After five and a half years, the California drought is officially over. During the drought, high temperatures and a lack of moisture sent rural pests to urban centers to seek refuge. Even with its end, our typically scorching California summers are sure to bring pests back to people’s homes. Lloyd Pest Control knows all about the drought and how dry, hot periods bring pests toward us. We’d like to explain the reasons for their migration, as well as what you can do to stop them.
The Drought: A Quick Recap
California suffered quite the dry spell in 2011 – one that lasted until earlier this year. It was so bad that in 2013, our state received the lowest rainfall we’ve ever recorded. The effects were devastating: lakes dried up, trees died, and the produce industry declined. You probably recall our state’s order to reduce water consumption by 25 percent a few years back.
The drought had major effects on pest activity. Because of the lack of sustenance in agricultural regions, pests – insects and rodents alike – began moving toward cities to survive. That’s where they sought out a friendlier environment. Pests were attracted to buildings with sources of food and water, and for some, a place to cool off as well. If you saw more pests around your home the past few years, the drought could be to blame.
Recent events have created a perfect storm for pests. While the drought-stricken desert pushed pests toward urban areas, other factors attracted them as well. The reduction in water usage – specifically from lawn sprinklers, hoses, and outdoor pools – also forced them indoors to seek moisture. In addition, tree deaths from fungal infections became common, urging pests to seek shade and fruit elsewhere.
The End of the Drought: Now What?
The drought has officially ended, but our state’s typically high temperatures aren’t set to change anytime soon. In recent years, summer heat has reached far above the regional average in Southern California – and that’s bad news for property owners. Pests looking for a cooler, darker alternative to the weather will continue to seek indoor habitats. Add that to the state’s recovering dry spell, and we should expect pest activity to persist.
The Return of the Summer Pests
Many pests are already active during the summer, and recent conditions continue to encourage their presence. Rats, mosquitoes, bees, and ants are four of the most common warm weather pests, and they seek shelter in or around homes due to the heat. Here’s what attracted each them during the drought and what continues to attract them afterward:
1. Rats: Like us, rats are mammals and need water to survive. Due to the harsh climate, they’ve been searching for cooler escapes with more moisture. While they don’t fly like other pests, they have sharp teeth that allow them to tear through siding and walls to get indoors. In addition, they’re excellent climbers – roof rats, especially – and they can scour the outside of your house for openings.
2. Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes seek water as a breeding ground rather than for consumption. Unlike rats, they prefer the heat. That makes outdoor features like pools and fountains hotspots for mosquitoes. During the drought, they flocked to urban California to find standing water. As one of the most common summer insects, mosquitoes are increasingly a problem due to the warm temperatures and abundance of water sources in the city.
3. Bees: Bees’ diets consist of two things: nectar and pollen. Since plants wilt without water, bees are another pest that migrated in large numbers to find nourishment during the drought. Following the drought, bees remain prevalent in green urban areas. If you have flowers that bloom during the summer, especially if it’s a full flowerbed, don’t be surprised if you encounter bees or even a nearby hive at some point.
4. Ants: The top reason for ant infestations is access to food and water, and this motivated them during the drought as well. Many species of ants moved toward homes to support the existence of their colonies. While they often favor the heat, their search for sustenance is enough to keep them coming back to kitchens and bathrooms.
Strategies to Combat Summertime Infestations
The California drought is over, and life is going back to normal for you and your family. But with our region’s hot and dry weather tendencies, pests are sure to come knocking. Their presence is frustrating, as summer should be a time for leisure and relaxation. Still, there are many steps you can take to stop them in their tracks.
Natural pesticides and traps are a solid pest elimination option, but remember that they don’t do anything for prevention. Also, if possible, they should be avoided when dealing with bees due to their dwindling numbers. Here are a few ways you can combat summer pests from the get-go:
- Drive away bees and mosquitoes: Limit the presence of outdoor water and plant sources that attract bees and mosquitoes. Introduce plants like lemongrass and feverfew that repel mosquitoes, and place peppermint and cinnamon near your outdoor plants to repel bees.
- Keep out rats and ants: Eliminate food and water sources rats and ants crave (i.e. open containers, spills, and dripping faucets), and clean behind fridges or other places they’re likely to hide. Seal home entrance points and make sure they can’t enter through windows or doors.
- Eliminate persisting infestations: If problems linger, or you’d prefer professionals handle them, contact us at Lloyd Pest Control.
Lloyd Pest Control’s Approach to Warm Weather Pests
Pests are typically most active during summer months. Many of them enjoy the warm weather and settle in backyards where they’re able to raise a colony. Others prefer the indoors, as they hope to find refuge, food, and water. While the five-plus year drought in California is over, pests aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, they have plenty of reasons to stick around.
At Lloyd Pest Control, we have what it takes to force warm weather pests out. Our experience and pest-specific solutions will eliminate pests from your Southern California property for good. Regardless of which pest is plaguing your summer, Lloyd Pest Control is here to help. Get an instant quote or call us at 1-(800) 223-2847.