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Property Owners Beware! 6 Common Pests in Abilene

Texas is home to a wide range of plants, animals, and people. This makes for a gorgeous state famous for tourism, incredible state parks and plenty of photo ops. It also means we’ve got a lot of pesky bugs that call this great state home.

Some of them are beneficial, helping to pollinate and keep plants healthy. Others carry diseases, destroy property, and are just an all-around nuisance. West Texas residents should be aware of the six most common pests for our area, and how they impact the environment and human health.

Ants

Ants are a common sight in Abilene! They build their nests in homes, yards, and debris such as leaf piles or dead wood, presenting a persistent inconvenience to homeowners.

Carpenter ants are an invasive pest that can cause termite-level damage to wooden structures such as decks and fencing. There are 14 types of carpenter ants in Texas! You can recognize them from their large black bodies and wings, but steer clear because the bites can be very painful.

Fire ants aren't Texas natives, but they’re a huge problem! You’ll recognize these angry ants from their red bodies and large mounds. They’re very aggressive if their mounds are disturbed, and their stings are very painful and can cause allergic reactions!

Fleas

You won’t want these bothersome bloodsuckers taking up residence in your home or on your property. Fleas target both pets and humans, can carry and transmit tapeworms and Bartonella, and their bites cause itching and discomfort. Talk to your veterinarian about monthly treatments options to keep your pets comfortable and safe.

The key to eliminating a flea problem is to break the flea life cycle, which has four parts. The adults lay eggs, which hatch into larvae, then develop into pupae before growing into adults and restarting the cycle. If you’ve got a heavy infestation, it’s best to treat both indoors and out.

Ticks

Texas is home to four types of ticks: Deer ticks, Lone Star ticks, American ticks, and Brown Dog ticks. While typically associated with heavily wooded areas, ticks can also call grassy or brushy areas home.

Much like fleas, ticks thrive on the blood of mammals. Unlike fleas, ticks don’t jump. Instead, they cling to grass and climb onto their victims. Ticks can withstand freezing temperatures and are a threat year-round.

They’re also known as “vectors” – pests that carry and transmit diseases. It’s important to remove ticks within 24 hours of a bite, because they’re known to carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, bubonic plague, and tapeworms. Remove ticks carefully with tweezers, grasping the head as close to the skin as possible. Don’t crush the body or twist as you remove the tick! This could cause the tick to expel the contents of its stomach, or leave portions of the body in your skin.

Kissing Bug/Assassin Bug

Also known as the Triatomine bug or Mexican Bed Bug, Kissing Bugs are nocturnal, bloodsucking insects known for carrying a parasite that can infect humans and pets with the Chagas disease. Never touch a Kissing Bug! Always use gloves and sanitize the surface with bleach afterward.

Kissing Bugs are slightly larger than a penny, with dark diamond-shaped bodies and light-colored striping around the edges. They like to stay close to their victims, so check carefully around beds. The best defense against Kissing Bugs is keeping your yard trimmed and treating it regularly pesticides.

Mosquitos

Mosquitos are probably the most common pest in the state of Texas. There are 85 different species! These flying, bloodsucking nuisances not only leave painful bites, but they also carry and transmit dangerous diseases like Zika, West Nile, and Chikungunya.

Helping to protect your family and community from mosquitos requires several steps. Always wear insect repellant when you’re outdoors, make sure any standing water is drained, and make sure your screens are in good condition! Also, be sure to report any dead birds to the local health department, as these sightings can be an indicator of a disease passing from mosquitos to animals.

Scorpions and Spiders

Scorpions and spiders are common in West Texas. Both are arachnids and primarily nocturnal. They like dark, cool places that are out of the way, and you’ll typically find them in brush piles, debris, and enclosed spaces like grills or sheds that sit undisturbed.

While most spiders are beneficial and help kill other insects, certain spiders, like the brown recluse and black widow, are dangerously poisonous. There at 14 species of Tarantula in Texas, and scorpions come in a variety of body types and colors. Scorpion stings pack a painful punch and can be fatal in some rare cases.

Pest management precautions start with sealing up any cracks around doors, windows, and openings for cables or wiring to pass through.

The Grounds Guys of Abilene

The Grounds Guys of Abilene are a locally owned and operated franchise serving Abilene and the surrounding areas with comprehensive, state of the art lawn care and landscaping services.

We offer everything from basic lawn maintenance to landscaping, hardscaping, water features, sprinkler systems, gutters, and outdoor lighting! Our highly-trained team is committed to excellence, service, and customer satisfaction. We pride ourselves on prompt, professional service.

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