When Do Ticks Become Inactive? 

When Do Ticks Become Inactive? 

You might occasionally hear about “tick season,” a period of time when tick activity tends to be at its highest. Nationwide, tick season typically spans from March through October. State-to-state, it may vary. For many people, the off-season may provide a sense of false security.  

Ticks thrive in wet, warm weather, but can they survive in the cold? Let’s explore tick activity during the off-season and look at ways you can protect yourself and the people and pets you care about.  

Are Ticks Still Active in the Fall? 

Truth be told, ticks can be active year-round. Throughout most of Catseye Pest Control’s service areas, tick activity remains relatively high through October, although it can extend until December. In fact, many species produce two periods of pronounced peak activity levels. The first is usually in March or April, while the second is October and November.  

During autumn months, the weather typically cools off a bit. Cooler nights change tick activity, leading these tiny pests to hide under debris until the warmth of the sun encourages them to come out.  

Tick activity continues during fall, and it can also be even more dangerous if people let their guard down and take fewer precautions against tick bites. Remember, in any season, ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease, Powassan virus, and more. 

North American Tick Species  

More than 800 species of ticks can be found worldwide. More than 90 species of ticks can be found throughout the United States. However, different states and regions are more favorable for certain tick species. Across North America and throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, four species account for the majority of tick activity.  

Deer Ticks  

These ticks are commonly found in wooded areas, but they can easily spread to other locations. Deer ticks primarily feed on white-tailed deer, although they may also feed on squirrels, mice, and other mammals. Deer ticks can carry Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. 

Lone Star Ticks  

Lone star ticks, named for the single white spot on their backs, were once only found in the Southern U.S. However, the Lone Star tick has now spread along the entire East Coast. It may feed on humans, birds, dogs, cattle, and other animals. Some of the serious health risks posed by these ticks include STARI, ehrlichiosis, and a relatively new condition called Alpha-gal allergy. This condition is marked by an allergy to meats that contain alpha galactose, including pork and beef.  

Brown Dog Ticks  

One of the unique qualities of the brown dog tick is its ability to live its life entirely indoors. This means it can thrive quite well in areas with colder climates, even during the frigid fall and winter months. Although it may bite people and other animals, the brown dog tick primarily feeds on dogs. It may transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. 

American Dog Ticks  

Also known as a wood tick, the American dog tick primarily feeds on dogs, although it also bites humans. These ticks are commonly found along the edges of roadways and trails. They have larger bodies that can grow to 1/2 inch after feeding. American dog ticks may transmit serious diseases, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can be fatal if left untreated. They may also carry tularemia, which can paralyze and kill both dogs and humans. 

Can Ticks Survive the Winter? 

Can ticks survive the cold winter months? Many ticks become less active in winter, and research conducted in laboratory freezers shows that ticks die in temperatures below 14 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in nature, these blood-thirsty pests could find shelter to avoid cold temperatures. Common winter hiding spots include burrowing into the soil, under leaves and debris, and even under the snow. They also have physiological adaptations that help them withstand periods of cold weather. 

Some ticks, including the lone star and American dog ticks, become very inactive or dormant during winter, typically when temperatures reach or fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Others, including deer ticks, remain active in above-freezing temperatures. Additionally, dormant ticks can become active on warm, sunny winter days.  

Tips to Make Your Property Less Appealing to Ticks Year-Round 

Maintaining a tidy property can go a long way to minimizing the risk of ticks. These pests often shelter in tall grass, making it essential to mow frequently throughout the growing season. Other actions you can take to make your home less appealing during peak tick seasons and during times of low tick activity include:  

  • Eliminate hiding spots and shelter: Ticks love debris piles, wooded areas, and tall grass. Perform a thorough fall cleanup to remove fallen leaves and get rid of junk.  
  • Create a barrier: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends creating a 3-foot barrier between your lawn and wooded areas. Using strategic landscaping and adding rocks or wood chips can accomplish this effectively and helps reduce the risk of ticks migrating from the woods onto your property.  
  • Deter deer and other animals: Ticks commonly travel on deer and rodents. Keeping nuisance wildlife and rodents away from your home and property can help reduce your risk.  

Professional Tick Control Services in Your Area 

Although you can take certain actions to make your home and property less enticing for ticks to find shelter, the single most effective way to control the situation is with professional help. Tick control services provide treatment and prevention for peace of mind when ticks are active as well as when they are dormant.  

With Catseye Pest Control’s organic tick and mosquito program, technicians visit the property monthly from May through October. We use an all-natural, environmentally friendly approach to eliminate ticks. From the initial, detailed inspection to administering monthly organic treatments that provide a barrier against ticks to offering preventive tips, we’ve got you covered. 

Contact Catseye to Learn More 

Many people keep their guard up during warm weather months and worry less about ticks once the temperature drops. Achieve peace of mind and feel like you’re in control in any season with professional services. Our technicians have the training and expertise needed to keep your property, pets, and loved ones safe. Contact us for more tick control information or to schedule a free inspection.  

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Got lanternflies? Tired of squishing? Get a spider! Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia


My lovely black and yellow garden spider spends most of her day resting on the stabilimentum at the center of her enormous web.


In a recent episode, we lamented frustrating efforts to halt the spread of spotted lanternfly in the early years of its arrival in the US. We also know that vertically challenged humans can only reach and destroy by scraping an unsatisfyingly small proportion, about 2%, of lanternfly eggs deposited on trees. We know that several predators (birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish), parasitoids, and pathogens, all part of Mother Nature’s Hit Squad, are helping to put a beat-down on lanternflies. This week we add one more predator to a growing list of good guys helping to squelch the lanternfly invasion, the black and yellow garden spider.

Just in front of the spider’s eyes are two brown chelicerae which bear fangs used to administer venom and macerate the prey.

Sometimes good fortune smiles on my garden, and last week a drop-dead gorgeous black and yellow orb weaver decided to set up shop just outside of my picture window beneath an overhanging eve. You may have shared my experience of wandering along a path through a meadow and bumbling into an enormous spider web ruled by a fearsome black and yellow spider. Argiope aurantia, the so-called black and yellow garden spider, belongs to family known as Araneidae, the orb weavers, made famous by E. B. White in his classic tale ‘Charlotte’s Web’. Webs of the black and yellow garden spider can be gargantuan, often spanning several feet. You may recall that Charlotte used her web to write eloquent praises for her friend Wilbur in an attempt to rescue him from becoming a porcine feast for farmer John.  To my disappointment, my giant spider has only somewhat mastered the letter “W”, (or is it “M?”) which she copies repeatedly to create a conspicuously large band of zigzagging “W’s” in the center of her web.

An ill-fated spotted lanternfly struggles to free itself from sticky strands of the spider’s web. Web vibrations alert the spider to the victim’s presence. Lightning fast, the spider dashes from the center of the web and immobilizes the lanternfly with sheets of silk. With its prey swaddled and helpless, the spider delivers lethal bites to the lanternfly. She then retreats to the center of her web. As daylight wanes, the spider moves its meal to the center of the web. Using powerful fangs, she macerates the lanternfly and then slurps liquefied lanternfly into her digestive tract. By nightfall, the lanternfly is but a shriveled hulk. Bye, bye, lanternfly.

Spider aficionados call this band of heavy silk the stabilimentum. The function of the stabilimentum is a topic of debate among arachnologists. Some suggest that the band helps disguise the spider from its predators by providing a form of camouflage as the spider rests in the center of its web. Others believe that the silk may act as a tiny parasol shielding the spider from intense rays of the sun. One fascinating study revealed that the conspicuous bands of silk acted as a visual warning to low flying birds, thereby reducing the likelihood of devastating web-destroying crashes much the same way an image of an owl on a large plate glass window dissuades misguided birds from crashing and breaking their necks. Of course, the spider cares not for the welfare of the bird, but repairing bird-damaged webs takes time away from important projects like capturing and eating insects.

Other encounters with black and yellow garden spiders, like gently poking them, provoke a remarkable behavioral display called web-flexing. Here the garden spider retreats slightly from the stabilimentum and begins to rhythmically flex and extend its legs. These gyrations set the entire web rocking back and forth in ever-increasing waves. Swaying the web in rhythmic motion is often observed in orb weavers. Web-flexing has been reported as a way of dislodging potential predators or causing prey to become entangled in sticky capture-threads in the web.

On a rainy morning, Sylvia, a black and yellow garden spider, uses her forelegs to rock her web back and forth. This behavior known as web-flexing may help her snare prey, dodge predators, or, perhaps, shed raindrops that accumulate on capture-threads of her web. Another black and yellow garden spider has had a very successful season producing two marble-sized egg cases from her harvest of prey. Video credits: Michael Raupp and Ann Payne

Flexing may serve other defensive purposes as well. Enemies of the orb weaver include predatory lizards, toads, and other spiders that rely on keen eyesight to locate and capture prey. In an interesting treatise on orb weavers, researcher Wayne Tolbert suggested that web-flexing might be a clever way for the spider to conceal its exact location, thereby confounding hungry predators.

The egg sac of the black and yellow garden spider contains hundreds of eggs and is the size of a large marble.

As fate would have it, swarms of spotted lanternflies reside in our research plots near Antietam Battlefield. They provide a ready source of food for my pet spider. Lanternflies stand no chance once they encounter the sticky strands of the web. The speed with which my spider immobilizes her victim in a silken wrapper is reminiscent of Frodo’s wicked encounter with Shelob en route to Mount Doom. Sometimes the prey is treated to a bite or two from the spider’s impressive fangs. On other occasions, she simply wraps up the victim and later fetches it to the center of the web where the snack is devoured. Over the next several weeks, my orb weaver will play a small role in helping to reduce populations of spotted lanternflies. I hope she will soon deliver a large marble-sized egg case somewhere in her lair. These eggs will be repatriated with the spotted lanternfly outbreak in Washington County where they will join their feral kin in the battle to quash these beautiful but noisome lanternfly invaders.


We thank Virginia Master Gardeners of Greenspring Gardens for providing the inspiration for this episode. Three great articles, “Predator avoidance behaviors and web defense structures in the orb weavers Argiope aurantia and Argiope trifasciata” by W. Tolbert, “Do stabilimenta in orb webs attract prey or defend spiders?” by T.A. Blackledge and J.W. Wenzel, and “Using community science to identify predators of spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), in North America” by A.E. Johnson, A. Cornell, S. Hermann, F. Zhu and K. Hoover were consulted for this episode of Bug of the Week. To learn more about all things spotted lanternfly, please visit Penn State’s awesome spotted lanternfly website at this link: https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly

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Identifying and Treating Bat Bugs: How One East Hamden Home Eliminated These Uncommon Pests

When is a bed bug not a bed bug? That is an interesting question.  

Bat bugs look nearly identical, but they have different feeding habits and slightly different habitats. If you are like many people, you might not have heard of bat bugs. If you do encounter them, you will likely mistake them for bed bugs. That’s exactly what happened to one East Hamden, Connecticut, homeowner.  

Catseye Pest Control responded to a call from a customer who recently purchased a home in East Hamden and found bat droppings in the attic. The client, who was eight months pregnant with the couple’s second child, explained that they had just moved into the home. She also revealed that she found a bug in her bed and showed the pest inspector a photo of the offending insect. 

With a decade of experience and a record of inspecting more than 10,000 homes, the Catseye inspector quickly realized that although the pest in the photo looked like a bed bug, the circumstances didn’t sound like a typical bed bug scenario.  

Spoiler alert: They weren’t bed bugs at all.  

So, let’s explore what bat bugs are and how to get rid of a bad bug infestation through the lens of our client’s experience. We will also detail how Catseye identified the infestation and applied effective bat bug treatment options.  

What Are Bat Bugs? 

Although bed bugs are a well-known challenge faced by homes and businesses across the United States, a lesser-known relative of this blood-sucking pest is seemingly on the rise. To the naked eye, the two are indistinguishable.  

Bat bugs (Cimex adjunctus) look nearly identical to bed bugs (Cimex lectularius). However, these two pests have different habits and require different approaches to achieve lasting elimination. Understanding bat bug habits and where they live can help make identification easier.  

Bat Bug Habits and Habitat 

Bed bugs typically live in just about any dark, protected location near their hosts, which are primarily humans, although they will feed on other animals. Bat bugs, however, remain close to bat colonies. These tiny, dark brown or beige-colored pests only wander when their hosts abandon them. They look nearly identical to bed bugs, with flat, tiny, oval-shaped bodies that easily tuck into small spaces. Under a microscope, it’s possible to spot one of the only physical differences: longer hairs along the bat bug’s upper thorax. 

Are Bat Bugs Dangerous? 

Although bat bugs may bite humans, they cannot survive on human blood. These pests can only molt and reproduce on a diet of bat blood. Bat bugs aren’t known to carry diseases or pose a danger to people or other animals, but their bites may cause itching and mild irritation.  

The presence of bat bugs can cause significant anxiety for homeowners and businesses. This is particularly true when the tiny pests are found in commonly used interior spaces and beds, as was the case with our client. The bigger danger is the presence of bats, which can carry rabies. Additionally, bat excrement can grow a fungus that causes histoplasmosis, a respiratory disease. 

Signs of a Bat Bug Infestation 

What should you look for if you suspect an infestation? Bat bugs are most commonly found in and around bat colonies. They are relatively rare for pest control professionals to encounter.  

In the case of Catseye’s East Hamden client, the inspection revealed clear signs that they were dealing with bat bugs. The homeowner found small bugs that looked identical to bed bugs in her bed.  

Signs of an infestation to watch for include: 

  • Presence of live bugs, small and reddish-brown in color, on furniture, walls, and other surfaces 
  • Dead insect skins or small white eggs found in crevices, including the seams of furniture and mattresses 
  • Stains on upholstery and linens 
  • The presence of bats in and around the property 

Signs of Bats  

In the case of Catseye’s client, the technician became sure they were dealing with bat bugs after discovering evidence of a long-established bat colony. Inspection of the attic revealed not only live bats but also bat bugs found directly below where the bats roosted. The signs included: 

  • Guano accumulation  
  • Urine-streaked and stained attic walls with a whitish color near the bat colony 
  • Dark brown sebum staining on attic beams caused by the oils in the bats’ skin 
  • Presence of live bats
Bat bug guano from an infestation in an attic

The guano had accumulated in piles up to 2 inches deep, indicating an ongoing problem. Additionally, sebum staining typically takes years to accumulate, leading the technician to believe the bat infestation had been present for a long time. Live bats were roosting in the roof vent and directly below them, and the technician identified many spots that looked like bed bug droppings.

Bat bug droppings and spotting can look like a felt tip marker was used to make tiny dots.

The location of these droppings suggested that they were bat bugs. He also found live bat bugs adjacent to the colony.  

How to Get Rid of Bat Bug Infestations 

Bat bug treatment starts with eliminating the bats, but before you can do that, it’s critical to identify the exact pest causing the problem. In the case of the East Hamden home, the inspection was a pivotal part of identifying the pest as bat bugs, not bed bugs. It also provided the details and information needed to create a customized, comprehensive treatment plan.  

This essential step makes a tremendous difference, as the treatments for bed bugs and bat bugs are vastly different. Treating bat bugs requires the removal of the bats, restoring and abating the affected area, and treating the attic and rooms.  

Evicting Bats 

Safely removing bats from the premises requires trained professionals. Catseye’s wildlife specialists have extensive training on how and when to eliminate bats from a property. Because they are essential to the ecosystem and protected by many state and federal laws, removal can only be performed at certain times of the year. Timing is essential to avoid interfering with hibernation, migration, and birthing patterns.  

When the timing is right, we install an excluder in the area where bats live. This is a funnel-shaped door that lets bats exit without allowing them to re-enter the home. It’s a perfectly safe and humane way to evict bats. 

Disinfection and Bat Bug Treatment  

Once the area is free of bats, it’s critical to thoroughly clean the space and apply bat bug treatment to kill any remaining bugs before they find new hosts. For the Catseye’s East Hamden client, technicians started by creating a clean space. This involved removing all insulation, vacuuming to remove debris, and disinfecting all affected areas with hospital-grade disinfectant.

Disinfected area to treat a bat bug infestation.

The team wore personal protective equipment (PPE), including Tyvek suits, respirators, and nitrile gloves during the process.  

Bat bug treatment in the attic and other rooms where homeowners found bat bugs.

Once the cleaning and disinfection were complete, we applied bat bug treatment in the attic and any rooms where homeowners found bat bugs.  

Once the cleaning and treatment process was complete, we began putting things back together. We installed new T.A.P. insulation as an assurance to guard against any hidden bat bugs and comply with all local building codes. Catseye also provided follow-up inspections and treatments as needed to provide peace of mind.  

Exclusion Services 

Preventing bats from ever returning is mission-critical for long-term success. Although every scenario is unique, exclusion services effectively seal off potential entry points, including gaps, cracks, and holes.  

In this case, the technician found gaps between the ridge vent and the interior of the attic. We also found problems with the chimney flashing and a gap between the main roof and a dormer. To seal off any potential entry points, Catseye installed our Upper Cat-Guard Exclusion System and RidgeGuard.  

One of three Cat-Guard Exclusion Systems, this provided a permanent barrier to keep bats, rodents, and other wildlife from entering the upper portion of the home. The technician fastened the RidgeGuard, a PVC-coated mesh, to the ridge on either side. This system allows proper ventilation while preventing animals and other pests from gnawing through or getting inside.  

Contact Catseye for More Bat Bug Treatment Information 

Our East Hamden client was able to restore peace of mind and enjoy their home without worrying about bats and a bat bug infestation. The best way to get rid of bat bugs is by partnering with a professional with the expertise and equipment needed to get the job done correctly. From the initial inspection to follow-up visits and recurring treatments as needed, Catseye always has our clients’ best interests in mind. We also offer extensive training and state-of-the-art equipment. 

Get in touch with us today to schedule your free inspection or to learn more about our services.  

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High fiber diets for baldfaced hornets? Nah, construction materials for enlarging nests: Baldfaced hornets, Dolichovespula maculata


Baldfaced hornets find wood fibers of T-111 siding to be the perfect raw material for making paper to build their nest.


Trips to the tool shed have become lively during these waning weeks of summer. Upon approaching the shed door, I am often buzzed by one or more baldfaced hornets. These intimidating predators with nasty stingers never mount an assault. Their agitation seems more like that old W.C. Fields chestnut “Get away from me kid, you bother me.” Obviously, my presence interrupts some important work underway. So, what is the deal with hornets and the tool shed? Closer observation revealed hornets gnawing on the T-111 siding of the aging shed. At this time of year, nests of many social wasps like the baldfaced hornets and their cousins, yellowjackets, are running at a fever pitch. Wasps gnawing wood began several months ago, when a single female baldfaced hornet, a queen that survived winter, began to construct a nest. Using powerful jaws, she stripped plant fibers from dead branches (and maybe my tool shed) and miraculously combined them with saliva to produce high-quality papery pulp. Her paper was shaped into chambers for brood and a weatherproof cover for her nest. Larvae that hatched from the eggs she laid were fed macerated caterpillars, flies, moths, and other insects captured by the queen. These larvae soon developed into workers that assisted the queen in gathering food, enlarging the nest, and tending to the needs of their sisters and the queen.

Over the past few weeks, a trip to the tool shed has included close encounters with baldfaced hornets. No aggression here, but it became pretty obvious that I was interrupting their business. Watch and listen to this worker as she gnaws at the wood to collect wood fibers. A miraculous concoction of wood fibers and saliva will be turned into pulp and formed into paper to build chambers for brood and an ever-expanding cover for the nest.

As the colony grew, the mother queen spent less time out foraging and more time at home laying eggs. Her daughters shouldered the load of finding dinner for their sisters and mom and gathering wood fibers, the raw material necessary for enlarging the nest. With the approach of autumn, the rapidly growing nest is in a constant state of transition. Portions of the exterior papery envelope are removed to accommodate an ever-expanding number of brood cells. By late summer the colony is in high gear, with hundreds of workers capturing prey and raising young while the queen busily lays eggs. As summer wanes, workers will build over-sized brood cells into which the queen deposits eggs destined to become new queens and males. The founding mother queen then dies, and virgin queens fly away and mate before seeking hibernal shelter under bark, inside fallen logs, or in other protected locations. There is a common misconception that the large paper nest will house hornets for multiple seasons. This is not the case. Before winter, the nest is vacated by workers, queens, and males and it will not be used again in subsequent years.

A look inside the nest reveals sisters hard at work tending the brood. Larvae squirm and poke their heads from papery cells as the workers move about the brood combs.

Nests can be the size of beach balls and contain hundreds of hornets.

If you come across a large paper wasp nest, please resist any urges to investigate the nest too closely or hurl stones at it. I succumbed to this misguided temptation at age eleven and pegged a large nest with a stone from the distance of about twenty feet, a marvelous toss indeed. I was immediately greeted by an angry hornet that made a beeline from the nest to a spot on my forehead where it delivered a wicked sting, the kind of “kill shot” that snipers make in movies. I high-tailed it out of range and never again tempted a hornet’s wrath. The sting of a baldfaced hornet really packs a wallop and some people are allergic to the venom in the sting. If you are stung by a baldfaced hornet or other wasps or bees and have difficulty breathing, swelling in the face, throat, or mouth, difficulty swallowing, anxiety (beyond that of being stung), rapid pulse, or dizziness, seek medical attention instantly. If the nest is out of the way and does not endanger people, perhaps it can be left alone. These hornets consume large numbers of pests in our gardens and landscapes. If the nest is located in a place frequented by people or pets, then removal may be necessary. Professional exterminators can do the job. People allergic to stings of wasps, hornets, or bees should not undertake this task, as baldfaced hornets are quite aggressive. Potent wasp and hornet sprays are available for home use, but if you choose this option be sure to carefully read and follow directions on the label.


We thank Ivan and Patricia for providing the inspiration for this Bug of the Week after discovering a nest of baldfaced hornets attached to their home. The ever-fascinating book “The Insect Societies” by E.O. Wilson was used as a reference for this episode.

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Dragonfly meets spider, spider eats dragonfly: Seaside Dragonlet, Erythrodiplax Berenice, and daddy-long-legs, Pholcus spp.


Seaside Dragonlets spend much of their time perching on vegetation and are unique in their ability to breed in salty pools of water near the ocean.


Along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Florida a delightful small dragonfly called the Seaside Dragonlet makes saline pools its home. This small dragonfly is unique among its kin by virtue of the fact that it is the only member of the order Odonata capable of developing in a marine water source. That’s right, immature stages of other dragonflies live in the fresh water of streams, lakes, ponds, and swamps. Nymphs of the Seaside Dragonlet are able to survive in pools of water with salinities as high as 48%. Now that’s one salty brew.

A large pholcid spider takes advantage of the illuminated porch of a bayside home to construct its deadly web.

Unlike highly active dragonflies intent on staking out territories and actively defending them like ones we met in a previous episode, Seaside Dragonlets are described as lethargic and apparently show little interest in defending territories. Most of their time is spent in the leisurely activity of perching on vegetation with their head directed upwind toward the prevailing breeze. Scientists believe an upwind orientation may assist with lift-off when they decide to fly. On a recent visit to coastal Delaware, we were amazed by the vast number of Seaside Dragonlets in the landscape, where they perched on vegetation and blades of Spartina grasses at the edges of marshy pools. Little did the dragonlets know that humans had unintentionally designed a lethal trap for them in the form of marsh-side vacation homes. In a new development of beautiful homes, builders created covered porticos at the front entry of each house. These small porches were illuminated at night by brilliant lights that attracted a wide variety of arthropods. One group of opportunistic arthropods is spiders, predators with a fondness for building webs in nooks and corners of buildings. In past episodes we met pholcid spiders known as daddy-long-legs, web builders along walls and in corners of rooms inside homes. In the benign corners of the illuminated porch of one vacation home, pholcid spiders discovered excellent hunting grounds and set up shop to capture prey. During summertime, Seaside Dragonlets appear to be a staple in their diet.

On a shrub in the front lawn of a bayside home, Seaside Dragonlets perch facing an onshore breeze. In an upper corner of an illuminated porch, the gossamer web of a pholcid spider has snared a dragonlet. Despite attempts to free itself, by the following morning after a lethal encounter with the spider, it has joined other dragonflies and a crane fly in daddy-long-leg’s web of doom.

Snared by the web of a pholcid spider, a Seaside Dragonlet faces impending doom courtesy of lethal fangs.

Near one such home, dozens of Seaside Dragonlets perched on ornamental shrubs and lazily cruised the landscape. In the corner of the front entryway of this home, several dragonlets and other hapless six-leggers were tangled in the loose web of a rather large pholcid spider. As I entered the home one evening, a newly snared dragonlet struggled to break free of the sticky strands of the spider’s web. By morning, its struggles had ended and the dragonlet joined a macabre tableau of ill-fated prey kissed by the lethal fangs of the spider. As you watch the video, you will see a click beetle and crane fly that also succumbed to the spider’s bite. In addition to some dragonflies, several species of beetles, flies, moths, and other insects are attracted to porch lights. These prey items may catch the attention of hungry dragonflies. In an attempt to capture prey of their own, perhaps Seaside Dragonlets unwittingly become snared in the trap set by an even more fearful predator, the daddy-long-leg spider. There is a strange irony to see a dragonfly, an active ariel predator, dispatched by the clever silken contrivance of the patient spider, abetted by lights and corners provided by humans.            


Bug of the Week thanks Drs. William Lamp and Jeffery Shultz for providing identifications of the dragonfly and spider, respectively. The following articles were used to prepare this episode: “Observations of dragonflies visiting lights at night” by F. Kon Hong-Qiang, “The Behavior of the Seaside Dragonlet, Erythrodiplax berenice (Odonata: Libellulidae), in a Maine Salt Marsh” by W. Herbert Wilson, Jr., and “Arizona dragonflies” by Ann Cooper.

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From the mailbag – When spotted lanternflies arrive, do stinging insects follow? Eastern yellowjackets, Vespula maculifrons, and a few other friends


This pretty yellowjacket nest was found beneath a set of steps near a deck outdoors.


Last week we visited spotted lanternflies as they continued their march through the DMV and other states in the eastern half of the United States. These killers of grape vines are a major nuisance in residential and commercial landscapes by virtue of their creep-me-out vast numbers and the prodigious amounts of honeydew they excrete as they feed. Honeydew is the sticky sweet waste product squirted from the rear-end of the lanternfly as it sucks nutrient rich phloem sap from a plant. Honeydew rains down on objects below, fouling fruit, foliage, lawn furniture and slow-moving humans that linger too long beneath trees. This carbohydrate rich liquid provides a substrate for a fungus called sooty mold, a black cloak that coats and disfigures underlying objects. Although sooty mold is not pathogenic, it diminishes the plant’s ability to capture energy from sunlight thereby reducing photosynthesis and impairing growth. As we learned in a previous episode, lanternfly honeydew is a favored food source for many kinds of stinging insects including bees and wasps. Recently, a large landscape maintenance firm in the DMV made an unprecedented purchase of cans of wasp and hornet sprays at a local hardware store. When asked “why so many”, the landscaper replied something like “the landscaping crews are running into unreasonable numbers of yellowjackets and various wasps as they clean up landscapes.”

On tree of heaven coated with sugary honeydew excreted by lanternflies and cloaked in black sooty mold, yellowjackets, paper wasps, and hornets forage. Along the edge and within a forest conservation area loaded with tree of heaven, several eastern yellowjackets have set up shop. Lanternflies nearby provide a ready source of food. Work and studies within the site have become spicy this summer due to the presence of stinging insects. Could recent reports of elevated numbers of wasp nests be linked to increasing numbers of lanternflies in areas infested with this invader? Only Mother Nature and the wasps really know.

Unlike the nests of bees, the nests of yellowjackets contain no honey or pollen. Yellowjacket larvae eat meat and carbohydrate rich foods gathered by the workers. In this regard, yellowjackets are beneficial because they kill many caterpillars and beetles that are pests in our gardens. By late summer and early autumn, colonies may contain thousands of workers and are often about the size of a football. Under extraordinary circumstances, some nests may persist for more than one year and reach gigantic proportions. There are reports of monster yellowjacket nests in southern states reaching the size of a “Volkswagen Beetle”. Yikes! I sure wouldn’t want to bump into one of those with the lawn mower. Well, as summer wanes towards autumn, colonies of many social wasps including yellowjackets, bald-faced hornets, and paper wasps will operate at a fevered pitch as they try to feed massive numbers of brood in their nests. As we learned in previous episodes, nests are aggressively defended and intruders are attacked with extreme prejudice.

Lil’ Rover demonstrates what happens when you sit on a nest of yellowjackets, but don’t worry, Lil’ Rover has thick fur and was not harmed in the making of this video.

The venom of yellowjackets and their kin has evolved to bring maximum pain to vertebrates like skunks that pillage their nests. Encounters with these fierce ladies confirm that their venom brings agony to humans as well. Yellowjackets are capable of multiple stings, but only to a limited extent. Contrary to common belief, they have small barbs on their stingers and some may lose their stingers after an attack. If you are stung, apply ice to the site of the sting to reduce some of the damage and pain. Sting relieving ointments and creams are available in pharmacies and sporting goods stores and may help reduce the pain and itching. If you know that you are allergic and are stung, seek medical attention immediately. If you are stung and experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hives on your body, disorientation, lightheadedness or other unusual symptoms, call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention immediately. Desensitization therapy has proven very helpful to many people with allergies to stings of bees and wasps.

In some locations infested with spotted lanternflies, yellowjackets have become huge problems.

At Bug of the Week’s five-acre SLF tracking site, prior to the arrival of SLF a single eastern yellowjacket nest was discovered in the ground in 2021. With the arrival of lanternflies at the site in 2022, two yellowjacket nests were discovered near groves of tree of heaven, and with thousands of lanternflies spewing honeydew in 2023, five colonies of eastern yellowjackets have been discovered at the site to date. Adding even more moments of shock and awe to work at our study site are bald-faced hornets, which constructed an additional nest in a pile of brush. It could be coincidental that both lanternflies and stinging wasps are on the uptick due to some other environmental circumstance rather than being linked. At this point in time, we simply do not know. If you encounter a yellowjacket or bald-faced hornet nest and the nest is unlikely to be encountered by humans or pets, you may simply leave it alone. As mentioned before, these wasps help reduce populations of pests. If the nest is in a place that threatens you, children, or pets, you may consider eliminating it. Commercial pest control operators can assist you in this. I have purchased aerosol sprays, applied them according to instructions on the label, usually at night or in the evening, and had excellent success. Please be careful around these fierce ladies or you might feel their wrath.


Bug of the Week thanks Dr. Nancy Breisch for sharing her expertise and knowledge about stinging insects. We thank bold landscape managers and arborists for providing inspiration for this episode and Randy Taylor for sharing his pretty yellowjacket nest with us.

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Should I Treat for Ants Myself?  

For every human on this planet, there are approximately 2.5 million ants. Recent research revealed that the global ant population is 20 quadrillion — possibly more.  

With that kind of number, it’s little wonder that these small, industrious, important members of the ecosystem also routinely top lists of common household pests. The National Pest Management Association reports that infestations of carpenter, odorous house, and pavement ants are among the most common. Infestations occur everywhere, including single-family homes, apartments, office buildings, restaurants, hospitals, and more.  

Dealing with ants can be very frustrating, and it’s essential to approach ant control with care and caution. Although it’s natural to consider DIY ant control for a fast fix, these methods often open the door to more problems while failing to eliminate the ants.  

Let’s explore ant removal and control methods to better understand all the available options and the pros and cons of each one.  

The Risks of DIY Ant Control 

On the plus side, DIY ant control methods like ant baits and insect sprays are readily available and relatively inexpensive. However, although these methods may appear to be a cost-effective and easy solution to the problem at hand, DIY ant control is rarely effective. Not only will you most likely not eliminate the infestation, but you will expose yourself, family members, and pets to potentially dangerous chemicals.  

DIY Methods Rarely Solve the Problem 

You may see short-term ant control after spraying an insecticide, but once the product wears off, the pests often return. Chemical products can be too weak or too harsh to safely eliminate the problem. You could still have an ant infestation, even after risking poisoning people or pets with the chemicals in DIY pest control products.  

When you try to deal with an ant infestation on your own, you are only addressing the ants you see. These options do little to get to the root of the infestation, which can eventually lead to large, expanding colonies and property damage. 

Ant Bait Must Be Carefully Tailored to the Ant Species 

Additionally, it’s important to note that different ants require different treatments. For example, if you are using ant baits, odorous house ants prefer baits that are sweet, while other ants prefer protein or grease-based baits. Likewise, fast-killing baits may work too quickly to eradicate the entire colony. Not using enough bait is equally problematic because it only kills a portion of the ants, allowing the rest of the colony to continue to grow.  

DIY Ant Control Relies on Harsh Chemicals 

Even if you are not using bait stations, you are likely turning to cans of ant-killing sprays that contain potentially hazardous chemicals. These products can cause irritation of the skin and eyes, respiratory problems, and allergic reactions. Inadvertently swallowing or inhaling these chemicals can be harmful, which is why following label directions is essential. Trusting the application process to licensed professionals helps ensure that it is done safely and effectively. 

Benefits of Professional Ant Control  

Using DIY ant control methods rarely eliminates ant infestations at the source and poses potential hazards to people and property. That’s why Catseye Pest Control recommends leaving ant control to the professionals. Licensed, trained technicians can mitigate the risks while providing thorough, effective ant removal and preventing future infestations.  

Experts Can Tailor the Treatment to the Species of Ant Invading Your Space  

Not every treatment option works for every type of ant. That’s one of the major failings of DIY options. Professionals, on the other hand, have the education and expertise to identify the ant species infesting your home or business and provide appropriate treatments.  

Professionals Safeguard Your Health and Well-Being 

Catseye’s technicians are highly trained and educated on safety and the proper use of all pesticides and other ant control strategies. Pros can advise you on if and how long you and any other people and pets should avoid treatment areas, and they use commercial-grade equipment to eradicate infestations safely.  

You Will Save Money in the Long Run 

At first glance, DIY products seem like the most budget-friendly option — until you factor in the ineffective performance and possible health risks. Many people use sprays, baits, and natural DIY treatments first, only to end up calling for professional help anyway. By that point, the infestation has often grown significantly, requiring more extensive services.  

Catseye Pest Control’s Approach to Ant Control  

At Catseye, we do things a little bit differently. We are dedicated to not only meeting, but exceeding our customers’ expectations, starting with our free inspections and customized treatment plans. Our approach to ant control starts with a thorough inspection to locate the colony, identify the ants, and decide on the optimal treatment strategy. We inject the nests to flush them out, add bait treatments when appropriate, provide spot treatments, and repair damage as needed.  

When to Call a Professional  

Ideally, you should call a professional as soon as you realize you have an infestation. If you try DIY methods and don’t get results within a week or you notice ants returning, it’s time to call a pro. So much more goes into eradicating and controlling ant colonies than simply spraying the ants you see. A professional will provide safe, effective treatment that gets lasting results.  

Don’t Risk DIY Ant Control, Contact Catseye to Get Rid of Ants Permanently 

DIY methods for ant removal and control may seem like they are inexpensive and easy, but they don’t get to the source of the infestation, allowing the colony to continue growing. When you work with Catseye, you will enjoy long-term results and cost savings. You also enjoy the peace of mind that only comes from knowing your home is protected from ants and other pests, including rodents and nuisance wildlife.  

Contact us today to learn more about our ant control services or to schedule your free inspection.  

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Why am I seeing more spotted lanternflies? Lycorma delicatula


Get ready to spot spotted lanternflies as they aggregate on trees in your landscape.


This week we turn to the Bug of the Week mailbag to explore why some folks are seeing more spotted lanternflies (SLF) around their homes and in their landscapes.

Reason 1. Since first detected in the US almost a decade ago, SLF has made an astounding range expansion from their entry point in Berks County, Pennsylvania to Huntington County, Indiana more than 580 miles away. This feat was not accomplished on their own. SLF are believed to move only a matter of several miles by walking, hopping, and flying. Nope, these vagabonds are super stowaways and heinous hitch hikers, moving as eggs, nymphs, and adults on vehicles, lawn furniture, plants, and other natural and human-made objects. Here in the DMV and adjacent states like Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, they made beachheads and rapidly colonized several counties. All counties in New Jersey and Delaware house breeding populations, with Maryland not far behind. Larger states like Pennsylvania and Virginia still have uninfested counties but one look at Figure 1 suggests that these states are trending toward full saturation. Bug of the Week’s outdoor SLF tracking site near Antietam Battlefield in Maryland discovered a couple dozen SLF adults in 2022. Last week hundreds of adults festooned branches and trunks of trees. Dramatic population explosions are underway in several landscapes in the DMV and in some 14 states in eastern North America with new detections of infestations being reported on a weekly basis. So yes, due to range expansion there are indeed more lanternflies to be seen today in the US than there were just a few years ago.

Fig. 1. This graph summarizes the rapid spread of spotted lanternflies in the DMV and neighboring states over a period of five years. Data summarized by Michael Raupp from New York State IPM Program.

Reason 2. The second and perhaps more salient reason why there seem to be more SLF has to do with their seasonal phenology, that is the regular progression of development, survival, and activity throughout the year. In a previous episode in early May, we met tiny SLF nymphs as they hatched from eggs that survived winter’s onslaughts. Shortly after hatch, active feeding stages of spotted lanternfly were at their peak. Since early May, local populations of SLF dramatically declined as lethal weather events like cold and rain, murderous predators like spiders, mantises, and assassin bugs, diseases caused by fungi, and pesticide applications have taken their toll. The illusion that there are now more SLF than there were a few months ago has two explanations. First and foremost is the fact that adult SLF are roughly 10 times larger in size than tiny hatchling nymphs. Bigger bugs are easier to see. Second, these adult rascals are on the move, taking wing and winding up on the side of a house, on a sidewalk, lawn chair, or favored tree. While young, SLF nymphs feed on a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, more than 70 species of host plants are known. Nymphs are widely distributed in the landscape. Adults are most frequently found on a smaller sample of trees with invasive tree of heaven high on the list, and maples, walnuts, and a few others also commonly mobbed. Highly mobile adults and hordes of sap-sucking adults create a mien of many more lanternflies.

As we enter the period of adult migration, feeding, honeydew production, grape vine ravaging, and general annoyance, people will be wondering what to do. One popular and highly touted tactic is to do a little tap dance on SLF adults stranded on sidewalks or on the ground. The logic here is that every other SLF killed will be one less to lay eggs. Oh, every other bug because only females lay eggs and the sex ratio is likely 50:50, get it? Unfortunately, in the early stages of the SLF invasion, some 1.5 million SLF were killed by noble volunteers in Berks and nearby counties, yet these scoundrels managed to spread to surrounding counties and states more than 500 miles away. The contribution of stomping and squishing to reductions in SLF populations remains a mystery. Nonetheless, as Sheryl Crow opined, “if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad”, so squish away if it makes you happy.

In April and May when millions of spotted lanternflies hatched, this year’s crop of lanternflies was at its zenith. As tiny black and white nymphs dispersed, they fed on myriad herbaceous and woody plants. Their colors changed from black and white to red, black, and white as they developed. Their numbers dramatically declined as weather, beneficial insects and diseases, and human interventions took their toll. Although fewer survived, when large adults gather to feed on favored trees or land on humans and buildings, their presence will be observed by more people. Many will perish on sidewalks and roads beneath the tires of vehicles and feet of humans.

What’s the bright spot here? Well, my tree care guys, certified arborists near ground zero in Pennsylvania, report that SLF populations have declined noticeably since the early years of the invasion in the late 20-teens. How so? Well, the aforementioned push-back by Mother Nature’s hit squad of predators, parasitoids, and pathogens coupled with host plant removal and highly efficacious and well-timed insecticide applications all help mitigate problems created by SLF. Quarantines enacted by several states appear to be slowing the spread of SLF on a regional scale. Let’s hope that the combined efforts of Mother Nature and clever humans can help keep this nocent invader at bay.

Fig. 2. Compare the distribution of spotted lanternflies in the United States in November of 2019 to the following image of their distribution in June of 2023. Data from New York State IPM Program.

Fig. 3. Compare the distribution of spotted lanternflies in the United States in June of 2023 to the previous image of their distribution in November 2019. Data from New York State IPM Program.


Bug of the Week thanks members of the Penn-Dell and Mid-Atlantic chapters of the International Society of Arboriculture for providing the inspiration for this episode and Dr. Shrewsbury for spotting and wrangling spotted lanternflies. We acknowledge the great work of scientists contributing to our knowledge of this pest with particular thanks to authors of articles and aforementioned websites used as references, including “Perspective: shedding light on spotted lanternfly impacts in the USA” by Julie M. Urban, “Dispersal of Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) Nymphs Through Contiguous, Deciduous Forest” by Joseph A. Keller, Anne E. Johnson, Osariyekemwen Uyi, Sarah Wurzbacher, David Long, and Kelli Hoover, “The Establishment Risk of Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) in the United States and Globally” by Tewodros T. Wakie, Lisa G. Neven, Wee L. Yee, and Zhaozhi Lu, and “Applications of Beauveria bassiana (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) to Control Populations of Spotted Lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), in Semi-Natural Landscapes and on Grapevines” by Eric H. Clifton, Ann E. Hajek, Nina E. Jenkins, Richard T. Roush, John P. Rost, and David J. Biddinger. Thanks to Brian Eshenaur and the entire team at the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program of Cornell University for providing the updated maps of spotted lanternfly in the US.

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Light pollution imperils Imperial moths, Eacles Imperialis


Beneath a high intensity security light, resting on the leg of a plastic lawn chair, a beautiful Imperial moth quivers in a morning breeze. Chances of survival in this alien environment? Not good. Image: Paula M. Shrewsbury, PhD


A few years ago, we met the remarkable caterpillar of the Imperial moth as it meandered along the scenic C & O canal trail near Sharpsburg, Maryland. We learned about the dramatic, disturbing decline of Imperial moths and other members of the silk moth clan including Royal Walnut moths and Cecropia moths in New England where populations of these gorgeous giants have been extirpated in several locations. There is growing evidence from around the world that several human related activities, including habitat destruction, agricultural intensification, pesticides, invasive alien species, climate change, and other factors acting independently and in concert contribute to these declines. Disappearances of several species of moths in New England are linked to parasitoid flies imported decades ago to help control dastardly gypsy moth caterpillars. Sadly, they also attack and kill several species of native moths, including some of our giants.

In late summer and early autumn, Imperial moth caterpillars depart their lofty feeding grounds in the canopies of trees. After a perilous journey across human-made structures like pathways and roads, they reach the safety of soil where they will disappear underground to form pupal chambers. With the return of warm weather and foliage on trees, beautiful adult moths will emerge from the earth to mate and deposit eggs on leaves.

Another factor linked to the decline of large, nocturnally active moths is sky brightness caused by artificial lights. High intensity street lamps and security lights on the outside of buildings are extremely attractive to night-flying moths. Many insects use distant light sources such as the moon and stars to navigate the nighttime skies. “Near” light sources, lights illuminating buildings and streets, disrupt the ancient navigation systems evolved over eons by nocturnal flyers. Rather than flying in one direction, they spiral inward to near light sources. As insects collect around these artificial illuminators, they may be exposed to predators, which pick-off moths and other night fliers. Next time you visit a nighttime sporting event in the summertime at a field illuminated by high intensity lights, check out the massive swarms of insects attracted to the lights. Don’t be surprised to see bats swooping in and out of the milieu for easy meals. Artificial lights also may disrupt other vital activities of nocturnal insects such as locating mates and finding correct places to deposit eggs.

Circling back to the raison d’etre for this episode was an encounter with a lovely but imperiled Imperial moth.  While stopping at a local coffee shop on a recent trip to Selbyville, Delaware, I spied a very cool Imperial moth woefully out of place. Beneath a high intensity light, clinging to the leg of a black plastic chair, an Imperial moth (gender undetermined) quaked in a morning breeze. While photographing the moth, a pair of caffeinated tourists stopped to see what all the fuss was about. Having pointed out the moth, out came the iPhones for a photoshoot and moth love fest. After agreeing on the moth’s beauty, they departed with the comment of how lucky they were to have seen the moth. Well, perhaps bringing nature to a parking lot where it can by witnessed by humans is reason enough for high intensity lights on buildings, but maybe this is not so good for moths.

High intensity security lights like one above this door attract many night-flying insects. Beneath the light, on the leg of a plastic lawn chair, a beautiful Imperial moth quivered in the morning breeze. Is it likely that a mate will be found in this alien environment? Not so much, but an inattentive footfall could bring an end to this pretty creature. The moth was rescued and released in a sweet gum grove far from artificial lights.  

How can we reduce problems associated with artificial light pollution? Scientists list a few things we all can do to help. Use motion detectors to activate outdoor lights whenever possible, instead of using lights that burn all night. Use directional covers above or around lights to illuminate only places that need light. Yellow colored lights attract fewer moths than white or blue lights (other species of insects may differ in their responses), so use longer wavelengths if you can. Scientists also recommend reducing the amount of artificial light in rural areas to help reverse losses of night-flying moths in these less human-altered landscapes. But the best piece of advice is to simply shut off lights at times and in places when they are not necessary.

On the bark of a maple tree an Imperial moth awaits its mate just as nature intended.

What of the Imperial moth marooned on a chair near a coffee shop? Well, the chance of finding a mate on the leg of a plastic chair seemed infinitesimally smaller than that of being inadvertently trampled by a caffeinated tourist. Yes, we did violate the Non-Interference Directive of Starfleet. The moth was gently collected, placed in an elegant bug cage, one fit for royalty, transported to a grove of sweet gum trees far, far from a streetlight, and released. Good luck majestic moth.


Bug of the Week thanks Peter and Whitney of the Moth Project for inspiring this episode and Dr. Shrewsbury for photographing and wrangling the star of this story. Several great reads on giant silk moths and artificial light pollution include the following: “Light pollution is a driver of insect declines” by Avalon C.S. Owens,  Précillia Cochard, Joanna Durrant, Bridgette Farnworth, Elizabeth K. Perkin, and Brett Seymoure, “A window to the world of global insect declines: Moth biodiversity trends are complex and heterogeneous” by David L. Wagner, Richard Fox, Danielle M. Salcido, and Lee A. Dyer, “Declines in moth populations stress the need for conserving dark nights” by Frank van Langevelde, Marijke Braamburg-Annegarn, Martinus E. Huigens, Rob Groendijk, Olivier Poitevin, Jurriën R. van Deijk, Willem N. Ellis, Roy H. A. van Grunsven, Rob de Vos, Rutger A. Vos, Markus Franzén, and Michiel F. Wallis DeVries, and “The Devastating Role of Light Pollution in the ‘Insect Apocalypse’” by Jason Daley.

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Do Pet Rodents Attract Other Rodents? 

Are you considering joining the 400,000 American households that have pet rodents? Perhaps you’re concerned that having a pet rat might attract unwanted wild rats or that having pet mice could lead to a rodent infestation.  

The good news is the assertion that pet rodents will attract other rodents into your home is a myth, with no scientific studies backing up this suggestion. In fact, the American Veterinary Medicine Association points out that rodents can make excellent pets. Some are solitary, while others are social. Some are calm, while others enjoy much more activity, making it easy to find a pet rodent that matches your lifestyle.  

Having a pet rodent doesn’t attract other rodents from outdoors or increase the risk of an infestation. However, if you don’t clean up after yourself and your pet, it can open your home up to the risk of an invasion of other rodents and pests.  

Will My Pet Rat Attract Rodents?  

Research suggests that mice and rats leave scent trails, which are pheromone-laden scents that provide a path for others to follow. At first, you might think that this suggests rodents will be attracted to the scent of your pet and find their way indoors. However, when you consider typical rodent behavior, it becomes apparent that the risk of this happening is quite low. Rodents tend to be social but only within their social circles.  

So, the risk of your pet rat attracting other rodents to enter is minimal based on scent alone. However, scavenging rodents can easily be attracted to the food inside your pet’s cage and all the other typical things that attract them. It’s critical to keep the cage and your home clean at all times to ensure crumbs and other matter left by your pet don’t serve as a lure.  

Keep in mind that mice, rats, and other rodents can squeeze into tiny openings and are often searching for items to satisfy their needs, such as: 

  • Shelter: Wild rodents often come into human spaces in search of warm, safe places to nest. They often gnaw through insulation, wood, and wires along the way. 
  • Food and water: Mice and rats aren’t picky about what they eat. Crumbs, unsecured garbage, pet food, birdseed, and easy sources of water like pet water bowls and dripping pipes can draw their attention.  
  • Compost: Your compost pile and even waste from other pets can attract rodents to your home or garden.  
  • Plants: Indoor plants, particularly fruit trees that provide a food source, can also attract rodents. Additionally, large potted plants may offer an easy source of shelter.  
  • Access: Rodents can squeeze through small cracks and openings. If they find access along the foundation, roof soffits, vents, and other spots, they will enter. 

What Can I Do to Keep Other Rodents Out? 

Pet rodents can create an environment that is conducive to attracting other rodents. Like wild rodents, pets can be quite messy, littering whatever space is available to them with crumbs and food waste. Keeping your pet’s cage clean is essential, but it’s not the only way to protect your home.  

Secure All Food Sources  

Rats and mice can chew right through cardboard and thin plastic wrappers. They also are known to scavenge in pet food bowls, bird feeders, and anywhere with crumbs. Storing all your food items in plastic, glass, or metal containers can help keep rodents out. Likewise, ensure all garbage is securely bagged and kept in receptacles with tight-fitting lids to keep hungry wild rodents out. 

Clean, Sanitize, and Check for Leaks 

Although rodents can also infest clean spaces, decluttering, keeping surfaces clear of crumbs, and regularly cleaning indoor spaces can help minimize the risk. Additionally, routinely checking indoor and outdoor areas for leaks can help avoid further damage while preventing wild rodents from finding a water source.  

Keep Outdoor Spaces Mowed and Tidy 

What you do outside can make a significant impact on whether rodents infest indoor spaces. Keep the lawn neatly mowed, trim all overgrown vegetation, and remove debris. Additionally, avoid storing firewood against the house. Clean up after all pets and keep compost in secure containers to reduce the temptation for rodents and other pests. 

Seal Off Openings 

Perhaps the most critical thing you can do to keep other rodents out of your home and prevent infestations is sealing openings. Mice and rats can enter gaps as small as the width of a pencil. Inspect the interior and exterior of the home to seal off potential entryways. Examples include spaces around pipes, dryer and air vents, floor drains, utility lines, fireplaces, and roof lines.  

Likewise, look for gaps and cracks around doors and windows, behind appliances, and in crawlspaces and attics. Fill holes with steel wool and caulk over them. Other materials you could use include cement, metal sheeting, and lath screens.  

Better yet, invest in an exclusion system. Cat-Guard Exclusion Systems provide a safe, humane, permanent barrier for targeted protection. These three chemical-free systems can be used singularly or together to keep rodents and nuisance wildlife from entering vulnerable areas.  

Keep Your Home Safe and Free of Other Rodents with Catseye Pest Control 

Even after taking careful precautions, it’s possible for wild rodents to enter your home. When rodents invade, turn to the professionals at Catseye for prompt removal and preventive measures. Our trained technicians will help keep you, your family, and your pet rodents safe and healthy while eliminating the infestation. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a free inspection.  

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