As a Boise homeowner, you naturally want to keep your yard pristine and pest-free. Yet, the reality is that you aren’t the only one who thinks your lawn is a great place to put down roots.
There are also many different kinds of local pests that can make themselves at home in your home. Whether you’ve lived in the area all of your life or you just moved here, you likely know which ones we’re talking about.
From ants to cockroaches, there are several invasive species that Idaho residents need to understand. As you learn more about these pests, it’s also smart to connect with the best local pest control Boise Idaho has to offer!
Today, we’re taking a closer look at exactly which pests our team treats, along with key details about each one so you know what to look for in your own home. If you’ve ever wondered which bugs are the most frequent in your area, here’s your opportunity to discover the answer for yourself!
Boise, Idaho: Common Residential Pests to Know
When you first purchased your property, you dreamed of evenings in the backyard and days spent lounging comfortably at home. You chose a lot with a great backyard, and never thought twice about having to defend it against invasive pests.
Consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the country, Boise and the greater Treasure Valley is a region that’s highly sought after for many reasons. Close to a wide range of outdoor activities as well as gorgeous scenic views, reputable school systems, and safe neighborhoods, it’s easy to see why people are flocking to our region.
However, although it’s increasing in well-deserved popularity, bugs are still here, just as they are in every city around the world. In the winter, it might be chillier in our area than in other parts of the country, but even that doesn’t keep the bugs away. In fact, there are certain insects that grow in prominence depending on the season.
For instance, Boise residents are accustomed to dealing with common house spiders in the summer and fall. Then, just when it seems as though they might get a break, they have to contend with invading ant populations in the spring. There are also boxelder bugs, elm seed bugs, and other invasive pests that can find their way into your home and stay there until proper treatment is applied.
While we might not be able to avoid these pests altogether, knowledge is the first step toward smart prevention. Understanding which pests are most likely to take up residence in your home is a smart first step toward proactive homeownership.
Next, let’s take a look at the most common pests that you’ll experience as a Boise homeowner.
An ant is an ant, right? Not quite.
When it comes to ants, there are a surprising number of varieties in the Boise area! Though most look relatively similar, there are some key differences between them. The most common ones you may encounter include:
- Pavement ants
- Carpenter ants
- Harvester ants
Once any of these species finds its way into your home, it can be a challenge to fully eradicate them. This is because they’re quick multipliers and they happen to be excellent at hide-and-seek.
Take pavement ants, for example. These are those black or brown ants that you’ll usually find nesting in and around the cracks in your pavement. You might also find them under outdoor rock formations or near the foundation of your home.
If they’re able to find a way indoors, these ants can also travel under your floors and inside of your walls. Measuring only around ⅙-inch long, they’re unattractive and a major nuisance, so it’s best to find and eliminate them as quickly as possible.
However, while pavement ants might cause a ruckus in your pantry, they aren’t as chaotic as carpenter ants. This ant species can actually create structural damage in your home. Larger and darker-bodied, they do not eat wood as their name might imply.
Rather, these ants excavate galleries in your home’s structural foundation to accommodate their colony or satellite colony. Known as carpenter ant tunneling, this is a process that can undermine and weaken the structure of your home if left unchecked for too long.
Finally, let’s talk about harvester ants. These are those large, winged red ants you’ve probably seen hard at work making hills along your driveway and in your yard. Seed-gatherers, they tend to pick up any morsels that your family might leave behind near your home. For this reason, they do not typically travel indoors.
The one exception to this rule? Mating season. During this time, you might notice harvester ants accumulating in the high spots of your home, such as your chimney.
Elm Seed Bugs
These pests haven’t been in the Boise area for as long as some of the others on our list. In fact, they were only first discovered in the Treasure Valley region in 2012.
Before then, they were most commonly found in south-central Europe, and the notion is that they were imported into the U.S. The insect they most closely resemble is the box elder bug, though the latter is much larger in size and scale.
Measuring a little under a quarter of an inch, elm seed bugs tend to replicate swiftly. To this end, while they may not be biters or stingers, they’re definitely aggravating to contend with. In the summer, they tend to move indoors to escape the Boise heat. Once inside, they’ll stick inside through the winter!
As you might expect, these bugs feed on elm tree seeds and lay their eggs there also. When crushed, they emit an unpleasant odor that you can likely identify from anywhere! Though they do not pose any real harm, they are a pain to deal with and require professional treatment to eliminate.
Chances are, if you were to take a walk in your Boise backyard right now, you’d find a solid collection of earwigs.
These pests feed on decaying wood and certain species of plants, making them landscaping mainstays in most homes around the area. They are dark red in color and have easily recognizable pinchers at the end of their long, narrow bodies.
If left to fester, a full-blown infestation can occur. This is especially the case if your home is left unkept or your lawn is allowed to grow to sky-high proportions.
Earwigs, along with their relatives, millipedes, are commonly found in mulch beds around the perimeter of your property. As such, it helps to keep this area clean and free of debris. This means taking the time to move any construction materials, toys, woodpiles, and other items out of the way.
While you’re at it, be sure to also eliminate any areas of standing water. It’s also best to stick to rubber or rock mulch in lieu of organic varieties, as the latter is more likely to attract burrowing, wood-loving insects such as earwigs. Most active at night, earwigs are attracted to light. Like elm seed bugs, they are drawn to your warm home during the wintertime and seek relief from the heat when it’s hot.
The only time spiders are cool is when they’re wearing a cape and saving the day. However, Boise residents know all too well that they love calling our area home.
A few of the most common types of residential spiders that Treasure Valley homeowners may encounter include:
- Black Widows
- Hobo Spiders
- Wolf Spiders
- Jumping Spiders
We’ll begin with the most feared of the bunch: the dreaded black widow spider. Easy to spot with their black bodies and the telltale red hourglass on the underside of their abdomen, you’re most likely to find them spinning their misshapen webs under or around woodpiles or other forms of outdoor vegetation.
While these spiders are less likely to invade the interior of your home, they can do so. Their bite is dangerous, as their venom contains a highly powerful toxin that can cause a range of health concerns.
Likewise, hobo spiders are equally concerning. Compared to other species, these are some of the largest on our list, measuring around two inches in length. Similar to black widows, they also like to hang out in woodpiles or other clutter around the foundation of your home. Harrier and lighter in color, they are speedy runners that can be difficult to catch. These insects also have a painful, dangerous bite.
Then, there are wolf spiders. It’s easy to get these mixed up with hobo spiders, as they do share a similar appearance and coloration, though they are about one inch shorter in length. Thankfully, however, wolf spiders aren’t as venomous or dangerous as the hobo species. If one bites you, you might experience mild inflammation and redness at the site.
We’ll end with jumping spiders, because these tend to be some of the pests that Boise homeowners dread the most, and for good reason! These spiders have multiple, bulging eyes and can cover great distances with their surprising leap. While most jumping spiders tend to be black or brown, others might look more gray. You’re most likely to find them in overgrown vegetation around your home.
Do you find yourself avoiding certain areas of your home because you saw a wasp there once this past summer? No one wants to contend with wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and other stinging insects, but the reality is that they’re here to stay.
As is the case with most insects, you should be able to keep their populations at bay by eliminating instances of standing water around your home. It’s also wise to clean up any wood piles, as well as other clutter and debris.
One common type of stinging insect your may encounter in Boise is the paper wasp. These pests have dark black bodies with highlighter-yellow markings on them. They get their name from the intricate, paper-like nests that they build to hold their colonies. You’re most likely to find these nests hanging upside down in covered but accessible places, such as under front porch furniture or in exterior light fixtures. They’re also known to set up camp near fencing, eaves, and gables.
While they tend to keep to themselves and feed on caterpillars and other insects, paper wasps are territorial in nature. It’s easy to accidentally disturb their well-positioned nests and if you do, they can get defensive and sting in response!
The worst part? Their stinger isn’t like most others. Rather than stinging you once and flopping down, paper wasps are able to repeatedly sting their victims, delivering a sharp and sudden jolt each time.
Smaller and less painful to encounter, yellow jackets and hornets are distinctly yellow and black in color. Excellent hiders, you’re most likely to find them:
- Under the ground
- In storage spaces (e.g. crawl spaces, attics)
- In your home’s ductwork and wall voids
- In your trees and shrubs
Though their inverted, delicate nests might be fascinating to look at, these pests aren’t meant to be enjoyed. They can create colonies that far exceed those of a wasp, and tend to seek out sweet sources of food to eat, including insects and other natural sugars. Like wasps, they can also sting you over and over again!
Then, we come to the faithful honeybee. Excellent pollinators and a valuable part of the Boise ecosystem, honeybees are found in many different colors, ranging from yellow and orange to jet black. If left alone and isolated to the outdoors, these insects do more harm than good, and it’s best to leave them alone and let them do their job.
Once they make their way indoors, however, it’s a different story. Honeybees can sometimes establish nesting sites along the interior and exterior of your home. For instance, you might notice them inside of your chimney, wall voids, or vinyl siding if they manage to get close enough.
Insects aside, let’s talk furry rodents.
In the Treasure Valley area, a few of the most common types of rodents that you might encounter include:
- Mice (house, deer, or field)
By now, you know the drill. To keep these furry critters away, remember to trim all excess vegetation from the perimeter of your home. It’s also best to keep your yard regularly trimmed. By doing so, you can eliminate much of the burrowing and hiding spaces that they most commonly inhabit.
Inside your home, try to be as prompt as possible when wiping up spills and crumbs. At the same time, try to seal up all access points that could be big enough for a mouse to squeeze through. This might include cracks in your home’s foundation as well as cracks in doorframes and windows.
Deer and house mice are usually light brown in color. Deer mice will have a light-colored or white underbelly. The main difference between the two? While deer mice prefer to spend time outdoors in woodpiles or long grass, house mice are most comfortable indoors. In addition, deer mice can contain and spread Hantavirus, which is a dangerous family of viruses that cause a range of symptoms in people around the world.
Thankfully, house mice do not spread Hantavirus. However, if they leave their droppings in your home, it’s smart to call the experts in immediately, rather than trying to deal with the mess yourself. These droppings could contain allergens, as well as parasitic organisms that could make you sick.
When it comes to voles, you might also know them by their other name: meadow mice. These rodents are longer than mice and mainly congregate outdoors. One way to know if you’re dealing with an infestation? Vooles leave identifiable runways right on the ground’s surface as they scurry about. In addition, they’re also known to borrow, which can leave unsightly holes all around your yard.
Wondering if you have voles or gophers? Look at the size of those holes. Gophers are the largest rodent on this list and love to tunnel through the ground in search of seeds and other food to eat. When they pop up, they leave large mounds of dirt right on the surface of the ground. In addition to creating unattractive holes in your lawn, gophers can also feed on ornamental plants, which could ruin your landscaping plans.
Does it seem as though it isn’t a Boise summer without a few quarter-sized mosquito bites on your legs? This rite of passage doesn’t have to be your reality!
These insects enjoy flying around both outdoors and indoors, and their bite is so feather-light that most of the time, you don’t even feel it at all! Acting quickly and applying a preventative mosquito control treatment can help you enjoy your backyard all year long, without fear of waking up to new bites in the morning!
Speaking of bites, bed bugs are one of the most invasive and difficult to treat pests in the Treasure Valley region.
Avid hitchhikers, a single bed bug can hitch a ride from one location to the next. Then, once it lands, it can get to work reproducing. In time, this can lead to an infestation that requires extensive treatment to fully eradicate.
In addition to physical symptoms, a bed bug infestation can also lead to emotional hardship and take a toll on your mental health. Because they’re most active at night, when you’re asleep, it can be difficult to tell if you treated them correctly until you check the next morning. This uncertainty can lead to heightened anxiety levels and even depression.
At the very first sign of these pests, it’s critical to call a qualified local pest control company that specializes in bed bug control and removal. Dark brown to near-black in color, you’re most likely to find them along the edges of your mattress or box spring. They can also leave tiny black fecal spots where they’ve traveled, making this another sign to look for as you check.
When they haven’t had a bloodmeal lately, these bugs are flat and oval-shaped. They become plumper and thicker after feeding. They usually wait and feed at night, when you’re deep asleep. Like a mosquito, their bite is painless and in most cases, you won’t even feel it.
A few of the most obvious signs that you might be dealing with a bed bug infestation include:
- Red, raised itchy bites
- Sleepless, uncomfortable nights
- Blood or fecal stains on your bed
- A musty odor in your mattress
- Actual bug presence around the corners of your mattress
Address These Pests With the Best Local Pest Control Boise Idaho
Now that you know a few of the most common residential pests in Boise, are you ready to turn that knowledge into action?
Knowing what signs and clues to look out for is the imperative first step. Next, it’s time to partner with the best local pest control Boise Idaho can deliver.
This way, a qualified expert can visit your home and solve these issues as they arise. You shouldn’t wait until you’re deep in the throes of an ant infestation or a mosquito overpopulation before you make the call.
If you’re in the Treasure Valley area, we’d love to be that resource for you. Our team of professional pest control technicians is well-versed in every local, invasive pest and can help you reclaim your home, along with your quality of life.
Contact us today to schedule your service and connect!