Q: I’ve been hearing strange sounds in the walls of my home and I’m worried some critters have taken up residence. How should I deal with a possible pest problem?
A: Pests like rodents and insects present serious health and safety risks. There has been significant effort lately to slow the spread of 新型冠状病毒肺炎, but the proliferation of pests during the pandemic brings its own health problems. That’s why professional pest control has been listed as an essential service by Washington state.
The World Health Organization recognizes over 30 pathogenic bacteria, 病毒, 原生动物, and helminths spread by rodents alone. The most infamous, Hantavirus, is pervasive in the Northwest. Its local variety has a mortality rate of about 50% and no known treatment or cure.
With more people staying indoors, rodents can safely and openly wander in broad daylight. 许多食物和水源, 喜欢的餐馆, are closed and fewer garbage cans are out, so mice and rats are looking for new sources. Without ongoing control efforts, they’ll go where these items are readily available: our homes.
Your garbage cans, recycling bins, and compost piles are grocery stores to rats and mice. Make sure garbage bin lids are securely covered and keep compost bins tightly lidded. Do not compost meat, eggs, or dairy products, as these will attract rodents and raccoons. Bird feeders are also rodent feeders—use feeders with catch-basins to capture errant seeds before they hit the ground.
Another major food source is your pet’s food and water. Make sure to bring all dog and/or cat bowls inside as soon as they’re done eating. 最后，但肯定不是最不重要的, make sure to keep all bushes and trees cut back away from your home’s foundation, 站, 和车顶. Pl蚂蚁 provide safe hiding spots, harborage areas, and access to roofs and attics.
There are many infestation signs to look out for—droppings, scratching or scampering sounds in walls and crawl spaces, and pets scratching at the floor or barking at the ceiling. Rodents also gnaw holes, leave smudge marks on surfaces, and burrow under the foundation. If you notice any of these signs, call a professional.
There have been significant outbreaks in the U.S. caused by insects, most notably West Nile virus (mosquitos) and lyme disease (ticks). Fortunately for us, Washington has not been impacted by these pathogens.
But we do have some problematic insects here. Common flies carry diseases such as salmonella, 而其他的, 像蟑螂, 脱毛“皮,” leaving tiny particles that can cause asthma flareups—not something you want paired with a respiratory pathogen like 新型冠状病毒肺炎. 和黄蜂, 尤其是黄色的夹克, have nasty stings that send some people to hospitals with allergic reactions.
Yellow jackets and hornets are largely dormant in the winter, but by late summer their nests can number in the thousands. Different wasp species nest in different locations—in soil, 在古老的木材或假山内, suspended beneath bush and tree branches, 屋顶的屋檐下, and inside wall voids and attics in our homes.
现在, it’s a good time to slowly walk around the perimeter of your home and watch for insects consistently traversing the same area. They will seem to line up like planes at the airport, queuing up for the landing zone. Chewing and crunching noises coming from the wall or ceiling inside is also a bad sign; it means you’re likely dealing with rodents, 蚂蚁, 或黄色夹克. Whatever you do, DO NOT press on the wall at that spot. 如果你怀疑黄色夹克, get professionals out immediately before the wasps scratch their way through the sheetrock and expose their entire nest to your living space.
在这些艰难的时刻, pest control companies must strive to keep customers and technicians healthy and safe. Any company you decide to hire should limit interior visits to situations where inside work is completely necessary, such as treatment of active infestations, 陷阱设置, 以及清除死鼠. While inside, they should socially distance and wear masks, gloves, and shoe covers. It’s vital they disinfect any surfaces they touch—even with the gloves on!
Eliminating pest infestations is difficult work right now, but no less crucial. Working together, we can keep both pests and 新型冠状病毒肺炎 under control. 保持健康!
Aleah Treftz is public relations manager at 级联害虫防治, a member of the 主建筑商协会 of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). 如果你有一个家庭改善, 重构, or residential home建筑 question you’d like answered by one of MBAKS’ more than 2,600个成员, 写信给 firstname.lastname@example.org.