Bug Bite Identification Guide

Bug bite identification in Des Moines Iowa - Springer Professional Home Services

In the spring and summertime here in Iowa, insects are out in full force. While this is simply a fact of life, no one wants to deal with being bitten by bugs this time of year—or ever! Even in the fall and winter, there are several biting bugs to stay aware of. At Springer Professional Home Services, we know how distressing it can be to discover you’ve been bitten by an insect. Our pest control experts are here to help you learn what insects are likely to bite or sting, as well as what you can do to prevent them.

Bugs That Bite in Iowa

Whether they bite or sting, there are a number of pests and bugs that are likely culprits behind the red, itchy bumps on your skin. The most common ones we deal with here in Iowa include:

  1. Bed bugs. Bed bugs are quite elusive and good at hiding, so infestations may go undetected until the population is extensive. They primarily feed on blood when their host is asleep, so you may not catch them dining on you. You may, however, awake with their bite marks, which appear in lines on your skin and can be very itchy.
  2. Fleas & ticks. Parasitic insect infestations usually originate from an infested animal, then find their way to human victims. On occasion, people traveling through an infested area (for example, a wooded area with lone star ticks) will be attacked by these pests, as well. Pets are common carriers of these pests.
  3. Mosquitoes. Nationwide, mosquitoes are very active in the spring and summer. Sometimes, we may not notice their itchy bites immediately and assume whatever bit us is inside the building with us. In the case of these pests, by the time you notice they’ve fed on you, they have left the scene of the crime.
  4. Bees & wasps. These stinging insects are active in the spring and summertime in Iowa. While they’d rather keep to themselves, bees and wasps alike will sting when provoked. Wasps in particular are aggressive when defending their nests, and can sting you multiple times.
  5. “No see ums” (biting midge flies). Anyone who has been to marshy areas has probably been attacked by these insects. About the size of a freckle, biting midges are most active at dusk and dawn. Repellants may give some relief from these annoying blood feeders.
  6. Mites. Mites like dust mites are incredibly small and can best be seen under strong magnification. Most cases of mites biting people in their homes can be traced back to rodents or birds nesting in the home, as these animals are their preferred hosts. Unfortunately, when their regular food source isn’t present anymore, the mites will feed on people.
  7. Spiders. Despite the fear associated with spiders, most species do not bite. However, there are two spiders that will bite in defense: black widows and brown recluse spiders. A bite from either of these more aggressive spiders can be very dangerous.

Common Symptoms of Bug Bites

In general, the symptoms of bug bites or stings are very similar. Most commonly, symptoms will include red bumps at the site of the bite, itchiness, swelling, rashes, heat surrounding the bite, and other mild symptoms. When dealing with bug bites, it’s important to treat them carefully and also be on the lookout for more serious symptoms. Symptoms that may signal you are having a worse reaction—or even an allergic reaction—to the bites include substantial swelling in the eyes or throat, trouble breathing, and dizziness. Experiencing any of these symptoms requires an immediate trip to the doctor.

How to Prevent Bug Bites

If you are dealing with bug bites and cannot decipher where they are coming from, you could have a pest problem indoors. The best thing to do is to contact your local pest control experts. At Springer Professional Home Services, our experts will thoroughly inspect your property to determine any pest problems. From there, we’ll implement a pest control plan to keep the pests away for good. Contact us today to get started!

When Do Pests Come Out Throughout the Year?

Stink bug found in Des Moines IA - Springer Professional Home Services

Pest problems are popping up all throughout the year here in the Des Moines area. Each season comes with its own new visitors, and most of them require different preventative measures to keep away. Having served our community for over 30 years, our pest control experts at Springer Professional Home Services have seen it all. We put together a guide to which pests you can expect in which season, and what you can do to keep them out of your home.

Spring Pests

With the blooming flowers and longer days comes a huge swell in pest populations. Spring is a common time for insects to breed and proliferate as conditions become more suitable for all kinds of life. These three pests in particular make their marks in the spring:

  • Ants: All kinds of ants start to come out once the temperatures rise again. They’re after food and moisture, so make sure that your food is put away and sealed properly, and your house is dry and properly ventilated.
  • Bees: They are crucial contributors to their local ecosystems, but bees get a bad reputation due to their painful stings. If you have bees buzzing about in your flower beds, try to leave them alone, and they probably won’t see you as a threat.
  • Termites: Although termites are active all year round, they swarm in the spring, meaning that they will be looking for new sources of food and shelter. If you’re noticing tiny winged termites around your home, consider calling your local termite exterminator to check for an infestation.

Summer Pests

Everyone likes to spend more time outside in the summer, but no one likes returning from a day outdoors with a bunch of bites or stings. Here are some pricking pests that you’ll need to watch out for come summertime:

  • Mosquitoes: Wherever you find standing water in the summer, you’ll probably find mosquitoes. They hide out in wooded areas and lay their eggs on still water, so if you’re going to be around either, bring an EPA-approved insect repellent.
  • Wasps: In the summer, wasps start to construct their nests, so they are particularly territorial. They sting to defend their nest, so if you find one around your house, contact a wasp removal specialist to have it removed safely.
  • Ticks: About 95% of Lyme disease cases are contracted during the summer months. If you’re going to be walking through tall grass, check your skin after for any ticks. Be sure to examine your dogs after walks, too.

Fall Pests

As the summer warmth fades away, all kinds of bugs are hardwired to look for a place to hide for the winter. For many Iowa homeowners, this means your attics, vents, walls, and cluttered corners. You’ll probably start to see these critters during the fall season:

  • Boxelder bugs: Like many others around this time, boxelder bugs are just looking for a warmer place to hang out. They don’t sting or carry disease, but they can be an unwelcome presence in larger numbers.
  • Stink bugs: Known for their wretched odor, stinkbugs are a widely disliked insect. Keeping a tidy house and yard eliminates areas that they might find shelter, and doubles as a preventative method for many other kinds of insects.
  • Spiders: Unlike the majority of other pests, spiders’ mating season is in the fall. They are attracted to uninterrupted, dusty corners, where they can find shelter and other insect populations to feed on.

Winter Pests

Even as most wildlife seems to come to a halt, pests are still on the move during the winter. Some of the more resilient creatures in the Des Moines area take on the more harsh conditions with ease. Here are three pests that you might deal with during the coldest months of the year: 

  • Mice: When it’s too cold to thrive outside, mice and other rodents seek shelter in our houses. They might find room in your garage, attic, crawl spaces, or walls for a new home. Listen for crawling and rustling sounds in your walls – it’s usually a sign of mice.
  • Cockroaches: Notorious for their adaptability, cockroaches will set up shop anywhere that they can find food. Keep your house clean and food packed away, because a cockroach infestation could mean that your family is vulnerable to diseases that they carry.
  • Bed bugs: Holiday travel is often associated with the spread of bed bugs. They latch onto our clothes or suitcases and happily take refuge in our homes. If you find bed bugs in your room, contact an exterminator right away.

Year-Round Pest Control

At any point in the year that you’re experiencing a pest outbreak, you can rely on your local pest control experts at Spring Professional Home Services. We train our technicians to deal with a wide range of infestations that Iowa homeowners experience every year. If you’re ready to put a stop to pests, reach out today for a free quote!

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Springer Professional Home Services in Des Moines IA

Entomologists from Springer’s parent company, Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban, and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.

Do Insects Transmit COVID-19?

Mosquito bites do not transmit coronavirus. Springer Professional Home Services in Des Moines IA

Here at Springer Professional Home Services, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation as more information comes out every day. As always, our focus remains to be the health and safety of our communities here in central Iowa. That’s why we’re here to dispel a myth about how the coronavirus is spread. Although mosquitoes and ticks are infamous for spreading diseases worldwide, these pests do not transmit COVID-19. Mosquitoes and ticks are vectors for several deadly diseases, but these are vector-borne diseases while coronavirus is spread from person to person. Using information from the CDC, we’ve compiled facts on vector-borne diseases in this post. Read on to learn more!

Differences of Vector-Borne Diseases & Coronavirus

COVID-19 is not transmitted by vector pests, including mosquitoes and ticks. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that is said to pass from person to person, which is why it is so contagious. People are exposed from droplets from saliva or nasal discharge, typically generated when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Research has shown that it can be spread through contaminated surfaces, and it is increasingly considered to be an airborne virus. Mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases are of an entirely different nature than this current virus. The main difference is that vector-borne diseases do not pass from person to person! In addition, vector-borne diseases often involve parasites. It’s important to understand that mosquito bites will not transmit COVID-19.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

They may not transmit coronavirus, but ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are vectors for infectious diseases that have impacted nations worldwide. The following diseases are often tied back to vector pests:

  • Mosquitoes are infamous for transmitting malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and more.
  • Lyme disease, currently the most common vector-borne disease in the nation, is transmitted by ticks.
  • When vector pests feeds off a diseased host, they can transmit pathogens that may infect other hosts it subsequently bites. 

Pest Control Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In these uncertain times, it’s important to stay aware of the facts. Mosquitoes and ticks do not spread coronavirus. Regardless it’s important to take caution in the presence of pests and to always enlist the help of a professional exterminator to prevent dangerous insects. Here at Springer, our team is dedicated to providing you with essential pest control services during the pandemic and all year long.

With new information about COVID-19 coming out every hour, we want to encourage our customers to seek more up-to-date info and follow guidelines released by the WHO and the CDC, as well as your state and local public health agencies.

5 Important Pests in 2020

Mosquitoes are one of the pests to look out for in your Des Moines IA home this upcoming year - Springer Professional Home Services

Hindsight may be 20/20, but when it comes to pests, Springer Home Professional Services is looking ahead to help homeowners proactively defend their homes against pest infestation.

At Springer Home Professional Services, we have utilized our field experiences, company data and examined trends, to determine the following six pest issues. Along with these predictions, we are offering homeowners preventative tips to help you keep your home pest-free in 2020.


Mice

Mouse populations have exploded over the past several years. Blame warming winters for allowing more mice to survive and breed. As warmer temperatures are already being experienced this winter, mice will continue to surge. That’s bad news for homeowners because mice invade homes year-round looking for food and safe places to nest.

Homeowner Tips: Rodent-proof your home by sealing small cracks and crevices with a silicone-based caulk. Exterior gaps of ¼-inch or larger can be filled with copper mesh, hardware cloth or metal flashing. Since mice can squeeze through small openings, gaps under door frames, garage doors, windows, or pipes and cables that access your home are prime entry spots for mice.


Stinging Pests

Shifting climates can have a ripple effect throughout the pest world, and with warmer weather, experts are seeing more yellow jackets and hornet nests. Even in freezing temperatures, female yellow jackets and hornets can successfully overwinter in homes and structures. As soon as temperatures are warm enough in the spring, stinging insects will emerge from their hiding places, ready to start populations earlier in the year.

Homeowner Tips: As yellow jackets and hornets overwinter near homes and structures, they may be out and about at the first sign of warm weather. Keep your eyes open for stinging pests, utilizing a professional pest control service as soon as you spot activity.


Ticks

With the popularity of outdoor activities like hiking and camping on the rise, warming winters, and the geographic range of many ticks continue to expand, humans and their pets can expect to come into contact with ticks more frequently. Ticks of special concern include the American dog tick, the deer tick or black-legged tick, and the Lone Star tick. In 2018, there were nearly 50,000 cases of human tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever reported. Pets can also contract some of these diseases.

Homeowner Tips: When spending time outdoors, wear long-sleeve shirts, pants and socks and an EPA-approved insect repellent. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails and avoid walking through tall bushes or other vegetation. During and after outdoor activity, check for ticks on yourself and any family members, including your pets.


Mosquitoes

If the mosquito season seemed awful this year, it wasn’t your imagination. Experts believe that the pattern could repeat in 2020. If we have a warm, wet winter and spring, the conditions will be ideal for mosquito populations to explode in some areas in late spring and early summer. Areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest are predicted to have above-average rainfall, while most of the U.S. is predicted to be warmer than average this winter.

Homeowner Tips: The risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) can increase with rising populations. To prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property, dispose of standing water and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when spending time outside.


Termites

Termites are the most destructive pests in North America, causing $6 billion in property damage each year. According to experts, the two main weather factors that affect termite populations are temperature and rainfall. With warmer and wetter weather predicted for spring, the termite swarming season will be ramping up soon.

Homeowner Tips: To deter termites, eliminate earth to wood contact and avoid moisture accumulation near your home or structures’ foundation. Because termites can cause such extensive damage, raising homeowner awareness around the need for proactive protection for their homes is critical to prevent costly repairs.


The experts at Springer Home Professional Services agree that a proactive approach is the first step any homeowner can take to prevent pest issues. With these 2020 pest predictions in mind, take time to evaluate your current pest control plan and ensure that you have the protection you need to protect yourself and your family from pests in 2020.