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When evaluating pests in a typical New Jersey neighborhood, you’ll find that some are far more destructive than others. In their search for food and shelter, bugs, rodents, and other critters can damage your home, prized possessions, and even the inner workings of your car!
Below, we’ll provide a brief rundown of common New Jersey pests that frequently damage property in residential areas.
Don’t let their small size fool you: if left to their own devices, carpenter ants can cause quite a bit of damage to your home. These insects chew smooth tunnels in wood to build their nests. Even though carpenter ants prefer softwood or rotting wood, they can eventually move on to your home’s support beams or the trees in your yard if given the opportunity.
Winged carpenter ants (swarmers) start appearing in New Jersey during May and typically last until August. Flying ants swarm to reproduce and find new areas to colonize, so keep an eye out for swarmers around your property!
While you may want to help local bee populations thrive, carpenter bees are generally unwanted visitors. Carpenter bees damage structures by boring holes into wood to create nests. You can find these holes in siding, fences, decks, soffits, eaves, and other wooden roof components. While this damage is mostly cosmetic, it can contribute to moisture problems and wood rot.
In New Jersey, carpenter bees begin emerging around April. Their activity level picks up as the weather gets warmer and subsides around June. You can get a head start against carpenter bee infestations by making sure the wood around your property is painted, stained, or and pressure-treated. The bees find this wood much less attractive than soft, rotting wood.
Often mistaken for white or pale yellow ants, eastern subterranean termites can cause significant damage to a home’s support beams while going undetected for a long time. These pests live in the ground, and from there they travel to a home’s foundation, basement, or crawlspace. These termites derive nutrients from the cellulose in plant-based material, so along with wood, they have also been known to consume cardboard boxes, books, paper files, cotton products, and more.
Subterranean termites will start swarming in search of mates and new places to colonize during spring, usually in the morning following a warm, rainy day. Termites will continue to swarm until June or July.
Mice and rats are destructive for a couple of reasons: their nest-building habits and their constant chewing.
You’ve probably heard Mom say the phrase, “Your hair looks like a rat’s nest!” While this was (hopefully) an exaggeration, this can give you the idea of what a rat or mouse’s nest looks like: a messy pile of leaves, twigs, grass, mattress stuffing, insulation, fabric scraps, shredded paper, etc. These rodents will tear up your home and belongings to gather these nest-building materials.
Another “fun” fact about rodents: their incisors never stop growing. This is why you’ll see mice and rats chewing almost constantly—they need to file down their teeth. These rodents will chew on all kinds of materials around your home, including wood, electrical cables, drywall, sheet metal, and cinder block.
Mice and rats can also crawl up into your car and chew on the wires under the hood. Such rodent behavior even resulted in a lawsuit involving Toyota, whose car wiring was wrapped in a soy-based material that was allegedly attracting rodents.
Mice and rats can be a problem for homeowners during any time of the year. These rodents breed quickly, particularly during spring and summer. Once winter approaches, homeowners start to experience more rodent infestations indoors as mice and rats search for food and shelter inside human homes.
Raccoons are highly adaptable creatures, capable of problem-solving, dumpster-diving, and wreaking havoc on your roof and attic. This particular nuisance animal poses both property and health risks to homeowners. Climbing onto rooftops from nearby branches, they enter homes through gaps along the roof, uncapped chimneys, and broken vents. Once inside, raccoons can tear up your home’s insulation, ductwork, and electrical system.
Many homeowners experience raccoon problems when these animals venture indoors to seek shelter from winter weather. Racoon cubs are born between April and July and leave the den at around 2 months of age. However, some raccoons may start breeding as early as December, which could result in a litter of cubs in your attic.
Although thought by most to be cuter than mice and rats, squirrels are also a type of rodent. Similar to other rodents, squirrels chew incessantly because their four front teeth never stop growing. When these nuisance animals infiltrate a home’s attic and walls through vents and gaps in the roof, they can chew up ductwork, wires, insulation, and even furniture!
Squirrels can be seen in New Jersey year-round. During the warmer months, they tend to be most active early in the morning and in the late afternoon.
At Horizon Pest Control, we provide effective solutions for a wide range of pest control problems. Call us today at (201) 447-2530 or contact us online for help with pests in your New Jersey or New York home!