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Certain creepy crawlies love to call Houston home, whether they live in between the couch cushions, behind the walls, or in hard-to-reach kitchen crevices. Unfortunately, Texas heat and humidity is to blame. Most pests that end up inside require high humidity: When they’re outside they typically live in places full of moisture, such as soil, mulch, or debris.
While pests can be an absolute pain for homeowners and renters alike, there’s hope. We’ve identified the most common pests you may find in your Houston home, how to prevent them from breaking in, and when to call for professional help.
Termites are probably the most pest-y of all the creepy crawlies, especially once you consider that their damages amount to more than $5 billion dollars, according to the National Pest Management Association. They’re also common in Houston and notorious for creating nests inside houses and other buildings. There are a handful of measures you can take to prevent their presence, such as repairing leaky faucets and keeping firewood away from the home. The most effective way to avoid a termite infestation is to schedule regular inspections with a pest management professional to ensure your home remains free of them.
We’re sorry to inform you that Houston is home to the black widow, the brown recluse, the jumping spider, the wolf spider, and other eight-legged relatives. While these creatures are particularly elusive, they may come out to bite. Some spider bites can cause allergic reactions in some people while others, such as the black widow, may result in more serious side effects. Spiders like food, so keep crumbs out of site and vacuum often.
Two types of cockroaches—American and German—are prevalent in Houston. They are often found wherever food is, as well as in warm and moist places such as basements. If you notice holes or cracks in your home, seal them. Keep the house clean, too, and maintain a dry basement (a dehumidifier is a helpful tool).
Mice and Rats
Nobody wants to be eating dinner and then see a mouse or rat scurry under the table and vanish behind the fridge. While seeing one of these pests in your house is unpleasant, it’s what rodents, ranging from the Norwegian rat to the deer mouse, do when we don’t see them that’s especially problematic: gnaw on furniture, wires, carpet, water lines, and more. They also leave droppings on pantry shelves, counters, and places they nest. The best way to keep mice and rats out of your house is to repair any holes in walls and around the baseboards, and to take note of doors that don’t seal properly.
Texas is known for its large variety of scorpions. Scorpions aren’t incredibly dangerous, but they can sting. The severity of a sting ranges from person to person, but it’s still important to make sure you take proper action if you find one in your home. (Not-so fun fact: Scorpion litters range from 25 to 35 babies, which could mean a full-blown infestation.)
Wasps and Bees
From paper wasps to yellow jackets, mud daubers, and bald faced hornets, plenty of wasps and bees are local to Houston. Not only can they nest on or inside your house, but their stings are no joke, especially for people with allergies.
Mosquitoes are common in humid places (hi, Houston), and survive by sucking blood from animals and humans. Mosquito bites not only cause annoying itching and irritation, they can also transmit diseases, such as Zika, a serious public health threat in Houston. They’re also super hard to manage on your own.
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Laura Schwecherl is the Marketing Director at Possible, a nonprofit healthcare company based in New York and rural Nepal. She was the previous Marketing and Partnerships Director at Greatist, which exposed her love of writing about health and wellness. In her spare time, she is either training for a marathon, writing poems, or eating tacos.