Your Guide to Seasonal Pests in Maryland
Last updated: 8/18/21
Estimated Read time: 9 minutes
Each season presents its own unique set of pest-related challenges. Basically, seasonal pests are a constantly moving target and require a flexible, adaptable approach. Here’s our thorough rundown of the indoor and outdoor pests that you’re likely to encounter in each of Maryland’s distinct seasons.
The days might be cooling down but pests aren’t going anywhere. The changing season causes some spring and summer holdouts to switch up their behavior while still others are just getting started.
- Stink Bugs: Possibly the most well-known regional fall pest is the stink bug. While they’re harmless to people, their name is highly appropriate as they release a characteristic unpleasant odor when stepped on or crushed. In addition, they tend to gather in large numbers, making them difficult to control.
- Ladybugs: More commonly known as outdoor insects, ladybugs often seek shelter indoors as the weather cools off. And while they’re beneficial in the right setting, they can be a nuisance when they get in your home.
- Cockroaches: Following commonly observed insect behavior, cockroaches often make their way indoors as winter approaches, increasing the likelihood of roach-triggered allergies.
- Boxelder Bugs: Think of boxelder bugs as scarier-looking stink bugs. Their distinctive black and red patterns may make them look intimidating but underneath it all, they’re completely harmless. Unless you count the bad smell they release when crushed, of course.
- Sugar Ants: Due in no small part to a certain candy-centric holiday around the end of October, it’s not at all uncommon for ant infestations to spike in late fall.
- Bed Bugs: Just like in the summer, increased holiday-related travel always causes instances of bed bug infestations to rise. This is true throughout the whole holiday season.
- Snails and Slugs: Both snails and their shell-less cousins lay the majority of their eggs in the fall, making treating them before the spring a good idea if you want to avoid a population boom later on.
- Aphids: Typically a summer pest, aphids can persist well into fall if the weather stays mild enough. Unfortunately in Maryland, it often does, making your fall vegetables vulnerable.
- Silverfish: Often encountered when digging out those old sweaters, silverfish feed on fibers such as cotton and silk. Proper storage of seasonal garments in heavy-duty containers or vacuum seal bags can prevent an infestation, so take that into account when storing the cold weather clothes next spring.
- Fall Webworms: Their signature white webbing that can seemingly take over an entire tree is a strange sight, but these voracious caterpillars can strip a tree bare of leaves before the cold weather even truly sets in.
- Bagworms: Bagworms, or more specifically their cocoons, are a common sight on trees and shrubs during the fall. Removing them now is a good idea though as the overwintering eggs will hatch in spring, creating a much bigger problem.
- Spiders: Bad news for arachnophobes, fall is the height of spider mating season!
Sadly, even the onset of winter doesn’t mean relief from seasonal pests. Outdoor pests aren’t as widespread but household creepy crawlies are more active than ever!
- Silverfish: Silverfish that made themselves comfortable in your closet in the fall continue to snack on your seasonal garments. Aside from finding the insects crawling around, signs of an infestation include yellow stains, scales, or tiny black pepper-like feces pellets on your stored clothing.
- Western Conifer Seed Bugs: Everyone loves a Christmas tree—bugs that hitch a ride in on them though, not so much. These inch-long brown sapsuckers are common across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, so only acquire your trees and wreaths from reputable suppliers.
- Rodents: Like so many other pests, rodents prefer to spend the winter indoors. Your attic is particularly vulnerable this season too, as it’s a popular rodent nesting spot.
- Centipedes and Millipedes: During the winter, your home is much warmer than the surrounding environment, often resulting in an increase in moisture around your basement. This is the ideal environment for both centipedes and millipedes.
- Black Widow Spiders: Black widows can often be brought indoors on firewood. Most times of the year, they prefer to hide out in woodpiles, but during the coldest months of the year, they can often inadvertently be carried inside.
- Winged Carpenter Ants: Also known simply as flying ants, they’re easily mistaken for swarming termites. While they’re not necessarily more common in the winter months, seeing them in your home between December and February is a dead giveaway that there’s a carpenter ant nest in your home.
- Nuisance Wildlife: It’s pretty cold out there and wild animals may want to come in and warm up. However, animals like raccoons and squirrels can often carry dangerous diseases like rabies and require professional removal.
- Grubs: Grubs are hibernating deep underneath your lawn during winter, getting ready for the spring when they emerge and feed on your lawn. A quality grub control plan can break that cycle through, preventing them from hatching come warmer temperatures.
- Cave Crickets: During winter, your lawn is often covered in a layer of decaying, competitively warm leaves. This, unfortunately, is exactly where the common cave cricket prefers to breed and lay eggs.
As the weather warms up, lots of springtime pests burst back onto the scene. The sudden abundance of food and overall comfortable conditions lead to an explosion in the populations of many of the Mid-Atlantic’s most common pests, including:
- Termites: March is generally the beginning of the termite swarming season in Maryland. The most well-known wood-destroying organism out there, termites are responsible for more than $5 billion in home damage every year in the US and usually require professional attention.
- Sugar Ants: “Sugar ants” is a catch-all term for any small, black house ant that comes into your home and targets sugary foods. While neither dangerous nor destructive, ants are a stubborn pest that tends to resist DIY treatment methods.
- Cockroaches: While it’s common to find cockroaches in your house during cold weather, they usually experience a population boom in the spring. Roaches are well-known pests that most people are familiar with. What’s less commonly known however is that they’re a common trigger of indoor allergies.
- Carpenter Ants: Termites hog the attention when it comes to wood-destroying insects but carpenter ants are just as capable of causing serious damage to your home.
- Cluster Flies: Nearly indistinguishable from the common housefly, cluster flies come out in early spring but are more often found in the home starting in May. Similar to their more famous cousin, cluster flies come into your home in search of food.
- Moles: As the days get milder, moles begin to tunnel closer to the surface of your lawn, causing raised sections of grass and areas of soft soil that are easy to trip into.
- Carpenter Bees: Starting in late March and early April, carpenter bees are commonly seen buzzing near outdoor wooden structures. While they look like harmless, lumbering flying insects, they can cause real damage to your home if not treated.
- Cicadas: Perhaps the most famous Mid-Atlantic insect, cicadas emerge in force every 17 years. Still, every spring, a relatively small number of stragglers emerge and can be heard buzzing loudly in and around trees, usually for about 6-8 weeks.
- Spiders: More commonly found in the home in the colder months, most species of Maryland’s spiders move outdoors in spring. These beneficial bugs play an essential role in managing the populations of less desirable ones. However, the native Black Widow spider can represent a serious health hazard and need to be treated with caution.
- Grubs: These larval-stage beetles overwinter underneath your lawn but become active in the spring. Generally accepted as a lawn nuisance, grubs can eat away at your grass from underneath and can also attract more destructive pests like moles and raccoons to your yard.
- Ticks: Anyone who’s spent time outside has probably encountered a tick before. Common though they are, particularly in grassy areas, ticks are the top spreader of Lyme Disease in the Mid-Atlantic and can represent a serious risk to your health.
Maryland’s summers are known for their heat and humidity. Some pests love it, while others flee indoors to mooch off of your AC. Wherever they’re found, some of our state’s most common summer pests include:
- Fleas: As the weather starts to get hot, fleas enter their peak season. Most commonly brought inside by pests, fleas can spread throughout your home quickly and are famously difficult to get rid of.
- Termites: While termites start to emerge and swarm in the spring, the summer is when they tend to settle in, lose their wings, and begin causing damage in your home.
- Crickets: Found in the home all year, crickets of all varieties are most active in summer. Their chirping may be one of the signature sounds of the season, but it’s no fun to go down into the basement and see them all over your carpet.
- Bed Bugs: While not seasonal, rates of bed bug infestations always spike in the summer months. This is because they often hitch a ride home with you from your trips and vacations.
- Fruit Flies: The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in the late summer can often inadvertently lead to a fruit fly infestation. To avoid this, be sure to use all of your seasonal produce quickly, not giving it the opportunity to spoil and ferment.
- House Flies: As their name suggests, house flies are notorious for finding their way into your home. They’re generally harmless, if extremely annoying but will lay their eggs on food, causing it to spoil.
- Beetles: When summer gets going in earnest, many varieties of beetles reach adulthood and are commonly seen flying around outdoors. Often, voracious eaters, it’s not uncommon for beetle varieties like Japanese beetles and squash beetles can damage crop yields and are a common garden nuisance.
- Deer Flies: Every Maryland native seems to have at least one deer fly-related horror story, and for good reason. These native pests are capable of delivering painful bites and even transmitting diseases. Fortunately, their season is short, rarely lasting past June.
- Grasshoppers: One of the most iconic summertime pests, grasshoppers thrive in the hot weather. While they rarely make it indoors, grasshoppers can do serious damage to lawns and other ornamental grasses.
- Honey Bees: Unlike most other examples on this list, you want honey bees around. They’re extremely beneficial pollinators whose population is under threat. They’re most active in the summer months and if you or a loved one have an allergy to their stings, professional removal and relocation are strongly recommended.
- Mosquitoes: These famously irritating bloodsucking pests are practically synonymous with summer. Mosquitoes‘ presence may seem inescapable, but given their ability to spread disease, a professional treatment plan for your yard is recommended.
- Yellow Jackets: Peak summer often means peak stinging insects, particularly the dreaded yellow jacket. This aggressive variety of wasp is extremely territorial, lives where people try to congregate, and can inflict painful stings, even if unprovoked
FAQs About Seasonal Pest Control
There’s no such thing as a perfect pest calendar and many nuisance critters present different challenges across the season. At Blades of Green though, we’re here to help.
What Time of Year is Best for Pest Control?
Generally, early spring is the best time to have your home treated for pests. Springtime is the most active season for the greatest variety of pests. Given this, a seasonal pest treatment for both your home and property in March or April is your best chance to keep them pest-free all year.
How to Keep your Home Pest-free Year-round?
A quality recurring pest control plan is the best way to keep your home pest-free all year. At Blades of Green, our pest control service will keep your home clean, safe, and peaceful year-round. And with multiple plans available, there’s one that meets your needs.
To ensure that your home stays safe year-round, we work with you to implement the best Integrated Pest Control (IPM) strategies that help to prevent infestations instead of just treating them.
Does a New House Need Pest Control?
While a full pest control regime isn’t always necessary, you don’t want to skip a pest inspection before making a purchase. Forgoing an inspection can leave you on the hook for insect-related damages that should have been caught before you signed on the dotted line. Whatever you do though, make sure to hire a quality inspector. After all, this is probably the biggest purchase of your life so you’ll want to do it right!
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