Dooryard pests are “pests of opportunity,” also known as “occasional invaders.” (What are dooryard pests, you ask? There are many varieties but to give you a few examples, they are: crickets, cockroaches, moths, beetles, termites, ladybugs, earwigs and web spinners, etc.). Landscaping and water have the greatest effect on pest populations. The seasons provide ranges in temperature and moisture. Each species has an optimal temperature range and a preferred moisture level. When the best conditions for any type of pest are present, activity, feeding and reproduction increase. As populations build in the desert, pests start looking for additional living space, food and other resources. A large structure provides some hiding places, increased moisture due to irrigation, warmth at night, shade in the daytime, and in many cases, increased food supply. This food can include a barbeque grill that has not been cleaned, dog food left by the family pet, spilled trash, bird feeders or even snacks left behind by the kids.
Seasonality also brings about changes in the length of the day. In many dooryard pest species, reductions in the length of daylight, together with a drop in temperature triggers a “hibernation” behavior causing large numbers of insects to migrate into structures.