As the days grow longer and warmer, do you find yourself sharing your home with uninvited guests of the winged and/or 8-legged variety?
In the words of one East-Sider, “Moths have taken over. Larva everywhere. We have to throw out wool rugs. Throw out clothing. Or dry clean for thousands of dollars. It is a nightmare.”
But not a surprise.
In the words of one professional bug-chaser, “Many pests go to sleep when it’s cold, hunkering down quietly in your warm and cozy apartment. Come spring and summer, it’s wake up time. Just like those moths.”
True, some of the winged furies do settle down or die off when the chill sets in. But before they go they carefully leave behind eggs that produce larva which burst when the weather warms, and the new kids join any others who hung around over the winter, quietly chewing holes in your clothes and carpets.
They’re not the only ones making your life miserable right now. The interestingly named web site pet enthusiast lists 17 specific species of creepy crawlies just itching to creep and crawl into your living space. Alphabetically, the list runs from ants to fleas to mites to scorpions (pseudoscorpions, teensy bugs that look like scorpions but lack a stinger tail).
The undisputed Big Three are mosquito, flies, and bed bugs. The first predominate by speeding up the journey from egg to adult in warm weather. The second multiply their breeding behaviors, making more flies than your ineffectual swatting can eliminate. As for the third, they survive by snoozing happily right next to you, warm and cozy through all four seasons.
How they all got there is boringly simple: Most likely you carried them in on your clothing or in Fido’s fur after that lovely hour in the neighborhood park. Or they hopped a ride on your grocery bags. Others flew in though open windows or slipped through cracks in the walls or the very small open space at the bottom of your front door.
Can you actually get rid of them all? Nope. But simple housekeeping can lower the population.
Start by checking your indoor plants. Ants love the taste of sweet leaves and flowers. Carpet beetles prefer pollen. Earwigs pass on the food for the pleasure of burrowing into moist soil.
Next, make sure your windows are screened (no holes, please) and seal every visible gap in walls and floors. Ask nicely, and maybe your super will surely help with this although you may have to tip him for his labor.
After that, clean, clean, clean, and clean again. Once a week ain’t gonna do the job. Up the odds by vacuuming every possible floor space, carpeted and uncarpeted alike. In apartments with wooden floors there are likely to be space between the boards. Vacuum them vigorously. Vacuum your upholstered furniture. And don’t forget the bathroom floor around the tub, sink and toilet where moisture-loving critters may be hiding.
Finally, because fleas and ticks prefer to set up house on living creatures, check yourself and any roommates, including Fido and Fluffy whose fur should probably be combed daily to catch any hitch-hikers.
Then write a note to yourself and stick it onto the September 1 page in your date book, a reminder that while some bugs seem to disappear when the temperature drops, that doesn’t mean they’re actually gone.
In short, beating the bugs is a year-round job.