Texas Living

What You Need to Know about Bed Bugs, Crazy Ants, and Termites

By Lisa Martin 4.26.13

Texans are facing a banner year for pests thanks to a mild winter that did little to kill off the insect population.

It’s not just termites that do big-time damage to property, either. The so-called Raspberry Crazy Ant has ruined millions of dollars worth of swimming pool pumps, air conditioners, TVs, and other electronics throughout the state. “I have customers who are filling up an entire vacuum bag every single day of the week with live and dead RCAs,” says Tom Raspberry, a Pearland-based exterminator, who helped identify his namesake ant and works to rid the Houston airports and NASA’s Johnson Space Center of the ongoing threat.

Other creepy critters

“Although bed bugs are a year-round pest, people have a greater chance of picking up this hitchhiker during the spring and summer as travel increases,” says Missy Henriksen, a spokeswoman for the National Pest Management Association. “Bed bugs are a souvenir no one wants to bring home.”

Fleas and ticks enjoy traveling, too, if only from the neighborhood park to your living room. Check with your veterinarian for detailed guidelines on keeping these pests away from your pet.

Pest control

“It is extremely important to be proactive in protecting your home now for the spring months,” says Kim Kelley-Tunis, technical services director at Orkin. “As the temperatures warm in the early spring, many of these insects and rodents will emerge from their hiding spaces in search of a way out of your house, often congregating around windows and lights within the home.”

To bug-proof your residence, Kelley-Tunis recommends the following:

  • Make sure all holes in mesh screens are repaired.
  • Replace door sweeps and ensure that doors and windows close tightly, without any small openings.
  • Trim excess bushes and vegetation around the home.
  • Make sure attics are insulated.
  • Clean out gutters and install gutter guards to help prevent leaves and debris from accumulating.