House Spiders: Friend or Foe?

a house spider in a web under a roof

If you don’t like spiders, you’ll be unhappy to learn that there are more than 4,000 species of them in North America alone. Lucky for us a majority of them are harmless to humans, though there are a few that are venomous enough to do some damage. But it’s the common house spider (or the American house spider) that you’re most likely to find in and around your home. Knowing that you likely have at least a few house spiders sometimes nearby right now, you may be wondering – should you be worried? Are they dangerous? Keep reading to find out.

What Are House Spiders? 

House spiders come in a wide array of rather drab colors. This ranges from yellow or tan, to darker shades of brown or gray with darker mottling. They have a round abdomen that’s higher than it is long and commonly seen with streaks on the sides, and usually splotched with white in its highest point. The house spider can be ⅛ to ⅜ inches (for females); or ⅛ inches (for males), in addition to long legs ringed with a dark color.

Where Do House Spiders Live?

You can find house spiders throughout the United States and in parts of southern Canada. They make their home just about anywhere, including:

  • Gardens and yards
  • Basements and attics
  • Barns and sheds

Just to name a few. Essentially if you have a structure with moisture and food that is mainly left undisturbed, the odds are good of attracting a house spider. If you find them you can easily distinguish their webs from other spiders, as their’s tend to be messier and more asymmetrical. However, they’d probably prefer you didn’t look for them, as if they’re left on their own in your attic, basement or garage, house spiders can live up to seven years. Compare this to their lifespan outside, where female spiders are bound to die in the cold and males rarely last for more than a year.

Are House Spiders Dangerous?

Let’s put some fears to rest: a house spider is not likely to attack you. They’re traditionally shy around humans and are more likely to run, hide or play dead if confronted. And even if it does bite you, its bite and venom are not considered hazardous to humans. You may end up with some minor swelling and redness, but overall this is one more thing that renders the house spider more of a nuisance than a danger. In fact, house spiders actually play a valuable part in your home’s ecosystem by controlling the population of more aggressive household pests. If you want a natural method to get rid of flies, mosquitos and even wasps, you might want to consider making a friend of the American house spider.

Preventing House Spiders

All of that being said, it’s perfectly reasonable if you don’t want to share your home with a colony of spiders, harmless as they may be. Luckily there are a few easy steps you can take to make your space inhospitable to spiders and other pests.

  • Keep the outside of your home clear of things like firewood, debris, shrubs and vines. These are all places where spiders like to gather, and if they’re touching your home, it gives them easy access to get inside.
  • Seal any cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home with caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Keep your house clean with regular sweeping and vacuuming, which will help to remove spider webs, eggs, and insects that spiders feed on. This creates a space that’s less appealing for pests in general, which includes house spiders. 

Effective and Eco-Friendly Spider Removal in Central Iowa

If you’ve done everything right and still find yourself constantly combating house spiders, it might be time to bring in the professionals. At Springer Professional Home Services, we’ve been providing the highest standards of pest removal services since we were founded in 1989. But unlike our competition, we work with the state of the environment in mind and consciously choose to utilize integrated pest management principles. That’s why when you work with us, you’re not only making the best choice for your home – you’re making the best choice for the ecosystem of your community. That’s the Springer promise for homes in and around Des Moines. Contact us today to learn more

Late Summer Pests

Wasp nest in eave of house

You might think that you’re in the clear for pest problems when the summer heat starts to wane, but certain types of pests actually thrive around this time. With an ample amount of warmth and plenty of people participating in outdoor activities to hound, the pests of late summer have an easy time finding what they need, whether it be a blood meal, a food supply, or a place to build their nest. In order to ensure that pests don’t ruin your late summer plans, you have to take preventative measures against them. Read on to learn what pests to watch for in Central Iowa in late summer and what you can do about them.

Common Pests in Late Summer

Every season has its own characteristic pest problems. The pests that cause the most problems in the late summer are typically the ones that have the most to gain from warm conditions, like these:

Bees and wasps: Stinging insects stay active into the late summer pollinating plants and taking advantage of the food that humans leave outside during barbecues, get-togethers, and whatnot.

Ticks: ticks breed during the early summer, producing a yield of offspring that will climb to the tops of tall grass in search of hosts a month later. They thrive in the overgrowth in warm weather.

Wildlife: Wild animals that usually hibernate during the cold winter months spend their summers outside and too often in our business. Wild animals like raccoons, possums, and squirrels that wander into your yard could tear through your trash or garden and cause serious property damage.

Mosquitoes: If mosquitoes establish a successful breeding population, their numbers will be so high by the late summer that it will be almost impossible to deal with them. Mosquitoes remain active as long as temperatures don’t drop below 50°F consistently.

Pest-proof Your Property for Late Summer

Drastic infestations of any of these kinds of pests call for the intervention of a professional exterminator, but there are some general housekeeping strategies you can try to avoid pest problems on your property first. We recommend the following:

  • Keep your yard tidy: Make sure that all of your trees and shrubs are trimmed back, promptly dispose of piles of grass clippings or other vegetation, and make sure you aren’t leaving out any items that could lead to a small, temporary pest shelter.
  • Seal your home: Regularly monitor the outside of your property to make sure that your home doesn’t have any cracks or gaps in roofing, foundation, or siding.
  • Be careful with trash: Using bins that seal and regularly taking out your garbage to the outside bins will go a long way in preventing wildlife infestations.
  • Get rid of standing water: Mosquitoes breed in pools of standing water, no matter how small. Covering up pools, spas, and birdbaths and regularly checking for rainwater pools will help keep mosquitoes away.

Help with Summer Pests

If you’ve tried everything you can to prevent pest infestations to no avail, it’s time to team up with your local pest control company. Our team at Springer is entirely licensed, certified, and thoroughly trained on all of the types of pests that we regularly see here in Central Iowa. We can determine the cause of your infestation, put it to a stop, and teach you how to identify and correct vulnerabilities on your own going forward. Reach out today for a free quote

 

How to Naturally Repel Bees and Wasps

Honeybees hovering near a yellow flower

Summertime means spending time outside. Unfortunately, it also means bugs. Wasps and bees are prevalent in summertime in Central Iowa. Encountering them can result in annoyance, stings and even serious allergic reactions. So, how can you keep bees and wasps from interfering with your outdoor plans this summer naturally? Read on to find out.

 

Plants That Bees and Wasps Like

Since bees and wasps are pollinators, it’s no surprise that they’re attracted to plants. Here are plants that bees and/or wasps are especially fond of: 

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Honeysuckle
  • Lantana
  • Lilacs
  • Perennial Yarrow
  • Poppies
  • Pale Purple Coneflower
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Wisteria
  • Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Sedum
  • Snapdragon
  • Sunflowers

If any of these plants are growing near your home, consider moving them further away, if possible. Especially if they’re close to a patio or other outdoor space that you use frequently.

Plants That Bees and Wasps Don’t Like

There are also several plants that act as natural repellents to bees or wasps. The reason? They have a strong smell that they dislike. These plants include: 

  • Basil
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geraniums
  • Marigolds
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Wormwood

If you want to keep stinging insects away and don’t mind the smell, consider adding some of these plants near the outdoor spaces of your home, like a porch, deck or patio.

 

Bees and Wasps and Food

In addition to plants, stinging insects are attracted to food. Since eating outside is a part of summer, with cookouts, picnics and kids eating ice cream, this can bring stinging insects and humans into close contact. 

However, there are steps you can take to help keep bees and wasps away from your outdoor meal.

  • Try not to leave food out. Throw it away or put it in a sealed container when you’re done.
  • Wasps are attracted to sugary drinks so be sure to keep them closed or covered.
  • When you throw away food, or trash that’s come into contact with food, close the trash can lid securely.

Bees and wasps are attracted to many types of food. However, like with plants, there are some food items that repel bees and wasps, including: 

  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Sliced Cucumber
  • Vinegar

These can be used to help keep stinging insects at bay in a few different ways. You can create a perimeter around an outdoor space that you’d like to keep wasp and bee-free. Or you can just slice, chop or pour some of these common grocery items in a container, leave it on a patio table and let the strong odor go to work.

 

How to Repel Bees and Wasps with Essential Oils

Another way to keep stinging insects away naturally is to make a pest repellent spray using essential oils. Bees and wasps dislike the smell of these essential oils:

  • Citronella oil
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Geranium oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil

Simply combine essential oil and water at a ratio of two drops of essential oil per ounce of water to make a natural alternative to store bought insect repellent.

 

Bee and Wasp Removal Experts in Central Iowa

These natural pest repellents likely won’t be enough to control serious infestations. In that case, you may need to hire a local exterminator to get rid of the bees or wasps on your property. Springer has been providing pest control services in Central Iowa since 1989. If you want to get rid of stinging insects on your property, call us today for a free quote!

Get Rid of the Ants in Your Bathroom

Ants infesting a bathroom in Central Iowa - Springer Professional Home Services

There are many different ant species living around Central Iowa. From fire ants to odorous house ants, you can count on these pests to invade your home in search of food, water, and shelter at various times throughout the year. Because ants emerge looking for resources after dramatic weather shifts, it’s important to take regular preventative measures throughout the year to get ahead of changes in the weather. Read on to learn how from the ant exterminators at Springer Professional Home Services!

Why Are Ants Living in My Bathroom?

Ants most often infest bathrooms because they can find water and shelter inside. Water pools up in our sinks, in our showers, and on our bathroom floors, providing easily accessible water sources for passerby ants or colonies taking temporary shelter in our walls and cabinets. One of the most common bathroom-infesting ants is the carpenter ant because these ants tunnel through damp wood to find new places to build nests. However, you’re likely to find many different kinds of ants living inside your bathroom. They usually get inside in these ways:

  • Windows and doors that don’t seal shut
  • Holes making room for plumbing fixtures
  • Cracks in your home’s walls and foundation
  • Openings in ventilation systems

Ants also could have traveled from another room in your home to get to your bathroom, so you have to check if their trail leaves any indication as to where they came from.

Getting Rid of Bathroom Ant Trails

It is imperative that you locate the source of the ant trail if you want to make sure they don’t come back. Ant colonies grow rapidly, so if you wipe out one trail without eliminating their source, another bunch will return shortly. The problem with this is that ant trails can be very difficult to trace when they travel through walls and pipes. This is why ant prevention is such a crucial measure to take. We recommend you work to prevent ants in these ways:

  • Make sure all of your doors and windows seal
  • Replace any wood with water damage
  • Keep mulch and plants at a good distance from your home
  • Seal cracks around your home’s exterior with a silicone-based caulk
  • Ensure that your bathroom is well-ventilated

Pro Ant Control in Central Iowa

If you’ve tried everything in your power to get rid of ants in your bathroom and they’re still coming back, you need help from your local ant exterminators. Our team at Springer Professional Home Services is equipped with the products and experience to find where your ants are coming from and eliminate them at the source. We will show you how your home was invaded and teach you how to prevent it from ever happening again. To learn more and get a free quote, reach out to us today!

Our Ten Best Spider Facts

Looking for spiders in Des Moines IA - Springer Professional Home Services

The area around Des Moines IA happens to host all kinds of spider species. Here at Springer Professional Pest Solutions, we have helped countless home and business owners put a stop to their spider problems, and in the process, we’ve met many arachnophobes. We believe that people wouldn’t be so afraid of spiders if they knew more about them, so we’ve laid out our top ten spider facts for you to read!

Our Top 10 Facts About Spiders

  1. Most spider bites aren’t harmful: All spiders have venom that they use to kill their prey, but only a select few spiders in Des Moines are venomous enough to endanger humans.
  2. Spiders live everywhere: Not just all over the world, all over your area, too! Research suggests that you’re probably within 10 feet of the closest spider at any point.
  3. Thousands of spider species exist: There are over 35,000 documented spider species in the world with many more yet to be discovered, experts predict.
  4. Spiders wrap presents: Spiders have been observed wrapping up bugs in silk to present to a mate that they’re courting. Some spiders cut corners, though, and wrap up leaves or other junk to make a fake present.
  5. Spiders are dancers: Male spiders sometimes take part in a scuttling, arm-waving, frantic dance routine to try to entice a female that they like.
  6. Female spiders attack their mates: Some female spiders will kill their male counterpart after mating to use their body as nourishment for their offspring to come. Females of other spider species will occasionally kill males for courtship displays that don’t meet their standards.
  7. Spider silk can do many things: Beyond their webs that they use to trap insects, spiders of different species use their silk to create paths, nests, tunnels, and even as floats to glide around on.
  8. It is also stronger than steel: If you cut a piece of steel to the same dimensions as a strand of spider silk, it would be 5 times weaker! Spider silk is only so flimsy because of how thin it is spun.
  9. And it’s liquid at first: This is why we think the strength of spider silk is so incredible—it only becomes solid when it comes into contact with air. It starts in liquid form in their spinning gland.
  10. Spider muscles work differently: Spiders can only curl in their legs, not push them back out using muscular mechanisms. What they do instead is pump a special fluid through their legs to expand them. This fluid also makes for incredible propensity for jumping.

Still Need Spider Control Services?

We hope that we’ve given you some reasons to think spiders are cool and not freaky. However, we understand that even non-dangerous spiders can be a nuisance and unsettling when they occupy your home. If you’re looking for spider exterminators in Des Moines IA, reach out to our team at Springer Professional Home Services. Get a free quote from our spider control team by contacting us today!

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Mosquito Bites

Although there’s much to look forward to come springtime, this season also marks the return of many kinds of pests, particularly insects, around Des Moines IA. Mosquitoes are one of the peskiest pests in the area—we are fortunate enough not to be exposed to the ones that transmit dangerous diseases like malaria and Zika virus here in Iowa, but having mosquito bites all over your body is no fun. Fortunately, there are steps you can take around your home to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Read on to learn them from the mosquito exterminators at Springer Professional Home Services!

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?

It surprises many people to learn that mosquitoes don’t actually bite humans to sustain themselves by feeding on our blood. In fact, It is actually only the female mosquito that draws blood from animals, and she does so solely to provide her body with the proper nutrients to facilitate the reproductive process.

Because mosquitoes can remain active and breed as long as temperatures consistently sit above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, we have to pay attention to our surroundings while outside for much of the year.

How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

There are a few main ways to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. Incorporate these strategies into your daily routines during the warmer months to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Get rid of standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water that pools in our yards, so if you let it compile, mosquito numbers will grow. Make sure to cover or pour it out of your gutters, planter boxes, birdbaths, pools, and anywhere else it can accumulate.
  • Wear insect repellent: Bug sprays like DEET are EPA-approved and proven to significantly reduce your risk of mosquito bites for up to 12 hours. Make sure to read the instructions diligently before applying on children.
  • Avoid high-risk times: Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn when the sunlight is low. If you can, plan outdoor activities during midday.
  • Set up a barrier: A professional mosquito control technician can set up a sprayed barrier treatment around your home to discourage mosquitoes from living and breeding on your property.

Expert Mosquito Exterminators in Des Moines IA

If you are looking for a barrier treatment or a second opinion on the source of your mosquito problems, reach out to your local mosquito exterminators. At Springer Professional Home Services, we train our mosquito extermination team with advanced strategies and environmentally-friendly products to keep your family safe from mosquitoes and harmful chemicals for months at a time. Get in touch with us today for a free estimate on mosquito abatement services!

How to Get Rid of Winged Termites

Winged termites in Des Moines IA - Springer Professional Home Services

Have you been seeing termites with wings flying around your home? As spring approaches here in Iowa, termites will begin to swarm again to look for new homes and food sources. Causing a staggering $5 billion in damages in the United States alone every year, termites are the most destructive pests in the country. Finding termite swarmers on your property is almost always bad news. So how can you get rid of them? Read on to learn from the termite control team at Springer Professional Home Services!

Do I Have Flying Termites in My Home?

You might hear termites with wings referred to as swarmers, alates, or reproductives depending on who you talk to. Termite swarmers are geared to spread to suitable locations and grow their colonies elsewhere. It’s easy to confuse them for ants if you haven’t seen before, so we’ve laid out the main differences between flying ants vs termites:

  • Termites have a lighter coloration than most flying ants
  • Ants have pinched waists and slender bodies, while termites’ bodies are broad and rounded
  • Termites have equal-sized wings, but ants have larger forewings than their hindwings

There are two reasons for finding termite swarmers on your property: either the swarmers are checking out your property for a potential settling site, or you have an existing termite infestation that’s large enough to force them to spread. The former is concerning, the latter is serious.

Get Rid of Flying Termites in Iowa

If you have been seeing flying termites around your house, you can take these precautions to keep them from finding a way inside:

  1. Keep your firewood off of the ground and far away from your home
  2. Move mulch away from the siding and foundation of your home
  3. Find and fix any leaky pipes that could cause water damage in wood
  4. Make sure that your drainage systems are diverting water away from your home

These steps will prevent new swarmers from finding your property suitable to infest. However, you should check around your home for termite damage to see if your swarmers are new or not. if the swarmers that you have come from an active infestation, you could have some serious damage on your hands.

Springer Professional Home Services Handles Termite Removal

If you find termite damage inside your home or are nervous about the presence of winged termites, reach out to your local termite exterminators for an inspection. The termite removal team at Springer Professional Home Services has seen termite infestations of all sizes around Iowa and are equipped to both remove them from your home and defend your property from them going forward. Get in contact today for a free quote!

How to Prevent Flies in the Winter

Fruit fly in Iowa - Springer Professional Home Services

Flies are typically seen as a common pest problem during the summer, but they can be a headache for Iowa homeowners in other parts of the year, too. No one likes to deal with flies inside their property. During the winter, their presence can be not only frustrating but confusing! This is because flies are actually one of the most common winter pests. To avoid having to deal with flies this time of year, the key is to know what’s drawing them indoors in the first place. The experts at Springer Professional Home Services are here to help—read on to learn all you need to know about winter flies!

Nuisance Flies in the Winter

There are two types of flies in particular that are a winter pest problem here in Iowa. They are:

  1. Fruit flies
    1. Tiny flies that are light in color with big red eyes
    2. Commonly found in kitchens or warm, moist areas like your trash or drains
    3. Lay eggs in rotting fruit, food, or plant material
    4. Often get indoors by hiding inside grocery bags
  2. Cluster flies
    1. Larger dark gray flies with yellow hairs on their thorax and overlapping wings
    2. Commonly found around windows, basements, or attics
    3. Group together in dark, secluded areas to go into diapause or hibernation
    4. Begin to re-emerge in the spring or on warmer days to regain heat and energy

Preventing Winter Fly Infestations

Similar to many pests this time of year, fruit and cluster flies cannot survive the cold temperatures during the winter. While cluster flies won’t reproduce on your property, fruit fly infestations can quickly grow and become a nuisance. By preventing these pests in the first place, you will not have to deal with them later. Take the following steps to control winter flies:

  • In the fall, it is imperative to seal off your home to keep cluster flies out. Do this by caulking cracks on the property. Sealing windows and doors is especially important, as these flies tend to enter homes under baseboards and window frames.
  • In order to eliminate fruit flies, it’s best to eliminate their food and shelter sources. You should always throw away rotting food from your pantry or fridge. Take your garbage outside regularly and use tight-fitting lids on your cans. Lastly, focus on sealing cracks and crevices around windows and doors near your kitchen.

Get Rid of Flies in Your Iowa Home For Good

If you have a fly infestation on your property this winter, you should hire a local fly control expert. At Springer Professional Home Services, we work hard to eliminate the conditions that lead to fly infestations in your home. To learn more, contact us today!

The Mystery of Moles

A mole in Des Moines IA - Springer Professional Home Services

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell when moles are infesting your yard until you roll your ankle in a mole hole in your lawn. How did they get there, and how long have they been there? Moles are one of the sneakiest and most destructive mammals living in Des Moines IA, and every year we work hard to rid our customers’ lawns of them. If you’re struggling to track down moles in your yard, read on for advice from our technicians at Springer Professional Home Services. In our three decades of service, we’ve solved the mystery of moles and use what we’ve learned to help our neighbors every day.

Identifying Moles in Des Moines IA

Moles can be hard to spot, but if you do see animals digging through your yard, it’s very helpful to be able to identify them as moles, gophers, or otherwise, so your mole removal technician knows what to expect when they arrive. Here are some distinguishing features of moles:

  • Moles are smaller than many expect them to be—usually between 4 and 7 inches long
  • They have brown fur and large, pink hands with pronounced fingers
  • Moles have tiny eyes and narrow faces
  • They can often be found in groups—where there’s one, there are sure to be many

4 Signs of Moles in Your Lawn or Garden

If you’re wondering if you’ve found mole damage in your yard, here are some signs to look for to identify the damage as caused by moles and not other animals living in Des Moines IA:

  1. You will notice multiple mounds of dirt pop up in your yard overnight.
  2. Mole tunnels cause damage to plants that is visible on the surface because they tear through roots. Unusual poor plant growth is a sign of moles.
  3. Moles cause small stones to rise to the surface of your lawn through their tunneling. These can damage your lawnmower if you don’t find them.
  4. If you’ve noticed wide-open tunnels at the surface, you might not have moles. The larger the tunnel, the more likely it is to be hosting gophers.

Mole Control in with Springer Professional Home Services

Moles have to be dealt with right away so they don’t ruin your whole lawn or garden. Whether you are sure that you’ve found moles in your yard or you can’t tell what’s tearing apart your lawn, call your local pest control company for an inspection. The mole control experts at Springer Professional Home Services are equipped with the strategies and technology to get rid of moles, even when they’ve established a serious presence in your yard. For a free quote or to learn more about how we operate, contact us today!

Do Ticks Die During the Winter?

A tick in Central Iowa - Springer Professional Home Services

Winter is often seen as the season of pest invasions. All sorts of critters are sneaking through the cracks in our walls and the gaps around our doors to find some warmth and shelter during the harshest season. While it’s rough out there for many, ticks are one of the more resilient pests in Central Iowa, able to tough it out through unfavorable conditions. If you’ve seen more ticks than you expected to this winter and are wondering what you can do to avoid them, read on for advice from the technicians at Springer Professional Home Services.

When is Tick Season in Central Iowa?

Ticks are one of the most feared pests in the state during the summer. When we walk our dogs or go on hikes, many of us try to steer clear of tall grass or densely wooded areas so as to not pick up ticks on our way back home. Ticks thrive in the heat, and especially in the combination of heat and humidity—they prefer to live in places averaging 85% humidity or higher.

So, if heat and humidity are so important to them, do ticks die in the winter? Although it isn’t an ideal season, ticks do what they can to make it through the cold, and do so in surprisingly high numbers. Here are some of the ways they adapt:

  • If they find an unsuspecting host, they can latch onto them for a long time, hiding in their fur when they aren’t feeding.
  • Without a host, ticks look for piles of leaf litter or other decaying foliage on the ground for shelter.
  • For a more stable source of insulation and protection, soft-shelled ticks burrow underground.

Avoiding Winter Ticks

Once temperatures consistently sit below 45 degrees, and especially when the ground is covered in ice, snow, or water, ticks have a difficult time finding eligible hosts. However, if you aren’t careful, they can still sneak up your leg or onto your pet’s back. These are a few ways we recommend that you take precautions against ticks this winter:

  1. Conduct tick checks when your pets come back inside. After a walk or running around in the yard, make sure your pets, dogs especially, don’t have any ticks hidden within their fur.
  2. Maintain your yard waste. If you let piles of leaves sit around for too long, they can easily become tick hotspots. Dispose of any yard waste as often as you can.
  3. Contact your local tick exterminators. A professional tick barrier treatment is the most effective method of keeping ticks out of your yard all year long.

Professional Tick Control for the Winter

Unfortunately, deer ticks, which have the ability to spread Lyme disease to humans, are about and about in the Des Moines area. To protect your family from these dangerous pests, make a plan with your local pest control company. At Springer Professional Home Services, we take the dangers of ticks very seriously, so we develop individualized plans for each of our customers to ensure that their tick control plan fits their property and their needs. For a free quote, contact our team today!