement and other areas with high moisture levels.

Here at W.O.L.F. Pest Control, we offer Louisiana's finest pest control! To schedule a free inspection for your home or business in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas or to learn more about our home pest control plans and commercial pest control solutions and how they can help you, contact us at W.O.L.F. Pest Control today to get started!

 

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