Five common pests likely to invade your Chicago home this spring
Loop North News

HOME OWNERSHIP

(Above) Eastern boxelder bug. Photo by Katja Schulz.

27-Mar-21 – Say what you want about spring. It may be a favorite of many but it’s also a season that attracts pests and other unwanted house critters to your property. The smartest thing you can do as a homeowner is to learn the types of creatures that typically flock to Chicagoland.

Mice

To be fair, mice are common in every area that humans inhabit, much like rats. Why are the little rodents so widespread? Largely because they’re guided by the need for two things, food and shelter, and human dwellings often offer both.

Photo by Jessica Loticus

It’s easy to unwittingly attract a family of mice to your property. Often, a few crumbs or a small water puddle are enough to invite them indoors, especially if your home possesses cozy nooks and crannies.

Photo by Jessica Loticus. Click on images to view larger versions.

Eliminating entry points and food sources from your home is a great way to deter rodents. Alternately, you could try one of the many DIY pest control options out there.

Mice also spread disease that could harm your family and pets. That’s why it’s vital to remove mice at the first sign of them. Make sure you know the signs of a mouse infestation.

Boxelder bugs

You might not recognize them by name, but you’ve surely seen boxelder bugs before. They’re half-inch-long oval insects with a black body and orange/red coloring. They like to spend time on trees, rocks, and plants, but will also, on occasion, wander in through open windows or overgrown trees that lead straight to your house. While boxelder bugs aren’t particularly destructive by nature, their feces have the unpleasant habit of damaging fabrics and structures and leaving behind permanent stains.

One thing you could do to deter boxelder bugs from making a home inside yours is to eliminate boxelder seedlings from your property and sealing cracks and gaps that might be providing easy access.

Mosquitoes

As the nights get warmer, the mosquitoes are bound to come out from the woodwork once again, and you are probably less than thrilled. The truth is, it’s quite difficult to deter mosquitoes from bothering you since the main thing that attracts them – your blood – is difficult to get rid of.

Still, one way to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your property is to install mosquito nets and screens on your windows.

(Right) Female mosquito about 10mm in length. Photo by Joaquim Alves Gaspar.

Photo by Joaquim Alves Gaspar

Opossums

The only native marsupial in North America, opossums are perennially hungry, which is why they’d really like to pay you a visit. These nighttime creatures often roam the darkness looking for leftovers and food sources. For this reason, they love getting into your trash cans and, if possible, even your kitchen.

Photo by Cody Pope

Aside from not leaving food out in the open, it’s also worth trimming your yard and keeping logs and woodpiles at a minimum, since striped skunks often make their home in such nooks.

(Left) North American Opossum with winter coat. Photo by Cody Pope.

They also pose a threat because they can attract larger predators such as snakes. So, limit food sources, never leave pet food outside overnight, and invest in tightly-sealed trash cans. If you are still dealing with an opossum infestation after taking these steps, it is best to talk to a professional wildlife removal company like First Choice Wildlife Services.

Striped skunks

Skunks may also threaten the safety of your Chicago home. Well-known for the pungent smell they give off when threatened, skunks, like opossums, usually come to your home at night, looking for food.

Aside from not leaving food out in the open, it’s also worth trimming your yard and keeping logs and woodpiles at a minimum, since striped skunks often make their home in such nooks.

Photo by Tom Friedel

Photo by Tom Friedel

Jessica Loticus is an animal rights activist, environmentalist, and journalist focused on how animal life is endangered due to human activity. She is working to spread awareness of how precautions against animal intruders can save local wildlife.

By Jessica Loticus | Loop North News | jessicaloticus@gmail.com

FREE WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE

What’s news in the Loop and Near North
neighborhoods of downtown Chicago.

Signup for our weekly email. No ads, no email tracking, and no charge.

Number of subscribers:

See this week’s update