May is National Pet Month: Tips to protect your pets from pests

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – More than 70 percent of homeowners own a pet, and more than 80 percent of pet-owners experience problems with pests. As May is National Pet Month, make sure your four-legged family members are fully protected with the following tips provided by HomeTeam.

Six very common pests that can cause your pet problems are fleas, wasps and bees, mosquitoes, fire ants and ticks.

Flea eggs are microscopic and can take three to six months to hatch; they can also carry harmful bacterial parasites and tapeworms. To protect your pets, make sure you frequently wash their bedding in warm water and dry it on high heat. Additionally, the steps below are some suggestions that can help:

  • Vacuum to remove flea larvae and eggs from carpets. Be sure to clean under furniture and along walls, and discard your vacuum bags.
  • Regularly bathe and brush dogs.
  • Fleas can be found in tall grasses, so keep your yard regularly mowed and maintained.

Dogs and cats are just as likely to be stung by wasps and bees as humans, and some may have allergic reactions. Consult a veterinarian if your pet is stung, and here are some tips to get rid of nests from around your yard:

  • Wasps like to build their nests in cool secluded areas. Look for them on the underside of a deck or overhanging roof.
  • These pests are active and aggressive during the day, but they are calmer at dusk. If you choose to buy a spray can of wasp/hornet killer to remove the nest yourself, use it at dusk, follow the instructions and use extra caution.
  • If you are allergic to stings or wary of removing an active nest yourself, pest defense specialists can kill or remove the nest for you. 
  • Bumblebees often nest in the ground or on patios or decks. Unlike honeybees they can sting more than once. Keep your yard mowed and the grass low, so bees can't nest on the ground.

Mosquitoes will bite any warm-blooded animal, and can come into your home via your pet. Some ways to control mosquito-breeding in your yard:

  • Remove standing water. Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant or slow moving water, so dump items in your yard that hold water every 48 hours. Even the smallest amount of water held in a leaf or bottle cap can be enough for mosquitoes to breed. The water held in birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes. Remember to empty the saucers under your flowerpots, and don't leave water in pet bowls for more than two days.
  • Maintain your yard. Adult mosquitoes rest during the day, usually on the under sides of vegetation. Make your yard less hospitable to mosquitoes by mowing your lawn regularly, keeping vegetation away from your home's foundation and clearing away leaves, litter and debris (which are likely to collect water). Repair broken sprinkler heads that leak water and
  • Consider consulting with a pest control professional about treating your yard for mosquitoes.

Fire ants will sting anything in their path, and cause irritation and itchiness in animals, and can leave sores.

  • Regularly and thoroughly inspect your yard for fire ants. If you come across an irregular shaped mound avoid stepping on it, kicking it or touching it.
  • Treatments for fire ants (available at local lawn and garden stores) can be effective, but be sure to carefully follow directions and safety precautions.
  • If you are chasing ant mounds all over your yard (every time you treat one another pops up) enlist the help of a pest defense company in your area. HomeTeam Pest Defense can recommend an effective treatment specific to your lawn and region.

Ticks carry harmful diseases like Lyme disease, bacterial parasites and tapeworms.

  • Regularly bathe and brush dogs.
  • Ticks love long grasses, leaf piles and wooded areas, so keep your yard regularly mowed and maintained.
  • During the peak tick season (generally April through September), limit your dog's exposure to known tick-infested areas.
  • If your pet spends time outside, examine your dog for ticks on a daily basis. If you suspect he has been romping in a tick-infested area, examine him for ticks immediately. Be sure to check inside and behind his ears and around his eyes, all favorite tick hiding places.

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