A tropical vacation is an idyllic way to escape the cold and snow that comes with winter weather. This time of year, families across Canada and the Northern U.S. flock to places like Florida, Central America or the Caribbean, as these regions are full of sandy beaches, palm trees and many hotels and resorts to hang your hat and unwind.
Unfortunately, these parts of the world are also home to notorious pests that can upend your otherwise perfect vacation - including by coming back in your luggage or by passing along infections. Here are a few creatures to watch out for and how to stay safe:
The tropics of North America have a diverse array of rodents that are found nowhere else on the continent. These include animals like the hutia and agouti, creatures that usually steer clear of touristy areas.
Rats, however, have a long and complicated history across the area. The Smithsonian reported that black and brown rats that were introduced during European exploration have eradicated natural wildlife across the Caribbean, including endemic species of rodent like the rice rat.
Now, non-native rats pose a disgusting and dangerous problem, and property owners face the same issues in the tropics as they do elsewhere. To avoid run-ins with these animals, look at online reviews to make sure you're selecting hotels or hostels with good reputations for hygiene, as dirtier establishments may be full of unwanted rodents.
The tropics are a haven for hundreds of species of birds, from seafaring gulls and pelicans to tropical songbirds and parrots further inland. That means that whether you're relaxing on the beach or taking a stroll through the jungle, you need to keep an eye out. As pretty as they may be, birds have a knack for causing trouble.
Birds usually have very sharp vision, which is why they're so adept at stealing your lunch when you're not looking. If you're traveling with children, they may want to feed the birds, but this can become a problem quite quickly. The same is true in the jungle, where any available food could prompt an opportunistic raid. It's best to enjoy the animals from a distance.
Aside from pestering you on your vacation, birds are also known to transmit diseases of all sorts. As National Geographic reported, even common seagulls are harboring infectious bacteria. Snap photos and enjoy the animals' natural beauty, but for safety's sake don't get too close to any birds on your vacation.
Across Florida, Central America and the Caribbean you may encounter any number of interesting or dangerous insects and other types of bugs. The Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database also reported that there are dozens of non-native insects, pathogens and other small creatures that plague these areas as well. That said, two types of insect in particular demand immediate attention when traveling to the tropics for a trip.
Mosquitoes thrive in the warm, humid air of the tropics, and these blood-sucking insects are known to spread a number of scary diseases. The Zika virus has made headlines around the world, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that other illnesses such as Chikungunya have been introduced to this part of the world in recent years. The beach areas are usually too windy for mosquitoes to survive, but if you are traveling away from the shore, always wear bug spray and long-sleeved clothing.
Bed bugs are another pertinent issue that could upend your vacation. Not only can cause a panic during your trip, but if they stow away in your clothes or luggage, you could unwittingly bring these insects into your home. If that's the case, contact a bed bug removal specialist immediately to eradicate these parasitic creatures.
You probably already know that most people are repulsed by the simple sight of cockroaches. If you are personally dealing with a cockroach infestation, the feelings of disgust are probably even more intense. Unfortunately, the cold winter weather tends to be one of the reasons this pest ends up in your home in the first place, according to Any Pest. While you may know that you don't want to share your home with cockroaches this winter, there are a number of interesting facts about this pest that you've probably never heard.
Because of the high amount of traffic and the versatility of the facilities, pests are naturally attracted to long-term care institutions. Many nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other care facilities include on-site kitchens and cafeterias as well as private rooms and common spaces. All of these places are susceptible to attracting pests because of the presence of food, water and viable habitats.
During the summer months, some people love to go camping with family and friends. Yet this fun trip can be ruined with a few unwanted visitors, most notably different types of bugs. Crawling spiders, hungry mosquitoes and buzzing flies can become annoying quickly. How can you avoid these pests when you're outdoors? Consider these tips to keep bugs out of your campsite.
Carpenter ants can chew through the strongest studs and stringers in a house as they hollow the wooden beams out for nesting. The resulting damage can weaken the home's structural support and require expensive repairs. Professional pest control workers can remove a colony of ants, but the best practice for homeowners is to learn the best ways to keep out an ant colony and prevent the problem before it begins.
As the weather cools, you'll probably see fewer pests than you did during the warmer months, but that doesn't mean they're all gone just yet. Some insects can actually come out in full force during the autumn, while others might seek refuge in your warm home. Here are some key tips to keep in mind as fall gets underway:
As the middle of summer approaches, you need to be vigilant about keeping your garden free of pests. Many insects breed during the summertime, which means they're on the lookout for great places to lay their eggs. For many bugs, that means near a source of food. In fact, some species of insects will lay their eggs inside budding vegetables and fruit so their larvae have something to eat as soon as they hatch. That's why you have to keep harmful bugs out without damaging the bugs that could help you, such as bumble bees.
You might have noticed that, with the exception of the kitchen, you find more pests in your bathroom than in the rest of your home. This is because insects and rodents see the bathroom as a convenient watering hole. Pests love leaky pipes and standing water because these offer them a hydrating oasis in the otherwise dry biome that is your house or apartment. And if your bathroom develops mold, all the better for pests, who may eat fungus or use it to lay their eggs.