Living in a lush city with mild winters feels like heaven… until the armies of pests begin to congregate in yards, on patios, and around pools, waiting for their chance to ruin your day. The creepy crawly, not to mention bitey and stingy contingent of this corner of the world can’t help it. They’re thirsty for water, blood, or just trying to defend their turf (even if it happens to be yours), and they need to go. Here’s a quick guide to the worst bugs in Austin and how to get rid of them.
Anyone who’s ever wandered into fire ant territory in sandals can tell you they’re the worst pest in Texas. And that’s a tall order in a state crawling with venomous critters. Fire ants top this list because of their aggression and their uncanny ability to show up en mass where you don’t want them. Picnic? You can count on these invasive ants to be there. Veggie garden? Check! Kitchen counter courtesy of any gap in a window or door? You betcha!
Getting rid of fire ants is a process. So take a deep breath and start early in the spring, as soon as you see them building their mounds. The “two-step method” involves baiting the ant mounds between August and September. Next, after a few weeks have passed, the individual mounds are spot-treated. Baiting mounds isn’t a good idea for families with young children. In that case, a non-toxic method such as orange oil or boiling water applied to mounds may be preferable.
Known as water roaches, tree roaches, or just terrifying monsters that need to get out of the house, palmetto bugs are harmless, but hated insects. These most unwelcome visitors are drawn by food, water, and places they can easily hide. If you have a palmetto bug issue, your first plan of action must be to determine where they’re’ coming from. If you have a compost pile close to your home, this is a likely source. Wood piles and mounds of leaves are likely hangout spots as well.
Eliminating any cozy places where wood or leaves are decomposing will help give these guys the boot. If they’re coming into your house, identify and seal any gaps or cracks where they’re entering. Try sprinkling boric acid around sills where you suspect they’re lurking.
These bloodsuckers are a stealthy menace, quietly biting us at dusk– when we’re the least likely to see them. Mosquitoes are both annoying and dangerous carriers for tropical diseases. We do have a number of methods for deterring them, beginning with preventing them from breeding in the first place.
Make sure there are no containers of standing water anywhere near your home (our friends in Florida know all about this tip). This includes changing the water in bird baths, fountains, and potted plant trays each week. Rain barrels should have screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering and laying eggs. Place an agitator in all water features. Mosquitoes will only lay eggs in still water.
Keep shrubs trimmed and tidy. Plant basil, marigolds, petunias and lavender to repel the pests. The scent of these flowers really bugs mosquitoes. Installing an outdoor fan can keep mosquitoes from crashing your parties as well. Wearing light-colored clothing and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk are also good ways to avoid their bites.
The mild climate around Austin and Round Rock is just as attractive to these nasty pests as it is to us. In addition to all of the tips above, maintaining a tidy lawn and landscape is one of the best ways to repel the worst bugs in Austin.
Have more questions about pest control and prevention in your lawn? Visit our Austin, TX lawn care page for more guides and additional information.