When the lights go out
People don’t like to think about the creepy crawlers that prowl the house or the yard when they're not watching. However pests that are most active under cover of darkness, can do their share of damage and are tough to detect and eradicate. From biting insects hiding in your bedroom to outdoor creatures that chomp on your precious plants, here are the most common nocturnal pests.
Perhaps the most dreaded nighttime pest of them all, bed bugs are sneaky little bloodsuckers. They hide in nooks and crannies are almost undetectable to the untrained eye. According to a 2018 National Pest Management Association survey, more than 50% of people reach out to pest control professionals after noticing bites on their bodies. Once bites appear, however, it’s likely there’s a full-blown infestation.
While not all moth species are active at night, many do prefer the cover of darkness. Some moths are friendly garden companions that act as pollinators, but others wreak havoc indoors by contaminating food products and munching on clothing. Avoid a moth infestation in your pantry by properly sealing food containers and cleaning cupboards regularly.
These nasty critters tend to hide during the day and emerge at night. Once the sun goes down, cockroaches come out to scavenge for food. If you think there's no reason to worry about an insect you won't cross paths with during the day, think again. While cockroaches aren’t bloodsuckers like bed bugs, they leave behind excrement that poses a health risk. Cockroach feces can also trigger asthma and allergies. People who spot cockroaches in the daytime should call a pest control professional immediately, as it’s a possible sign of a serious infestation.
Your newly planted garden looks lush as the heavy rains of spring quench the thirst of young plants. Or it would look so if not for those large holes in your leafy greens. If your plants have become last night's buffet, slugs might be responsible. Slugs are active at night and feed on whatever smells good in the garden. To prevent them from feasting on your plants, place traps nearby.
Earwigs are another nocturnal nuisance that can be controlled using traps. They can damage garden plants like lettuce and even bite humans when disturbed. They’re attracted to moisture, so if you want to avoid an accidental run-in with one of these pincered creatures, shake off towels and seat cushions before drying off after a swim or sitting down to eat.
These little bugs can quickly kill plants. The larvae feed on roots, while adult vine weevils target plant foliage. To control these nighttime garden pests, sprinkle diatomaceous earth on and around affected plants. The microscopic shards are harmless to humans, but cut up soft-bodied insects upon contact.
While many homeowners have an aversion to insect pests, even pesky mammals are harder to hate due to their cuddly looks. Whether you have a soft spot for raccoons or not, these masked foragers are happy to knock over your trash cans and spill refuse all over the place. To prevent raccoons from making a mess on your property, ensure your bins are tightly sealed.
The waddling skunk doesn't stray far from its burrow when it heads out at night. Unlike raccoons, skunks don’t usually bother with trash cans and prefer to hunt for grubs and other insects. Some skunks might dig holes in your lawn, but the damage isn’t typically serious. The real drawback to skunks is their odiferous spray, but if you stay away from them, they'll stay away from you. Keep your pets away from skunks, too, or they could end up on the wrong end of a powerfully stinky surprise. Prevent skunks from taking up residence on your property by limiting access to areas where they might burrow—under porches, decks, and inside sheds.
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