5 Mississippi Summer Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them
Summertime brings visions of picnics, sunsets, happy family outings, and unfortunately bugs. Here’s what to look for and how to manage them
So what are these bugs that you’re seeing, and what can you do about them? Let’s find out…
Mississippi Bug IdentificationBelow are 5 common Mississippi bugs below. Read on to learn which bugs are harmless, which are dangerous, and how to get rid of them altogether.
1. American CockroachThe American Cockroach is a major pest that is the biggest house-infesting roach. The adults average between 1.4” to 1.6” in length, but some can be over 2” long. They are oval-shaped and are a reddish-brown color with a yellow band behind their head. Both females and males have wings and can fly short distances. They have 6 legs and antennas on their head. These cockroaches can bite, although they rarely do.
Signs of cockroach infestation
- Seeing a large, fast-moving bug fleeing to dark areas in the house
- Finding bug droppings in dim/dark areas with blunt ends and ridges on the sides.
- Finding egg capsules: These are about 8 mm long, dark-colored, and will be found glued to surfaces in basements, laundry rooms, kitchens (near food sources), under cabinets, behind appliances, etc.
- Smelling a musty smell around the house (this can be from the pheromone produced by roaches)
How to Get Rid of American CockroachesCockroaches are very resilient and hard to exterminate. They can even live for a week without their head. You can take steps, however, to make your home less appealing and more difficult for them to enter:
- Seal possible entry points.
- Use a silicone-based caulk to seal small cracks in walls and gaps near switch plates and electric sockets.
- Make your house less inviting. Keep counters, tables, sinks, and floors free of clutter and crumbs. Don’t leave dishes on counters or in sinks, and clean up spills immediately. Store food in airtight containers and don’t leave pet food out.
- Vacuum at least once a week (or more) to keep floors clean and free of food particles.
- Ventilate crawl spaces. This prevents moisture buildup making the area less inviting.
- Run water periodically in spare bathrooms. This keeps the u-traps filled to prevent cockroaches from crawling into the house through a drain.
What do I do if I See signs of Cockroach Infestation?If you suspect you have cockroaches, contact a licensed pest control professional. They can visit your house and confirm if the bugs are present, then give you recommendations to eliminate them from your house and prevent future infestation.
2. CentipedesSeeing centipedes in your house is a good news-bad news situation. The good news is that centipedes are predators of other household insects, so they are helping you get rid of other bugs. The bad news is that if you see centipedes, you must have a lot of bugs in your house that centipedes like to eat. They don’t want to be in a home unless there are plenty of spiders, worms, insects, and arthropods to eat.
Centipedes are long, skinny bugs with a lot of legs – 30 to be exact. Their bodies are just over 1” long, with antennae and extremely long legs. Centipedes can bite, but it is very rare. Bites may cause burning, itching, or swelling – but most centipedes can’t puncture the skin, they are too small.
Efforts to control centipedes should focus on controlling the other household bugs that the centipede feeds on. They will go away if their food supply disappears. Reducing moist, humid areas in the house, closing entry points will help with this as well (see cockroach instructions).
3. SpidersIn Mississippi, we have 27 different species of spiders. Most species are harmless, but here are 3 that are dangerous:
Brown RecluseBrown recluse spiders are common in houses. They have a distinct, fiddle-shaped body and only 6 eyes (most spiders have 8) arranged in three pairs. Their bite is rarely life-threatening but is seriously venomous and requires medical attention. Because it is prevalent in houses, controlling this spider requires methodical decluttering and cleaning. Homeowners must go through each room, furniture, closet, storage boxes, cleaning and vacuuming all areas where a spider could hide or live. Once this is done then have a professional come in and treat the areas.
Black WidowThe female black widow is seen most often. It has a shiny black color and a red hourglass mark on the underside of her abdomen. The body is about 1” long. The male black widow is smaller but with a more elongated body. This spider is almost exclusively found outdoors or in uninhabited buildings such as abandoned barns, houses, sheds, or little-used areas in basements or garages.
Black widow bites contain venom, with symptoms starting 30-45 minutes after the bite. Victims can experience pain, contraction or cramping of muscles that is particularly severe in the abdomen. Sometimes slurring of speech may occur. Treatment will vary. A physician visit is necessary to evaluate what is needed.
Wolf SpiderThe wolf spider does not use a web to catch its prey; it hunts it down by chasing it and leaping on it. They are from ½” to 2” long, hairy, and have camouflage colors that can be orangish-brown to gray and black with splotches or stripes. It’s 8 eyes are in 3 rows with 2 larger eyes in front. Mothers sometimes carry their young on their backs.
Wolf spiders mostly live outside, but may be found in homes around doors, windows, and house plants, or in basements and garages. They are not aggressive and will not bite unless they feel threatened. The bite can be very painful, so you need to seek treatment by a doctor if bitten.
Getting rid of them consists of three main factors:
- Habitat reduction: Once you identify the type of spider you need to get rid of you can eliminate or reduce the areas and conditions the spider prefers to reside in.
- Entry elimination: Caulk common areas that spiders can enter your home through. If you are unsure of where, it is best to have a professional come out to identify where they are getting in.
- Spot treatment: Having professionals treat the areas that you have spiders in will get rid of current spiders, but make sure you also take preventative steps to reduce more spiders moving in.
4. Bed BugsBed bugs are hitchhikers, living inside other houses, hotel rooms, school, dorms, etc. Places where you might spend some time and give them the opportunity to hide in your clothing, backpack, or suitcase and hitch a ride to your house.
How do bedbugs hitch a ride? Bed bugs can hide in many places. They love clutter. When your kids visit a friend and the bedroom is cluttered, the bed bugs have many places they can hide and easily transfer to your child’s backpack, sleeping bag, or discarded clothing for a chance to go home with you.
In a hotel room, suitcases, purses, and clothing piled on the floor or the bed make suitable travel options for them as well.
A recently hatched bed bug is pale white or tan in color, has 6 legs, and may have a red abdomen if they have recently had a meal (blood). The adult bed bug is a reddish-brown color and has an oval-shaped body similar in size to an apple seed. They might be flat, or have more of a bulging oval shape if they have eaten recently.
Bed bug treatment requires a professional who is licensed and knowledgeable about eliminating bed bugs. They are very tiny and hide in places we can’t get to, such as behind walls as well as in cracks and crevices.
In addition to professional eradication, you need to take the following steps to make your house an inhospitable environment for bed bugs. If one does make its way into the house, the infestation will be minimal and much easier to take care of.
- Eliminate Clutter: Eliminate clutter, and you are eliminating infinite opportunities for a bed bug to hide and lay eggs.
- Don’t store things under beds: This is another easy area for bed bugs to hide and lay eggs without being discovered.
- Buy encasements for your mattresses and box springs: Make sure you purchase encasements specifically designated to prevent bedbug penetration. This will prevent the bed bugs from hiding increases or stitching areas, and also from laying their eggs there.
5. MosquitoesMost people are way too familiar with mosquitoes. They ruin our evenings outside, and sometimes our day time outside as well. In addition to biting us and making us itch they can carry diseases such as West Nile virus (humans) and heartworm (dogs). Read more about mosquito-borne diseases here.
How can you reduce the mosquitoes in your yard?
There are a number of things you can do:
- Eliminate standing water on the property. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so the first thing you should do is identify any areas of standing water and either eliminate them or empty them daily. Common places that collect water include birdbaths, wading pools, flowerpots, buckets, old tires, children’s toys, and wheelbarrows.. Cleaning your gutters so water can flow freely and covering rain barrels will also minimize standing water, as well as filling in low lying areas in the yard that collect water. Removing hollow logs and stumps on your property also helps. If you have a swimming pool, make sure you keep it well-maintained. Failing to keep your pool clean will result in mosquitoes will be drawn to the stagnant water. If using a pool cover, dump off any water that accumulates on the top during rainstorms.
- Repair windows and cracks in exterior walls to prevent mosquito entry into your home.
- Inspect all window screens and repair or replace damaged screens with 16-18 mesh. Seal any cracks in the home’s foundation and exterior walls as well.
- Repair Leaky Spigots. Leaky spigots will pool on the ground underneath so need to be repaired or replaced.
- Install Bug Lights. Although bug lights don’t keep mosquitos away, they will make your property somewhat less attractive during nighttime hours.
Get Rid of Mississippi Bugs and Enjoy Your SummerWhether they are dangerous, creepy-crawly, or just plain annoying, no one wants to spend their summer dealing with a bug infestation. If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, give the professionals at Tri-County Pest Control a call. We can help you identify which bugs you are dealing with, and put together a treatment plan that will get rid of the bugs and prevent them from coming back. Call us today at (662) 840-1163 and let us help you start enjoying your summer!
Hear from a few people we have worked with...“Bill and I started using TriCounty Pest Control for our home soon after we moved from Minnesota to Tupelo in 2001, and we have been extremely happy with the service we have received from Kevin Pannell. He has made extra trips to our home several times to deal with a particularly stubborn pest. We found out we had a nest of ants in our attic that happily stayed there, out of our notice, until we had our kitchen remodeled. Then they had a new pathway via the electrical cord for our stove. He re...” ~ Bill & Carol Ledbetter
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