It’s summertime in Michigan, and with all of the sunshine and blooming flowers come some of our least favorite things: bugs.
While bugs are important to our ecosystem, they can certainly be a nuisance in our lives. And never is that nuisance worse than it is during the summer months.
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All summer, Michiganders are going to deal with mosquitoes, ticks, wasps and more -- but we aren’t doomed to suffer.
According to Mark VanderWerp from Rose Pest Solutions, there are steps we can take to help prevent the insects from invading our personal space, even if we can’t get rid of them altogether.
Below, VanderWerp joins us to share his expertise and provide tips for avoiding mosquitoes, ticks, wasps and more this summer.
Preventing mosquito bites
Last year, Michigan had an epic mosquito season, according to VanderWerp, largely due to the above-average rainfall the region received during the summer.
In many instances, the mosquitoes biting you near your home are actually breeding near your home, too -- likely either on your property or an adjacent property.
If you have backed-up gutters or standing water near your home, like an old bird bath that hasn’t been dumped out in a few weeks, you might be growing your own mosquitoes right in your backyard.
In the segment below, VanderWerp discusses his favorite ways to deter mosquitoes when hanging out outdoors.
Preventing ticks through rodent control
What many people don’t know: The life cycle of a tick occurs over several years; they don’t just pop up in the spring.
The parasites, which are active during the warmer months, are extremely small when they’re young and are often barely visible to the naked human eye. When tick season comes around, people really only see the adult ticks -- which are bigger and more likely to land on humans and their pets, as they seek larger prey.
When ticks are small and growing, they like to attach to smaller prey, like small game rodents.
VanderWerp says that by doing rodent management around your home, you can ease your tick burden, too. See what he had to say in the video below.
Managing wasps, yellow jackets around your home
Wasps and yellowjackets are particularly annoying summer insects, as they can sting and potentially cause significant or severe reactions in people and pets.
According to VanderWerp, the main problematic stinging insects in Michigan are the paper wasps and the yellow jackets. The stinging insects are considered social insects. They start off with a single female in the spring, and then that colony grows over the season, our expert said.
People don’t usually notice a problem with stinging insects until the end of the summer and/or fall, like August through October, because that’s when the colonies are at their largest. During the spring months, colonies are still fairly small and fragile, VanderWerp said.
To help prevent colonies from growing near your home while it’s still early in the season, it’s important to do an inspection and look for small hives before they become too large or difficult to handle. Hear more of VanderWerp’s advice in the video below.
Flower, light placement can limit insect interaction
You may not want to hear it, but it’s true: The things planted and placed around the outside of your home may actually be contributing to your insect problems.
Many of the plants and light fixtures that exist on your property are likely attracting the insects that are causing you a headache during the summer.
VanderWerp says that people “love to plant bug food” in their yards, such as flowers.
While bright flowers are beautiful for humans to look at, that’s not why they bloom. Our expert says flowers bloom for pollinators to come visit them, and those pollinators are primarily insects.
So, what can you do? It’s all about placement: Where you plant your flowers can have an impact on the number of insects hanging out in an area.
The same goes for exterior lighting. VanderWerp says that many bugs are, as we know, attracted to light -- but there are ways to limit how many insects see those lights. Learn more in the segment below.