Common Backyard Pests - Colorado

Posted by Client Care on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 8:38pm.

Now that spring is in full bloom around Colorado and summer is fast approaching, many homeowners will undoubtedly start to notice the presence of some of the area's most common backyard pests. Critters like hornworms, caterpillars, and slugs can wreak havoc on our gardens, while prairie dogs and Mountain Pine Beetles are forever changing our open plains and forests. Although we are blessed to live in a relatively dry state that does not have an enormous bug population like Florida or Minnesota does, we do have an abundance of wildlife surrounding us which can sometimes make their homes right along side ours. Our closeness to Mother Nature is part of our State’s allure, as well as one of its challenges. Here are some tips on how to deal with three common backyard pest infestations around the Front Range area.

Wolf Spider Courtesy Of: University Of Colorado Museum Of Natural History

If you want to freak someone out all you have to do is pretend they have a spider on them, right? Well in Colorado there is no bigger or more prevalent arachnid than the mighty Wolf Spider! These large spiders are active hunters that make their nests in the soil, under rocks, in mailboxes, and in corners of outbuildings all over Colorado. Wolf Spiders are not dangerous to humans and usually keep their distance from us, but they are definitely a shock to stumble across while gardening or cleaning out your garage. Even though their presence can almost guarantee that of other pests, which are being eaten up regularly, most people choose to control them through pesticides and correcting favorable habitat conditions. To reduce the spider population around your home, try the following:
• Remove rock piles, wood piles, compost piles, and old boards.
• Caulk up cracks and fix broken windows and screens.
• Use eco-friendly home barrier sprays.
• Regularly remove cobwebs and spider nests around the property.

Northern FlickerThe Northern Flicker, the most prevalent woodpecker in the Colorado area, is despised by most homeowners because of the damage they cause to the exteriors of our homes. You can see evidence of woodpecker damage most frequently in homes that have wood and synthetic stucco siding, which is where these birds build nests. Not only is the damage they produce expensive to fix and unsightly, their presence also comes with a disruptive constant hammering sound. Likewise they have the annoying habit of returning to the same site to rebuild their nest even after you have removed them once and made repairs. These birds feed on things like wood-boring insects, tree sap, plants, and berries. The key to eliminating your woodpecker problem is to reduce your home's attractiveness as a good habitat. In order to do so try the following:
• Use visual repellents like hanging CD’s, cosmetic mirrors, faux hawk mobiles, black plastic strips, mylar strips, reflective pinwheels, and aluminum pie tins.
• Utilize persistent loud noises such as banging pots and pans together.
• Apply sticky bird repellents to popular areas.
• Promptly fix all new holes before birds complete their nest.
• Provide alternative nesting options in the far corners of your property.

Garter SnakeThe common garter snake is one of the backyard’s creepiest, albeit harmless, pests. There are a few different kinds of these non-venomous snakes which can be seen living among us in Colorado’s suburbs, as well as in rural areas. The biggest problem with garter snakes is when a few here and there, turns into a full fledged infestation. Garter snakes feed on other small pests like mice, rats, voles, crickets, slugs, snails and other snakes, which if you have a lot of them in your yard may indicate you have an abundance of other pests too. Here are the most effective things you can do to reduce the garter snake population around your home:
• Remove all overgrown brush, rock piles, wood piles, and keep grass cut short.
• Seal up any holes or cracks that lead into your house.
• Spray snake repellent in attractive areas.
• Use snake traps to catch and kill any present snakes. (Note: you must contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 303-297-1192 if you wish to relocate any live snake off your property!)

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