Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor's – Serving Northern Virginia, Richmond, Springfield, Sterling, Fredericksburg, and surrounding areasEntomologists from Ehrlich Pest Control Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Ehrlich Pest Control used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

True or False: Bed Bug Facts

Learn about bed bug myths in Virginia from Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor'sA bed bug infestation is likely one of the most grueling pest problems you can experience. They may not be as dangerous as termites or as destructive as rodents, but they certainly can cause a lot of psychological distress! Bed bugs incite a lot of fear in people, but they aren’t as terrifying as you may have been led to believe. To better prepare yourself for the possibility of one day getting an infestation, it’s important to learn what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to bed bugs. The team at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s is here to dispel common bed bug myths.

8 Bed Bug Myths

  1. Bed bugs only feed at night. Bed bugs are active when their hosts are at rest. This usually means overnight, but they are able to adjust their schedule to fit yours!
  2. Bed bugs are only found in your bedroom. Bed bugs tend to congregate near areas where people rest. This includes sofas, chairs, cracks in the wall, and even power outlets!
  3. Bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. Adult bed bugs are perfectly capable of being seen. They are the size of an apple seed and often grouped together, making it easier to spot an infestation.
  4. Bed bugs can jump and fly. Fortunately, bed bugs cannot jump or fly as other pests can. They have underdeveloped wings, and instead move from one spot to the other by crawling or latching onto a moving item.
  5. Bed bugs are attracted to messy or dirty homes. Unfortunately, anyone can get a bed bug problem. Unsanitary conditions will not lead you to get bed bugs in your home!
  6. Bed bugs latch or travel on people. Although bed bugs are known to hitch a ride on your purse or suitcase, they do not attach to people as fleas or ticks do.
  7. Bed bugs can live a year without feeding. While they definitely can survive months without a meal, they won’t make it through an entire year unless under optimal conditions.
  8. Bed bugs transmit dangerous diseases. Bed bugs may cause you anxiety and even itchiness, but their bites do not transmit disease as other pests do.

The True Danger of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs may not transmit disease or latch onto you like a flea, but there’s still cause for concern. A bed bug infestation is notoriously difficult to get rid of without the help of a professional pest control company. At-home or DIY treatments for bed bugs are, in a word, ineffective. To control an infestation, it’s important to use the best bed bug treatment options provided by an expert.

What to Do When You Have Bed Bugs

If you have bed bugs, you’re undoubtedly going to want to get rid of them as soon as possible. The team at Ehrlich can help. Our professionals will provide a thorough bed bug inspection before determining which treatment is best for your situation. Contact us today to learn more.

Pros & Cons of DIY Pest Control

Mouse traps are a common DIY pest control method. Learn about the pros and cons of DIY pest control in VA from Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor'sFrom using a vinegar spray for ants to store-bought pesticides for roaches, we’ve all dabbled in DIY pest control from time to time. When many homeowners spot a pest problem, they’ll head to their local hardware store and arm themselves with chemicals, sprays, baits, traps, and more. Some even look into all-natural remedies. But do these actually work? DIY pest control is a gamble, and–unfortunately–unreliable. When you want to get rid of a pest problem fast–or perhaps avoid them altogether–your best bet is to hire a professional pest control company.

The team at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s, outlines the pros and cons of DIY pest control in our latest blog post. Keep reading to learn more!

Does DIY Pest Control Work?

For some very small pest problems, perhaps a few ants in your windowsill or house spiders in your tub, DIY or store-bought pest control products may help. However, do-it-yourself pest control is not a long-term solution:

  • Some types of pests, including rodents, termites, bed bugs, and carpenter ants are more dangerous and destructive. Getting rid of these infestations will be a challenge for any novice.
  • Many store-bought products are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous for you, your family, and your pets. Reading the label doesn’t always guarantee the product will be applied safely.
  • At-home remedies rarely work in the long-term and do not prevent future infestations.
  • DIY or store-bought products don’t come with a guarantee or warranty as often as professional services, meaning you often have to buy more products.

Benefits of a Professional Exterminator

Hiring a professional pest control company may seem like a bigger commitment of your time and money, but the payoff is tenfold that of DIY methods. There are many benefits:

  1. An experienced exterminator has the knowledge and experience to tackle any current infestation you have. They are experts in the behaviors and habits of pests, making it easier for them to control any problems quickly and efficiently.
  2. With a focus on IPM practices, they can also work to prevent future problems. As often as possible, a professional will use environmentally-responsible products that are always applied safely and effectively with little invasion or disruption to your daily life.
  3. When you decide to have regular pest control services, your exterminator will work with you to develop a customized pest control plan suited to the unique needs of your home.

DIY vs. Professional: How to Choose

If you have a pest problem, you probably want to get rid of it ASAP. To do so, a professional pest control company is always the way to go over DIY pest control. Our team is committed to keeping our customers safe from pests by preventing them in the first place. To stay pest-free 365 days of the year, Ehrlich is here for you.

How to Pest-Proof Your Home This Winter

A rodent is one of many common winter pests to infest Richmond VA and Ashburn VA homes in the winter months - Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor'sYou may think that pests are only a problem in the spring and summer, but infestations can happen in Virginia winters, too! While many pests and insects indeed die off in the cold weather, there are several that stick around. In fact, many pests look to invade homes to escape dropping temperatures in the winter. To prevent winter pests in your home, keep reading to learn top tips from the experts at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s.

Common Winter Pests

Overwintering pests will enter homes in the colder months to wait out the freezing temperatures. Some of the most common winter insects are ants, stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs. These insects typically won’t be seen until the springtime. In addition to these insects, there are a number of other winter pests that may invade your Virginia home this time of year:

  • Rodents: The house mouse and Norway rat will squeeze their way inside in the winter.
  • Spiders: House spiders will hide indoors in dark, secluded corners.
  • Cockroaches: German cockroaches hitchhike indoors in grocery bags and boxes.
  • Bed bugs: Known to withstand extreme temperatures, bed bug infestations are common in the winter

5 Tips to Prevent Winter Pest Problems

Preventing winter pests requires many of the same efforts of preventing pests year-round. Five ways you can prevent winter pests include:

  1. Seal cracks and crevices outside your property to keep pests from making their way inside.
  2. Place screens over vents and chimneys to eliminate entry points inside the property.
  3. Store firewood away from the home and eliminate clutter in your yard to discourage nesting.
  4. Eliminate sources of excess moisture by promptly fixing leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  5. Promptly clean up spills, dispose of garbage regularly, and avoid excess clutter.

Do You Need Winter Pest Control?

To save yourself from the surprise and frustration of a pest infestation during the winter, it’s important to know how to protect your property. Rodents, cockroaches, and spiders are common pest infestations in the winter, which is why it’s so important to implement winter pest control into your home maintenance routine. If you need help or want to learn more about how to prevent winter pests, give the experts at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s a call today!

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Learn How to Prevent Bed Bugs!

Hard-case suitcase to prevent bed bugs during the holidays - Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor's in Arlington and Alexandria VA There’s no place like home for the holidays! Unfortunately, bed bugs tend to think so, too! With more people traveling during Thanksgiving and all of December than any other time of year, it’s crucial to know how to prevent bed bug problems. Infestations are often traced back to traveling because bed bugs are infamous for infesting luggage and hotel rooms. If you’re flying home, staying in a hotel, or inviting guests to stay with you this holiday season, keep reading to learn Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s top tips on how to prevent bed bugs.

Bed Bugs in the Winter

During the holiday season, the last thing you probably think about is the possibility of a pest infestation, especially from bed bugs. While bed bugs do not hibernate in the same way some pests do, they may enter a state of diapause and can live for months without a meal. For the most part though, bed bugs are perfectly capable of infesting homes in the winter months because they can survive extreme temperatures.

Preventing Bed Bugs while Traveling

Because bed bugs are a threat whenever traveling, it’s important to learn how to prevent picking up bed bugs during your holiday traveling. There are a number of ways to prevent bed bugs before and after a trip:

  • Pack your clothing in sealed plastic bags, and always use a hard-case suitcase.
  • Do your research before booking a hotel room by reading through reviews for mentions of bed bug problems.
  • Before settling into a hotel room, pull back the sheets to inspect the bed for live bugs or signs of bed bug activity.
  • Always place your suitcase on luggage racks, on top of furniture, or inside of a bathtub inside hotel rooms.
  • When returning from a trip, wash all clothing in hot water and steam-clean your suitcase (outside your home, if possible).

Bed Bug Removal and Treatment

If you’ve returned from a trip this Thanksgiving and find yourself with a bed bug infestation, it’s important to act fast. Bed bugs are resilient pests and always need to be dealt with by a bed bug exterminator. The team at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s know how to control current infestations and help you learn how to prevent bed bug problems in the future. To learn more about our bed bug services, call us today!