Spring is officially here! That means it’s all rainbows and butterflies, right? Well, yes and no. As the sun shines, the weather heats up, the rain rolls in and the flowers begin to blossom … but that means the irritating bugs start to buzz in, too.
It’s a time of rebirth. Trees open their leaves to provide food and shelter, mulch attracts predatory insects, and flower gardens appeal to pollinators.
On top of the usual seasonal cycle, certain regions could have larger insect populations than usual – and they may be arriving earlier than usual – due to the above-average temperatures they experienced this winter. In addition to favorable conditions for the survival of overwintering insects, the current high temperatures aren’t making things any better, as they enable bugs to repopulate quickly.
What does this mean for you, and which bugs should you be aware of? Here are eight common insects you can expect to see in spring, plus how you can prepare for their arrival:
Depending on where you live, you may notice plants like cherry blossoms, mango trees and gardenias already blooming. Early blossoms mean more pollinators like bees searching for pollen sources. Plus, the warm weather is healthy for honeybees that are itching to get out and fly around. Since bees are so crucial to the survival of our crops, it’s important not to harm them with chemicals, even if they do become pests around your home or on hikes. Instead, try to leave their feeding areas undisturbed and keep a Bug Bite Thing close at hand in case of stings, as the tool has a quick-and-easy stinger scraper and can suction the venom.
You knew these had to be on our list! Mosquitoes don’t typically arrive in some northern areas until summer (see our mosquito map above), however they begin to emerge around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and then begin to multiply. They mature faster in warmer weather, so look out this year as the temperatures rise. Even worse? The high temps we’ve experienced puts dragonflies – some of mosquitoes’ natural predators – in danger of reduced populations this year, which could mean more mosquitoes than past years. How can you protect yourself? Remove standing water near your home and keep a Bug Bite Thing nearby to immediately reduce the irritation from mosquitoes that find their way to you.
Fleas are not fun. They start hatching in early spring and the bloodsuckers love warmer weather. While these parasites are mainly pests to pets, as they can’t live on humans, they can still bite after jumping from an infested animal. Giving pets year-round flea medication can help protect them, while also lessening the chance of bringing them into your house. Got a bite bugging you anyway? Grab the Bug Bite Thing to give yourself some relief, as some of our users have found the tool helpful on flea bites.
More common in agricultural areas and outdoor landscapes like parks and fields, these insects tend to stay hidden until spring, when they become more active. After emerging from overwintering, they feed on weeds and grass, and when they do, they release a toxin that hurts the plant. They also produce a pretty unpleasant odor when threatened … and can even spray it several inches. 🤢 They may hide in homes, especially in cooler weather, and can become pests when they try to make their way outside in spring. Weather stripping doors and sealing windows can keep them from entering your home in the first place. Once they’re in, a vacuum cleaner can help remove them from walls, though you’ll want to thoroughly clean the vacuum, as the scent may last a while.
Ticks are tricky. Adult deer ticks are among the first to emerge since the fall season, which can be a bit scary since these are the ticks that lead to Lyme disease and other infections. To protect yourself, keep your lawns cut short and minimize brush around your home. Protect your skin by tucking pants into socks when walking in grassy and wooded areas that could be tick habitats, then check your clothes and skin before coming inside to make sure none decided to hang around. Treat your pets, too, as they are also in danger of bites.
Gardeners, look out. These pesky bugs are coming for your veggies and flower beds this spring. While not directly harmful to humans, they can ruin gardens and crops. Often born pregnant, the populations of these tiny insects seem to grow exponentially. To get rid of them naturally, spray your plants down with a hose, knock them into a bucket of soapy water, or – best yet – let some ladybugs loose to take care of the job for you.
Also known as gnats, biting midges or sand fleas, these insects accumulate near swamps, marshes, ponds and other warm, coastal environments, thriving off humidity. These creatures travel in swarms, almost like mini clouds. No-see-ums’ main food sources are nectar and pollen, but the females bite for blood, so watch out. Their bites cause tiny, red and itchy bumps (sound familiar?). Recommended precautions are similar to those of mosquitoes, so keep water to a minimum outside and treat your skin with - you guessed it - a Bug Bite Thing.