In the Dallas area, people and bugs coexist. Texas’s mild climate and high human density make it a perfect home for a variety of pests, but even our mild winters can attract creatures to venture inside. These uninvited house guests can be quite deadly, causing allergic reactions and spreading disease. Some, such as the common carpenter ant, can even eat through your home’s structural integrity. Here’s a list of pests to keep an eye out for this winter, according to our pest management experts!

1. Rodents are a pest to keep an eye out for.

Rodents are commensal animals, which means they have evolved to coexist with us (whether we like it or not!). Rats, particularly the roof and Norway types widespread in the Dallas area, prefer to be close to you. Our discarded food or untouched pantry goods provide a regular source of nutrients for these pests, and our attics provide an ideal environment for them to spend the winter. Roof rats are so named because they prefer to be high up, and they are a particularly unpleasant nuisance to keep an eye out for throughout the winter. They reproduce swiftly, producing many babies every few weeks, and can be found almost anyplace (including the walls!). Keep an eye out for pest evidence like droppings or chewed-up cardboard, wood, and blankets. To build their nests, they like to nibble on soft objects. A rat infestation thrives in storage bins packed of home décor. While Norway or roof rats rarely bite, they will if they feel threatened or alarmed. Their bites and droppings contain a plethora of bacteria and diseases, so avoid them at all costs.

2. Ants aren’t limited to picnic invasions.

While some Dallas residents dismiss ants as nuisance pests, we must keep an eye out for them during the colder months. Ants will go wherever there is food and water. They’ll come inside as the temperatures drop and food supplies outside decline. Some ants are completely harmless! Others, such as the carpenter ant, eat through wooden structures such as the support beams in your home. The bites of fire ants can be extremely painful. If you are allergic to ant venom, you may experience severe responses. The bad news is that once inside a house, ants are difficult to eradicate. They nest through a process known as ‘budding,’ in which they split the colony in half and then reproduce swiftly to increase the numbers in each colony. To avoid them, store food in airtight containers (even pet food!). Do the dishes every night so they don’t eat your leftovers. Remove the trash when it is full, and keep the containers away from the house.

3. Spiders are far too dangerous to ignore.

Arachnophobia affects a sizable portion of the Dallas population. If you’re one of the many people who are frightened of spiders, you’re probably already on the lookout for this pest. Spiders, particularly the Brown Recluse and Black Widow, are common in the Dallas area. They feed on smaller insects caught in their web, typically paralyzing them with venom before devouring them. Spiders are found everywhere little insects are found, therefore if you have any other pest problem, you most certainly also have a spider problem! They can deposit hundreds of eggs at a time and nest in undisturbed areas such as basements or attics. If you notice a spider, leave it alone until a pest control professional can remove it. Many spiders are deadly, so don’t risk being bitten when attempting to remove them.

4. Bacteria are spread by venomous cockroaches.
Cockroaches, possibly the most despised of all Dallas pests, are one of the most dangerous bugs to be on the lookout for. Cockroaches seek three things: food, shelter, and water. They enter through the smallest cracks and settle under appliances, in drains, and behind artwork (to name just a few places). Anywhere they can sit undisturbed is a good place for a cockroach. They reproduce rapidly, sticking their eggs to any surface. Cockroaches are also notorious for leaving droppings wherever they go. The microscopic black dots, which are adhered to every surface with a glue-like covering, are an easy-to-spot indicator that you have a roach infestation. Most Dallas residents don’t realize they have a cockroach problem until it’s too late; cockroaches are excellent at concealing. In high-risk areas such as the bathroom or kitchen, it’s critical to keep a lookout for droppings or eggs. If you notice any signs of a cockroach infestation, contact a pest control professional right once. Their feces contains a high concentration of bacteria, which causes respiratory issues in humans and the possibility of serious sickness.