Mosquito season is right around the corner! Heat and humidity during these months combine to provide an ideal environment for mosquitoes to thrive. The season usually starts in the spring and peaks over the summer. Besides leaving behind itchy, red welts, these nuisance pests are dangerous to humans by vectoring serious diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, and chikungunya. Fortunately, there are several green pest control options you can utilize as an eco-friendly alternative to control mosquitoes. Here are 3 steps you can take for green mosquito control.
Identify Nesting and Resting Sites
The first step to controlling mosquitoes is identifying and eliminating what attracts them in the first place. Mosquitoes will come around in search of two things: nesting sites and resting sites.
Where do mosquitoes breed? Every species of mosquito lays its eggs in water. While the type of water source may vary between species, it only takes a minute amount of water for mosquitoes to hatch and develop. Get rid of any potential breeding sites by:
- Cleaning up debris around your home. Moisture can accumulate under piles of leaves, boards, mulch, rocks, and other outdoor items.
- Walking around your yard and identify any items that can hold water – pots, cans, bird baths, lids, toys, and planters. Empty them or store them upside down when not in use.
- Inspecting your gutters for clogs and keep them cleaned out. Watch out for sagging gutters or low spots where the water can accumulate.
- Repairing any poor drainage sites in your yard as these can lead to standing water. Consider leveling your yard or installing a french drain.
Once mature, adult mosquitoes will often rest in shady areas that are protected from the wind. Some common resting sites include trees, shrubs, potted plants, patios, and front entryways.
Protect Yourself From Bites
Any time you can protect yourself from mosquito bites you should. Prevent mosquito bites by:
- Blowing them away. Any breeze above 1 mph will make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly. If you have to spend time outdoors, consider using fans, whether battery powered, plug in or ceiling. Try to keep the air flow from the fans pointed at the lower half of your body as mosquitoes tend to fly closer to the ground to avoid said wind.
- Avoiding peak mosquito hours. Mosquitoes tend to feed at dawn and dusk as the wind typically dissipates around these times. Try to stay indoors during these times, especially during the warmer months.
- Applying insect repellent before going outdoors. When applying repellent, spray it onto your hands and rub it onto your skin rather than spraying it directly onto the skin. Repellents with DEET block the mosquitoes’ CO2 receptors, making them especially effective.
- If you are opposed to DEET, there are other natural mosquito repellents you can use instead.
- Picaridin is CDC approved and the most broadly used repellent outside the United States.
- IR 3535 is CDC approved and also repels deer ticks.
- 2-undecanone is CDC approved and is found naturally in cloves.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus is CDC approved and has been proven in studies to repel as well as DEET.
- Avon Skin so Soft was shown in a 2015 study to repel mosquitoes for up to 2 hours.
- Permethrin fabric spray can be used on clothes, shoes, tents, and netting.
- Essential oils containing eucalyptus, rosemary, cloves, basil, and peppermint have also been shown to repel mosquitoes and are even used in many commercial products.
- Covering up when outdoors. Wear tightly woven, light colored clothing. The synthetic fibers in athletic wear are especially good at repelling mosquitoes. Dark colors stand out to mosquitoes, while lighter colors are less attractive.
- Considering the use of plants that repel mosquitoes around your home such as citronella, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, and basil.
Applying Green Mosquito Treatments
Yards and climates vary across the region so the effectiveness and longevity of mosquito treatments will vary from home to home. Regardless of where you live or what kind of home you have, a green mosquito control program can be effective at helping control mosquito populations. Green mosquito control utilizes eco-friendly products that are just as effective as traditional products.
A complete green reduction program includes monthly mosquito treatments during mosquito season. Green treatments use products that are derived from flowers and botanicals and area only applied to the areas where they are needed instead of over the entire yard. They are effective at reducing both adult and larvae populations.
The green mosquito reduction program includes an inspection to identify resting and nesting sites; larvacide and adulticides to target all aspects of the population; source reduction and elimination by removing any areas of standing water; and a service guarantee where they will come back between treatments if needed, usually at no cost.
If you have a problem with mosquitoes or any other pests, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and the most up to date traditional pest control and green treatment options available for you.
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With the holidays looming near, you may be looking for areas where you can cut back on costs to give you that extra holiday cushion. We have a few tips you can consider that can not only help you go green but also put some extra cash back in your pocket!
- While the use of the AC has gone down, the use of heat to warm your home has increased. If you have rooms that are rarely used this time of year, close and seal off vents in these areas. This will re-direct air flow to the areas in your home used most.
- Attic insulation is essential in cutting down on air and heat escaping from your home. Attic insulation that includes pest control can not only help you save 20-38% on your energy bills but can also protect your home from overwintering pests.
- Crawl space enclosure can alleviate the workload of your HVAC unit. In addition to acting as another method of pest control, your utility bills can potentially decrease up to 18% and humidity levels throughout your home can decrease, reducing the chances of mold and wood rot.
Properly insulating your home can help energy efficiency throughout, helping you save money in the long run, not just the holiday season. Let Northwest help you go green and save green! Call and schedule your free inspection today!
This unseasonably hot weather has catapulted us straight into summer. If you have found yourself making multiple trips back and forth to your thermostat, it may be time to look into improvements around your home that not only stop the multiple trips but also save you money in the end.
With the sun beating down on the roof of your home with little to no cloud cover, your attic will easily see high temperatures during the summer. Without proper insulation, the heat will absorb through the hard materials that make up your home, leading to unbearable temperatures inside.
Proper attic insulation will create air pockets which slow the heat attempting to flow through your home. This will help uneven temperatures between the rooms in your home and lessen the need to consistently visit your thermostat.
High heat and humidity have caused your home to become muggy and intolerable. The humidity and moisture can also become a welcoming environment for mold, fungi, and pests.
Investing in the encapsulation of your crawl space could not only save you money on your energy bills, but also prevent a headache in the long run. Termites thrive in areas of high moisture, putting your home at risk for structural damage. Not only will this method act as pest control, but it can also improve the air quality of your home and create more comfortable living conditions for you and your family.
Still on the fence? Give us a call to schedule your free inspection today, and one of our licensed professionals will answer all of your questions.
With the recent focus on going “green” and harmful impacts on the environment, many people are ramping up their efforts to establish eco-friendly practices in both the workplace and at home. Efforts to recycle, reduce energy usage, and limit carbon emissions are all common ways to make a positive impact on the environment. One area that isn’t often thought of in the “green” movement is pest control. Green pest control is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pest control that is commonly used in areas that house the young, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and pets. But what is the difference between the two?
Traditional pest control provides most of the same benefits as green pest control but utilizes synthetic chemicals to eliminate and control pest populations. These chemicals are used sparingly, however, with just enough used to target the specific pest issue.
Green pest control, on the other hand, eliminates common household pests with the lowest environmental impact possible. This is achieved with ingredients derived from flowers, plants, and natural elements rather than harsh chemicals. Green pest control has proven to be just as beneficial as traditional pest control methods. Green pest control uses preventative measures combined with purposeful application of natural products.
Green pest control also utilizes a 5 step Integrated Pest Management (IPM) process which is an “effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices.” The 5 steps of an IPM program include Plan, Inspection, Pest Identification, Ongoing Perimeter Protection, and Continuous Communication.
NorPest Green is Northwest’s quarterly pest control program performed by only the highest-trained professionals, using high-quality, non-toxic products derived from botanicals. We customize a plan based on your needs, so you can be sure your home is healthy and your family and pets are protected. NorPest Green also comes with a service guarantee meaning we come back in between regular scheduled pest control visits, if needed, at no additional cost to you.
Pests are a nuisance and can be detrimental to both your home and your health. Regardless of whether you choose a traditional pest control service or a green pest control service, protecting your family is of the utmost importance. Contact a professional pest control company like Northwest for a free pest control estimate.
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Green pest control provides an eco-conscious option to traditional pest control and is especially beneficial in homes and businesses that house the young, the elderly, pets, and those with compromised immune systems or allergies. But are they really effective?
The answer is yes. Green pest control typically utilizes botanical and/or earth-based pesticides and a targeted approach when applying them, focusing on eliminating and controlling pest populations through both preventative measures and purposeful product application, based on your specific pest issues.
One important component of any green pest control program is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM doesn’t just focus on eliminating pest populations but also on identifying and getting rid of the environmental factors that are allowing the pests to procreate and thrive, as well as preventative measures to prevent re-entry. IPM can actually cut back significantly on the amount of pesticides used in treatments (by more than 90%!).
Once green pest control companies identify the problem pests and decide that action is required, there are several methods that are used to eliminate them:
- Introduction of natural enemies to reduce or eliminate the population
- Installing barriers to entry (such as screens)
- Employing mechanical control techniques (like traps)
- Using pesticides as a last resort (carefully applied to be as safe as possible)
Once you make the decision to invest in a green pest control program, contact an exterminator near you, and they will provide you with the following:
- A customized plan: A customized pest control program using only the most innovative and advanced pest control products and equipment available
- No harsh chemicals: Pest control products whose active ingredients are derived from flowers, plants, and natural elements from the earth
- Service guarantee: Follow up visits in between regularly scheduled pest control services, if needed, at no additional cost to you
- Integrated pest management: Plan, inspection, pest identification, ongoing perimeter protection, and continuous communication from your exterminator
- Highly trained technicians: Exterminators who are experts in green pest control methods
- Whole home pest protection: Pest protection that is environmentally friendly both inside your home and outside, that covers common household pests such as ants, spiders, roaches, mice, centipedes, millipedes, silverfish, and earwigs
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Whether you’re trying to decrease your carbon footprint or just put some extra cash in your pocket each year, cutting energy costs in the winter months is one way to get there. Heating and cooling costs make up a significant percentage of your annual utility bills. By making adjustments in your home, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on energy. Check out these 9 energy saving tips for winter:
1. Adjust The Thermostat
According to the US Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% each year on your heating bills by lowering your thermostat by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours a day. For those who work outside the home, the best way to do this is to lower your thermostat when you leave for work in the morning and then bump it back up when you return home in the evening. For those who are home during the day, lower the thermostat when you go to sleep and use flannel sheets and a warm comforter to help combat the chill. If this is too much to remember, consider investing in a programmable thermostat so it will automatically adjust the temperature when you set it to.
2. Heat What You Use
If you have rooms that you rarely use such as guest bedrooms or rooms you use for storage, close off and seal the vents that go to these areas. This will help make your home more energy efficient and will direct airflow to the rooms you use the most. You can use space heaters to warm these areas when you need to use them.
3. Use A Humidifier
The air in your home can become very dry, especially in the winter when the heat is run more frequently. Moist air feels warmer than dry air and also holds heat better. By using a humidifier, you can make your home feel warmer and more comfortable, especially during the times you set your thermostat lower. The humidifier can also help prevent nosebleeds and dry eyes that are common when we run the heat during the winter. You can also increase the humidity in your home by bringing in house plants.
4. Use The Sun
One of the cheapest ways to heat your home in the winter is to use the sun for free heat. Open curtains and blinds on your south facing windows during the winter months to bring heat into your home. Close the curtains and blinds when the sun goes down to help keep the heat inside after dark.
5. Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a great resource to use to get better airflow in your home. By running your fans clockwise in the winter, heat is trapped in your rooms keeping them warmer. Keep fans on a low setting to gently push warm air down into the room.
We lose a significant amount of money each year by heat and air escaping from our homes due to insufficient insulation. Consider installing TAP (thermal acoustical pest control) insulation to keep this from happening to you. TAP is an energy star rated insulation made from 87% recycled newsprint and treated with a natural pesticide. This not only protects your home from pests but also keeps your HVAC unit running efficiently and can save you 20-38% on your energy bills.
7. Seal Leaks
Seal around your utility pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and the unfinished spaces behind your cabinets and closets. Caulk and add weatherstripping around doors and windows. This will help keep air from escaping out of the house and help reduce your energy bills.
8. Bundle Up
Instead of cranking up the heat, put on warm clothes like sweaters and fuzzy socks. Keep throw blankets on your couches and use area rugs to keep your floors warmer.
9. Use LEDs
Whether it’s in your home or outside when you decorate for the holidays, using LED lights consumes up to 75% less energy and they can last up to 25% longer than traditional incandescent lights. They also emit less heat than traditional lightbulbs, making them a much safer alternative.
Cleaning out your gutters is a messy, stinky job. It’s also dangerous. Would you like to save time and avoid this miserable chore each year? Consider installing a LeafProof XP Gutter Guard. Leafproof XP Gutter Guard is a unique gutter guard system that can be installed onto your existing gutters without causing roof damage. Leafproof XP not only eliminates your need to clean your gutters each year, it also provides several other benefits to you, as well. Check out these 12 reasons to install LeafProof XP on your home.
- Time. Installing LeafProof saves you time each year that you would otherwise spend cleaning out your gutters.
- Year Round Protection. LeafProof provides an ongoing gutter cleaning solution year round.
- Low Cost. LeafProof is an affordable, premium gutter protection solution.
- No Mess. LeafProof eliminates the mess of gutter cleaning each year.
- Decreased Injury Risk. LeafProof minimizes the risk of ladder injuries and falls.
- Keeps Gutters Clear. LeafProof keeps leaves and other debris from clogging your gutters.
- Easy Installation. LeafProof installs over your existing gutters without damaging your roof.
- Pest Control. LeafProof prevents animal and bird invasions of your home.
- Low Profile. LeafProof installs under the first row of shingles without penetrating your roof.
- Aesthetics. LeafProof blends with your existing gutters and roofline.
- Ice Prevention. LeafProof prevents ice dams from forming in your gutters in the winter.
- Warranty. LeafProof comes with a lifetime warranty.
If you are interested in LeafProof XP fill out the Free Estimate Form here.
Even though we’re well into the winter season, it’s never too late to weatherproof your home. These easy fixes will not only seal up your home and keep it nice and warm, they will also help save you some money on your energy bills this year. Check out these simple winter weatherproofing tips so you’ll be prepared just in case the groundhog DOES see his shadow this year!
Windows And Doors
Check your doors and windows to make sure they are in good repair. Insulate your doors and windows with weatherstripping. Use transparent weather sealant tape for any areas where the weatherstripping will be applied directly to the door or window. This tape can also be used to temporarily seal any cracked windows until you can permanently replace them. Use door sweeps on the bottoms of exterior doors to keep cold air from coming in. You can install them with nails or with adhesive.
Attics And Crawlspaces
Attics and crawlspaces are notoriously cold areas of your home. Thermal accoustical pest control (TAP) insulation is an energy star rated attic insulation that provides several benefits to your home. TAP eases the burden on your heating and cooling systems, making them more efficient and keeping the temperature in your home more consistent throughout the year. TAP also leads to a 20-38% savings on your energy bills AND protects your home against pests including roaches and ants. Finally, TAP is treated with a fire retardant that limits the spread of fire in your home.
Complete CrawlSpace enclosure is another way to weatherproof your home. Enclosing your crawlspace with Complete CrawlSpace increases energy efficiency, prevents mold growth, and completely closes off your crawlspace to pests. This can also save you up to 18% on your energy bills each year.
Most garages aren’t insulated which makes them very chilly spaces in the winter. Install weather sealing strips on the bottom of your garage door. These strips not only keep out cold air but also keep out rain and pests as well.
Outlets And Switches
Outlets and switches on the exterior walls of your home can be a big source of cold air. One solution is to install foam outlet and switch sealers. These can be installed by simply turning off the power, removing the outlet or switch cover, applying the foam sealers, and reinstalling the covers.
Hardwood and tile floors can be especially cold in the winter. Curtains and rugs can make a big difference when it comes to heating your home. if you have drafty windows, hang some heavy curtains to keep the cold air out. Use area rugs on hardwood floors and in bathrooms with tile floors to help keep them warm.
Air conditioning units in walls and windows give a direct path for cold air into your home. One solution is to install a heavy duty polyethylene and vinyl cover that fits around the outside of the unit. You can also wrap the inside grill with plastic sheeting and double sided tape. Consider installing a programmable thermostat which will automate your interior temperature. This can save you up to $200 per year in heating and cooling costs.
Hot Water Heater
Insulate your hot water heater with a water heater insulating blanket. This saves energy by reducing heat that is lost through the sides of the hot water heater by 25-40%. This reduction in heat loss can also lead to savings on your energy bills.
Have you ever wished you could keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer? Have you ever looked at your electricity bill and wished you could lower your payment? Have you wondered if there was something more you could do to keep pests out of your home? What if there was a product out there that could do all of these things and more? TAP (Thermal Acoustical Pest Control) insulation is energy star-rated attic insulation made of 87% recycled newsprint. TAP insulation all of the following benefits for your home:
TAP insulation is like a “blanket for your home.” The fibers in the insulation are dense enough to prevent air flow but still light enough that they can trap heat. This is especially beneficial during the winter months when the air flow from your home is the strongest and you need your insulation to work the best. This also allows you to keep more consistent temperatures in your home throughout all four seasons.
TAP insulation has small air pockets in its interconnected fibers that decrease the amount of sound that is transmitted from fiber to fiber. This decreases the amount of sound that flows through the ceiling, reducing the noise you hear from outside your home.
TAP insulation controls roaches, ants, and other pests. TAP fibers are treated with borate which then sticks to insects as they crawl through the insulation. Once the borate is ingested by the insect, it disrupts the pest’s digestive system and causes it to starve. Borates have a low toxicity for mammals which makes the risk minimal for humans and pets.
Studies show that TAP insulation can save you up to 30% on your annual energy bills. TAP reduces the air flow that leaves your house, helps keep your temperature consistent throughout the year, and makes your HVAC system run more efficiently, all helping to reduce the cost of your energy bills. The Department of Energy website has a calculator that can show you your potential savings on your current energy bill.
TAP insulation is treated with a fire retardant that helps to limit the spread of fire in your home.
TAP insulation is environmentally responsible as it is made from 87.5% post-consumer content and is also Energy Star rated. This not only saves landfill space but also helps conserve the energy used in your home, making it more green.