Pest Control Calendar for Northern Virginia
Almost anywhere in the world, there are going to be certain times a year when pests are more active. Here in Northern Virginia, bugs are often more obvious in the summer when the heat and humidity creates an environment in which many of the local pests – that are usually well adapted to tropical environments – can thrive. Meanwhile, for the people who live in this area, winter seems to provide a brief respite from pests.
But in terms of pest control, the fight against pests never truly stops. With all the different bugs and rodents in the area, there are going to be some pets that are trying to make a home in your house every month of the year. Whether you are doing your own pest control or leaving it to a professional, homeowners in Gainesville need to be prepared for pests all year long.
This starts by understanding which pests are active in which seasons and what actions you should take against them depending on the month. This pest calendar provides an in-depth overview of which pests are most prominent at different times of the year and the specific pest control steps you can use to prepare for and prevent them. It is tailored to the pests in the following areas:
- Gainesville, VA
- Bristow, VA
- Haymarket, VA
- Centreville, VA
- Warrenton, VA
- Manassas, VA
- Ashburn, VA
- Fairfax, VA
- Chantilly, VA, and Nearby
Some of these can be adapted to other areas in the region, but may change based on your location, your local climate and specific pest populations to help you achieve a pest free home all year round.
How to Effectively Prevent Pests in All Seasons
Like any animal, bugs rely on different sources of food, water, and shelter. Throughout the year, many of these can be found outside. Yet as seasons change, temperatures fluctuate, rain and snow impact the environment, and other animal populations in the pest food chain alter, the outdoor sources of food, shelter, and water become less dependable.
Meanwhile, the same features that make your home comfortable to you all year can also make your home attractive to pests. You have shelter from the elements, sources of water with indoor plumbing, and most likely a full pantry of food. More importantly, you have these temptations regardless of the season.
While bugs, mice, and rats are not necessarily waiting at the borders of your property for the first sign of inclement weather, they will still readily find their way into any homes that can provide the right habitat for them. With an infestation almost an inevitability for unprotected homes in Gainesville, prevention is the best way to keep insects away.
Tips for Using the Bug Prevention Calendar
This calendar is based on bug activity in Northern Virginia, but it is not necessarily a definitive timeline. Bugs are highly susceptible to changes in their environment. If warm weather comes early, stays late, or a summer is wetter or drier than average, pest and rodent activity will change accordingly.
This calendar is a great solution for general guidelines, but if you are doing your own pest control, you should also be aware of weather for the year and pest behaviors in your area so that you can adapt your approach to preventative pest control. This will enable you to handle challenges and changes to the timeline that may be specific to the year in which you are managing your pest control.
Preventative Pest Control Steps for Each Month
Because there is never a season without pests in Northern Virginia, you never want to go too long without a pest control strategy if you are aiming to prevent an infestation. There are certain seasons that need more intensive work to keep pests out, but it pays to be aware of bug and rodent activities at all times and actively working against them so that you can always stay one step ahead.
To initially get you started with pest control, plan on the following steps at each month of the year:
January is generally one of the slower months for pest problems. Any overwintering pests have already settled in and the bugs that prefer warm weather have a few months before they emerge.
There are primarily four pests that you will worry about in January. These are:
There is also a chance that spiders and house centipedes will enter your home since their food is scarce outdoors. This typically only occurs if you are already having a problem with spiders, ants, or roaches.
These four pests will be trying to escape the cold outdoors and find warmth and food inside your home. Since all of these pests except silverfish are well adapted to survive on human food, one of the best things you can do at this time of year is keep things clean, especially in your kitchen. Most families are spending more time at home in the winter months, which can result in more messes if you are not careful. Practice cleaning dishes, food prep, and eating spaces nightly to remove any food or spills that will be attractive to bugs, mice, and rats.
Also keep clutter off the floor and carry out trash regularly as these can be attractive hiding spaces for pests. Keeping these clean can help you avoid having pests move in in many cases, but they can also make it easier to identify a pest problem as soon as possible in order to seek treatment quickly and not have to share your space with bugs or rodents, many of which can be harmful on any cold days that you are spending at home.
In terms of pest activity, February is largely the same as January. While temperatures may have warmed slightly, it is usually not enough to bring out large numbers of new pests. Chilly temperatures and occasional iciness mean that your yard is still largely protected from extensive pest activity as well.
Instead, it is best to continue focusing on your indoor environment during the month of February by continuing to keep things clean and staying vigilant for any pest problems that may come up, and schedule a Gainesville pest control company visit before the problem can get worse.
Temperatures in Northern Virginia begin warming noticeably in the month of March most years, with the majority of days over 50 degrees, and some well into the 60s and 70s. Although it is still too cold for the abundant pest activity that you will later see in the summer, pests will begin becoming active at this time.
Mosquitoes will emerge from their overwintering state and it is possible to get a few bites as early as March. The primary threat is the Asian tiger mosquito. This mosquito is out during the daytime. Meaning it benefits from the warmer daytime temperatures in March as opposed to evening mosquitoes like the Aedes aegypti, for which evening and nighttime temperatures are often still too cold.
Another prevalent pest that you should start worrying about in March are termites. Their swarming season will begin next month in April, but you should start preparing now to make your yard and home less habitable to termite swarmers. Some quick yard maintenance steps – we know it is still too cold most days to spend too much time doing yard work – are a good idea this early in the spring.
They can include:
- Removing Any Trash or Debris – If items have collected in your yard since last fall, now is a good time to throw them away or move them into storage. Many items can collect water that mosquitoes will later use to breed in or provide hiding spots for pests.
- Identify Moisture Problems – Both termites and mosquitoes will require abundant moisture. Finding the areas where flooding is occurring, water is collecting in containers, or soil is especially damp near your home and addressing them now will prevent problems later on.
- Plant in the Right Areas – As you plant flowers and shrubs, do not let them touch your home. If you have any vegetation growing against the side of your house, that can be a prime spot for termites since it provides them a good source of food. It may also be encouraging mice and rats to shelter near your home, which can still be a concern since rodents are often a year round pest.
- Move Firewood – If you have a fireplace and have been storing wood near your home, move it to a location away from any structures and, where possible, elevate it a few inches off the ground. Firewood can attract termites as well as other summer pests, and keeping it at a distance from your house will give these pests a less direct route into your home.
Stink bugs are another pest that you may see starting in March, but rather than coming from the outside into your home, they are already inside your home and trying to get out. The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species that overwinters in a home, going into a hibernation-like state in warm nooks and corners around your home and inside your walls. When temperatures get warmer out of doors, they will make their way through your home and outside. This can lead to hundreds or thousands of stink bugs in your home.
They are harmless, but they do cause an unpleasant odor when smashed. Because the bugs are already inside your home, the best solution for stink bugs if you find yourself dealing with an infestation in the spring is professional pest control.
Other pests may also start emerging at this time, although their numbers will remain low as many are not actively breeding yet. Still, starting in March, you may start to see increases in flies, spiders, stinging insects, ticks, and fleas.
April marks the definitive start of pest season for many different bug species in Northern Virginia. Mosquitoes at this point can become noticeable and their populations have been increasing in April year over year as Northern Virginia has faced wetter and warmer winters.
This is the season in which termites will also begin swarming. While your precautionary measures in the previous month will help, you still want to remain aware of termites throughout April and May. Termite swarmers are winged termites that will leave their existing colonies and to scout out a new place to settle. You may see them flying around the exterior of your home before they dig into the soil to build their nest, shedding their wings in the process.
This is one of the few times that termites will be easily visible and therefore the best time to catch an infestation early. If you notice flying termites around your home or shed wings collected in corners of your yard or on cobwebs, you should plan on scheduling a termite inspection within the next few months to see if an infestation has started.
Now that it is warmer and things in your yard are growing again, April is also the time to start yard maintenance, such as:
- Lawn Mowing
- Weed Pulling
- Tree and Shrub Trimming
As this plant life grows, it creates an ideal hiding place for many different pests, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, spiders, rodents, and roaches. Keeping your yard well maintained is one of the best ways to keep all these pests away from it and reduce the bugs you have to deal with in your backyard or coming into your house through open doors and small cracks.
The other pest that is on the move starting in April is stinging insects. Bees and wasps will emerge from their overwintering states in these warmer temperatures and begin to build new nests. Encounters during this time of year will largely depend on the pest species. Many wasps live singly or in small groups, and during the spring they will find locations for their nests. Wasps in the
Northern Virginia area include:
- Paper Wasps – These wasps build smaller nests out of paper-like material in trees and the elevated parts of structures like eaves and roofs.
- Bald-Faced Hornets – Bald-faced hornets are a more aggressive wasp. Their nests are roughly the size and shape of a football, and the hornets prefer to build the nest at a high vantage point, such as in a tree.
- Yellowjackets – The most common wasp type in Gainesville, a yellowjacket nest will contain hundreds of insects and be built in homes or trees. These wasps look similar to bees and build their nests in similar locations, but they are typically more aggressive than bees.
You may also come across bees as spring is a key time for bees to swarm. This is when the entire hive sets out together with its queen to find a new place to establish a hive. It can result in you seeing thousands of bees clustered at once, which is startling, but honeybees and other bee species that engage in this behavior are generally not aggressive during swarming as long as you do not approach them.
You can pay attention to a swarm to see if it moves on from wherever it is clustered, which many are many do as they are simply resting, or if you start to see bees disappear into a tree trunk or behind the siding of your home, which may mean that you have a hive on your property and should consider calling a pest professional.
Fleas and ticks may also begin to become more noticeable in March, although they are around most of the year. Keeping your property maintained, removing brush, and practicing yard maintenance as things begin to grow again will help keep fleas and ticks under control. You should also start using additional precautions with your pets in the spring, such as flea and tick prevention medication, to avoid them bringing bugs back inside with them.
Summer is in the air in May in Virginia and so are the pests. Average daily temperatures are comfortably warm and you can expect mosquitoes to start breeding in earnest, as well as flies, ticks, fleas, ants, and a wide variety of other pests. Additionally, termites and stinging insects may still be swarming.
Keeping up on your landscape care will be the best way to manage outdoor pests. To continue controlling mosquitoes, you should remove any containers from your yard that collect water or empty them at least once a week. The majority of mosquitoes that are around homes and responsible for biting humans are container breeding mosquitoes and removing or emptying these containers prevents the eggs inside of them from turning into stinging adult insects.
The good news is that while there are more pests with the start of summer, there is also a significant amount of food for them to eat and plenty of moisture outside with the beginning of the rainy season. You are likely to see more pests, but many will be content to stay outside your home and focusing on control solutions in your yard will be most effective at this time.
June continues many of the pest trends from the previous months, but termites will stop swarming and stinging insect swarms will decrease significantly.
With nice weather, you will want to keep your yard in good shape. If you have not recently, this can also be a good point in the year to survey the outside of your home and look for any cracks, openings, tears in screens, worn door sweeps, or other areas where there may be a gap. Patching these areas now with solutions like wire mesh, caulking, or replacements is an ideal form of mechanical pest prevention that physically bars bugs and rodents from entering your home. This will be helpful throughout the summer and into the fall to continue keeping pests away, especially as the number of pests in your yard increases.
July is the height of pest season for many bugs. Heat, humidity, and abundant food means that breeding for bugs like flies and mosquitoes is at an all time high, and you might find yourself dealing with bugs every time you step outside.
The same solutions from earlier in the year – maintaining landscaping, keeping your home neat, and making sure there are no openings that bugs could get through – will be the best ways to keep pests under control.
If at any point during this time you notice a large number of bugs in your home and suspect an infestation, or even have more pests than you are comfortable with, contacting professional pest control can eliminate the problem before it gets worse – and with many pests outside that could quickly follow the ones already indoors, a problem getting worse is highly likely.
There are not a significant number of changes in August, but rather more of the same pest behaviors from earlier in the summer. Different weather conditions can yield specific pest problems, such as a wetter summer having more mosquitoes or a warmer summer leading to even higher pest numbers.
As temperatures finally begin to cool off in September, pest activity will finally begin to decrease. This is generally the last month for mosquitoes, flies, stinging insects, and many of the other pests associated with summer in Gainesville, Bristow, and the surrounding area.
While this is good news since you will have fewer bug bites and bacteria from bugs to worry about, one challenge is that there is also less food later in the season for bugs to eat. This can cause insects like bees and wasps to become more aggressive as they search for more limited food. Decreasing bug populations also coincides with the time that several spider species are reproducing, making spiders more aggressive as well.
Being alert can help you avoid stings and bites. September is also a good time to take another look at the outside of your home to be sure that there are no gaps that bugs could get in through.
During October, many bugs will die off or start to enter their overwintering states depending on the species. This means a significant decrease in bugs out of doors. It also means that many bugs will move indoors to escape the cold.
Some of the bugs that you may start to see an increase in inside your home during this time include:
- House Centipedes
The other bug that will be moving in during the fall is the stinkbug. They will come in slowly during the fall and early winter, making them less noticeable, but you should take precautions now to keep them out and reduce the risk that you will have to deal with them next spring.
Continue your fall pest control tactics into November. In recent years in Gainesville, the warmer weather has lasted into November, which means there are still traces of pest activity this late in the season. By continuing to focus on preventing pests, you will not leave any gaps in your timeline during which a pest problem could begin.
As we return to the winter months in Northern Virginia, outdoor pest activity will again be at its lowest. Therefore, you need to primarily worry about pests that may occur indoors. Those same pest prevention methods from January of regular cleaning will be your best defense against pests throughout the end of the year.
Year Long Tasks for Pest Prevention
Adjusting your pest prevention strategies depending on the season and the types of pests that are most active is the most effective way to keep pests out. But you should also be prepared for the unexpected and ready to respond to other challenges. This includes:
Making Repairs as Necessary – If you have a leak or damage to your home’s exterior, fix these as quickly as possible as they are both very attractive for a variety of bugs regardless of the season.
Schedule an Exterminator – Unfortunately, bugs do not always stick to a calendar and the right conditions can cause them to get past your prevention methods. If you have a problem with bugs in any month, working with a local exterminator is the fastest way to get rid of them.
Another option for year round bug and rodent management is ongoing pest control. This method of pest control is focused on prevention and management by using evenly spaced visits throughout the year. With either bi-monthly or quarterly from our team at ExtermPRO, we can help keep pests out.
The foundation of this service is a preventive treatment we apply on the exterior of a property. This treatment works on almost all of the seasonal pests that can come to your home, creating a line of defense that they cannot get over. The service also relies on monitoring, recommendations for environmental changes, and more active extermination methods when necessary.
The other benefit of ongoing pest control from ExtermPRO is the knowledge that our team brings. This pest calendar is ingrained knowledge for us. Having worked in pest control in Virginia for many years, as well as staying regularly up to date with new science and trends, we know what to expect from pests every year, even when activity changes year over year. For the most effective pest control in Gainesville and extermination at any time of the year, contact ExtermPRO to learn more and get a free quote.