Have you ever experienced a population explosion of pests in or around your home? Most people have (white flies, crickets, mice, etc.) and while it might be something that only lasts a week, a day or even just a few hours isn’t your perception that this event just occurred out of nowhere since there were no signs of anything even just a few minutes ago. Sometimes a home can have a swarm of bees or ants move in quite at random but the truth of the matter is that there are very few ‘overnight infestations’.
Think of it this way, a female earwig is not suddenly going to lay 500 eggs when she normally has 40, or termites don’t just fly into your open window filling your living room and now suddenly you’re infested whereas you were not before. When flour beetles are pouring out of your cabinet, were they in there the whole time or did somehow they just show up?
Handling the sensation
We get calls all the time for the overnight infestation sensation and at times it’s very difficult to convey the idea to the customer that these bugs didn’t just show up out of nowhere. Most people don’t much care at that moment anyway because they just want the 10,000 flying pests or that sudden stampede of roaches gone pronto, and perhaps later they’ll consider what it is we’re trying to say.
I had a manager once whose favorite thing to say to disgruntled customers was “they didn’t get here over night, we can’t get rid of them over night.” Of course he was right but it was little comfort to the client who had shelled out so much money and were still having problems. He always continued in a very masterful way (I guess that’s why he was a manager) and had a knack of drawing out the history of the offending pests invasion that the homeowner hadn’t put together yet. He relied on questions to piece the puzzle together and although we didn’t always get the 100% total answer, it gave pause to the client and raised the possibilty that these bugs were introduced some time ago and built up from there.
Explain the process
He was very good at explaining the processes of bugs and how favorable conditions allow pests to build up in populations but either go unnoticed or stay totally hidden until one day they reach the brink. He used the analogy of a husband and wife having sextuplets. The babies come home and take up very little room and from passers by on the street you would never know about the 6 little munchkins inside. Fast forward a few years and as the siblings grew, now you’d see 6 tricycles in the yard, balls and toys, kids running in and out and it would be unmistakable that this house was full. Were those kids just imported in that day or had they been there the whole time? Quirky analogy I know but it can illustrate the point that infestations, for the most part, take time to develop and increase. We might not see the manifestation for a year or two as in the case of millipedes or it can be very quick as with fruit flies who need only need 8 to 10 days but when they pop boy does it seem like an explosion.
Pay attention to the signs
It’s easy to pass off an occasional earwig or a foraging carpenter ant in the bathroom on a given night but if you were to see them several times per week it might be time to investigate. Odd bugs, or evidence like wood shavings (frass) on a window sill might be all the evidence you get at times. Things that don’t belong are usually easy to notice and with a little snooping around you may find more clues to something that’s not quite in epic proportions yet but definitely brewing. This is the time that pest populations are gaining strength and while spritzing some Raid or wiping it away works for now it may soon be that you’ll need a whole can of aerosol to fight off the advancing horde.
The overnight infestation sensation is a common thing and baffles homeowners as they search for answers. It can all start (and usually does) with just a small number of bugs who find favorable conditions which encourages breeding. The brood sticks around because of the conducive conditions and even insects in the vicinity might also be attracted to this land of plenty making the population snowball. One of the best ways to discourage this activity is to make your home as inhospitable as possible with simple sanitation measures. I’ve written quite a few articles on pest proofing your home so be sure to peruse these articles to see exactly how it’s done and what attracts bugs in the first place. You might be surprised to know very little of this process has anything to do with spraying chemicals but can be so effective. While I think it’s to late for the infestation explosion that’s already in place like at the at the ‘Octo Mom’ household, with a little awareness and maybe some professional help, I’m sure it’s not for you.