Wasps on the rise

Have you noticed an increase in wasps around your home? Even though it's common to see more wasps during this time of the year, homeowners in some areas are noticing an enormous spike in the local wasp population. The pests threaten the safety of some residents who are sensitive to stinging insects.

While exterminators in some areas used to receive several calls about wasps over the course of an entire summer, they're now getting up to five calls per day. The enormous population is most likely due to the mild winters many parts of the country experienced, combined with the drought currently sweeping through parts of the nation. The large wasp populations are expected to remain a problem until severe storms or the first frost of the season.

Recognizing a problem
If you've noticed an increase in the number of wasps around your home, you may have a pest control issue on your hands, so it's a good idea to make sure there isn't a nest or infestation nearby. Even if you don't fear the pests, young children and pets may annoy the insects and cause them to sting. This can cause a dangerous reaction in those allergic to wasp venom.

There are several different types of wasps that can cause problems for homeowners. Yellowjackets tend to be extremely territorial and may attack when disturbed. They sometimes build their nests in the ground, so they may be hard to detect. Filling cavities and holes upon discovery can ensure the wasps do not have a place to nest in your yard.

Hornets are extremely defensive and unpredictable wasps, and their presence can be dangerous. If you've noticed a large ball attached to your tree or home, you may have a hornet infestation.

Even though paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellowjackets and hornets, their presence can still be unpleasant. These wasps usually build papery nests under ledges, near doors or around windows. Their close proximity to entry points means they can easily gain access to the home.

When to call a professional
It's important to keep an eye on your wasp problem to note if it's worsening. Because these pests tend to become more aggressive as the season continues, a growing population may mean an even bigger threat to kids and pets. Eliminating a nest yourself can be dangerous, and homeowners who want to take care of a wasp problem themselves should be aware of the potential risks. If you see an increase in size or territorial behavior, the safest and most efficient option may be to contact a pest control expert.

Prevent a spider infestation indoors

Some homeowners find spiders to be an annoying, but inevitable, part of owning a house. But this definitely doesn't have to be the case – a spider infestation can be prevented in many instances. While a severe, venomous spider problem may require the assistance of pest control professionals, there are some tactics residents can use to eliminate a spider invasion themselves if their preventative tactics fail to keep the eight-legged creatures at bay.

Drawn indoors
Spiders don't end up in homes accidentally. They are often seeking the same things residents look for – food, water and shelter. A mild winter earlier this year increased the pest population, and a hot, dry summer has led many spiders to head into houses to find resources.

The pests have interesting ways of finding paths into homes. While many pests, including some spiders, can easily enter a residence through a ripped screen, open door or hole, spiders also use their unique senses to find other ways to enter. Amy Grandpre, the Yellowstone County urban horticulture assistant, told Wyoming NBC affiliate KULR that some spiders use their infrared vision to spot heat leaks around homes to gain entry.

Prevention
The first step in preventing all pests? Sealing up holes and cracks around your home. Pay special attention to the areas around windows and doors, where spiders may spot heat leaks and try to enter. Even tiny cracks should be sealed, since small pests can get through tight spaces.

Because spiders often find shelter in cluttered areas, take the necessary steps to ensure your yard is free from debris and potential hiding places. Piles of wood, compost bins, cluttered sheds and piles of garden equipment can be homes to spiders who may try to make their way inside once the weather becomes too chilly.

Simple pest control
If you find a few spiders indoors, there's no need to panic. Some easy steps can ensure spider populations don't multiply and take over your house. If you spot a spider inside, carefully remove it. Be sure not to touch the pest with unprotected skin, because a venomous spider bite can be dangerous. Keep the home clean, and regularly sweep up or vacuum spiderwebs or cobwebs found in the home.

If an invasion appears too significant to manage on your own, it's important to contact insect control professionals. Exterminators can assist in eliminating the problem, especially if the infestation appears to consist of venomous arachnids, such as black widows or brown recluse spiders.