If you are a landlord and haven’t yet considered how best to handle your pest control needs, you may be wondering about the most basic aspects of pest control, such as identification and avoidance. We will study compile these and other aspects below for your convenience. For purposes of this post we will cover: Most Common Pests, How to Identify Them, How Properties Get Them and How to Avoid Them.

Bed Bugs

Identification

Bed bugs are extremely small insects that are approximately the size of small seed. They are reddish brown in color, though this is usually more visible after the bugs have fed. Many renters are often confused about bed bugs because they believe bed bugs are too small to see without some kind of magnification device. However, it is only the larval nymphs that may require magnification. The adults, while small, can be easily seen with just the eye.

How Do You Get Them?

Bed bugs are unfortunately easy to pick up almost anywhere. From offices to stores, they can often hide on your clothing or your body and come with you into the residence. Once there, they can spread quickly and become very difficult to control without experienced assistance. We recommend picking up clutter where the bugs can hide, washing any bed linen at the hottest temperature possible, and inspecting your home after guests may have stayed overnight.

Signs of Bed Bugs

There are several key signs to look out for that signal a possible bed bug issue. The easiest and most obvious example is seeing the adult bugs crawling around. Secondly, look for “shell” casings that are left by the bugs. As they grow, they will shed these, leaving them around the property. Thirdly, the bugs leave marks on the surfaces of your home when they defecate. Porous surfaces of the home will have blackish brown stains, and non-porous surfaces will have blackish mounds atop them. Lastly, check yourself or others for red bite marks on the skin. We recommend not relying only on what might be bed bug bite marks, however. Definitely, check for at least one of the other signs.

Avoidance

To minimize the risk of bed bugs to your property, ensure that the rooms themselves are free of clutter as much as possible. Bed bugs hide in cluttered areas where they can quickly reproduce. In addition, inspect any second-hand furniture being brought into the homes for signs of the bugs. Ensure that areas that receive a high concentration of foot traffic, particularly from visitors or service calls, are inspected regularly.

Termites

Identification

Termites are typically one-quarter to one-half inch in size, and the workers, which are the most common type seen by renters, are pale in color. A flying version of the termites has two sets of wings. This is a very general description, and you should not rely solely on not seeing the bugs. You will very rarely see termites themselves, only the damage they cause.

How Do You Get Them?

Colonies pop up and thrive anywhere that there are wooded areas, including wood used in the home.

Signs of Termites

If you see a marked increase of winged insects around your property, it may be due to termites. Check the soil surrounding the property as well. Cracked or bubbling paint could be signs that termites are entering or have entered the property. During regular inspection periods, check for this and also check any wooden support structures. The wood will sound hollow when tapped if termites have invaded. While you won’t likely see the bugs, you may see discarded wing sets from the flyers.

Avoidance

Avoid possible infestations by doing a few simple things around your properties. First, check for any leakage of pipes in the property. Moisture collection invites these pests. Next, caulk up any cracked surfaces that may allow entry. This is especially important around pipes and the home foundation. Keep any plants well-maintained, and consider installing screens or vents as necessary to appropriate areas.

Flies

Identification

There are hundreds of subspecies of fly, but all share a similar appearance, usually only differing mostly in size and coloring. All have the typical multi-faceted eyes, wings, and suckers that renters associate with flies. Because you’ll see them flying around or on surfaces in your home, it is easy to identify if you have a problem with flies.

Avoidance

Proper sanitation is the key to avoiding an infestation of flies. Keep surfaces inside the home clean and free of general grime, particularly food waste or spills. Keep garbage cans clean and closed as well. One of the best ways to avoid problems is to limit access to the property as much as possible. Flies of all species tend to be more active in the late spring and the summer. Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible during these times, and consider screens for the windows and vents.

Cockroaches

Identification

Cockroaches regardless of subspecies typically have common characteristics: brownish shell color, six-legged, long antennae and growth rates of up to 2 inches. Some have wings, but they do not generally use them for flight.

How Do You Get Them?

Cockroaches excel at entering the home through numerous means. They will use any crack in the foundation or outer wall, and make use of vents or drain pipes as well. Unfortunately, we can also bring them inside on our clothing or bags without noticing.

Signs of Cockroaches

A cockroach’s size means they are easily visible. If you do see one, most probably during the day, it could actually be a sign of infestation already, as they are most active at night, and one likely means more. Check behind the fridge, sinks, and stove. Lookout for cockroach droppings during the day, which will closely resemble coffee grounds. The quantity can be an indicator of the size of the problem.

Avoidance

Prevention of roaches is a much easier pest control measure than extermination. Eliminate all possible roach food sources in your home by wiping down kitchen appliances and countertops, keeping the area clean and free of food debris, vacuuming the kitchen floor, and periodically emptying and cleaning the cabinets.
Also, eliminate hiding places by checking for any cracks and holes and sealing them off promptly. Make sure all windows and doors fit snugly in their frames.

These are a few of the most common pests you may encounter on your property, and with this guide, you’ll stand a much better chance of not only dealing with them but avoiding pest control problems altogether.

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