There’s a wide variety of pests in Virginia, but some are a more significant threat. Discovering a spider or a mouse in your home can certainly be terrifying, but pests can also be dangerous to your health or damage your property.
We crunched the numbers to find out what the worst pests are in Virginia. Have you found any of these creepy critters in your home?
Which Pests Are Most Common in Virginia?
It can be hard to get a full grasp on regional pest problems. Population data doesn’t always reflect how pests impact people at home and in their yards.
However, we can get insight into the animal and insect invaders that are on the top of people’s minds by using Google Trends. This aggregate search data reveals which pests Virginians are researching as they fight back against the unwanted visitors to their homes.
The results reveal that the worst pests in Virginia are stinging insects, such as bees or wasps, and slithery pests like snakes.
|Rank||Pest||Google Search Volume as a Percentage of the Top 10|
Virginia’s Pest Problems
The worst pests in Virginia are not necessarily the ones with the biggest population. Instead, they’re often the ones that inspire fear, could be dangerous, or could cause pain.
This past year, there was a particularly large concern about bees and wasps because of reports about murder hornets. One Virginia Tech entomologist said he was getting about 100 emails a day from concerned Virginians. Murder hornets haven’t been spotted in Virginia, and the large insects people were seeing were probably European hornets and cicada killer wasps. Impressively sized at 1.25 inches long, you still might not want to have a close encounter even though they’re not murder hornets.
The potential for stings is likely what’s driving wasps, hornets, and bees to be the worst pest in the state and have residents so concerned. Virginia has more than 80 varieties of these stinging insects, including the more common yellow jackets and paper wasps, as well as the mud daughter and horntail wasp.
Snakes ranked #2 on the worst pests in Virginia, and in more rural parts of the state, it can be common to find snakes in the yard or in neighboring woods. Many of the Google searches were attempts to identify types of snakes through their characteristics. Within Virginia, the most searches for snakes happened in the western half of the state near Roanoke and Appomattox.
Spiders are in third place on the list, and Virginia does have some venomous spiders, including the black widow, brown recluse, and yellow sac spider. Inside the home, spiders can usually crawl up from a damp basement or crawl space. This can surprise homeowners when they least expect it. Wolf spiders were the biggest concern in the Virginia Beach area, and in Richmond, jumping spiders were the top concern.
What About Termites in Virginia?
Termites didn’t make it to the list of the worst pests in Virginia. However, the pests people are most concerned about are not always the ones that can cause the most damage.
According to regional mapping of termite populations, Virginia has a high risk of termite damage.
Termites are most attracted to damp environments because they can’t live for long without access to water. This means homes could have a higher risk of termite damage if they’re located in a floodplain or in one of the Virginia cities with high flood risk. Even moisture problems such as a wet mulch and poor drainage can attract termites.
Each year, homeowners spend between $1 billion and $7 billion to repair termite damage caused by the insects chewing through the wooden support beams and weakening the structure. Termite prevention remains a much more cost-effective solution to dealing with these home pests.
What Structural Solutions Can Help You Reduce Pests?
Pest control and extermination are important steps to managing pests. However, if you don’t seal up the entryways for how they’re getting into your home, the pest problem will never be under control. These three structural solutions are an important part of pest control and making it more difficult for these nuisances to get into your home:
1. Repair cracks and gaps where pests can enter. If you have foundation cracks along the base of your home, pests can easily crawl or burrow into your basement or crawl space. Fill in any holes or gaps, and if your foundation cracks are because of shifting soil, foundation repair can help you stop the cracks from reappearing.
2. Make your property less inviting to critters. Many pests are attracted to damp or wet conditions. On the outside of your property, landscape with your foundation in mind to improve drainage, reduce soggy mulch, and keep water away from your home. If your home has a basement, solutions for basement waterproofing include dehumidifiers, sump pumps, and drainage. If your home has a crawl space, you can also install a thick and durable vapor barrier that makes it difficult for pests to get inside.
3. Use materials designed for termite prevention. When doing any home repairs, think about which materials can make your home more resilient to pests. For example, soft insulation rolls can absorb moisture, leading to a soggy foundation that attracts pests. By contrast, using improved insulation panels can better respond to moisture, and panels are even treated to resist termites.
Do you know the best way to manage your home’s water problems to make it less attractive to pests? Find out with a free inspection from JES, Virginia’s experts in foundation repair and waterproofing.