Common Southern California Pests and Their Seasons

Southern California is home to Hollywood, theme parks, endless sandy beaches, warm weather all year, and plenty of interesting characters. As lovely and picturesque as Southern California is, it’s not entirely free of its problems. Insects and pests cover all areas of the globe, and sunny Southern California is no exception.

Winter

Southern California is usually treated to a temperate winter. But still, the drop in temperature encourages some pests to find warmth and shelter in our homes.

  • House mouse: The house mouse is one of the most common species of mice in the world and, as you can imagine from the name, is quite common to the home and usually lives in proximity to humans. In the winter, if a house mouse has not found shelter of its own, it likes to make a nest in the attic. While house mice are cute, they can transmit diseases, get into your food, and be a general annoyance.
  • Norway rat: Commonly known as the brown rat, the Norway rat is the dominant rat in Europe and most of North America, which makes it one of the most successful mammals on the planet next to humans. They can live wherever humans live and are often kept as pets. However, wild brown rats can carry a number of pathogens, including Weil’s disease, rat bite fever, and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
  • Roof rat: The roof rat, or black rat, is not as common as the brown rat but is well-known for causing the spread of the bubonic plague. While you really don’t need to worry about a plague resurgence, black rats are still known to carry a number of pathogens.

Spring

The season of clearer skies, warmer weather, and blossoming flowers often brings a whole host of insects out of hibernation.

  • Honey bee: Honey bees are social animals common to several continents. These insects are best known for producing and storing honey in complex nests made of wax. They tend not to be a problem, but many will establish their hives on or near homes. You may appear as a threat without knowing it, leading to some painful stings. This can be an even bigger issue if you have kids or if anyone in your family is allergic to bees.
  • Domestic house spider: While these spiders aren’t venomous, they tend to come out in larger numbers during the spring, causing that creepy-crawly, unsettled feeling. Spiders are one of the most feared creatures in the world, and nobody wants to share their home with them.

Summer

Summers in SoCal tend to heat up, and the excess warmth and humidity brings out some of the worst pests.

  • Cat flea: The cat flea is one of the most abundant species of flea on Earth. Fleas thrive in the summer heat and tend to hide in grassy, brushy areas, where they will latch onto any animals that pass by. Fleas lay eggs almost immediately. This soon gives way to larva and full infestations. Flea bites cause extreme itchiness, leading to dry skin, rashes, and bleeding from too much scratching. Getting rid of fleas requires concentrated efforts to remove adult fleas while eliminating eggs and larva.
  • Yellow jacket: This is the common name for what we know as wasps. They create large aerial nests and are social hunters. They can give painful stings, and unlike bees, yellow jackets won’t die after a single sting.

Autumn

The leaves change color and the air gets a certain chill. However, autumn in Southern California remains fairly warm and inviting for pests.

  • Cockroach: The American cockroach is a common, resilient creature and one of the most common household pests the world over. They feed on human and pet food and can passively transport pathogens and harmful microbes on their bodies. They give off an offensive odor and can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
  • Silverfish: Despite the name, silverfish are actually insects. The name derives from their silvery bodies and fish-like movements. They aren’t harmful to humans but their diet consists of anything containing polysaccharides, which includes several household products, like glue, book bindings, paper, photos, coffee, clothing, and even tapestries.

 

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