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Tick Habitat Preferences: Where Are Ticks Most Likely to Thrive?  

As winter’s chill gives way to spring sunshine and warmer weather, a whole new season is gearing up — tick season. Although these troublesome pests can be active year-round, they tend to be more widespread from April through November.  

These creepy-crawlies feed on the blood of their hosts, including humans, dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and other mammals. During the feeding process, ticks can transmit any bacteria, viruses, or parasites they carry and infect their hosts. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year due to tick bites, and that’s just one of the potential pathogens that ticks carry.  

Other potentially serious illnesses include Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis. Alpha-gal syndrome, which is a red meat allergy believed to be triggered by the bite of the lone star tick, is another growing concern in many areas. In worst case scenarios, this syndrome can be life threatening.  

Catseye Pest Control has spent decades helping people and businesses throughout the region prevent and eliminate ticks with professional tick pest control. Proactive measures, including identifying common ticks and where they are likely to live, can help you and the people you care about stay healthy and safe throughout tick season. 

Types of Ticks Found in New England 

Worldwide, more than 900 species of ticks prey on humans and animals throughout the year. These species fall into two main categories: hard ticks and soft ticks. Hard ticks, including the Lyme disease-carrying black-legged tick, tend to feed on humans, pets, and wildlife. Soft ticks, which belong to the Ornithodoros genus, lack the hard “plate” on their backs and have a wrinkled-looking body. They typically feed on hosts like bats and birds but can bite humans as well.  

Hard ticks are the most common type of ticks found in New England and include the American dog tick, black-legged tick, brown dog tick, and Asian longhorned tick. 

American Dog Tick 

closeup of an american dog tick crawling in gray-brown fur

Dogs are the preferred host of American dog ticks, sometimes referred to as wood ticks. Still, these ticks will bite people and other hosts, including rodents, raccoons, and cats. These hard ticks can transmit germs that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia throughout their lifecycle.  

Preferred habitats: edges of forests, grassy fields, and perimeters of trails and walkways 

Black-Legged Tick 

black-legged tick with a reddish-brown body crawls on a green leaf

The black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, prefers feeding on white-tailed deer. In its nymph and adult female life stages, it can spread Lyme disease as well as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Adults are often active from spring through fall, with females laying eggs in mid-to-late May. Eggs hatch later in the summer, continuing the lifecycle. 

Preferred habitats: forest edges, tall grasslands, and shrubs 

Brown Dog Tick 

closeup of a brown dog tick with its eight legs outspread against a white background

Although brown dog ticks are more common throughout the southern U.S., they are among the most common here in New England. They often spend their entire lives indoors, taking up residence in homes, dog kennels, and animal pens. Brown dog ticks can spread multiple diseases, including canine babesiosis, canine ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These ticks typically don’t bite humans, instead preferring to feed on canine hosts.  

Preferred habitats: human dwellings, dog kennels, dog parks, and overgrown grass and weeds 

Asian Longhorned Tick 

a reddish-brown asian longhorned tick crawling on a green, variegated leaf

These invasive ticks were first identified in the U.S. in 2017. Although the first identification occurred in New Jersey, this tick has since spread across much of the Eastern part of the country. Asian longhorned ticks typically feed on livestock and wildlife, and females can produce thousands of offspring without any involvement from males. These ticks are known to impact animals’ health, but research into their effects on humans remains ongoing.  

Preferred habitats: pastures, meadows, brushy areas, and debris piles 

Woodland and Forest Habitats 

Ticks are more abundant in forests and woodlands than any other habitats. Scientists believe that the mix of trees and vegetation and abundant hosts like wildlife and rodents are likely the key contributing factors. Additionally, the increased humidity found in forest settings better supports tick populations, although urban green spaces, including woodlands, can also harbor these blood-drinking pests. 

Grasslands and Fields 

Ticks are ground dwellers that thrive in warm, humid areas. Many ticks, including the American dog tick and black-legged ticks, make their homes in the shelter of tall, grassy areas like fields, meadows, and grasslands. While keeping grass neatly trimmed can help with tick prevention, it’s not a guarantee that ticks won’t invade. Ticks have also been found on groomed sports fields, particularly early on dewy mornings. 

Urban and Residential Areas 

Cities, suburbs, towns, and residential areas are not immune to ticks. Ticks can travel from forests and fields via wildlife, allowing them to invade nearly any area. Although tick populations tend to be higher in forests and fields, they also thrive in areas such as:  

  • Wood piles 
  • Leaf piles and outdoor debris 
  • Overgrown shrubs 
  • Tall grass 
  • Fallen branches 
  • Bird feeders 
  • Dog kennels and indoor structures 

Moisture and Temperature Preferences 

Some ticks will dehydrate and die in high temperatures with low humidity levels. Others simply prefer warm, moist areas. In general, ticks thrive in moist, humid conditions, which is why tick populations often increase after heavy rains. Additionally, these cold-blooded pests typically slow down in cool weather to conserve energy. On the flip side, when temperatures warm, tick activity increases. Temperatures of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for ticks to breed and generally live their best lives.  

Tick Prevention  

Knowing where ticks tend to live and hang out is only one piece of the tick prevention puzzle. Avoiding areas filled with high grass, leaf litter, brush, and dense woods is a good starting point for avoiding ticks. Other preventive steps you can take include the following: 

Reducing the Risk of Tick Bites 

  • Treat clothing and camping or hiking gear with products that contain 0.5% permethrin or buy already treated clothing.  
  • Use insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that are approved to repel ticks. 
  • Walk in the center of trails and pathways. 
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks. 
  • Perform full body checks, including clothing and gear, when returning inside. 
  • Shower within two hours of being outside. 
  • Check pets for ticks after bringing them indoors. 

Eliminating Tick Habitats 

  • Keep lawns mowed with grass lengths that are no higher than 3 inches. 
  • Remove all brush, debris, and leaf litter from the property. 
  • Add a 3-foot barrier around the yard with crushed stone. 
  • Thin out shrubs and hedges. 

Contact a Tick Pest Control Expert 

You don’t have to battle these dangerous pests alone. Ticks, which belong to the spider family known as arachnids, pose a significant health risk to humans and pets. Working with pest professionals can help you pinpoint the right preventive measures to take. Additionally, professional intervention gives you access to innovative treatment programs like Catseye’s tick pest control program, which includes all-natural treatments for year-long peace of mind. 

Learn more by clicking the link above or by calling Catseye at 888-298-2173 to speak with someone who can answer any questions you may have.  

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Children of all ages will have a great time at the Maryland Day Insect Petting Zoo.


The Spotted lanternfly is a beautiful insect, but a devastating plant pest.

One of the joys of spring is observing the antics of insects and their relatives as they resume their activities outdoors. To celebrate this annual renaissance, the Department of Entomology hosts an award-winning Insect Petting Zoo as part of the Maryland Day Extravaganza at the College Park Campus of the University of Maryland on Saturday, April 27, from 10 am to 3 pm. The Insect Petting Zoo is in the Plant Sciences Building on the ground floor directly across from the Regents Drive parking garage.

This year’s petting zoo will feature an incomparable ensemble of friendly, ferocious, and creepy crawly creatures. A visit to the petting zoo is sure to delight insect aficionados of all ages, and perhaps convert some former haters. This year’s spectacle features bugs from around your home and around the world. Giant Lubber locusts straight from the Everglades of Florida will reveal their favorite delicacies and how they defend themselves from being eaten. Vietnamese and Australian walking sticks are true masters of disguise and giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches will blow your mind with their size and agility.

The ferocious looking whip scorpion does not live up to its name.

Watch out for the Whip Scorpion that has a clever trick up its sleeve, or should we say its tail, to thwart attacks by enemies. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a Black widow spider with a bright red hourglass tattooed on her abdomen, a ferocious Green Tiger beetle hungry for fresh meat, or a Carpenter bee buzzing about its cage. The arts of trickery, mimicry, thanatosis, and other feats of deception and disguise will be revealed by Blue Death Feigning beetles, the European sowbug (roly poly), Darkling beetles (armored stink beetle), and the astonishing African twig mantis. Learn who will see periodical cicadas this year and why the emergence of Broods XIII and XIX this year is epic.  

The Insect Zoo is not just a treat for the eyes. Children of all ages will have the chance to hold and touch (with parental permission of course) a multi-legged millipede from the desert or a hairy Eastern tent caterpillar from a cherry tree. The very brave may even have a chance to hold a giant tarantula. If touching isn’t your thing, then you can listen to the buzzing of a bee or the hissing of a cockroach from Madagascar. Meet face-to-face the number one killer of humans on the planet – dreaded bloodthirsty mosquitoes.

Come to the Insect Petting Zoo at Maryland Day, Saturday April 27 at the University of Maryland, College Park. Travel around the world to meet rocking Vietnamese walking sticks and giant Australian walking sticks pretending to be dead leaves. Amazing Malaysian leaf insects will try to fool you and watch out for the whip scorpion and its smelly surprise. Hold a giant tarantula if you dare and look at, but don’t touch, the black widow spider. Meet the deadliest creature on our planet, blood-thirsty mosquitoes, and pet a friendly, furry Eastern tent caterpillar. Fast moving green tiger beetles will prowl their cage while blue death feigning beetles will be stuck in second gear. Stop by the cicada corner to learn about the epic dual emergence of Broods 13 and 19 periodical cicadas. Learn why carpenter bees make holes in your deck and why iconic honey bees and their kin are imperiled in our rapidly changing world.

Learn about the epic dual appearance of Brood XIII and Brood XIX periodical cicadas.

Curious smells are on the menu as well. Learn what unwelcome house guest has the aroma of cilantro and discover an arachnid with the pungent odor of vinegar. If you are feeling social, investigate the wonders of perhaps our most important social insect, the honey bee. Stop by the invasive species corner and meet dastardly Emerald Ash Borers, the nefarious home invader and crop destroyer Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, and the newcomer in our region, Spotted Lanternfly.

Children can collect insect stickers and the first 600 visitors may take home a Terrapin Lady Beetle to release in their garden to put a beat-down on insect pests lurking there. 

Don’t miss The Swamp – If you enjoy the life aquatic, be sure to stop by The Swamp, also in the Plant Sciences Building, and learn how dragonflies capture their prey and how diving beetles extract oxygen from water.

So, come one, come all to explore Maryland Day and the Insect Petting Zoo!

To learn more about Maryland Day and the location of the Insect Petting Zoo please click on the following links:

Maryland Day:  

Insect Petting Zoo and Discover a Swamp, 10am-3pm:


Bug of the Week thanks Dr. Paula Shrewsbury and her hardy crew of volunteers for organizing and helping out with the Insect Petting Zoo. Thanks also to Dr. Bill Lamp and his students for organizing Discover a Swamp at Maryland Day. Special thanks to Todd Waters for making our arthropods the happiest six and eight-legged creatures on the planet.

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How to Protect Your New Hampshire Garden from Springtime Pests  

Gardening season is almost here. It officially spans from early May through early October, although you can start sowing some seeds, including peas and broccoli, as early as March. If you are like many New Hampshire residents, you probably start making plans before the temperatures start warming up and the days get longer.  

Catseye Pest Control has helped gardeners and homeowners with organic pest control both indoors and outdoors for decades. Our years of experience have taught us one big lesson — although nothing is foolproof, a healthy, pest-free garden requires a little extra planning. Let’s explore a few of the strategies you can use this year to maximize your garden pest control and help your plants thrive.  

Choose Resilient Plant Varieties 

For starters, what you plant matters. Some species are resistant to pests and diseases, which makes it much simpler to protect the garden. Additionally, opting for drought-tolerant plants can also help minimize problems, as water shortages can stress non-resilient plants and increase their susceptibility to pests.  

Some examples of resilient plants to consider include the following:  

Pest-Resistant Plants 

  • Lavender 
  • Marigolds 
  • Geraniums 
  • Rosemary 
  • Chives  
  • Basil  
  • Chrysanthemums 
  • Nasturtiums 

Deer-Resistant Plants 

  • Salvia 
  • Lavender 
  • Daffodils 
  • Bee balm  
  • Russian sage 
  • Peonies 
  • Bleeding hearts 
  • Garlic 

Drought-Tolerant Plant Varieties 

  • Butterfly milkweed 
  • Blanket flower 
  • Blue wild indigo 
  • Goldenrod 
  • Purple coneflower 
  • Creeping juniper 
  • Forsythia 
  • Flowering quince 
  • Common lilac 

Implement Good Garden Hygiene 

Half the fun of having a garden is spending time in it. Using the time you spend gardening to maintain a well-kept space that focuses on good garden hygiene can make a tremendous difference in controlling pest problems.  

  • Clean Up: Before planting the garden, it’s critical to clear the area of debris from the season before, as that debris can harbor pests. 
  • Rotate Your Crops: Growing plants in different areas of the garden every year can disrupt the lifecycle of the pests that prey on those specific crops, helping to minimize infestations naturally. 
  • Fertilize: Healthy plants are more resistant to pests. By maintaining the health of the soil in your garden, you can support healthy growth that will also resist harmful pests.  
  • Be Mindful of Spacing: Don’t crowd plants together, no matter how tempting it may be, even for decorative landscaping. That full, lush, crowded garden bed is vulnerable to moisture problems. In turn, the added moisture can encourage disease and pests alike. 

Use Organic Pest Control Methods 

Organic pest control methods, like companion planting and introducing beneficial insects to the garden, can help control harmful pests without harming plants, pollinators, or people. This approach prioritizes prevention first, with good garden hygiene at the top of the list.  

Neem Oil 

This versatile, powerful organic pesticide is an agent of control, not prevention. It can impact pollinators, so it’s important to only use it when beneficial insects aren’t active. Derived from neem tree seeds, this natural insecticide can control pests like flea beetles, spider mites, aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and more. It also has fungicidal properties, which can help control diseases like powdery mildew and black spot. 

Companion Planting 

Pairing the right plants together serves as a little bit of gardening magic. Some plants, like corn and green beans, impact the soil in favorable ways for each other. In this instance, the corn provides a natural trellis for the beans while the beans fix the nitrogen in the soil, which helps the corn thrive. Add rosemary and summer savory to the mix, and you can also ward off bean beetles. 

Other plants can naturally help deter pests to make the garden thrive. Some popular pairings include: 

  • Tomatoes with basil to repel mosquitoes and flies 
  • Cucumbers with nasturtiums and marigolds to repel beetles and aphids 
  • Carrots and onions to repel carrot flies 
  • Lettuce with mint and chives to repel slugs and aphids  

Beneficial Insects 

Welcoming natural predators to your garden can be helpful to control the populations of harmful insects. Pollinators can also contribute to the health of the plants. Some examples of beneficial insects include: 

  • Wasps, which prey on insects like spiders, beetles, and stink bugs 
  • Lady beetles (ladybugs), which feed on whiteflies, aphids, and mealybugs 
  • Green lacewings, which prey on scales, aphids, and mites 
  • Assassin bugs, which feed on leafhoppers, caterpillars, aphids, and Japanese beetles 

Install Physical Barriers 

Just as Cat-Guard Exclusion Systems protect key areas of your home and other buildings, physical barriers can protect your plants and garden spaces. Physical barriers, including row covers, fencing, and netting, prevent insects, rodents, and nuisance wildlife from destroying your garden. They can also offer a versatile, long-term, chemical-free solution to pests.  

Row Covers 

Row covers are typically made from gauzy, lightweight fabrics. They let sunlight in, along with ample moisture and airflow. Row covers prevent pests, including insects like aphids and beetles, rabbits, deer, and birds, from munching on and infesting plants. Additional benefits include protecting plants from frost, warming the soil and extending the growing season, and helping plants grow more readily. 


New Hampshire’s Eastern cottontail rabbits can wreak havoc on the garden, chewing on leafy lettuces, flowers, and fruit. Woodchucks also can be incredibly destructive, along with common insects and other wildlife. Fencing helps deter these critters and works particularly well with taller crops that are not well suited for row covers. If you only have small animals invading your garden, a fence two to three feet tall may be sufficient. If you also get deer, you may need fencing a minimum of five to six feet tall to protect your crops. 


Netting is made from translucent mesh fabric or very fine metal that doesn’t allow heat to accumulate as much as row covers do. This helps protect heat-sensitive crops while protecting plants from insects and other pests.  

Regular Inspections/ Professional Pest Control 

No matter what strategies you put into practice, nothing can replace the value of routinely inspecting your garden for signs of trouble. The sooner you catch a potential infestation of insects, rodents, or visiting wildlife, the less damage they can do. Regular inspections give you a chance to remove pests like aphids physically by picking them off or blasting them with the hose. Combined with methods like organic pest control and introducing beneficial insects, simple inspections can be a powerful gardening tool. 

It also empowers gardeners by allowing them to recognize when it’s time to call professionals. Professionals can provide powerful treatments that do minimal harm to people, pets, and the environment. Trained technicians know how to handle situations, including rodent invasions and problems with nuisance wildlife.

Call Catseye for Expert Outdoor Pest Control to Protect Your Garden 

Spring is a magical time, and as nature starts waking up once more, the urge to start gardening increases. However, spring also brings many pests and other critters with it, each of which can damage your gorgeous garden.

Catseye has decades of expertise and the licensing and training necessary to handle even challenging cases with protected species of wildlife. Keep your home and garden safe and free of pests. Whether you need to keep your outdoor space clear of ticks and mosquitoes or eliminate mice and rats with our Rodent Plus Program, Catseye has the services you need.

Contact us today to learn more about our professional pest control services or to schedule a free inspection to get started.

[Schedule an Inspection

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From the Bug of the Week mailbag – Be on the lookout for one slowly moving invasive pest: Euonymus leaf notcher, Pryeria sinica


Yikes! Euonymus leaf notching caterpillars are on the loose. Credit: Jeremy S.


Over two decades followers of Bug of the Week have witnessed tales of exotic, invasive pests like emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug, and spotted lanternfly racing across our country killing trees, pillaging crops, and sometimes invading our homes. Take spotted lanternfly, which, since its discovery in Pennsylvania a mere decade ago has traveled more than 600 miles, or brown marmorated stink bug which spread more than three thousand miles in roughly two decades. As of March 2024, EAB has killed tens of millions of ash trees in 36 US states and the District of Columbia as well as five Canadian provinces, since its discovery in Michigan in 2002. This week we visit another non-native pest. This slow mover has remained more or less bottled-up in Maryland and Virginia for more than 20 years. 

During March and April, hordes of caterpillars strip leaves and create frass fouled foliage (repeat three times fast).

Back in 2002 a new pest was discovered in Fairfax, VA, when a homeowner noticed a voracious caterpillar munching her ornamental euonymus. The caterpillars were sent to Eric Day at the Insect Identification Laboratory in Blacksburg, VA. Eric reared the larvae and sent the unknown moths to specialist John Brown at the Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA. Dr. Brown identified the moth as one not known to occur in the US – a new, exotic, invader. The scientific name of this alien is Pryeria sinica. Prior to its discovery in Fairfax, this pest was only known from eastern Russia and China through Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. In 2003 more moths were collected in Northern Virginia and on May 28, 2003, Gaye Williams at the Maryland Department of Agriculture identified specimens of Pryeria sinica from Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Somewhere along the way the new pest was dubbed the euonymus leaf notcher due to the distinctive pattern of feeding caused by the caterpillar. As large caterpillars eat, sections of leaf along the margin disappear down their gullets, hence the name leaf notcher. 

The leaf notcher passes winter as taupe-colored eggs deposited in clusters or 150 or more on pencil-sized twigs near terminals of branches. Eggs hatch in mid-March and early April and tiny caterpillars first feed in tight silken webs spun around unfolded leaves at terminals. As larvae grow, they move to expanded leaves to feed and are often found in large groups. Their presence is easily recognized by marginal notches and coarsely shredded leaves. When abundant, these caterpillars can entirely strip shrubs. After completing development, larvae wander from the plant seeking protected locations to pupate. Large numbers of wandering caterpillars may alarm homeowners, but citizens should remain calm as caterpillars are not known to eat humans or pets. 

In early spring, euonymus leaf notchers hatch from eggs and scores of caterpillars begin to strip the leaves of euonymus. After completing development in spring, caterpillars spin silken cocoons in protected locations. In late October and November, adult moths emerge from very cute pupae, mate, and deposit overwintering eggs on twigs of euonymus.

Adult euonymus leaf-notcher moths fly in autumn and mimic wasps. This one was found less than 10 miles from the Pennsylvania boarder in Hampstead, Maryland. Credit: Charles Krause

In autumn, caterpillars spin cocoons amidst fallen leaves and adult moths appear to fly, mate, and lay eggs on the terminals of euonymus branches. Unlike many moths, euonymus leaf notchers are day fliers. They have unique patterns and colors on their body and wings that make them closely resemble wasps. The fact that they mimic wasps may help them avoid being eaten by day feeding predators such as birds. In North America the leaf notcher has been reported on Euonymus japonicus and E. kiautschovicus ‘Manhattan’. In its native range in Asia, the pest has been reported feeding on E. sieboldianus, E. japonicus, and E. alatus. Moreover, other members of the Celastraceae family such as Celastrus punctatus and C. orbiculatus are recorded as hosts for this pest.

The pest has two obvious weak points that provide excellent opportunities for management. From the time that egg laying ends in December until eggs hatch in spring, eggs can be crushed on the plant or simply removed by pruning off the terminal and disposing of it. If larvae are small or in restricted areas on a plant, then they can also be removed by a gloved hand or pruner. If larvae are widely distributed, abundant, or otherwise difficult to control manually, then several insecticides should perform well. Some of the most “environmentally friendly” insecticides for killing caterpillars contain Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) or the active ingredient called spinosad. Btk destroys cells in the gut of the caterpillar, a slow and painful death to be sure. Spinosad acts on the nervous system of the caterpillar, inducing a more rapid, twitchy form of death. Both insecticides can be purchased as brands that are listed by the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic food production, which makes them safe enough to be applied to those vegetables and fruits labeled “organic” in your supermarket.  

Euonymus leaf notcher, where are you now? Two excellent sources provide clues to locations where euonymus leaf notcher can be found in the DMV. The Maryland Biodiversity project lists four locations in Maryland with this rascal including Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Prince Georges County, and Anne Arundel County. Carroll County should likely be added to this list as Bug of the Week reported a finding of the leaf-notcher in Carroll County back in November of 2020. A second source of information on locations of the leaf-notcher is iNaturalist which tallies observations in Fairfax and Prince William counties.     


Many thanks to Jeremy S. and Charles Krause for sharing their wonderful images of euonymus leaf notcher and providing the inspiration for this episode. Thanks also to Gaye Williams of the Maryland Department of Agriculture for confirming the identity of the adult moth.

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Do Termites Like Moisture? The Role of Moisture in Termite Infestations 

Although termites seem to be more prevalent in warmer locations, such as Miami, Florida, and Los Angeles, the Northeast and New England area aren’t immune to these pests. Across the country, termites damage roughly 600,000 homes every year, creating an estimated $5 billion in damage.  

After years of providing countless treatments for elimination and prevention throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, Catseye Pest Control has extensive experience dealing with termites. The Catseye team believes that understanding the behavior of these silent destroyers and learning what attracts them to a property is the key to prevention. 

One common question is do termites like moisture? Let’s explore the answer to that and more. Learn more about termite biology, the role moisture plays in their habits, and how to spot the signs of a problem early to better prevent damage from these destructive critters.  

Termite Biology and Behavior 

Termites have lived for millions of years, dating back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the planet. Although there are more than 2,700 species worldwide, the single most common termite found in this region is the subterranean termite.  

In their natural habitats, termites play a beneficial role in the ecosystem. These wood-munching insects aid in recycling dead wood, helping it transform into rich soil and preventing piles of wood from laying around. They have a considerable positive influence on ecosystems in tropical and subtropical locations. 

In your home or on other properties, however, termites can cause massive destruction. They feed primarily on wood and can weaken structural elements without anyone knowing they are even there.  

Basic Termite Biology 

Termites belong to the same family as cockroaches, Blattodea. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult. They are social insects that live in large colonies where they fall into three basic groups. Workers have white bodies and make up the bulk of the colony, doing all the tunnel building and caring for young termites. Soldiers have larger, darker-colored heads and work to defend the colony. Swarmers are the termites that mate and lay eggs. They have dark bodies and wings that allow them to leave and start new colonies. 

Termite Behavior 

When the weather warms up in spring, usually from March through May, winged swarmer termites start emerging from homes and the soil. These are new kings and queens that are leaving the colony to mate and start their own colonies. They typically pair up as they fly and then search for an ideal spot to call home once they land.  

Once they do, they start digging their tunnels and establishing their colonies, which may remain small or grow to extensive sizes. Some large colonies can stretch as far as the size of a football field. Typically, termite colonies contain anywhere from 60,000 to two million termites. They build tunnels to travel between the colony and their food sources.  

The reason these insects are so destructive is their eating habits. They constantly eat wood, all day, every day. Over time, their voracious appetite for all things wood can lead to devastating levels of damage to homes and other wooden structures.  

Why Do Termites Like Moisture? 

Are termites attracted to or repelled by moisture? Understanding this dynamic is crucial for homeowners seeking to prevent termite infestations and protect their properties. 

Not surprisingly, subterranean termites love moisture. These pests live underground and in the soil, which helps prevent them from drying out. When they forage above ground, they frequently return to the soil to rehydrate. They travel through the tubes they create from the colony to their food sources, replenishing their bodies’ moisture levels along the way.  

That means water damaged wood is like a flashing “welcome” sign for termites. It offers everything they need — food and moisture — in one premium living location. Although you might think standing water damage, as seen in areas that frequently experience flooding, is the only source of the problem, everyday use of water can also lead to moisture problems. Cracked caulking around showers and tubs, slow leaks under toilets and sinks, improper ventilation, and inadequate ventilation can all contribute to moisture accumulation.  

Signs of a Termite Infestation 

Termite infestations can happen anywhere on a property, including the exterior and interior of a home or other building. Although these pests often leave no visible signs to alert you to their presence, routine inspections and knowing what to look for can help.  

Exterior Signs 

If you notice signs of termites outside, there is a good chance they may be inside your home, as well. Some things to look for include:  

  • Decaying wood, including stumps: Break a piece off and look for masses of white specks. 
  • Areas where wood touches the soil: Check for areas that look like they have rough troughs. 
  • Piles of translucent wings: When swarmers leave the colony, they shed their wings in places like patios, decks, foundation walls, and windowsills. 
  • Mud tubes: These are the pathways termites use to travel from the colony to their food source and can be spotted on the outside of foundations. 
foundation of home with a mud tunnel built by termites

Interior Signs 

You can have a termite infestation for years with no visible signs of damage. However, some things to watch out for include: 

  • Buckling wood floors or blistered spots 
  • Sunken areas or lines that look like trails on the walls 
  • Doors and windows that are suddenly difficult to open  
  • Bubbled appearance on walls and wallpaper 
  • Buckling support beams or ceilings 
paneling of home with significant termite damage

Termite Prevention Strategies 

A 2024 “State of the Termite Market” report revealed that not fixing leaks and moisture issues is among the primary challenges for termite control. Promptly fixing leaks and maintaining adequate drainage around the foundation can help prevent termites. Additional steps you can take include: 

  • Exclusion: Seal off any cracks in the foundation or gaps around utility lines to reduce access.  
  • Smart landscaping: Keep trees and shrubs away from the exterior of the building.  
  • Enhance ventilation: Consider installing a dehumidifier in crawlspaces, basements, and attics to ensure proper airflow. 
  • Store firewood away from the house: Keep firewood and any wood debris at least five to 20 feet away from the exterior of the building. 
  • Perform inspections: Routine monitoring can help catch problems before they become disastrously widespread. 

Contact a Professional Termite Pest Control Company 

Even the best preventive strategies can fail. Termites can be insidious and incredibly destructive. Working with professionals is essential to ensure the colony is completely eradicated. Additionally, the pros at Catseye have training and experience, which helps when it comes to monitoring and inspecting properties for signs of termite activity.  

If you see evidence of an infestation, professional termite pest control is a must. Catseye uses a five-point system to ensure lasting results to restore your peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more about our termite control services or to schedule a free inspection to get started.  

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Nature’s other epic event this spring: Periodical cicadas, Magicicada spp.


When you see dime-sized holes like these beneath a tree over the next few weeks, you’ve found a place where periodical cicadas will soon emerge. Image: Paula Shrewsbury, PhD


Here we are on April 8, 2024, donning special solar eclipse glasses to prevent UV rays from damaging our retinas, preparing to watch the solar eclipse. If, by chance, you miss this eclipse, well, you have to wait another 20 years and a few months to see another one here in the US. But, guess what, there is another amazing natural event taking place in a month that won’t happen again for another 221 years! In a broad swath of southeastern and mid-western states, the simultaneous emergence of two distinct broods of periodical cicadas will delight insect lovers and disturb many others. Earlier this year we broke the news that periodical cicadas would not be seen in Baltimore or Washington, DC, during this emergence. This week, following a deluge of questions from curious folks, we explore when and where periodical cicadas will be seen this year in the US.

Mud tubes and exit holes like these beneath trees are a sure sign you have found a place where cicadas will emerge this spring.

Under some soil conditions, cicadas build mud turrets over their exit holes before emerging from their subterranean nurseries.

When will we see cicadas? Scientists have determined that soil temperatures near 64 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of about 7 inches signal cicada nymphs that the above-ground world is warm enough for them to emerge from their subterranean crypts, molt into adults, and flee to the treetops where they will find food and mates and, hopefully, escape from hungry beaks and jaws long enough to procreate and lay eggs in small branches. In a series of studies conducted back in 2017 in the DMV, we saw the first cicada emerge on April 19th near Towson, MD. This extreme outlier was the bellwether for the rest of the brood, which appeared full-force during the latter half of May. The two broods emerging this spring are Brood XIII, the Northern Illinois Brood, and Brood XIX, the Great Southern Brood. Brood XIII is an ensemble of three species, M. septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula, that emerge on a 17-year cycle.  Brood XIX is a collection of four species of periodical cicadas, Magicicada neotredecim, M. tredecim, M. tredecassini, and M. tredecula, that emerge on a 13-year cycle. Because Brood XIX is distributed in a broad swath from Maryland to Louisiana, it’s a safe bet that in southern states emergence will occur earlier than in Maryland and cicadas there may make their 2024 debut in late April or early May.

Brood X cicadas appearing one year early in the spring of 2020 provide clues as to when cicadas will appear in 2024 in Maryland and Virginia. The first cicada to emerge was seen on April 19 and the last on June 14. If 2024 is anything like 2020, outliers will appear in April, but the great cicada tsunami hits the last two weeks of May. By Memorial Day weekend the cicadapalooza will be rocking the treetops in 18 states around the country.  Graph: Michael J. Raupp, PhD

This video first aired on April 19, 2021. Watch to see what is happening now in 18 states as periodical cicadas of Broods XIII and XIX get ready to emerge in 2024: “For seventeen years, nymphs of Brood X cicadas have been developing underground. While digging a hole in my yard in 2018, I discovered a quartet of periodical cicadas about 14 inches underground. Notice their white eyes and uniformly tan bodies. Last week, a periodical cicada not quite ready to emerge rested at the top of its exit gallery beneath a cinder block. Just behind its red eyes, the dorsal surface of the cicada is uniformly tan. On the evening of its emergence, notice how the dorsal exoskeleton of the fully developed cicada nymph bears two distinct black patches just behind its eyes.”

Where will we see cicadas? Although periodical cicadas will not be seen in Baltimore or the District of Columbia, you won’t have to travel far too commune with these rascals. Southern St. Mary’s County in Maryland will host cicadas, as will several counites and cities in Virginia (see the list below). Historical records report cicadas as close as Alexandria, Stafford, and Williamsburg in Virginia. Cicada Mania, the amazing website for all things cicada, lists these locations as the ones where periodical cicadas will emerge in 2024.

Brood XIII

“Illinois places: Belvidere, Brookfield, Channahon, Chicago, Des Plaines River Trail, Downers Grove, Egermann Woods County Forest Preserve, Elmhurst, Flossmoor, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Highland Park, Hinsdale, Homewood, La Grange, Lagrange Woods, Lake Forest, Lansing, Lincolnshire, Lisle, Lombard, MacArthur Woods Forest Preserve, Marseilles, McHenry, McKinley Woods, Morton Arboretum, Naperville, Northbrook, Ogden, Ottawa, Palos Heights, River Forest, River Grove, Romeoville, Ryerson Woods, Schiller Park, Thornton, Vernon Hills, Villa Park, Weaton, Western Springs, Westmont, Wonder Lake, and more.

Illinois counties: Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Cook, DuPage, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Kankakee, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Peoria, Putnam, Sangamon, Stark, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago, Woodford.

Iowa places: Atalissa, Solon, and more.

Iowa counties: Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Cedar, Dubuque, Henry, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Louisa, Muscatine, Scott, Tama.

Wisconsin locations: Aurora University, Big Foot Beach State Park, Lake Geneva, Moraine Nature Preserve, and more.

Wisconsin counties: Crawford, Grant, Green. Rock, Walworth.

Indiana locations: Crown Point, Portage, Purdue-North Central, Valparaiso, and more.

Indiana counties: LaPorte, Porter, Lake.

Michigan: According to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly, Magicicada have been found along the border of Michigan and Indiana.”

Brood XIX

Alabama counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Choctaw, Clarke, Crenshaw, Elmore, Etowah, Greene, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Monroe, Montgomery, Russell, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Wilcox

Alabama cities: Huntsville, Lowndesboro, Talladega

Arkansas counties: Boone, Futon, Howard, Izard, Lawrence, Marion, Montgomery, Pike, Scott, Searcy, Sevier, Sharp, Washington, Yell

Georgia counties: Bibb, Bleckley, Butts, Columbia, Elbert, Greene, Harris, Houston, Jasper, McDuffie, Monroe, Muscogee, Oconee, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Richmond, Stephens, Taliaferro, Troup, Warren, Wilkes

Georgia cities: LaGrange, Lincolnton, Rome, Washington.

Illinois counties: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Cumberland, De Witt, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hancock, Iroquois, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Pope, Saline, Shelby, Vermillion, Washington, Williamson

Illinois cities: Charleston, Decatur

Kentucky counties: Allen, Caldwell, Christian, Trigg

Louisiana parishes: Caddo, Claiborne, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Washington, Webster. Parish information comes from older literature, and might not be as accurate as recent information.

Maryland counties: St. Mary’s

Missouri counties: Adair, Boone, Callaway, Carter, Clark, Cooper, Dent, iron, Jackson, Knox, Louis, Lincoln, Macon, Maries, Marion, Montgomery, Morgan, Oregon, Osage, Pettis, Phelps, Ralls, Reynolds, St. Charles, St Francois, St Louis

Missouri cities: Columbia, Gerald, Manchester, Pevely, Poplar Bluff, St. Louis, Troy

Mississippi counties: Kemper, Newton

North Carolina counties: Buncombe, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Orange, Randolph, Rowan, Stanly, Union, Wake

North Carolina cities: Apex, Baldwin Township, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Harrisburg, Mebane, New Hill, Pittsboro, Raleigh, Waxhaw

Oklahoma counties: McCurtain

South Carolina counties: Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Edgefield, Greenwood, Lancaster, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Saluda, Union, York

South Carolina cities: Chester, Little Mountain, Rock Hill, Saluda, Winnsboro

Tennessee counties: Blount, Cheatham, Clay, Davidson, Grundy, Hamilton, Jackson, Loudon, Macon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Putnam, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Smith, Stewart, Summer

Tennessee cities: Gallatin, Lebanon, Nashville, Spring Hill

Virginia counties: Caroline, Gloucester, Halifax, James City, King and Queen, King William, Middlesex, New Kent, York

Virginia cities: Alexandria, Stafford, Williamsburg

If you don’t live in an area where cicadas may emerge, maybe you can plan a trip to visit these amazing creatures. If you don’t like hordes of large, noisy insects and you live in one of the areas listed above, well, it may be time to plan a vacation to the west coast. For cicada-philes, you can keep up with when and where cicadas are emerging by visiting the Cicada Mania website and participate in the incredible citizen-science project with the free Cicada Safari app. Another great source of information on periodical cicadas is the University of Connecticut’s Periodical Cicada Information Pages. Bug of the Week hopes you have a chance to enjoy the dual emergence of periodical cicadas this spring. If you don’t have a chance, don’t lament, Brood XIV returns for a limited engagement in parts of our region in 2025 and Brood II will put on a big show in 2030. Oh, and to watch cicadas, you won’t need special glasses, but you might want some ear protection. When the big boy band cranks it up, their racket will be really loud.


We thank Chris Carroll and Seth Borenstein for inspiring this episode. References used for this story include “The periodical cicada” by C. L. Marlatt,  “Reproductive character displacement and speciation in periodical cicadas, with description of a new species, 13-year Magicicada neotredecim” by D. C. Marshall and J. R. Cooley, “Advances in the Evolution and Ecology of 13- and 17-Year Periodical Cicadas” by  Chris Simon, John R. Cooley, Richard Karban, and Teiji Sota, and “Combining Data from Citizen Scientists and Weather Stations to Define Emergence of Periodical Cicadas, Magicicada Davis spp. (Hemiptera: Cicadidae” by M.J. Raupp,  C. Sargent, N. Harding and G. Kritsky.

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Why are males first to emerge for mason bees? Osmia spp.


A newly minted horn-faced mason bee prepares to take her first flight. Golden hairs called scopa line her abdomen. These will be festooned with pollen when she returns to her gallery to make pollen cakes for her young.


Cardboard tubes and drilled firewood make suitable accommodations for mason bees.

Our saga of insects active in early spring continues this week, following previous episodes featuring home invaders like stink bugs and boxelder bugs, and charismatic plasterer bees. This week we pay homage to another group of bees that help keep the plant world humming. A few weeks ago, on March 7, male horn-faced mason bees débuted after spending a chilly winter in their galleries. In nature, mason bees exploit galleries made in trees by other insects, like wood-boring beetles, as nesting sites for their young. To enjoy these pollinators on a more regular basis, several years ago I established a colony of mason bees by purchasing about 30 hollow cardboard tubes from a purveyor of bee paraphernalia. These tubes were rapidly colonized by grateful hordes of mason bees. Each year I have augmented my colony by drilling dozens of small holes in unused splits of maple and oak firewood. The bees have happily obliged by filling every gallery until my colony now numbers nearly a thousand bees.

In the wild, mason bees use galleries in trunks of dead trees as homes for their brood. Watch as these mason bees check old beetle emergence holes in a standing dead tree.

Male mason bees emerge before females each season in a phenomenon known as protandry.

Last spring mason bees filled brood chambers with pollen and eggs and sealed these chambers with mud (hence the name mason bee). The earthen plug keeps out predators and parasitoids intent on feasting on larval mason bees. During last spring, summer, and autumn, bee larvae developed within the galleries dining on pollen cakes designed by their industrious mothers. Over the past few weeks, as the morning sunshine warmed the tubes and logs, earthen plugs were dismantled as fresh new bees set themselves free from juvenile confinement. Like many of members of the insect clan, male mason bees complete development and emerge several days in advance of their future mates. This phenomenon, called protandry, is relatively common in the insect world, as noted by Charles Darwin in his famous work, “The Descent of Man.” Throughout the realm of insects, female mason bees are held in high esteem and finding just the right mate is a high priority in the mating game. Apparently, males that emerge early in the season have more opportunity to find and secure mates. Males that are slow to develop and emerge late may find all of the available ladies taken by earlier suitors. These latecomers may ultimately lose in the bee mating game.

After breaking through the earthen plug, a male horn-faced mason bee tidies up before searching for a mate.

For several days, newly emerged male mason bees swarmed around my colony, and I was not surprised to see one of the first females of the season quickly captured, mated, and guarded by an eager male bee.

To prevent interlopers from mating with a female, males guard their mates long after mating is complete.

Mason bees are solitary bees, meaning they lack the well-known social structure of honey bees where a queen mother rules the colony. In the world of mason bees, every female is a queen tasked with providing food for her own daughters and sons. Mason bees provide the valuable ecosystem service of pollination. High on their list of favored plants are some of my favorites as well, apples, cherries, blueberries, and almonds. In a fascinating study Drs. MacIvor, Cabral, and Packer found that in addition to insect pollinated plants, some Canadian mason bees collected significant pollen from wind-pollinated trees, including oaks and birches, and also from the ubiquitous lawn weed, white clover. Upon returning to the cardboard tubes or wooden galleries, females turn pollen and nectar into pollen cakes, the source of food for their bee babies.

Watch as busy blue orchard mason bees and horned faced mason bees enter galleries head first, then emerge, pirouette, and back into their gallery. Is this how they add pollen from their abdomen to the pollen cake?

Glorious yellow pollen cakes line each cardboard tube and gallery.

Provisioning the brood galleries involves an interesting mason bee dance. Returning from a flower, the mother bee enters the gallery head first. She then backs out of the gallery rear-end first and pirouettes 180 degrees, reentering the gallery backwards. After transferring pollen from the hairs on her body to the pollen cake, she departs to search for another load of nectar and pollen. Before each cake is sealed in a chamber, the female mason bee deposits an egg on it. Eggs hatch into tiny bee larvae that consume the cake as they develop and grow throughout the summer and fall. After completing development during autumn, they hunker down for winter, and are ready to emerge just in time for the return of spring and the blossoms of flowering plants. Like many other bees we have met in Bug of the Week, mason bees are gentle and not at all interested in stinging humans. I handled several adults and received a couple of cautionary bites, but never a sting. Nesting materials for mason bees can be purchased commercially and I highly recommend creating habitats for these industrious and fascinating pollinators.

Mason bee babies eat nutritious pollen cakes fashioned by their mothers.


References for this episode included “Bee Pollination in Agricultural Ecosystems” edited by Rosalind James and Theresa L. Pitts-Singer, “The significance of protandry in social Hymenoptera” by M. G. Bulmer, “Pollen specialization by solitary bees in an urban landscape” by J. S. MacIvor, J. M. Cabral, and L. Packer, and “The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin.

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Wake-up call for boxelder bugs: Boisea trivittatus


Warm weather puts boxelder bugs on the move. You may see one or buckets of boxelder bugs outside your home in coming weeks. Image credit: Margi Raupp


Hordes of boxelder bugs gather on the outside of a home to enjoy a day in the sun – the perfect Spring Break for a boxelder bug! Bet you’re glad this isn’t your house!

Two weeks ago, we met a pesky home invader, the brown marmorated stink bug, as it stirred from its indoor redoubt and annoyed inhabitants of a home while attempting to escape outdoors to the natural world. As temperatures once again soared into the 70s, we turn our attention to reports of hordes of another rascal, boxelder bugs, festooning a suburban home. Boxelder bugs are members of the order Hemiptera, a.k.a. the “true bug” clan, characterized by their sucking mouthparts and gradual metamorphosis. Two years ago, a bug-friendly neighbor inquired about vast numbers of boxelder bugs aggregating on their patio and the sunny side of their house. As our friends opened and closed doors, these rascals snuck inside for reasons known only to themselves and Mother Nature. Last week, a family member in eastern Pennsylvania sent images of dozens of boxelder bugs lounging on the side of their house. How did these rascals arrive and why are they now active?

Ok, boxelder bugs are a little creepy when you see hordes of them on the side of the house or the tool shed. (private)

When not feeding on seeds, boxelder bugs will dine on bird poop. Yum!

Here’s the story. Depending on geographic location, boxelder bugs complete one to three generations each year. They survive winter’s ravages hiding in cracks and crevices beneath shutters and under siding, and by entering other access points in structures. In natural settings outdoors, winter refuges include loose bark or hollows of trees, tangles of brush, and voids under rocks. During the last few weeks as temperatures soared into the upper 60s and 70s here in the Washington metropolitan region, boxelder bugs emerged from these redoubts and made their presence known inside homes as they sought a way out. On the exterior of homes, they aggregated in large numbers to soak up thermal energy from the sun. Spring and summer are times for foraging on a wide variety of plants, including seeds of their namesake tree, boxelder, as well as other members of the maple clan. Both adults and nymphs feed on propagules of many different kinds of seed-bearing trees and on the juicy tissues of many other landscape plants.

Seeds from this old maple tree support a population of boxelder bugs that sun themselves on the side of a home on warm spring days. Wanderers sometimes enter homes, creating a nuisance. Others battle as they feed on a maple seed on the ground. Males and females pair off, and after mating females deposit eggs in many places, including sides of buildings. Wingless nymphs that hatch from eggs feed on a wide variety of plants.

Female boxelder bugs deposit eggs in clusters. Tiny nymphs will hatch and move to the ground to consume seeds and other plant tissues.

After gaining sufficient nutrients, mated females deposit eggs on a wide variety of substrates on the ground and also on human-made structures. In autumn, large clusters of boxelder bugs gather on trees and buildings where they become a nuisance. In the waning days of autumn, they seek winter shelter. They enter homes through cracks in the foundation, gaps in siding around windows or vents, and beneath doors and windows. On cold winter days they are inactive, but as winter retreats and temperatures warm, restless boxelder bugs move about and make their presence known inside and out.

Boxelder bug nymphs are wingless nymphs.

Boxelder bugs are not harmful to humans or pets. They do not bite, sting, or reproduce indoors, however, if you squash them on your drapes or walls, they will stain. So, don’t do that.

To limit the number of boxelder bugs taking up residence in your residence, eliminate overwintering places such as piles of lumber, fallen branches, or other refuges close to the house. Some folks go as far as removing boxelders, other maples, and ash trees from their landscapes to reduce food sources for nymphs and adults. Weatherproofing your home can also help keep these invaders out. Caulk and seal openings where utilities enter the home. Repair or replace door sweeps and seal any openings around windows, doors, or window air conditioners.

If you find them inside your home, you might try this. Simply get out the hand-held vacuum, suck them up, and release them back into the wild. It is wise to choose a liberation point some distance away from your home.

The boxelder bug’s clever mouthparts (proboscis) enable it to feed on seed and plant tissues.


We thank Margi, George, Anne Marie, and Dennis for sharing their boxelder bugs, and providing inspiration for this episode of Bug of the Week. The wonderful reference “Urban Insects and Arachnids: A Handbook of Urban Entomology” by William Robinson was used as a reference.

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Spring Pest Control for New Homebuyers 

Spring has almost sprung, and with it comes the emergence of many common household pests. As a new homeowner, your excitement over your new beginning and all the possibilities your property offers could quickly be overshadowed by a pest infestation.  

All too often, pest control is used as a reactive tool to treat infestations once a problem becomes obvious. However, preventive services, routine maintenance, and a new home pest inspection are more valuable approaches than many new homebuyers realize.  

Your new home is one of your greatest investments. Let’s explore ways you can proactively manage common spring pest issues throughout the region, which sees its fair share of pests all year long. With more than four decades of experience serving Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, Catseye Pest Control understands what you’re facing. Learning how to deal with pests from the beginning can save you both stress and money later.  

Inspect Your Property Before Spring 

Getting started ahead of the season can help ward off potential problems before they begin. Ideally, you want to arrange a new home pest inspection before you close on your new home. Beyond the standard home inspection, this essential step can make all the difference in making sure your experience as a homeowner goes as smoothly as possible.  

Pest control professionals will look for the presence of potentially catastrophic pest infestations, including termites. These wood-chewing, destructive pests create billions of dollars in damage to properties annually. Homeowners insurance policies typically don’t cover that type of damage, which is why getting a pest inspection is so critical. 

Proactive Seasonal Pest Control 

Once the deal is done and you have closed on your home, your pest journey isn’t over. Although pests of all types are active year-round, many begin emerging as New England’s weather starts warming up in spring. That’s why a spring inspection is particularly helpful for both new and established homeowners.  

Performing a rigorous visual inspection, indoors and outside, can help you spot potential entry points and signs of a possible infestation.  

Look for: 

  • Gaps and cracks in the foundation 
  • Openings in siding joints and around utility lines 
  • Gaps under doors or around windows as well as broken screens 
  • Exposed vent openings, which can be covered by wire mesh or a similar barrier 

Clean and Declutter 

Inspecting your property is an excellent starting point. It will give you a lot of valuable information and help you become familiar with your new home. Beyond performing an inspection, cleaning and decluttering is another powerful preventive strategy. It seems simple, but it can be challenging when you’re in the middle of a move. The more you can do to remove potential sources of food and shelter for pests, the more you can reduce your chance of an infestation.  


The kitchen can be like a “welcome” sign to unwanted pests. Food, including pantry goods, can attract hungry scavengers in search of their next meal. Likewise, dirty dishes, crumbs on counters and flooring, and even exposed pet food can attract pests of all sorts.  

  • Store all food, including pet food, in rigid, airtight containers.  
  • Regularly remove the trash and keep it in tightly lidded containers. 
  • Routinely wipe down counters, appliances, and stovetops. 

Remove Clutter 

Pests seek hidden, out of the way places to hide and nest. Clutter offers ample shelter and can disguise pest activity for weeks, months, or even longer. Go through moving boxes promptly and remove them to avoid attracting and harboring pests. Eliminate overcrowded cabinets, piles of clothing, and stacks of paper. Taking time to eliminate clutter now can save you a lot of headaches and hassle later.  

Vacuum Regularly 

Vacuuming is an underrated pest prevention strategy. Not only will vacuuming remove dust, dirt, and pest-attracting food particles, but it will also reduce the amount of pet hair and lint that can attract fabric-loving pests like carpet beetles. Additionally, vacuuming can remove pests, including mites, stink bugs, and millipedes, along with shed skin and egg casings. This will provide a start on treatment if it’s needed and eliminate debris to make pest control treatments more effective once they are applied. 

Secure Your Outdoor Space 

Your indoor space is important, but the great outdoors also plays a critical role in your new home’s defense against pests. Getting rid of outdoor clutter is a critical step. Sealing any gaps, cracks, or openings that provide pests with an “in” is equally essential. Depending on how prone your new home is to pests, rodents, and wildlife intruders, you might consider investing in a permanent solution like Cat-Guard Exclusion Systems. These long-term barriers offer chemical free, humane protection that keeps pests out.  

Trim Vegetation 

Trimming trees and shrubs will help keep your plants healthy. It also helps ensure that limbs remain a minimum of six feet away from your home’s exterior walls. By doing this, you can reduce the odds of many pests, including rodents, trying to scamper into your new home. Likewise, keeping the lawn regularly mowed will make it less of a shelter for ticks and other pests who would hang out in tall grasses.  

Clean Gutters 

Clogged gutters provide a prime breeding ground for many pests, including mosquitoes. Additionally, gutters can offer shelter to other pests, including rodents and birds. Keeping gutters clean and free-flowing helps reduce the risk. It also ensures your gutters work properly, which further protects your home’s structural integrity. 

Store Firewood Away 

You might be surprised by the number of insects and other pests that your firewood could be harboring, including wood boring beetles, carpenter ants, spiders, and rodents. To minimize the risk of these pests finding their way into your home, store firewood at least three to five feet from the outside of your home. 

Inspect and Repair Screens 

There’s nothing like getting a little fresh spring air into your home. Unfortunately, if your windows or door screens aren’t intact, you could inadvertently invite flies, mosquitoes, and other nuisances to come inside. 

Schedule Professional Pest Control 

As a new homeowner, one of the best things you can do for yourself is rely on trusted professionals. Effective pest control and prevention isn’t entirely a DIY proposition. Experts like Catseye’s trained, licensed technicians know exactly what to look for and can offer valuable advice about the preventive steps you can take. Additionally, you can opt for targeted services like pest control for bees, wasps, and hornets to keep your outdoor spaces pest-free.  

Be Mindful of Common Wildlife 

Wildlife viewing can be great fun — unless that wildlife is lounging around under your roof. The region is home to many species of wildlife, including bats, mice, rats, squirrels, skunks, and groundhogs that can wreak havoc both inside and out. Some wildlife will damage structures and gnaw on wires. Others may pose a health risk and spread dangerous germs. Keeping your home and outdoor spaces clean and sanitized and storing trash in wildlife-proof receptacles can help reduce nuisance wildlife.  

Practice Responsible Gardening 

Additionally, it’s helpful to keep debris, mulch, and wood chips away from your home and frequently enjoyed outdoor spaces. It’s natural to be excited about all you can do with your new outdoor spaces, but keep in mind that your gardening approach can help or hinder your pest prevention plan. For example, overcrowding your plant beds may add a lush look, but it also offers easy shelter for rats and other pests. You might also consider incorporating some pest-repelling plants in the design. For example, lavender and citronella grass repels mosquitoes and other insects.  

Contact Catseye for a Partner You Can Trust 

Your new home deserves the very best. Catseye views each customer as unique and provides a free, detailed inspection and customized treatment plan. From the routine monitoring incorporated with our Platinum Home Protection plan to outdoor services like our Organic Tick and Mosquito Control Program, we have you covered.  

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help safeguard your property.  

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Spring arrives and with it, delightful Plasterer bees: Colletes spp.


From the safety of its burrow, a plasterer bee takes a peek at a bug geek with a camera. How cute is that?


We visited plasterer bees in the spring of 2020 at the onset of the Covid epidemic. Let’s go back in time to that earlier episode and see how these spring beauties roll.   

Soil conditions in this lawn support nesting sites for thousands of plasterer bees. Credit: Marlene Stamm

April 13, 2020 – “Fortunately, before the shelter-at-home orders kicked into high gear, I was able to visit a park and vacant golf course to piece together more details about these fascinating ground-dwelling bees known as plasterer bees. Along with beetles, flies, and butterflies, bees are among the premier pollinators on the planet. Plasterer bees are some of the very first native pollinators to appear each spring. The name plasterer stems from their intriguing behavior of building galleries in the ground and then coating the interior surface of their burrow with a thin, glossy, translucent material produced by a gland in their abdomen. Plasterer bees use their tiny mouthparts to remove the soil when constructing their galleries. The excavation is accompanied by a buzzing sound that may help loosen particles of soil and aid in the digging process. The bee’s mouthparts are also used like a mason’s trowel to spread the glandular secretion on the inside of the burrow before it dries into a cellophane-like coating. How clever! This habit of sealing their galleries gives this bee the common name plasterer bee.

What’s up with all these holes in the ground? Watch, listen, and learn a little bit about the fascinating lives of plasterer bees.

Plasterer bees are relatives of honey bees and bumble bees but, unlike their cousins, these bees are solitary. Rather than living in a communal nest, each female plasterer bee constructs a subterranean gallery of her own to serve as a home for her brood. Burrows are provisioned with a semi-liquid concoction of nectar and pollen from flowering plants that bloom early in the spring. This yummy delight is food for bee larvae that develop during the summer and fall within the galleries. Although they are not considered social insects, large numbers of plasterer bee galleries are often abundant in close proximity in sandy soils with thin vegetation.”  

Thin grass, a sunny hillside, and sandy soil provide nice conditions for plasterer bees in my backyard.

While exploring nesting sites along Disc Golf Course in Patapsco State Park last week, I was delighted to see dozens of small plasterer bees zooming inches above the ground. While swarming bees at the margin of fairways might dismay some disc golfers, bee dread is unwarranted. Unlike yellow jackets, baldfaced hornets, and other stinging terrors, plasterer bees are docile and extremely reluctant to sting. Remember, each female bee is a mother and to risk her life by stinging a human could mean instant curtailment of her reproductive potential should she die in the encounter. Over large areas of a balding zone in the rough, several burrows could be found in each square meter of ground. The plasterer bees were not responsible for the balding turf. They simply colonize areas where the turf is naturally thin. If you see swarms of small hairy or metallic colored bees constructing burrows or emerging from galleries in your garden or lawn, please resist the urge to treat them with insecticides. Several species of native pollinators, including anthophorid bees, yellow-faced bees, andrenid bees, halictid bees, as well as plasterer bees nest in the ground. Enjoy these beauties and give them a break. They pollinate plants and keep our planet humming.  

On a warm afternoon last week plasterer bees swarmed over the surface of a sun-drenched embankment along the Patuxent River. Excavations by hundreds of plasterer bees created tiny volcanoes of brick red soil along the slope. While some bees buzzed about, others were busy constructing burrows or dashing off to bring provisions back to their subterranean galleries.


Bug of the Week thanks native bee guru Sam Droege for helping to identify bees seen in this episode. We also thank Marlene for sharing an image of her bee-friendly yard, providing both a home for these fantastic native pollinators and the inspiration for this story. The wonderful article “Ecology, Behavior, Pheromones, Parasites and Management of the Sympatric Vernal Bees Colletes inaequalis, C. thoracicus and C. validus by S. W. T. Batra was used as a reference.

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