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Common Spring Pests in Chicago

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Like many areas in the United States, Chicago has its fair share of pests. At various points in just the last decade or two, this midwest area has had to fight off infestations of Emerald Ash Borers, Asian Longhorned Beetles, and other harmful insects. Luckily, the presence of these tree feeding pests is declining. Typically Illinois hosts roughly 50 different species of insects, arachnids, and other organisms that feed or lay eggs in the winter to thrive more in the spring. Read on to learn about some of these common springtime pests and what you can do to prevent them.


Spring cankerworms stay in the ground as larvae during the winter. In late winter, the adults emerge just in time for spring. The females then lay their eggs on trees and the eggs hatch in the fall to continue the cycle of laying eggs in the ground for the winter. Spring cankerworms are harmful because they feed on buds and new leaves on the host trees. While this does not permanently damage trees, it is unsightly and can cause trees to overwork to compensate for the lack of leaves. Cankerworms can be prevented in both spring and fall with a Chicago pest control treatment.

Spider Mites

While spider mites are most populous in the summer, they begin emerging in the spring. Spider mite eggs can survive the winter among grass, branches, and twigs. They continue to reproduce and hatch through the hottest months of the year. To keep spider mite numbers in check, it is best to treat for them in the spring.

In most cases, damage from spider mites is not sever. However, these tiny pests often go after maples, oaks, and roses, causing defoliation. Lady beetles are the natural predator to spider mites, and serve as good population control. If you have noticed severe damage in past seasons though, you may want to consider a stronger treatment in the early spring to kill of the eggs before they hatch.

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are common for most of the continental United States. These black and red bugs do not bite, cause damage to plants, or ruin homes, but they are a nuisance for residents. Boxelder bugs can be found anywhere there are boxelder trees, which is much of North America.

These pests hibernate during the winter and emerge when the weather begins to warm up in the spring. Boxelder bugs reside in warm areas, and will seek out access to your home for additional warmth and security. Because they reproduce quickly and hibernate during the winter, boxelder bugs can be difficult to eliminate. If they are a recurring issue in your home, consider getting rid of their home source (which is often a boxelder tree, or similar tree in your yard) or consulting with a pest control company for treatment.

Deer Ticks

While deer ticks are most common in the northeastern United States, they are regularly found in Cook County and the Chicago area. Deer tick eggs hatch in the spring and continue their population from there. These ticks are most frequently in wooded areas.

Deer ticks often transmit dangerous diseases to humans, including Lyme disease, parasites, and bacterial infections like ehrlichiosis. All of these diseases can lead to more serious complications.

Because deer ticks are not common residential issues, prevention is often the best protection. Use tick repellent and dress appropriately when visiting wooded areas. Wear long pants, long shirts, and closed-toed shoes, and always inspect yourself after being in an area where ticks are found. Additionally, check your pets for deer ticks, as ticks carry diseases for animals as well.

Cicada Killer

Cicada killer wasp in Chicago, IL

Cicada killers are the largest wasp found in the Midwest. Although these wasps are frighteningly large at lengths up to 1.5 to 2 inches, they pose no threat to humans. But just because humans are not their natural enemy, this does not mean that they won’t sting you if provoked.  

Cicada killer wasps can be an issue for homeowners. Because they burrow in the ground to build nests, you can expect brown patches and lawn damage when they choose your yard as their new home.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles can be found throughout most of the United States, but are most common in the northern states. Carpet beetles are similar to clothes moths, in that they like to feed on the natural fibers they can find around your house, most commonly the carpet.

A new infestation of carpet beetles is most likely to be initially identified in the spring. These pests are usually less than one-eighth of an inch in length and can be difficult to spot at first. Carpet beetles do not typically feed on synthetic fibers, which most modern carpets are made of. However, if you have a wool or fur carpet, carpet beetles will become more likely.

Carpet beetles can be difficult to treat. As with most pests, prevention is the best management. If you do have wool carpet, you may want to consider preventative pest control treatments.


Spring pests are irritating and are usually just a precursor to more pests that emerge as the weather warms up. Contact Edge to get a head start on all of your pest control in Chicago and nearby areas.

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