As Halloween approaches, Carolina homeowners will no doubt see their share of witches, monsters, ghosts, ghouls, and even the occasional axe-murderer. And while these 'pests' are here and gone once the candy jar runs empty, there are 'real' pests that come into your home and stay there, making themselves at home with your pets and family. What are some of the more common pests that can be found around the Halloween season, and what kinds of real dangers do they pose? Lets take a look.
SPIDERS You don't have to live in a haunted house to have an infestation of spiders, and you often can't tell you have them just by looking for creepy webs that have been spun in room corners. Many spider species become more active in the fall, and some may enter homes in search of prey and shelter. While most spiders are harmless, some people are arachnophobic and prefer not to have them indoors. Some of the more common spider species found in Carolina homes are
Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis): These large, robust spiders are common in the Carolinas, and are often found outdoors (but can move and thrive indoors) and are known for their hunting behavior.
Southern House Spider (Kukulcania hibernalis): This dark brown or black spider is typically found in and around homes. They are reclusive and often build their funnel-shaped webs in quiet corners.
Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia): These large, brightly colored orb-weaving spiders are often found in gardens and around buildings. They are harmless to humans and are known for their intricate, wheel-shaped webs.
Jumping Spiders: The Carolinas are home to a variety of jumping spider species, and these tiny spiders are known for their excellent vision and agility. They are commonly found both indoors and outdoors.
Black and Brown Widows: Both the Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus) and the Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus) can be found in the Carolinas. While black widows are more notorious, brown widows are also venomous but generally less aggressive.
Common House Spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum): These small brown or gray spiders are often found indoors, building tangled webs in corners and crevices. They are non-venomous and generally harmless.
Daddy Longlegs (Pholcidae): These delicate, long-legged spiders are common house residents. They are not venomous and are known for their webs, which are often irregular and messy.
Orb-Weavers: Various species of orb-weaving spiders can be found in the Carolinas. They are known for their distinctive, circular-shaped webs and come in different sizes and colors.
Sac Spiders: These small, pale yellow to light brown spiders are often found indoors.
Another pest that is also used as a common Halloween decoration but in fact is also a very real home pest threat is mice. In fact, the Carolinas are home to a variety of mouse species, as this region has very diverse ecosystems ranging from coastal areas to mountainous regions. Some common mouse species that you might find in your home include:
White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus): These mice are found throughout the Carolinas and are known for their distinctive white feet. They inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests and fields.
Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus): Deer mice are found in a wide range of environments, from woodlands to grasslands. They have a distinctive white underside and are known for their agility in climbing.
Eastern Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys humulis): These small, agile mice are often found in grassy or marshy habitats, making them common in the Carolinas' wetland areas.
Cotton Mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus): Cotton mice inhabit a variety of habitats, including pine forests, hardwood forests, and swamps. They are often found in the southeastern United States, including the Carolinas.
Golden Mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli): The golden mouse is a distinctive species with a bright golden-brown fur. They are commonly found in the Carolinas and are often associated with deciduous forests.
Woodland Jumping Mouse (Napaeozapus insignis): These mice are known for their long hind legs and strong jumping ability. They are typically found in woodland areas and are active mostly at night.
Southern Bog Lemming (Synaptomys cooperi): While not true mice, these small rodents are found in wetland habitats in the Carolinas, particularly in the mountainous regions.
House Mouse (Mus musculus): House mice can be found in both rural and urban environments throughout the Carolinas. They are known for their adaptability and are often considered pests.
While not usually seen in your typical Halloween scary decorations, termites nevertheless should absolutely be mentioned in any write-up that lists the pest dangers to your home at this time of the year. Termites are the stealth assassins of the home pest, working quietly to damage the wooden structure and floors of your home. Termite infestations can be incredibly destructive and costly if left unchecked. It's important to be vigilant and look for signs of a termite infestation in your home. Here are some common signs to watch for
Mud Tubes: Subterranean termites often build mud tubes to travel between their nests and a food source. These tubes may be found along walls, foundation, or in crawl spaces. They are typically small, about the width of a pencil.
Damaged or Hollow-Sounding Wood: Termites can hollow out wood from the inside, leaving it weakened and hollow. If you tap or knock on wooden structures in your home and they sound hollow or produce a papery rustling noise, it may be a sign of termite damage.
Piles of Discarded Wings: After a termite swarm, you may find discarded wings around windows, doors, and light fixtures. Termites shed their wings after they find a mate and start a new colony.
Bubbling or Peeling Paint: Termites can damage the paint on your walls. If you notice bubbling or peeling paint that looks like water damage, it could be a sign of termites beneath the surface.
Tiny Holes in Drywall: Termites can create small holes in drywall. These holes are often accompanied by small piles of what looks like sawdust, which is actually termite feces called "frass."
Sagging or Buckling Floors: When termites damage the subflooring, it can lead to sagging or buckling in your floors. If you notice uneven or squeaky floors, it could be due to termite damage.
Tunnels in Wood: Termites create intricate tunnels within the wood they infest. You may see these tunnels if you break open a piece of damaged wood.
Visible Termites: In some cases, you may actually see live termites, especially during a swarm or if they are exposed when you move or break something in your home.
Droppings: Termite droppings, or frass, can accumulate near their feeding areas. These tiny pellets may be found on the floor or window sills.
Hollowed Out Trees or Tree Stumps: If you have trees or tree stumps near your home, check for termite damage, as they can infest wooden structures outside the home as well.
While most of these can be quite difficult to find and diagnose (indeed, most will be underneath your home in a basement or crawlspace) your trained Nelon-Cole technician knows exactly where to look and how to root out termite infestations. If repairs are necessary, our skilled Repairs and Renovations team are the experts at repairing and renovating damages to your home caused by pests.
We urge you to give us a call at 1-888-7-TheWeb and find out about how we keep your home safe with our year-round protection programs. Call today, and have a "Happy Halloween"!