Worst Backyard Pests in Virginia Beach (and How to Get Rid of Them)

Summer’s a great time for backyard living. Fire up the grill. Invite friends and family over. Relax by the pool or sit on the patio. But the livin’ isn’t so easy when pesky little critters show up. Slap! Smack! They can disturb even the most peaceful evening and send you right back into the house.

The following are the worst backyard pests in Virginia Beach.

Mosquitoes

Summer is prime mosquito time in Virginia Beach. Not only are these blood-sucking pests annoying, causing itchy bumps, they can also be dangerous. The most common mosquito-borne diseases in Virginia include West Nile virus and encephalitis. The Zika virus has the potential to spread to this area, but the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health is working to prevent that. So what can you do to keep your yard as mosquito-free as possible? You can go natural by putting down cedar mulch near your vegetation to repel the bugs. Grow plants that keep mosquitoes away, like lemongrass, citronella, lavender, and basil. Scatter coffee grounds. And eliminate all standing water in your yard and around your house. If you feel like pesticide is the way to go, you can call public works and ask them to come and spray your yard. This service will be done for you one time between May and October.

Fire Ants

Stepping on a pile of fire ants is an experience like no other. It hurts! This invasive species of ant can squeeze through a tennis shoe. In recent years they have slowly marched northward from their original Gulf of Mexico invasion beachhead. Ant piles have been reported in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Hampton Roads.

You see their dirt piles before you see the actual ants, as the mounds can grow up to a foot tall. Fire ants are reddish-brown and larger than black ants. Stay away from the mounds when you see them. Their bite stings and leaves red welts, which may take several days to go away. Sometimes many ants attack at once. This can cause serious allergic reactions in some people.

Fire ants are tough to get rid of. Their colonies have large tunnel systems. If you destroy the mound, they simply use the tunnels to go elsewhere and build a new one. Natural ways to get rid of the ants include pouring a concoction of water and cayenne pepper onto the mound. Dish soap and water also works. Or you can pour liquid insecticide into the mound, using enough to kill the queens. Your best bet may be calling a professional exterminator. 

Biting Flies

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Beware of the flies. Yellow flies. These pests will attack and bite, leaving behind painful, large, itchy bumps that can last up to two weeks. Yellow flies are most active during the late afternoon and on cloudy days and flourish in warm, humid weather. They are common near large bodies of water. These insects prefer shade, so you may be more at risk under your patio umbrella or canopy. Yellow flies also attack and bite dogs and cats. If you have yellow flies in your backyard, remove or drain all standing water. You can also trap them with sticky fly patches and strips. Adding outdoor fans to your deck or patio can keep them away. Burning citronella candles or torches also help reduce bites.

No-See-Ums

No-see-ums rank up there with mosquitoes as the worst backyard pest in Virginia Beach. They’re tiny, blood-sucking gnats that travel in packs. These insects are so small they fit through a window screen. Their bites are painful, and they sometimes carry disease. No-see-ums lay their eggs on water, mud or wet sand. Once mature, these teeny biters are most active in the early morning and at dusk, from mid to late summer. You can try insecticides to kill these pests, but while it does kill the insects it touches, it wears off quickly in the air. Get rid of standing water and as much moisture in your yard as possible, leaving no-see-ums with nowhere to lay their eggs. Set out CO2 mosquito traps. And turn down the AC. Keeping your house as cool as possible will get rid of the bugs.

Getting rid of the worst backyard pests in Virginia Beach, or at least reducing their numbers, will help you enjoy those get-togethers and enjoy your family and friends in peace.

For more information and lawn care tips, check out our Virginia Beach lawn care page

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Written by Danielle Bradley

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

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