Do It Yourself Pest Control: Special Tips For California Bugs

California's climate is perfect for numerous pest insects. With a little care, you can take care of these pests yourself.

Living the California life means doing a lot of outdoor activities due to the nice but varied climate. This also means that there are abundant insects that can be a source of irritation both inside and out. During the summer months, you'll probably be outside more, enjoying a nice family picnic or ball game. The most common insect that'll most likely be hanging around is the yellow jacket or paper wasp. They're attracted to sweet soft drinks and most other food types and will sting without much provocation, unlike bees who need to feel threatened before stinging. Wasps can also sting multiple times, so avoidance is usually the best way to prevent a sting. If you're in your backyard and find wasps making your life miserable, you can do several things to eliminate the problem. The first is to hide safely within a screened enclosure, but if you don't have or don't want to have such an outdoor sanctuary, then finding and destroying the nest is necessary.

Wasps usually build their nests under the eaves of your house, so with a little observation, you can find it quickly and use a commercial insecticide with a far-reaching jet of spray, or hose down the nest with a stream of water. Always make sure you have a fast escape route because you'll most likely make the surviving wasps very angry. The night time is the best time to spray down a nest because the wasps are more docile at night and have all returned to the nest. If you can't locate the wasp nest, you might want to use a wasp trap. These attract the wasps into a plastic container where they can't escape and will eventually die trapped inside. Place the traps in trees and not too close to where you might be enjoying your summertime activities, because they will bring around the wasps and it's best if you're not there when the traps do this.

California is also rife with ants. Unlike fire ants, most California ants are carpenter ants or one of the other more innocuous species, but still, nobody wants these six-legged creatures crawling over their kitchen or outdoor barbeque. Since most ants like to make their colonies in moist or rotting wood, close to a water source, or in tree trunks, eliminating the possible sources is the first thing to consider. Be sure to repair water leaks and keep inside wood surfaces and cupboards dry. Make sure firewood is kept as far away from your house as possible, don't allow sprinklers to wet your foundation, seal cracks and crevices in your outer walls, trim away tree branches that might come in contact with your home and provide a route for ants to travel from the tree to your house. If you have a basement or crawl space, assure that it's not damp and all holes, cracks or gaps are sealed. And, most importantly, don't let food particles or water puddles stay on your kitchen counter. If you see a few ants crawling around, get rid of them immediately because they are the scouts who will report back promptly if they find food or water.



Bottle flies or blow flies are another nuisance insect that are sometimes hard to get rid of. They are attracted to trash, pet waste, food and dead rodents. To eliminate their food sources, make sure you always cover your trash containers tightly, repair screens on doors and windows and keep doors closed when possible. If you suspect they are attracted to a dead animal, find it quickly and dispose of it.

Fruit flies are a problem in California because of the fertile fields in the valleys where crops are grown in abundance. As their name implies, they are primarily attracted to fruit. They can be found in accumulations of organic matter or even on the bananas you bring home from the store. They are small and hard to notice until you see them flying around your house. Generally, you don't need to worry about these, because they'll fly off on their own if you don't provide a suitable habitat.

Of course, when spraying for insects, you must remember that California has several threatened or endangered species you should watch for so you don't accidentally kill those. Some of these include: Mount Hermon June Beetle, Delta Green Ground Beetle, Delhi Sands Flower-loving Fly, Zayante Band-winged Grasshopper, and several butterfly species. If you're unsure what sort of insects are around your home, you can check with your local office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a list of threatened or endangered insects in your area.

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