Critters and Pests

The first time we heard katydids singing in the evening at our new home, we thought the Venusians had landed. It’s an unusual sound that folks in some regions take for granted and those in other areas never hear. Wherever you move, there will be critters: bugs, birds, reptiles, politicians. And maybe they will be new to you. Chances are, the literature about your new home’s region won’t mention that King snakes grow to eight feet in length—but aren’t poisonous. Or that local water bugs are as big as Volkswagen bugs.

So, if you have an aversion to specific critters (or plants: stinging nettles, poison ivy, etc.), specifically ask about them before you move to your new area. It may be a deterrent. And if you must go where the wild things are, find out how the locals cope. If you’re moving into a managed residence (apartment, condo), ask if the owners regularly fumigate or treat for pests.

Moving Problems

One rustic home into which we moved had flying critters in the attic that the prior owners accepted as part of the ambiance. We begged to differ, not being particularly fond of bats. Eventually, the bats won and we moved somewhere else—with no forwarding address.

How can you find out if the area to which you’re moving will have unwanted residents? Ask anyone and everyone. Ask those who have lived in the area to which you’re moving. Ask moving agents (who are often well-traveled or at least regionally knowledgeable). Ask real estate agents who are supposed to (but don’t always) answer truthfully.

And common sense will give you some clues:

  • Snakes prefer warmer and dryer climates
  • Bugs prefer warmer and wetter climates
  • Bats prefer places that mosquitoes like
  • Birds prefer places that worms and bugs like
  • Politicians are everywhere and breed frequently

You can also learn more about bugs and other pests by asking at the city or county health department. Its workers will know all about local critters and whether they pose any health hazard. You can also contact a local natural history or science museum, library, community college, or university agriculture department. People in these areas can tell you more than you will ever want to know about that pest.

What can you do about the pests? In some cases, not much. It may be a case of live and let live. If they are health hazards, such as cockroaches, talk with an exterminator. Or check out the pest control section of a major hardware store in the area. If the pests can be treated by consumers, you’ll find appropriate products to do so.

Keep in mind that certain animals may be protected locally. Check with local authorities before you take action against what you feel are pests. We found that our brown bat houseguests were on an endangered species list. That meant we weren’t supposed to disturb them. As we weren’t on an endangered list, we could either live with them or move.