Welcome to the sun-drenched days of summer in Iowa City, IA—where you’re likely planning your next riverside picnic or gearing up for the season’s festivals. It’s also the time when summer bugs like mosquitoes, ticks, and ants start to crowd your space. Keeping these pests at bay is essential to enjoy your summer without itchy distractions.

In this guide, we’ll share straightforward and practical methods for summer pest control, ensuring these common nuisances don’t spoil your season. From preventative measures to immediate solutions, you’ll learn how to keep your surroundings pest-free, ensuring you make the most out of Iowa City’s beautiful summer.

Common Summer Pests and Their Risks

As you make the most of Iowa City’s vibrant summer scene, staying ahead of common pests is crucial. Beyond the nuisances of mosquitoes, ticks, and ants, it’s important to understand the health risks they pose. These pests can carry diseases that are preventable with the right measures.

In this section, we delve into targeted strategies that not only repel these unwanted guests but also safeguard your health. From using environmentally friendly repellents to setting up barriers and scheduling regular pest inspections, we’ll cover all the essentials to keep your summer activities safe and enjoyable.


Summer pests mosquito feeding on a human

While mosquitoes, a common summer bug, might often be out of sight, they should never be out of mind. Beyond their annoying bites, they pose serious health risks as carriers of diseases like West Nile Virus and Zika Virus. You can drastically reduce their numbers by regularly emptying any water-holding containers such as flowerpot saucers or discarded tires, which serve as ideal breeding sites.

Fortify your home against these pests by fitting all windows and doors with tight mesh screens. When spending time outdoors, wearing light-colored clothing can help deter mosquitoes. Additionally, applying EPA-approved insect repellents that are safe for skin can provide further protection. For added defense, consider placing fans around patio or deck areas; the airflow disrupts mosquitoes’ flight patterns and makes it difficult for them to land.


Fleas and ticks summer pests

Fleas and ticks are not only a concern for pets but also for anyone who enjoys spending time in green spaces. Regular yard maintenance, such as mowing the lawn and removing excess brush, can greatly reduce their habitats and prevent infestations.

Protect your pets with treatments recommended by a veterinarian, and always check them for ticks after outdoor activities. For broader protection, consider treating your yard with pet-safe insecticides and creating barriers with gravel or wood chips to keep ticks away from areas where you and your pets relax and play.


bee and wasp summer pests that sting

While bees and wasps are essential for pollination and maintaining ecological balance, their presence can become problematic when nests are established close to human activity areas. If you discover a nest at your residence, proceed with caution. It’s wise to avoid disturbing the nest during daytime hours, as this is when these insects are most active.

Should the nest be situated away from common gathering areas, consider leaving it intact to aid their role in nature. Yet, if the nest poses a real threat, particularly to those with allergies to stings, enlisting the help of professional pest control experts for its safe removal or relocation is advisable. To deter these stinging insects, also ensure that no food waste or sugary drinks are left in exposed places.


Termites summer pests eating a house's foundation

Termites are silent but highly destructive pests that can cause significant damage before they’re even detected. Stay vigilant for signs of termite activity, such as hollow-sounding wood, visible mud trails on walls, or the presence of swarmers—winged termites looking to establish new colonies. These signs are critical indicators of a termite issue.

Protect your property by removing wood piles and debris from around your home’s perimeter and keeping the foundation area dry, as termites are drawn to moisture. Should you spot any of these warning signs, promptly contact a certified pest control professional. Early intervention is crucial to prevent costly repairs and secure your home against further termite damage.


house fly summer pests

Despite their small size, flies pose significant health risks as they can spread a variety of diseases. Keeping your environment clean is key to managing fly populations effectively. Regularly dispose of garbage and make sure trash bins have tight-fitting lids to prevent flies from breeding. Adding screens to windows and doors can also block their entry.

For a homemade solution, try creating a fly trap with sugar water mixed with dish soap in a jar, covered by plastic wrap pierced with small holes. This trap will attract and capture flies. Additionally, planting herbs like basil and mint near entryways can deter flies, thanks to their natural repellent properties, keeping your indoor spaces fly-free.


carpenter ants summer pests

Ants can quickly become an overwhelming presence in and around your home, especially during the warmer months. It’s crucial to monitor for signs of an ant infestation, such as visible trails, nests in the ground, or around your property’s structure. Common areas to watch include kitchens and other places where food is stored.

Prevent ant invasions by keeping your kitchen clean, sealing food in airtight containers, and eliminating standing water around your home. If ant pathways are already established, consider natural deterrents like vinegar or essential oils, or consult a pest control professional for more persistent problems.

Preventive Measures to Protect Your Home

With the arrival of warmer weather, securing your home against pests becomes essential to ensure an enjoyable summer, both inside and out. We’ve curated a mix of both traditional and innovative pest control strategies designed to maintain your comfort and keep your spaces pest-free.

Below, you’ll find practical and effective measures that you can start implementing today to safeguard your home. These strategies are straightforward, ensuring that your summer experiences are as pleasant as they are pest-free.

Optimizing Your Home’s Defense Against Pests:

  • Seal Those Gaps: Begin safeguarding your home against pests by thoroughly inspecting the exterior for any possible entry points. Small gaps can be sealed with silicone caulk, ideal for its durability and flexibility, while larger openings might require expandable foam. Don’t forget to add brush strips under doors to cut off even the most common access points, keeping your home pest-free.

  • Keep It Clean and Clutter-Free: A tidy home significantly reduces the risk of pest infestations. Clutter can provide perfect hideouts for pests, so it’s important to keep your space organized. Switch from cardboard, which can attract cockroaches and silverfish, to plastic storage containers. These not only resist pest invasions but also help keep your stored items clean and intact.

  • Smart Waste Management: Keeping your kitchen spotless is a key strategy in the fight against pests. Choose garbage bins with automatic sealing lids to contain smells and deny pests access. Make it a habit to regularly clean your bins and the area around them, ensuring no enticing scents are left behind to attract unwelcome visitors.

Innovative Natural Deterrents:

  • Biocontrol Options: Enhance your garden’s defenses naturally by welcoming beneficial insects. Ladybugs, for instance, are champions in controlling aphid populations, and nematodes excel at managing soil-dwelling pests. These natural allies promote a balanced ecosystem in your garden, allowing you to avoid harsh chemicals.

  • Electromagnetic & Ultrasonic Devices: Equip your home with state-of-the-art pest repellent technology. Electromagnetic and ultrasonic devices emit frequencies that create an invisible shield around your living spaces, unbearable to pests but silent and safe for humans and pets. This advanced method ensures your home remains pest-free without any intrusion.

  • Botanical Insecticides: Choose eco-friendly options for pest management like pyrethrin and azadirachtin. These botanical insecticides target a broad spectrum of pests and degrade quickly in the environment, offering a sustainable alternative to conventional chemicals. They provide effective pest control with minimal environmental impact.

Chemical Strategies with Caution:

  • Targeted Insecticides: Enhance your pest control efforts by employing gel baits and spot treatments. This targeted method allows you to apply chemicals directly where pests are active, greatly reducing the need for broad-spectrum chemical use. This not only limits the environmental impact but also increases safety for your family and pets by minimizing their exposure to harmful substances.

  • Growth Regulators: Integrate insect growth regulators into your pest management strategy. These chemicals work not by killing pests immediately, but by interfering with their development and reproduction. This approach effectively reduces pest populations over time and offers a more environmentally considerate solution compared to traditional pesticides.

Preventive Tips for Uncommon Pests:

  • Master Your Drainage: Proper drainage is essential not just for landscaping aesthetics but also for pest control. By ensuring your property is well-graded to avoid water accumulation, you can prevent creating attractive conditions for moisture-loving pests like mosquitoes and termites. This strategic landscaping move eliminates stagnant water pools, making your yard less inviting to these pests.

  • Brighten Up Your Garden: Use reflective mulches to protect and enhance your garden. These mulches not only nurture your plants but also confuse and repel insects by reflecting sunlight. This clever tactic not only helps keep pests at bay but also adds an aesthetic element to your garden beds.

  • Brighten Up Your Garden: Reflective mulches do more than nurture your plants—they confuse and repel garden pests. These mulches bounce back sunlight, disorienting insects that might target your vegetation, and add a stylish flair to your garden beds.

Integrating these savvy and sometimes overlooked strategies not only helps keep your home pest-free but also ensures it’s done safely and sustainably. Adopting these approaches means your home remains a haven, free from the intrusion of summer pests, while balancing innovation with environmental care.

Managing Pests in Your Yard

As we focus on creating a pest-resistant environment, our attention shifts to the yard—your first line of defense against seasonal pests. Maintaining a well-groomed yard is key not only for its aesthetic value but also for significantly lowering the risk of pest invasions.

Why Effective Landscaping Matters:

A well-maintained yard serves as the primary defense against pests, preventing them from becoming an indoor problem. Here’s how to make your outdoor spaces as unwelcoming to pests as your interior:

  • Trim and Tidy: Regular landscaping chores such as cutting back bushes, mowing the lawn, and trimming tree branches are essential. This reduces the sheltered areas where pests like mosquitoes and ticks can thrive. A clean and orderly yard means fewer hiding spots and less opportunity for pests to breed.

  • Water Wisely: Proper irrigation is crucial in controlling the moisture levels in your yard, which can attract various pests. Water your garden deeply yet infrequently to prevent the accumulation of standing water, a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

  • Plant with Purpose: Beautify your garden while keeping pests at bay by integrating pest-repellent plants. Marigolds, lavender, and citronella not only add color and fragrance to your garden but also act as natural deterrents, forming a barrier against pests.

Tailored Tips for a Pest-Free Yard:

  • Debris Management: Keeping your yard clean is crucial in pest control. Regularly remove fallen leaves, branches, and other natural debris. These materials can harbor pests or provide resources for building their nests. A tidy yard reduces these opportunities and helps keep your outdoor space pest-free.

  • Barrier Strategies: Create a natural barrier around your home by establishing a perimeter of gravel or stone at the base. This not only adds aesthetic value but also acts as a deterrent for ants and termites, offering a sustainable, chemical-free pest control solution.

  • Mulching Choices: Opt for cedar or pine needle mulch in your garden beds. These types of mulch naturally repel pests and contribute a fresh, pleasant scent to your garden, enhancing both the beauty and the functionality of your planting areas.

  • Manage Moisture: It’s important to manage water accumulation in your yard to prevent mosquito breeding. Ensure your gutters are clear and eliminate any standing water. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so keeping your yard dry is essential for reducing their populations.

  • Optimal Outdoor Lighting: Switch your standard outdoor bulbs to yellow bug lights. These bulbs are less attractive to nocturnal insects and can significantly reduce their presence around your home, making your evenings outdoors more enjoyable.

Implementing these tailored strategies enhances your yard’s beauty while strengthening its defenses against pests. Consistent application of these tips ensures your outdoor area remains a pleasant and healthy environment throughout the year.

Pet Safety During Summer

As we take steps to protect our homes and gardens from pests, it’s equally important to ensure our pets are safe during the warm summer months. Here are some effective strategies to shield your beloved animals from fleas, ticks, and other pests.

Key Tips for Protecting Your Pets:

  • Regular Preventative Treatments: Commit to using veterinarian-recommended flea and tick prevention methods. Whether it’s topical treatments, oral medications, or specially designed collars, these solutions play a crucial role in keeping your pets comfortable and healthy throughout the summer.

  • Check Your Pets Regularly: Make it a routine to inspect your pets for ticks and fleas after they’ve been outside, especially after playtime. Focus on areas like the ears, neck, and under the legs—common hiding spots for these pests.

  • Maintain Your Yard: Keeping your lawn mowed and your bushes neatly trimmed can significantly reduce pest habitats, thereby decreasing the likelihood of your pets coming into contact with fleas and ticks.

  • Keep Sleeping Areas Clean: Regularly washing your pet’s bedding and cleaning the areas where they frequently spend time are vital steps in removing any pests or eggs that may have been carried indoors.

  • Avoid High-Risk Areas: During peak tick season, avoid walking your pets in dense woods or tall grassy areas where ticks are known to thrive.

By implementing these straightforward measures, you can significantly enhance your pets’ quality of life during the summer. Just as we enjoy the sunny days, our pets deserve to experience the joys of summer without the nuisance of pests. With proactive care, your pets can safely enjoy every beautiful day right alongside you.

When to Call a Professional

While managing pests is often a do-it-yourself endeavor, there are instances where the expertise of a professional pest control service is indispensable. Recognizing the right time to escalate your pest control efforts to a professional can save you both time and stress, and prevent minor issues from becoming severe infestations.

Key Signs You Need Professional Pest Control:

  • Persistent Infestations: Continually battling the same pests with no lasting results can be frustrating. When home remedies fall short, it’s wise to enlist pest control professionals. They bring specialized expertise and advanced techniques that are designed to provide definitive solutions, breaking the cycle of infestation more effectively than DIY methods.

  • Widespread Infestations: If the level of pest activity surpasses what can be managed with DIY approaches, it’s time to seek professional help. Experts in pest control have access to stronger, more effective treatments and advanced technology that ensure comprehensive pest elimination, something that home efforts often cannot match.

  • Structural Threats: Pests such as termites can critically endanger the structure of your home. Engaging professional pest control services early can mitigate these threats, saving you from extensive and costly damage to your property.

  • Health Hazards: When pests present a risk to health, such as disease-bearing rodents or allergy-triggering wasps, professional intervention is crucial. A professional exterminator has the necessary skills and equipment to thoroughly remove these hazards, safeguarding your family’s health.

What to Expect from Pest Control Services:

  • Comprehensive Inspection: A visit from a pest control professional begins with a thorough inspection of your property. Trained to detect a variety of pests, these experts meticulously examine every corner of your home to assess the extent of the infestation, ensuring no area is overlooked.

  • Tailored Treatment Plans: Following the inspection, you’ll receive a treatment plan specifically designed for the unique challenges of your home’s layout and the specific pests encountered. This personalized approach ensures that interventions are not only targeted but also highly effective.

  • Precision in Application: Treatment application is conducted with meticulous care, utilizing strategies that effectively target pests yet are gentle on both humans and animals in your household. The aim is to strike an optimal balance, safeguarding your home’s environment while ensuring the safety and well-being of your family and pets.

  • Consistent Follow-ups: Ensuring pests don’t return involves regular follow-up visits. These are critical to maintaining a pest-free environment over the long term, providing ongoing assurance and peace of mind.

Understanding this process highlights the effectiveness of professional pest control services in addressing pest issues comprehensively. With expert knowledge and meticulous execution, services like those provided by Bobcat Wildlife & Pest Management play a crucial role in keeping your living space secure and comfortable.

DIY vs. Professional Pest Control

Identifying the most effective pest control method is essential for keeping your home tranquil and free of pests throughout the summer. This guide evaluates the strengths and limitations of both DIY techniques and professional services, guiding you to choose the strategy that best complements your lifestyle and meets your pest control requirements.

DIY Pest Control:


  • Cost-Effective: Generally more affordable, DIY pest control lets you handle pest issues without a significant financial outlay.

  • Instant Response: DIY methods allow you to act immediately when you detect pests, providing a quick solution to prevent further issues.

  • Customized Approach: You have the flexibility to select and apply treatments that specifically suit your household’s needs, enhancing your home’s safety and comfort.


  • Limited Effectiveness: DIY methods may not adequately address all types of infestations, especially those that are extensive or located in hard-to-reach areas.

  • Safety Risks: Using pest control products without professional guidance can pose health risks, and misapplication can lead to less effective results and potential hazards.

  • Time-Intensive: DIY pest management often demands a considerable amount of your time for both researching the best methods and applying the solutions, which can be overwhelming.

Professional Pest Control:


  • In-depth Expertise: Professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience, equipping them to address complex pest challenges efficiently for sustainable solutions.

  • Holistic Solutions: Unlike basic treatments, professional pest control delves into the fundamental causes of infestations, delivering comprehensive and effective interventions.

  • Ongoing Support: With professional pest control, regular follow-up visits are standard, helping to keep your home consistently pest-free and giving you ongoing assurance.


  • Increased Expense: Despite their effectiveness, professional pest control services typically cost more than DIY methods due to their comprehensive nature and long-term effectiveness.

  • Scheduling Demands: Arranging for professional services often means adapting to the provider’s schedule, which might not always match your own, presenting potential timing issues.

For minor pest concerns, a DIY approach might be adequate, providing a fast and economical solution. However, in cases of severe or stubborn infestations, enlisting professional services can offer a reliable and hassle-free way to thoroughly eliminate pests.

When choosing between DIY and professional pest control, evaluate the intensity of your pest issue, your capability to handle it yourself, and whether the lasting benefits of expert help outweigh the initial costs. This deliberate consideration will assist you in selecting the most suitable pest management strategy for your home.

Take Action to Protect Your Home and Health

Pest control is more than just a routine maintenance task—it’s an essential measure for protecting both your well-being and the structure of your home, especially during the summer when pests are most prevalent. Whether opting for DIY methods or professional services, taking prompt action is crucial.

Are you facing ongoing or severe pest issues in Iowa City, IA, or the surrounding areas? Don’t let these problems worsen. Reach out to Bobcat Wildlife & Pest Control. Our team of experts is ready to provide quick, effective, and safe pest control solutions tailored to your specific needs. We are committed to ensuring your home remains a serene sanctuary, free from the disruptions of summer pests.

Don’t wait to make your home a safer place! Contact us today to secure a peaceful and protected environment for your family right here in Iowa City, IA.

About the Author

Derek Brownmiller, Area Manager at Bobcat Wildlife & Pest Management, leads with 16+ years in wildlife and pest control. Licensed and experienced, his Iowa City-based team excels in comprehensive, customer-focused solutions. Their mission: superior service in Iowa City and beyond, ensuring homes are safe from wildlife and pests.