It’s spring again, the time of year when we shake off the winter doldrums and welcome flowers, romance — and insects. Though the last aren't exactly welcome, they're certainly a part of spring in the city. Like their human counterparts, bugs love to emerge after a long winter’s nap for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately, that can translate to parties on your patio and luaus on your legs. While New Orleans doesn’t exactly go into the deep freeze the rest of the country faces, our shift in humidity and temperature still leads to a very real increase in bug activity come late March. Preparing for the seasonal uptick involves knowing what you’re facing and then talking to a qualified specialist in New Orleans pest control. Here are some ways to recognize the top spring pests in New Orleans. Figure out if they’re what’s bugging you!
The oak trees of New Orleans are a source of pride. Unfortunately, they’re also the exclusive home to a particularly troublesome spring pest known to New Orleans pest control specialists for its nasty stinging ways. It’s the buck moth caterpillar, and it’s one of the more annoying pests common to spring in the city. These innocent-looking guys are not a problem until they land on you and sting, which they may happen to do more often than you’d expect. These caterpillars are the larval stage of the buck moth, a striking brown and white moth that takes flight mostly during deer season. They lay their eggs around that time in oak trees. By spring, those eggs hatch and out come thousands of tiny, prickly caterpillars.
The trouble comes when those caterpillars fall or crawl out of a tree and land on your unsuspecting shoulder. Their bodies are built with spines to ward off predators. These hollow needles release a poison that stings if it pricks your skin. Avoid their nip by staying out of the oak shade when possible. New Orleans pest control experts say if you do find yourself pricked, use Scotch tape to pull the spines out and sooth the pain with an ice pack.
Heat, moisture and humidity — all the things that make a New Orleans spring sticky are the things that make it heaven for flying cockroaches. These classic pests thrive in just about any city, but New Orleans is especially favored due to its climate and the abundance of old buildings with lots of cracks and crevices in which to hide. In fact, Bloomberg named the Crescent City the most roach-infested in the nation in 2017. Experts say the lack of consistent freezing makes it hard to really put a dent in the city’s abundant population of these skittering creatures.
They love to live in the leaf litter and bark of the live oaks that are abundant in the city, putting them in the perfect position to creep into a nearby house. Once there, New Orleans pest control specialists say roaches can survive by eating anything from paper to glue from stamps. Even spotless homes can be impacted if they have a leak or some other condition leading to a particularly damp environment. Because roach infestation can be so hard to manage, it’s best to contact a New Orleans pest control specialist when you see the first one, rather than trying to handle these critters yourself.
In New Orleans, Formosan termites have taken wood destruction to a level far beyond that of their native termite cousins. These insects are an invasive brand of the standard wood-chomping pest, first introduced from East Asia. Formosan termites thrive in muggy climates like Florida and Louisiana. In fact, they got so destructive in the French Quarter that the federal government sponsored a program to place termite baits and traps throughout the historic district. New Orleans pest control experts say a single colony can contain millions of termites, compared to just thousands for native subterranean termites.
It’s typical to see swarms of these destructive creatures in early spring evenings. If you see them downtown, simply avoid them. However, if you see these pests near your home, it could be a very bad sign. Seal up your doors and windows and make a call to a trusted New Orleans pest control specialist with experience treating these troublesome bugs.
April showers may bring May flowers, but in New Orleans, they can also bring an uptick in those most common warm weather menaces, mosquitoes. The Crescent City has an especially nasty history with these bloodsuckers. In the early 19th and 20th century, yellow fever carried by these insects killed more than 41,000 men, women and children. Nowadays, mosquitoes are linked to West Nile Virus, which they can pass to humans after biting infected birds. Concern also has surrounded Zika virus. This mosquito-borne illness has been blamed for causing serious birth defects in pregnant women who become infected. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, which makes the Big Easy,with its low elevation and abundant swamp areas, an ideal site. Add in the increased humidity and rains with the change of seasons, and New Orleans pest control experts can tell you that you have a recipe for mosquito disaster.
There’s no way to avoid mosquitos entirely, but there are plenty of smart options to minimize their numbers and impact. Remove standing water in containers around your home and address any drainage issues that can lead to pools of water. Make sure to keep open windows screened and limit time outside during dusk and dawn, when some species are especially active. If they are still a major problem, it may be time to talk to a New Orleans pest control specialist to investigate some of the more serious steps you can take.
New Orleans is beautiful year-round, but especially in the throes of spring. Unfortunately, the beauty of the growing season doesn’t curtail the annoyance presented by pests. You don’t have to let insects spoil this time of year. Understanding what signs to look for can help you know when it’s time to call a New Orleans pest control specialist.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.