Imported Red Fire Ants

Imported Red Fire Ants

With the persistent surge of rain in the recent weeks, you might start to notice some unwanted pests arriving in your yard. A particular pest to look out for during this rainy season is the Imported Red Ant. These ants can survive in harsh weather conditions, including floods. The Imported Red Fire Ant or RIFA can not only cause damage to your home but also pose health risks to your family.

These ants are known for their fierce survival methods in harsh conditions. During floods, the RIFA colony can connect to form a ball and float until they reach dry land. When doing this, the RIFAs become hungrier and more aggressive, making them more likely to attack. The RIFA is known to have a painful sting/bite that can be more aggressive than other species of ants. A person is most likely to be stung by multiple RIFAs that causes a raised welt. RIFAs venom is protein based, which can cause a strong allergic reaction.

For homeowners, it’s important to know the places to look to indicate a RIFA nest. Most RIFA nests are located outside in soil or near structural foundations and typically build a dome-shaped mound. These ants can also be found under objects such as stones of the base of a tree. One location that homeowners might not realize RIFAs can invade are HVAC units and electrical boxes. They will usually build their nest right up against them or inside the boxes.

If you end up finding these nests or RIFAs roaming in your home, contact a professional ant control company who can help set up a treatment and control plan for your home. Since RIFAs are known to have a very painful bite, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible.

How Do You Get Rid of Brown Banded Cockroaches?

How Do You Get Rid of Brown Banded Cockroaches?

While they aren’t one of the most common cockroach species that are talked about, the brown banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa) can cause problematic infestations like their German and American counterparts. These roaches are one of the smallest species of invasive cockroaches with adults reaching lengths of about 11 to 14 mm. They are found throughout the United States. Brown banded cockroaches are named because of the light brown or tan double bands found on their bodies. These bands are found on the wings of adults and the bodies of the young. They are often confused with German cockroaches.

What attracts cockroaches is pretty simple: food, shelter, and water. These cockroaches need warm temperatures to survive and will often make their way into your home in search of food and shelter. They most often hitch a ride inside on infested furniture (where they often leave their egg casings), grocery items, deliveries, food products, and electronics. Once inside, they are commonly found in living areas where they have access to food supplies and hiding places. They tend to stay in drier locations that are at higher elevations, such as the upper cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms.

When you spot a cockroach in the house one of the first questions people ask is “are cockroaches dangerous?” The answer to that is yes, they can be. Brown banded roaches will feed on anything from trash and food crumbs to nylon stockings and glue. They are known to carry and spread 33 different bacteria, 6 different parasitic worms, and 7 kinds of human pathogens. They pick up these germs on the spines of their legs and bodies and spread them to any surface they touch. They are also known to trigger allergies and asthma in humans.

Once roaches have taken up residence in your home they can proliferate rapidly. They can be quite difficult to eliminate once they are there. The best way to handle roaches of any species is to prevent them from getting indoors in the first place. Check out these cockroach prevention tips:

  • Properly Identify. The first step in preventing and treating cockroaches is to properly identify the species you are dealing with. Treatment techniques can vary by species. Brown banded cockroaches are not limited to high moisture areas like some other species are so a thorough inspection may be required to properly locate and identify them.
  • Clean It Up. Brown banded cockroaches come indoors in search of food and shelter. Eliminating their food source will help deter them from their food search in your home. Vacuum often. Clean up crumbs and spills immediately. Wash dishes and put them away after meals instead of leaving them in the sink overnight. Store dry foods including pet food in airtight containers. Take the trash out regularly and use garbage cans with sealing lids.
  • Seal Them Out. Roaches can also squeeze through openings smaller than 1/4″ in size. Seal all entrances around utility pipes and vents. Check for cracks in foundations and seal them also. Ventilate crawlspaces to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Call A Professional. Roaches can be extremely difficult to get rid of on your own. If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can thoroughly inspect your home to properly identify the species of roach you are dealing with and help identify potential entry points into your home and then provide you with a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan to help eliminate existing infestations and prevent future ones.

 

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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.

Mouse vs Rat: Can You Spot The Difference?

Mouse vs Rat: Can You Spot The Difference?

Spring makes its own statement loud and clear; the torrential downpours are soon to be here! With rain on the horizon and “social distancing” in full-force, everyone will be spending more time indoors… even pests! The last thing you want to deal with when you’re already stuck inside your home is an unwanted rodent.

There are three main species of rodent that are prevalent in homes, all of which thrive because of their ability to adapt to human environments. These are the house mouse, the Norway rat (also known as the common rat and the brown rat), and the roof rat (also known as the black rat or the ship rat). At first glance there are some commonalities between all rodent species. They all have a pair of incisor teeth in their upper jaw, short legs, long tails, and they all can cause significant damage to both your home and your health. If you look closer, however, you can see several distinguishing features in mice vs rats to help identify which pest you have.

Appearance

House Mouse:

House Mouse
The house mouse is small in size, only about 4 to 6 inches long. In fact, they are often confused with young rats. They are usually light grey, brown, or white in color with lighter shading on their bellies. Mice have large floppy ears and smaller feet and heads than rats. They have triangular snouts with long whiskers. Their tail is proportionally longer than their head and body length.

Norway Rat:

Norway Rat
Norway rats are the biggest of the three species at about 10 inches long. They have thicker bodies with fur that is usually brown with black shading and shaggy in appearance. They have a paler color underneath their tails. Their tail is shorter than the length of their body and head and is usually hairless and scaly. They have small hairy ears and blunt noses.

Roof Rat:

Roof Rat
The roof rat is usually about 8 inches long with slender bodies. They have gray fur with black shading and smooth coats. They have dark tails that are usually hairless and scaly. Their tail is longer than their head and body, similar to a mouse. They have large, thin, hairless ears and pointed noses.

Diet

House Mouse:

The house mouse prefers cereal but will eat almost anything. They kibble their grain when eating it, meaning they remove the outer husk and eat the grain that is inside. They tend to seek out food in the same places which makes baiting them easier. They don’t need to drink water but will consume about 3 mL if it is available.

Norway Rat:

Norway rats also prefer cereals but will eat what is available. They cut their grains when eating, giving them the appearance of being chopped. These rats also tend to seek food in the same places making them easier to bait, as well. They drink about 60 mL of water a day.

Roof Rat:

Roof rats prefer most fruit but will eat other foods, as well. They also cut their grain when eating it, making it look like it has been chopped. They don’t usually eat in the same location on consecutive nights making them much harder to trap. They drink about 30 mL of water per day.

Habitat

House Mouse:

House mice usually live on the ground and nest in burrows. They are quite agile and great climbers. They have smaller footprints than rats do. The grease from their bodies can combine with dirt and urine and build up pillars, a telltale sign of their presence. They will often build their nests in hidden areas near food sources out of any soft material or shredded paper they can find.

Norway Rat:

Norway rats live on the ground and in burrows. They are usually spotted throughout buildings and in sewer systems. Their burrowing can cause extensive damage to sewers. They tend to walk on the pads of their feet and leave continuous smudges on their walking paths from their oily fur.

Roof Rats:

Roof rats are mainly restricted to buildings and structures around ports and on ships in temperate climates. They are quite agile and very good climbers. They tend to nest up high under roofs (hence their name) and in warmer countries will even nest in trees. They tend to walk on their toes and surfaces they travel on will show scattered smudges.

Breeding

The newborns of every rodent species are born blind, hairless and completely dependent on the mother for feeding and protection.

House Mouse:

House mice typically have litters of 4-16 babies. They can have 7 to 8 litters per year. The reach maturity in about 8 to 12 weeks.

Norway Rat:

Norway rats typically have litters of 7 to 8 babies. They can have 3 to 6 litters per year. They reach maturity in about 10 to 12 weeks.

Roof Rat:

Roof rats typically have litters of 5 to 10 babies. They can have 3 to 6 litters per year. They reach maturity in about 7 to 8 weeks.

Habits

House Mouse:

House mice are nocturnal creatures. They are social and territorial and tend to be bolder than rats. They are curious and will explore new things, making them easier to trap. They are skillful climbers and will fit into small holes to access areas of your home you wouldn’t expect. They are weaker than rats and are usually afraid of them as they will kill them. House mice have a musky odor and are color blind.

Norway Rat:

Norway rats are also nocturnal. They are typically fearful and cautious about new things. They don’t explore like mice do. They can climb but prefer to inhabit the lower levels of structures. They are stronger than mice and have been known to gnaw through building materials. They have poor eyesight. Norway rats don’t get along with roof rats and they will often fight to the death.

Roof Rat:

Roof rats are nocturnal. They are skilled climbers and prefer higher levels of structures. They have stronger teeth than mice and can gnaw through building materials. They have poor eyesight. they don’t get along with Norway rats and will often fight them to the death.

Droppings

House Mouse:

House mice droppings are approximately 3 to 8 mm in length. They are often found scattered randomly. They are granular in shape and black in color. They can be found near their nesting areas.

Norway Rat:

Norway rat droppings are dark brown in color. They are tapered, spindle shaped droppings that resemble large grains of rice.

Roof Rats:

Roof rat droppings are long and thin and smaller in size than those of the Norway rat. They are more regular in form with a banana-like curve and pointed ends.

Whether you have mice or rats, rodent feces can cause significant health risks for you and your family. Some common diseases caused by rodent droppings include Hantavirus, bubonic plague, salmonellosis, rat bite fever, and leptospirosis. Rodents are also known chewers and can cause damage to the structure of your home and put you at risk for fires by chewing through wires and cables.

If you suspect you have a rodent problem, contact a licensed pest control company who can help identify whether you have a mouse or a rat, apply safe rodent removal techniques, and make sure you have a comprehensive rodent control and prevention plan going forward.

 

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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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10 Common Myths About Pest Control

10 Common Myths About Pest Control

A myth is defined as a widely held but false belief or idea. While myths are often based on some semblance of the truth, more often than not they are exaggerations or misunderstanding or even outright falsehoods. There are tons of myths regarding pests and pest control, some completely outrageous and others almost believable. Here are 10 of our favorite pest control myths.

1. Bees Can Only Sting Once

You’ve heard this one before. Once a bee stings you it can’t sting you again. This is one of those myths that is partly based in the truth. Honeybees, and ONLY honeybees, can only sting once. Other varieties of bees, wasps, hornets, etc. can sting as many times as they want. So be prepared – just because you’ve been stung once doesn’t mean there aren’t more stings coming along right behind that one.

2. Bees Will Only Attack When Provoked

This is another common myth you’ve probably heard – if you don’t mess with a bee it won’t mess with you. Once again, this is not the case. Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and other stinging insects will sting you if they feel they or their colony are being threatened. This could be something as simple as walking too close to their nest. If a nest is spotted on or near your home, remove it safely or call a professional to remove it for you.

3. Bugs Won’t Come In A Clean House

This is a big misconception in pest control. Just because your house is clean doesn’t mean you are immune to bugs and other pests. While a dirty house can make a pest stay longer, a clean house doesn’t keep them out. Bugs come into a home in search of three things: food, water, and shelter. While an unkempt house can provide more opportunity for these 3 things, a clean house can provide them, as well. What is more important is sealing any entry points that pests can use to access your home.

4. Seeing A Cockroach Means Your House Is Dirty

This myth is similar to #3. Once again, cockroaches will come into your home for 2 main reasons: food and shelter. While they may find these in more abundance in a dirty home, they can also find them in a clean home too. Once a cockroach infestation is established it can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Cockroaches can enter through an opening the size of a quarter so sealing any possible entry points is critical in preventing them.

5. Mosquitoes Only Come Out At Dawn And Dusk

This is another myth that is based in part on the truth. Some species of mosquitoes are more active at dawn and dusk but mosquitoes can be active at all hours as long as there is food available. Best practice is to utilize mosquito prevention techniques anytime you will be outdoors.

6. Bug Zappers Can Eliminate Mosquitoes

This one is blatantly false. Bug zappers use ultraviolet (UV) light to attract insects into its cage. Mosquitoes aren’t attracted to UV light at all so they won’t be anywhere near the bug zapper. Bug zappers also don’t usually have enough power to actually kill the insects it attracts so it can have a reverse effect on insect populations around your home.

7. Mice Love Cheese

We’ve all seen or heard this one, either in a story or on TV. While mice will snack on the crumbs of just about any food, cheese actually isn’t their first choice. They would prefer to snack on foods that are high in sugar like peanut butter, candy, honey, or dried fruit. In fact, chocolate or peanut butter are the best choices to use in a mouse trap.

8. Bed Bugs Can Be Eliminated With DIY Techniques

Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to eliminate once they establish an infestation in your home. They are extremely small and only come out to feed at night, making them very hard to locate and identify. They can also multiply rapidly and can infest a structure very quickly. Because of this, they are extremely difficult to get rid of on your own and most cases require professional treatments to eradicate.

9. Termites Can’t Damage Brick Or Concrete Slab Homes

This is one of the biggest myths of pest control. While termites don’t actually eat brick or concrete, they have no trouble crawling over them to get to the wood beam structures that were used to build your home. For this reason, termites can, in fact, cause significant damage to brick and concrete slab homes.

10. If You Don’t See Any Bugs They Aren’t There

Just because you don’t see any bugs or any damage from them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Termites and carpenter ants can cause damage for months before any signs of their damage become visible. Most infestations are well established before any damage is detected. Bed bugs are also hard to spot and often go unseen but leave devastating signs of their presence behind.

While all of these myths about pest control aren’t true, one thing that is true is prevention is the most effective way to avoid a pest infestation. If you suspect you have a pest control issue, contact a professional pest control company whose technicians are trained in the latest technologies and methods to help identify and eliminate your pest problem.

 

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