Northern Virginia harbors all kinds of pests that become especially active in the summer. While most of them are familiar, it's still important to know their characteristics; that way, homeowners and business owners alike can take steps to prevent them from spreading.

Subterranean Termites

These termites live underground in moist soil and are very secretive. They feed on wet or decayed wood that's in direct contact with the soil, and once they hollow out these structures, they'll create what are called mud tubes - tunnels made from saliva and feces - in order to reach other food sources. If you find these tunnels, or if you find wood where the soft parts have been eaten along the grain, you know what happened.

The best prevention method is to divert sources of moisture from the foundation and keep the soil dry: for example, by installing gutters and downspouts.


Bedbugs can be seen by the naked eye, as they're about the size of an apple seed. They're brown and oval-shaped. True to their name, they usually dwell in mattresses, which are warm, snug, and as close as they can get to their food source. Their bites, which come in clusters or rows, will itch and sometimes develop into welts.

Most homeowners who report bedbugs picked them up on their travels. These pests are good at latching onto clothes and luggage, so prevention starts at the hotel or motel where you stay. Don't put luggage on the bed or floor, but use the luggage rack, and upon returning, put all clothes in the dryer since the heat will kill any bedbugs.


The most common ants in Northern Virginia are carpenter ants, pavement ants, pharaoh ants, and fire ants. Carpenter ants are the largest, at about 12 mm in length, while pharaoh ants are the smallest, at about 2 mm in length.

Carpenter ants pose a structural threat because they like to burrow and nest in damp wood. Pharaoh ants are often found in medical facilities and can spread disease. Fire ants are aggressive and will sting you, creating swollen, blistered spots. To prevent ants from entering, keep food sealed and trim back vegetation near your home so that it doesn't create a bridge for them.


We often come across the reddish-brown American cockroach and the light brown or tan German cockroach. They nest in damp, dark places and eat almost anything. Keep them away by properly storing away food, sanitizing the kitchen, and minimizing clutter. Otherwise, they'll come in and possibly contaminate your area with bacteria like salmonella and streptococcus.

Should these prevention methods prove insufficient, My Pest Pros will step in and exterminate the pests. Call us today for a free estimate!