DIY Pest Control Tips for Household Pests

DIY Pest Control Tips for Household Pests

The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is pests. A household pest is any insect or animal that is commonly found in a household structure that can cause destruction to the property or to your health. While the occasional critter can make its way inside, routine occurrences indicates the likelihood of an infestation. Fortunately there are some DIY pest control tips you can use at home to help prevent these pests from taking over. Here are a few of the most common household pests and how to prevent them.

Ants

Ants
Most ants don’t cause any structural damage to your home (with the exception of carpenter ants). They are, however, the #1 nuisance pest in the United States. Ants are difficult to control because their colonies are so large. These pests typically come indoors in search of food and water and can usually be found near these sources in your home – especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Prevent ants by:

  • Keeping your home clean.
  • Wiping countertops daily.
  • Cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • Cleaning appliances regularly.
  • Emptying trash daily and keep trash containers clean.
  • Keeping food in sealed containers.
  • Getting rid of overripe fruit.
  • Repairing leaky pipes.
  • Keeping gutters clear.
  • Keeping shampoo and soap containers sealed and clean.
  • Sealing any exterior holes, gaps, and cracks.
  • Trimming back trees and shrubs from the house.
  • Clearing your yard of debris.
  • Using screens on doors and windows.

Birds

Birds
Birds are not usually considered nuisance pests but their nests can obstruct common areas of your home and their droppings can contaminate or damage other areas. Birds usually enter your home in search of food and shelter. Prevent birds by:

  • Using saltwater vs freshwater in fountains and water features.
  • Not leaving pet food out overnight.
  • Keeping grass mowed and hedges trimmed.
  • Dismantling nests IF they are actively being built (bird nest removal laws prevent touching nests that are already built or occupied).
  • Sealing exterior gaps, cracks, etc. as birds can use these to access attics.
  • Hanging strips of aluminum foil from trees or other high places to deter birds.
  • Installing predator decoys (like owls and snakes) to scare off birds, moving them frequently.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches
Cockroaches are dangerous to humans as they are known to carry serious diseases and trigger both allergies and asthma. These pests multiply quickly, making them very difficult to control. Roaches will come into homes in search of food, water, and shelter, with them often found in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Prevent roaches by:

  • Cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • Throwing away or storing leftover food at night.
  • Cleaning surfaces nightly.
  • Rinsing food cartons before throwing them away.
  • Emptying trash nightly.
  • Storing food and pet food in airtight containers.
  • Not leaving pet food and water out overnight.
  • Using plastic storage rather than cardboard.
  • Getting rid of old newspapers and magazines.
  • Sealing any exterior gaps and crevices.
  • Using weatherstripping.
  • Using stoppers or metal baskets in sink drains.
  • Repairing leaks.
  • Caulking around tubs and sinks to seal them.
  • Hanging wet towels up after use.
  • Keeping kitchen sponges dry and not storing them on the counter.

Termites

Termites
Termites are known as silent destroyers, eating wood from the inside out and going undetected for long periods of time. Common signs of termites include swarms; mud tubes; discarded wings; discolored drywall; peeling paint; wood with a hollow sound when tapped; squeaky floorboards; doors and windows that stick; damaged wood; loose tiles; and buckling floors. Prevent termites by:

  • Using concrete foundations when building your home.
  • Covering exposed wood with sealant or metal barrier.
  • Keeping soil around foundations dry.
  • Keeping gutters and downspouts clear and functioning.
  • Filling cracks in cement foundations.
  • Filling in gaps around where utilities come into your home.
  • Fixing leaks immediately.
  • Keeping vents unblocked.
  • Keeping landscaping trimmed away from the sides of homes and foundations.
  • Not storing firewood next to the house.
  • Getting an annual termite inspection.

Rodents

Rodents
Rodents are common household pests and include rats, mice, squirrels, and raccoons. Rodents can cause significant damage to your property by chewing through electrical wires and insulation. They can also contaminate food and spread disease. Prevent rodents by:

  • Using metal trashcans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Storing pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with sealing lids.
  • Picking up fallen fruit and birdseed from the ground.
  • Removing standing water from bird feeders.
  • Storing firewood away from the home and elevating it.
  • Storing boxes in the garage off the ground.
  • Storing food in containers.
  • Cleaning up crumbs nightly.
  • Sealing exterior openings.
  • Keeping gutters clear.
  • Screening attic vents.
  • Screening windows and doors.

Centipedes and Millipedes

Centipedes and Millipedes
Centipedes are arthropods with 14 or more body segments and one pair of legs per segment. Millipedes are also arthropods but they have 2 pairs of legs on their body segments. Neither of these pests are considered dangerous and don’t cause damage or spread disease. They can, however, be annoying if they infest in large numbers. Both of these pests thrive in moisture-rich environments. Prevent centipedes and millipedes by:

  • Repairing leaks.
  • Removing standing water.
  • Removing moisture-holding ground cover or mulch that is close to foundations.
  • Storing firewood away from the house and elevating it off the ground.
  • Inspecting firewood before bringing it in the house.
  • Sealing doors and windows that are low to the ground to prevent entry.

Spiders

Spiders
Although there are a few venomous spider species in our area, most spiders that make their way into your home are harmless (and even beneficial by eating other pests)! Prevent spiders by:

  • Sealing exterior cracks and crevices.
  • Screening doors and windows.
  • Vacuuming up spiders and eggs found in your home.
  • Brushing down webs with a broom.
  • Decluttering your home.
  • Vacuuming and dusting frequently.
  • Keeping shrubs and plants trimmed back from the sides of the home.
  • Keeping mulch a few inches away from foundations.
  • Using plastic rather than cardboard storage.

The key to household pest control is prevention. By taking these steps early, you can head off an infestation before it starts. If you have a problem with any household pests, contact your local pest control company for a free evaluation and comprehensive treatment plan.

 

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10 Effective DIY Pest Control Tips for Homeowners

10 Effective DIY Pest Control Tips for Homeowners

There is a big debate in the pest control industry as to which is more effective – professional pest control or do it yourself pest control. There is a growing trend among homeowners who want to tackle pest control themselves both to save money and time. These DIY pest control methods employ both chemical and natural remedies. Regardless of which route you take, prevention is always key to controlling household pests. Here are 10 of our most effective DIY pest control tips:

1. Keep It Clean

This one is pretty self explanatory but a clean house is much less attractive and hospitable for pests. Wash dishes daily and clean any food scraps out of the sink. Drain dirty dish water after each use. Keep kitchen counters and surfaces wiped down daily. Store food and drinks in sealing plastic or glass containers. Make sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming part of your regular routine. Use garbage cans with locking lids and empty them regularly. Keep the grass mowed and get rid of weeds. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed back so they aren’t touching the house. Maintain your drainage systems and eliminate any standing water.

2. Make Your Home Less Attractive

Pests come into your home in search of 3 things: food, water, and shelter. If you can eliminate these 3 attractants from your home, pests will have no reason to come in. Keep your home clean as referenced above. Repair any leaky pipes and faucets both inside and outside of the home. Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Declutter your home and get rid of any old magazines, junk, etc. Try to use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes.

3. Seal Them Out

Pests can’t get into your home unless they can find a way in. Some pests only need the tiniest of openings to penetrate your house. Inspect the outside of your home for any potential entry points and seal them up with caulk, steel wool, etc. Make sure to check foundations, door frames, windows, utility pipes, cables and wires, and the roof. Repair any broken windows and screens. Fill in any holes, gaps, or cracks in pipes and vents.

4. Maintain the Yard

Your yard is the first line of defense when it comes to pests. They have to come into the yard before they come into the house. Keep your grass cut short and eliminate weeds. Get rid of any piles of leaves, debris, fallen branches, etc. Do the same for old automobiles, trashcans, and dumpsters. Elevate wood piles off the ground or store them in wood boxes with lids.

5. Keep It Dry

Keeping your home well ventilated and dry will go a long way towards keeping pests at bay. Most pests are attracted to moisture and basements, attics, and crawlspaces provide the ideal breeding ground for these. Use a dehumidifier to decrease moisture and consider crawlspace enclosure to not only help eliminate pests but also provide significant energy savings for your home.

6. Do The Laundry

Some pests like dust mites and bed bugs will seek shelter in your bedding, clothes, etc. Wash any clothing, sheets, blankets, quilts, and towels that you come into contact with regularly (at least 3 to 4 times per month). If you have pets, wash their bedding just as often to help eliminate and prevent fleas.

7. Use Plants as Natural Repellents

Some plants are known to be good insect repellents. These provide a green pest control alternative to traditional chemical methods. Plant any of these varieties around your home for a natural remedy to some common pests.

  • Spearmint (for ants, beetles, fleas, moths, and rodents)
  • Rosemary (for beetles, roaches, flies, slugs, snails, and mosquitoes)
  • Basil (for flies, beetles, and mosquitoes)
  • Lavender (for fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and moths)
  • Chrysanthemum (for ants, bed bugs, beetles, roaches, ticks, and fleas)
  • Catnip (for roaches, ants, and weevils)
  • Lemongrass (for fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and lice)
  • Pitcher plants (for beetles, ants, bees, slugs, snails, flies, and wasps)
  • Venus flytrap (for all insects)

8. Identify Common Pests in Your Area

Knowledge is power so do some research and learn what the most common pests are in your area and what kind of damage or threat they cause. Pests vary by location and different treatments are required for each of them. Proper identification is key to proper treatment.

9. Leave the Good Ones Alone

While some household pests are dangerous to your health (like rodents and roaches) or can cause significant damage to your home (such as termites), others are actually quite beneficial to have around, especially if you have a garden. Ladybugs eat aphids and are great for the garden. Green lacewings eat aphids and spider mites. Ground beetles eat slugs and caterpillars. Bats (as long as they are outdoors and not inside your home) eat and control the populations of mosquitoes and many other insect species. These beneficial pests are a great natural pesticide to use in place of chemical products.

10. Use the Pros

Sometimes an infestation can be beyond the scope of DIY pest control methods. In these circumstances it is best to call a professional who can properly identify the pest you are dealing with and provide proper treatment, as well as ongoing prevention techniques you can use at home.

If you suspect you have a pest problem, contact your local pest control company for a thorough evaluation.

 

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DIY vs Professional Pest Control

DIY vs Professional Pest Control

When it comes to household pests (like spiders, ants, roaches, and termites), there are several options for pest control to choose from. Should you use do it yourself pest control? Should you call a professional pest control company? What is the difference? What are the pros and cons of each? Here we break down the advantages and disadvantages of DIY vs professional pest control.

Expertise

The key to effective pest control is proper identification. Appropriate treatment depends on the species of the pest, how far the infestation has spread, the size of the home, climate, and many other factors. DIY pest control products have labels with directions and warnings that are fairly simple to follow. Professionals, however, have the knowledge and training on industry trends and groundbreaking products that may not be readily available to household consumers. They know key indicators to look for and can provide quick assessments and effective treatments.

Cost

Cost is one of the biggest factors that influence DIY vs professional pest control treatments. While do it yourself products are typically less expensive than commercial products, they can end up costing you more in the long run. Most homeowners don’t treat a pest problem until they spot them; unfortunately by this point the infestation is usually already established. This could end up costing significantly more in treatment and damage repair costs than a professional service would. Professional pest control services can be more costly initially but save you over time through prevention.

Convenience

DIY products are certainly convenient – you just head to your local hardware store and pick up what you need. Professional services have to be coordinated around their availability and your schedule, sometimes requiring you to be at home for the service.

Hazard

Using chemicals of any kind can pose a hazard to yourself, your family, and your pets. DIY products can contain chemicals that the average consumer may not be familiar with. This can pose a threat to your and your family’s health. With a professional service the risk on the homeowner is taken away. Green pest control options are also available which are safe for both you and your pets.

Effectiveness

The ultimate goal of any pest control treatment is effectiveness – you want it to work. With DIY methods, you usually only treat the areas where you see an active problem. These products are effective for small pest problems but typically aren’t strong enough or don’t last long enough for significant infestations. Pests are also highly adaptable and can become resistant to many chemicals used in these products. Professional pest control treatments use the most up to date methods and products. They can also treat areas where infestations have spread that you may not see such as inside walls, in attics, and crawlspaces.

Guarantee

DIY product guarantees will vary depending on the store or manufacturer. Most pest control companies will offer a service guarantee where they will come back and treat in between scheduled visits if a problem arises at no extra charge to the consumer.

Prevention

As previously mentioned, most DIY products are designed to be used for an active problem. Oftentimes, these products aren’t used until after an infestation is already established. With a professional service, visits are set on a scheduled basis whether there is an active pest problem or not. This allows the technician to use preventative measures when infestations are gone to keep them from flourishing in your home.

When you have a pest problem, the main concern is getting it taken care of quickly and effectively whether that is through DIY methods or a professional service. Every situation is different and the main concern is the appropriate treatment for each individual situation. If you suspect you have a pest problem or would like a quote on services, contact a professional pest control company.

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Watch out for the Stinging Pests!

Watch out for the Stinging Pests!

Stinging pests are most active during the summer months, so while we enjoy the summer fun of lounging by the pool and backyard BBQs, we should all be on the lookout for these pests as they can pose a risk to you and your family. Check out these common stinging pests and the best way to avoid them!

Wasps

With a slim body shape, six long legs, and two wings, wasps are busy at work scavenging for food during the summer months. Wasps will typically build their nests in branches, porch ceilings, eaves, and attic rafters. These pests are highly attracted to picnics and backyard barbeques, increasing your chance of being stung. When threatened, wasps will sting multiple times and  eventually call on reinforcements from other wasps by emitting pheromones.

Hornets

Hornets’ nests are often built in hollow trees and the walls of houses and attics, although they typically prefer a forested environment. These pests are larger and can range from 3/4 to 1 3/8” long with brown and yellow abdominal stripes on their body. Hornets are attracted to light and will fly into your windows at night if they see a light on. They are relatively non-aggressive near the nest, but if threatened, there is a potential for a stinging hazard.

Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets are social insects and can be found anywhere humans are found. Yellowjackets feed on sweets and proteins; therefore, these pests commonly invade outdoor events. Yellowjackets measure 3/8″ to 5/8” long and have a non-fuzzy black and yellow striped body. Yellowjacket nests can either be built in very high places or built in the ground. Examples include in shrubs, garages, timber, logs, and more. If threatened, yellowjackets will sting multiple times, causing extreme pain and possible allergic reactions.

Bee Sting Prevention

  • Keep outside food covered and sealed tightly 
  • Avoid wearing strong fragrances and opt for an unscented hygienic product
  • Ensure all your doors and windows have screens so these pests don’t sneak into your house
  • Stick to wearing darker colors as floral and bright colored clothing tend to attract these pests
  • For uncontrollable stinging pest invasions, it’s best to call your local pest control company as they will provide a safe and legal plan to safely remove these insects
Common Summer Household Pests

Common Summer Household Pests

A household pest is any undesired animal that has a history of living, invading, causing damage to, eating food from, acting as a disease vector for, or causing any other harm to a human habitat. While most are considered a nuisance, household pests become dangerous when they pose a risk to health, property, or lifestyle. Household pests aren’t just limited to insects; they also include arachnids, rodents, and wildlife.

While household pests can be found year-round, some are more common in the summer months. Here are 8 of the most common summer household pests and how you can prevent them.

Mosquitoes

Mosquito
Mosquito season peaks in the summer months. The warm weather and humid environments accelerate their life cycle so they are able to reproduce in large numbers during this time. You are most likely to see mosquitoes when you have standing water on your property. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water and the hot, humid climate in summer is ideal for both breeding and to find food sources. Mosquitoes are dangerous to humans as they carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases like Zika and West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk
  • Wearing clothing that covers arms and legs
  • Eliminating areas of standing water
  • Repair or replace torn window screens
  • Apply insect repellent

Ants

Ants
Ants hibernate in the winter and come out in full force over the summer. They have to forage in the summer months to feed their growing colonies and to build up their reserves for fall. Ants are usually seen indoors in the summer because they are searching for food and water as these can become scarce for them.

Ants can be prevented by:

  • Keeping your home clean, especially the kitchen
  • Not leaving pet food and water bowls outdoors
  • Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed away from the house
  • Sealing cracks and holes in your home’s exterior

Fleas

Fleas
Fleas are prevalent in the summer months, although they can be found on pets year-round. Pets will indicate the presence of fleas by scratching and biting when they come in from outdoors.

Fleas can be prevented by:

  • Treating pets for fleas with preventative medication
  • Vacuuming frequently, especially in areas that pets frequent, and disposing of the bag immediately
  • Treating your yard with outdoor flea spray
  • Washing pet bedding and toys weekly in hot water

Ticks

Ticks
Ticks are problematic to humans and pets because they spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Tick bites increase in the summer because people and animals are spending more time outside. The US is also seeing an increase in ticks because of the combination of mild winters and an increased population of deer and rodents which are known to carry ticks.

Ticks can be prevented by:

  • Using tick preventatives on pets
  • Wearing long sleeves and closed toe shoes when outdoors
  • Avoid areas with high grass or woods when possible
  • Eliminating debris and wood piles from your property
  • Wearing insect repellent
  • Checking yourself and your pets for ticks immediately after coming in from outdoors
  • Removing any ticks found immediately

Termites

Termites
Termite swarming season is in the spring but these newly established colonies grow exponentially in the summer. Termites can go long periods of time undetected, causing significant damage to your home. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of termites so you can catch them early.

Termites can be prevented by:

  • Eliminating wood to soil contact around foundations
  • Creating a 4 inch barrier between wood mulch and your home
  • Keeping plants a few feet away from your home
  • Making sure storm drains point away from foundations
  • Fixing leaks and eliminating any other sources of excess moisture
  • Having an annual termite inspection performed

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers
While most people view grasshoppers as just a nuisance pest, they can be devastating to gardeners and farmers. Grasshoppers can devour an entire field of crops in just a few days. Grasshoppers surge in large numbers in the summer months and are most prevalent in dry, hot summers. Grasshoppers can also cause damage to non-farmers as these are one of the only pests that can chew through screens.

Grasshoppers can be prevented by:

  • Plant flowers that deter grasshoppers (lilac, crepe myrtle, verbena, sage, juniper)
  • Plant vegetables that don’t attract grasshoppers (squash, peas, tomatoes)
  • Introduce predators by making your garden attractive to birds
  • Use floating row covers on crops and plants
  • Consider natural products that kill grasshoppers without harming other animals or plants (Nosema locustae or Beauveria bassiana)

Flies

Flies
Flies invade your home in the summer months to escape the heat. They only reproduce during the hotter months and reproduce even more prolifically when they get indoors. Flies will stick around well into the fall months.

Flies can be prevented by:

  • Keeping windows, doors, and vents sealed
  • Using garbage cans with tight fitting lids
  • Taking the garbage out when it is full
  • Storing food in airtight containers
  • Not leaving dirty dishes out
  • Not leaving grass clippings in the yard
  • Turning off outdoor lights at night

Stinging Insects

Stinging Insects
Stinging insects mate in the spring and their populations grow during the summer months. Hornets and yellow jackets are especially common in the summer because they have to establish new nests each year. These are usually found under decking or under piles of leaves. These stinging insects are potentially dangerous for people with allergies. Yellow jackets and bees can also get into the walls of homes, causing significant damage.

Stinging insects can be prevented by:

  • Wearing shoes when outdoors
  • Keeping trash cans tightly covered
  • Eliminating dirt patches on your lawn
  • Avoiding sweet smelling perfumes
  • Don’t swat at stinging insects

Don’t let these common summer pests ruin your summer. If you have a problem with any of these pests, contact a professional pest control company who can help eliminate them safely and prevent them going forward.

 

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Keeping Pantry Pests Away

Keeping Pantry Pests Away

In recent times, we are finding ourselves spending more time at home and stocking up on supplies such as food, toiletries, and more. But as you stock up on these essentials, you could be providing stored product pests or “pantry pests” with a supply of their own. Here are a few tips to keep your kitchen free of these unwelcome guests:

  • Before you start adding any new grocery items, be sure to check existing open items in your pantry for signs of pantry pests to avoid spreading infestation.
  • Throw out any dry goods that have been left open and have gone bad. If they’re still in good condition, try and use the oldest items first before opening up the new ones.
  • Pantry pests, like Indian Meal Moths are attracted to items such as flour, oats, spices, and dry cereal. If you recently bought these items, be sure to inspect packages and confirm that they are all sealed properly. Once you open these items, look to store them in a plastic or glass container with secure lids, cutting off any access for pantry pests.
  • Rodentscan cause major health issues for you and your family. They are known to spread bacteria and viruses and, if their droppings build up within your cabinets, it can cause the air you breathe to become contaminated. To avoid a rodent infestation, try and keep your cabinets, pantries, and counters clean and free of crumbs and dispose of all expired foods.

If you take these precautions, you can easily avoid pests from raiding your pantry for all your stored groceries!

Cockroaches: A Possible Allergy Trigger

Cockroaches: A Possible Allergy Trigger

As Springtime approaches, allergies are bound to follow. Many tend to blame the plant pollens for their sneezing and watery eyes. Although pollen can trigger your allergy symptoms, there could be another reason why your allergies are flaring up this Spring: Cockroach allergies.

Signs and Symptoms of a Roach Allergy

Cockroaches might not be the first reason you think of when you start to get allergies, surprisingly though, they can be the cause of your allergies and asthma. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology the saliva, feces, and shedding parts of cockroaches can trigger both asthma and allergies, acting like dust mites. The common symptoms of cockroach allergies can be coughing, sneezing, asthma attacks, nasal congestion, sinus and/or ear infection, itchy red or watery eyes, and skin rashes.

Preventing Roaches from Inside the Home:

In a survey conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the allergists surveyed believed that a pest-free home is the most important factor in preventing asthma and allergy systems.

Knowing what attracts roaches can help you prevent a roach infestations. Here are some preventative tips to keep roaches out of your home:

  • Cover all trash cans
  • Store foods in airtight containers
  • Sweep up or vacuum all food crumbs
  • Seal cracks in walls and floors
  • Keep your yard neat and tidy
  • Call a pest control professional

Cockroaches can be one of the most difficult pests to eliminate. If you find yourself using the tips above but are still seeing roaches in your house, contact a pest control company. An exterminator will be able to identify where and how the roaches are entering your home and eliminate them to protect you and your family’s health.

Where Are These Stinkbugs Coming From?

Where Are These Stinkbugs Coming From?

As the weather warms up overwintering pests will begin to wake up and make their way outdoors. One of these is the brown marmorated stinkbug. While these household pests don’t sting, bite, or carry any diseases, they can become a nuisance when they get inside your home. In fact, once you see stinkbugs inside, it’s usually too late to do anything to keep them out.

The brown marmorated stinkbug is native to Asia but was later introduced in the United States. They prefer moist, temperate climates like those of the Eastern US and the Pacific Northwest. Stinkbugs feed on soybeans, corn, fruit, vegetables, and ornamental plants that grow close to homes. Stinkbugs spend the spring and summer seasons outdoors then will seek shelter from the winter elements indoors – often entering your home through cracks, crevices, gaps or holes in your foundation, through chimneys, air conditioning vents, or underneath siding. The prefer homes with lots of trees around and will gravitate to the upper floors of a home.

During the winter months, stinkbugs go into a phase known as diapause, which is similar to hibernation, where the bugs go inactive during the cold weather. When the stinkbugs find a spot to overwinter, they release a pheromone that attracts other stinkbugs to their location. While they typically stay dormant until spring, unusually warm spells during the winter can bring them out full force.

If you encounter stinkbugs in your home, the best way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up and immediately dispose of the bag. When stinkbugs are threatened, disturbed, or squashed, they emit a smell that has been described as anything from cilantro to rotting almonds to spoiled fruit.

The best way to control stinkbugs is to prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. Here are 9 prevention tips for keeping stinkbugs out.

  1. Seal Them Out. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home to identify potential entry points for stinkbugs. Check around siding and utility pipes, behind chimneys, and under fascia. Seal any problem spots with silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Close chimney flues when not in use.
  2. Repair. Check doors and windows for any damage. Repair or replace damaged screens. Check weatherstripping and replace if necessary. Check for loose mortar. Install door sweeps if possible.
  3. Turn Off Lights. Stinkbugs are attracted to light. Try to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. After dark, turn porch lights off and pull down blinds in your home to reduce the amount of light spilling out from indoors.
  4. Keep It Dry. Stinkbugs, like other seasonal pests, need water to survive. Check carefully for leaking pipes and faucets and repair them immediately.
  5. Get Rid of Food. Keep food stored in airtight containers. Dispose of your garbage regularly. Wipe down countertops daily and sweep and mop often.
  6. Air It Out. Keep areas that stinkbugs can use as a harborage point (garages, crawlspaces, attics, and basements) well ventilated. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas. Install screens over chimney and attic vents.
  7. Check It Out. Stinkbugs can hitch a ride into your home in boxes and bags. Carefully inspect any boxes you are bringing in from storage and any grocery bags before you bring them into your home.
  8. Landscaping. Keep branches and shrubbery well trimmed so they are not in contact with the house. Keep grass mowed and leaves raked. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the house and at least 5 inches off the ground.
  9. Call A Pro. If you suspect you have a problem with stinkbugs, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify any entry points the bugs may be using and help to eliminate them. They can also use a preventative spray in the late summer/early fall to help keep them out before overwintering season sets in.

 

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Flying Pests And How To Prevent Them

Flying Pests And How To Prevent Them

We’ve all been there before… you’re sitting in your house and you hear an incessant buzzing. All of a sudden something flies past your face! If you’re like most of us, your first thought it aghh! A bug in my house! Once you get over the initial shock of being dive bombed by this home invader, your next thoughts might be: What kind of bug is this? Is there more than one? How did it get in my house? How do I get rid of it? While we can’t answer all of your questions, we can help with a few. We’ve listed some of the most common flying pests below, as well as some tips to prevent them from getting into your home.

BEES:

Bees
While there are several different species of bees in North America, we are going to look at bumblebees, honeybees, and carpenter bees.

APPEARANCE:

Bumblebees are large, clumsy looking insects with oval shaped bodies. They are extremely fuzzy. They are yellow and black striped in color. They typically grow between 1/4″ and 1″ in length.

Honeybees are predominantly golden yellow with brown bands, but they can also be orange-brown in color. They have a very hairy appearance. They can grow to be about 1/2″ in length. They also have flat hindmost legs which are used to carry pollen.

Carpenter bees have a fuzzy body that is very robust in shape. Their bodies are yellow except for their abdomen which is shiny black. Males also have a white patch on their faces. Carpenter bees grow from 1/2″ to 1″ in length.

HABITAT:

Bumblebees typically make their nests underground so their nests may not be visible. They will often make their nests in old mouse burrows or in dense clumps of grass. They have also been known to make their nests under woodpiles or behind the siding of homes. Bumblebees are found throughout the United States.

Honeybees typically make their nests in beehives, trees, hollow logs, and piles of logs. It is very common for them to get inside your home and nest in attics, wall voids, chimneys, and crawlspaces. Honeybees are found throughout the United States.

Carpenter bees create their nests in pieces of wood – preferably soft wood that has not been painted or sealed. They will often make their nests in decks, porches, roof eaves, wooden shingles, wooden playgrounds, in wooden outdoor furniture, and in sheds. The entry holes for carpenter bees are perfectly round.

DIET:

All three species of bees feed on nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter bees don’t actually eat the wood they burrow in to make their nests.

BEHAVIOR:

Female bumblebees have stingers but males do not. Bumblebees are not significantly aggressive but they will sting if they feel threatened. Their sting can be dangerous to humans with an allergy.

Honeybees are the only bee colonies that can survive for many years. They are very social insects. Female honeybees have stingers but males don’t. The female stinger is barbed which means it is only able to sting once. Honeybees aren’t known for being aggressive but they will sting if they are directly attacked.

Carpenter bees are very solitary insects and don’t create very large nest. Female carpenter bees have stingers but males don’t. Their sting is strong enough to cause a reaction in humans. Female carpenter bees are docile and rarely sting unless they are directly attacked. Male carpenter bees are very aggressive but don’t have stingers to do harm with.

PREVENTION:

All bees are protected as pollinators so treatment is only provided when they are deemed to be a nuisance or a threat. Removal is always the first treatment option because of this protected status.

  • Avoid planting flowering plants and vegetation near the exterior of your home.
  • Keep woodpiles and compost piles a safe distance from your home.
  • Remove any fallen trees and other piles of debris from your property.
  • Make sure your outdoor trashcans have tight lids.
  • Paint or stain any wooden structures including porches on your property.
  • If you find a nest or suspect you have a bee problem, contact a professional pest control company.

YELLOW JACKETS

Yellowjacket

APPEARANCE:

Yellow jackets have a sleek appearance. They are not fuzzy. They are black and yellow striped in color. They can grow to be 3/8″ to 5/8″ long.

HABITAT:

Yellow jackets build their nests either high up or in the ground. Their elevated nests can be found in the walls of buildings or in attics and chimneys. Their ground nests are usually in areas that lack vegetation or in spaces next to the entrance of buildings.

DIET:

Yellow jackets feed on other insects. They also eat any sweets and proteins that they come across. You can often find yellow jackets at outdoor events because they like to feed on sugary food scraps and drinks that are left out.

BEHAVIOR:

Yellow jackets have a smooth stinger which allows them to sting multiple times. They are usually docile unless their nests are approached. Then they become very aggressive and will sting repeatedly. Their sting can be life threatening if you are allergic. Yellow jackets are beneficial both as pollinators and because they help control the population of nuisance insects.

PREVENTION:

  • Trim back shrubbery and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have tight fitting lids.
  • Seal cracks in foundations.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Make sure vent covers are secure.
  • If you are outdoors, make sure food is kept covered and dispose of cans, cups, and bottles quickly.
  • If you suspect you have a yellow jacket problem, contact a professional pest control company.

PAPER WASPS:

Paper Wasp

APPEARANCE:

Paper wasps have a sleek appearance with a pinched waste and long, thin legs. They have gray wings and their bodies are black or brown with yellow or orange markings. Paper wasps can grow to be 5/8″ to 3/4″ in length.

HABITAT:

Paper wasps are found throughout the United States. They will build their nests of the ground on any horizontal surface they can find. Their nests are commonly found hanging from trees, shrubs, porches, decks, roofs, outdoor grills, and door frames. Their nests resemble an umbrella attached by a stem. Their name comes from the paper-like nests that they build.

DIET:

Paper wasps are predatory insects and feed on a wide variety of insects and spiders. They also eat nectar and pollen.

BEHAVIOR:

Paper wasps have smooth stingers that allow them to sting multiple times. They are not typically aggressive but will sting to defend their nests. Paper wasps have facial recognition capabilities like humans and chimpanzees do. They can actually recognize the faces of their colony members.

PREVENTION:

  • Nests have to be knocked down in order to prevent rebuilding and overwintering.
  • Adult wasps must also be killed to prevent the nest from being rebuild. This should be done in the early morning or late at night.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trashcans have tight fitting lids.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Fix any loose roof shingles.
  • Repair any holes in your roof line.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you have a wasp nest or suspect you have a wasp problem, contact a professional pest control company.

BALD FACED HORNETS:

Hornet

APPEARANCE:

Hornets are much bigger than wasps. They are almost completely black except for an off white pattern on their face. They are long and thin with wasp-like bodies. They can grow from 3/4″ to 1-3/8″ in length.

HABITAT:

Hornets are found throughout the United States.  Hornet colonies only survive for 1 year. They build aerial nests that can be found in trees, on utility poles, on the side of homes, and under eaves. Hornet nests can be more than 14″ around and more than 24″ long.

DIET:

Hornets are pollinators. Adults have a liquid diet that mostly consists of nectar and plant juices. They are also predatory and will prey on insects that they bring back to their nests to feed their larvae.

BEHAVIOR:

Hornets have a more painful sting than wasps do. A single hornet sting can be fatal if the victim is allergic. When hornets sting or feel threatened, they give off a pheromone that signals the rest of the colony to attack as well.

PREVENTION:

  • It is difficult to prevent hornets from building nests. If the nest is up high, it is best to just leave it alone.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trashcans have tight fitting lids.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Fix any loose roof shingles.
  • Repair any holes in your roof line.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you have a hornet nest or suspect you have a hornet problem, contact a professional pest control company.

LADYBUGS

Ladybug

APPEARANCE:

Ladybugs have a distinctive appearance. They are bright red, orange, or yellow with black spots. Their bodies are oval and dome shaped.

HABITAT:

Ladybugs are found worldwide. There are over 5000 species total and 450 species in North America. Ladybugs live outside in gardens and landscaped areas. They aren’t able to tolerate cold weather so in the fall they will invade homes in search of a place to overwinter. They will typically gather on windowsills or you will see them crawling along walls. They tend to end up in attics, under flooring, and in wall voids.

DIET:

Despite their appearance, ladybugs are predatory insects. They feed on a variety of other insects, helping to keep nuisance populations down.

BEHAVIOR:

Ladybugs secrete a substance wen they are threatened that makes them taste bad to their predators. They can also play dead if they feel threatened.

PREVENTION:

  • Install chimney caps.
  • Caulk any gaps around doors and windows.
  • Makes sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
  • Install door sweeps on any doors that go outside.
  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.
  • Secure all vent covers.
  • Fill in any spaces around utility entrances.
  • Try to limit garden areas near the exterior of your home.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the sides of your home.
  • You can use an insect light trap to catch any ladybugs that make their way into your home.
  • If you have a ladybug problem, contact a professional pest control company.

MOSQUITOES:

Mosquito

APPEARANCE:

Mosquitoes have narrow bodies with long thin legs and transparent wings. They have gray bodies with white stripes on their abdomen. They also have long beaks that allow them to penetrate the skin. Mosquitoes can grow to be 1/4″ to 3/8″ long.

HABITAT:

Mosquitoes can be found in almost every landscape environment on earth with the exception of deserts and the arctic. Mosquitoes are most often found near stagnant water as this is where they lay their eggs. They are often found on the edges of streams, lakes, and ponds; near wading pools; old tires; bird baths; tarps; piles of trash; clogged gutters; and wheelbarrows.

DIET:

Mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices. Female mosquitoes bite to feed on blood.

BEHAVIOR:

The species of mosquito determines when they are most active. Some species are more active in the daytime while others become active at dark. Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting several diseases and pathogens to both humans and animals. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya fever, malaria, and canine heartworm among others.

PREVENTION:

  • Eliminate any standing water on or near your property.
  • Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are not clogged.
  • Consider installing Leafproof gutter guards on your home to prevent clogs and stagnant water.
  • Store buckets, wading pools, wheelbarrows, and empty pet food bowls upside down so they can’t collect water.
  • Shake off any water that collects on tarps.
  • Dispose of your trash on a regular basis and store it in cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep your grass cut short.
  • Keep doors and windows shut as much as possible.
  • Make sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you suspect you have a mosquito problem, contact a professional pest control company.

HOUSEFLIES:

Housefly

APPEARANCE:

Houseflies have a very distinctive appearance. They have dull gray bodies with vertical lines on the top, a single gold stripe, and a silver stripe on their face. They can grow to be 1/8″ to 1/4″ in size.

HABITAT:

Flies can be found in most homes. They enter through tears in screens, gaps around windows and doors, doors and windows that have been left open, and cracks in the foundation. They are attracted to homes by garbage, animal feces, compost piles, and leaky pipes. They will often rest on your floors, walls, and ceilings.

DIET:

Houseflies are scavengers that eat a variety of different foods. They will feed on food found in pantries and kitchens, pet food, carcasses, garbage, or excrement. Houseflies are only able to eat liquids but they are able to turn many solid foods into liquid form so that they can eat it.

BEHAVIOR:

Houseflies can spread diseases when they land on your food or your food prep areas. They are the most common fly found in homes and only live from 15 to 25 days.

PREVENTION:

  • Clean up pet waste daily.
  • Use garbage cans with tight fitting lids.
  • Keep garbage and compost piles away from your home.
  • Use screens on windows and doors and make sure they are in good repair.
  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.
  • Caulk gaps around windows and doors.
  • Keep food in sealed containers or in the fridge, including pet food.
  • Wash dirty dishes regularly.
  • Take out the trash regularly.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
  • If you have a problem with flies, contact a professional pest control company.

FRUIT FLIES:

Fruit Fly

APPEARANCE:

Fruit flies are extremely small in size, only getting about 1/8″ in length. They are usually brown, tan or black with distinctive red eyes. They are too small, however, for you to determine their color with the naked eye.

HABITAT:

Fruit flies are found throughout the United States. They are usually seen in the kitchen, especially around fruits and vegetables. They live outside in spring and summer. They enter homes as hitchhikers on fruits and vegetables that we buy from stores that are already infested. They can also enter through small spaces in widows, doors, and walls. They are attracted by large gardens, compost piles, and fruit trees.

DIET:

Fruit flies feed on very ripe fruits and vegetables like bananas, strawberries, melons, cucumbers, potatoes, and more. They also feed on fermented liquids like vinegar, cider, and beer.

BEHAVIOR:

Fruit flies are a nuisance. They enter your home in large numbers and are very difficult to eliminate. They can carry dangerous that can be transmitted to humans.

PREVENTION:

  • Inspect your fruits and vegetables before you buy them and before you bring them into your home.
  • Store produce in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.
  • Get rid of overripe fruits and vegetables quickly.
  • Pick up any fallen fruit and vegetables from your garden.
  • Make sure your compost bins have lids on them.
  • Empty your trash frequently.
  • Store trash in outdoor cans with tightly fitting lids.
  • Wash your dishes daily.
  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • If you suspect you have a fruit fly problem, contact a professional pest control company.

 

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