Predictions for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season have come in from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During what they are calling a “near-normal” season, the Southeast region could see 9-15 major storms, 4-8 hurricanes, and 2-4 mega-hurricanes. Storms and heavy rains can lead to an explosion in pest populations after these weather systems are long gone. From clogged gutters to excess moisture in and around your home, your property needs protection from storm damage. Follow these tips to prepare and protect your home in case the weather takes a turn for the worst.
- Windows on your property should be reinforced before the impending weather makes landfall. While you’re at it, look to also replace old weather-stripping and seal all cracks and crevices. Pests will seek out your home for shelter after being flooded out of their nests and will use these entry points to gain access inside.
- Once the storm makes its way further inland, your home will be left surrounded by standing water. This is when mosquito populations will thrive as the standing water provides the perfect breeding site. Eliminate all areas of standing water and look to invest in gutter protection to promote proper drainage.
- Should you experience prolonged power outages, all spoiled food should be removed from the home and stored in trash bins as far from the home as possible. Any waste or clutter can attract flies and rodents, so organizing all trash piles away from the home is crucial.
Once the clouds have cleared and you find that you have an issue with pests post-storm, contact your local, licensed pest control company for an inspection of your home. They can pinpoint areas of damage that can lead to more pest issues down the road.
Cockroaches thrive in environments where they have adequate sources of three things: food, shelter, and water. Oftentimes our homes provide ample amounts of each of these which is what attracts cockroaches. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that 63% of all homes in the US have cockroaches even if the homeowner doesn’t realize they are there.
There are more than 4000 species of cockroaches worldwide. They are nocturnal pests and extremely versatile, adapting to almost any environment, making their populations extremely difficult to control. Roaches can survive up to a week without their heads and up to 30 days without food.
While roaches are nuisance pests in your home and quite unsightly when you stumble across one unexpectedly, are they dangerous to humans? Can they make you sick? Let’s answer these questions and more:
Do Roaches Bite/Sting?
While bites from roaches are extremely rare, they are, in fact, possible. Roaches are typically not aggressive pests and tend to flee rather than fight when faced with a predator. There have been rare instances, however, where roach bites did occur, most often when humans were sleeping or pets were too weak or debilitated to brush them off. Roaches don’t produce any form of poison and cannot sting.
Where Are Roaches Found?
Roaches come from areas that harbor bacteria, such as bathrooms, drains, and dumpsters. They feed on garbage, breed in sewage, and excrete waste over every surface they touch. Roaches are excellent hiders and particularly favor moist and confined areas. Roaches are thigmotropic which means they want to feel contact on all sides of their bodies. Because of this, roaches are commonly found nesting under sinks, in wall cracks, in drains, around water heaters, behind appliances, in cupboards and pantries, under stacks of paper and cardboard, and under undisturbed furniture.
Are Roaches Harmful to Human Health?
Roaches carry pathogens and microorganisms that can cause disease in humans. In fact, up to 30 different species of bacteria have been discovered on cockroaches. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that roaches can carry pathogens that cause a variety of diseases including gastroenteritis (with diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), dysentery, cholera, leprosy, typhoid fever, plague, poliomyelitis, and salmonellosis. Roaches can also exacerbate asthma and allergies through their saliva, feces, and shedding body parts. Roaches produce a protein that can trigger allergic reactions in humans. In fact, studies have shown that about 26% of the US population is sensitive to the German cockroach allergen.
How Can I Prevent Roaches?
- Seal any cracks around your home.
- Repair any water leaks.
- Remove any sources of standing water.
- Try not to overwater houseplants.
- Wipe down your kitchen counters after every meal.
- Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
- Wipe down your stove after cooking.
- Sweep daily and vacuum weekly.
- Keep firewood and compost as far away from your home as possible.
- Keep your grass and landscaping neat and tidy.
Roaches can be incredibly difficult to control and eliminate. If you have a roach problem, contact a professional pest control company or schedule a free pest inspection now. A pest control technician can thoroughly inspect your home to identify not only where and how roaches are getting into your home, but also the specific type of roaches to better treat and eliminate them, keeping the health of you and your family intact.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Fact or Fiction: Rats Can Make You Sick
Pest Control: Which Pests Are Active in Your Area?
Is Your Hotel on the Bed Bug Registry?
Why Termite Control is Valuable to Your Home
Keep Wildlife in the Wild, Not in Your Home
Summer is here and as the temperatures are ramping up and the summer storms roll in, new pests are taking advantage of the conditions and becoming more active.
Let’s check which summer pests are stirring up trouble in your neck of the woods.
Yellow Fever Mosquitoes:
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1 and storms will start to occur more frequently. This excessive moisture will lead to areas of standing water which are the perfect breeding sites for yellow fever mosquitoes. To help prevent mosquitoes this summer, try to:
- Eliminate areas of standing water around your home.
- Utilize insect-repellant that contains DEET.
Swarming season for carpenter ants is typically from May through August. Just like yellow fever mosquitoes, carpenter ants need water for survival and will be drawn to your home if there is excess moisture. To keep ants out of your home this summer try to:
- Seal cracks and openings around your home to keep carpenter ants from entering.
- Cut tree branches back away from your home as this is how carpenter ants can gain access.
Formosan termites are sometimes called “super termites,” as they are known to be very aggressive. Formosans can chew through wood, floors, and even wallpaper without being detected. A few ways to prevent termites and their subsequent damage are to:
Pests are a hassle but preparation and treatment are key in stopping them in their tracks. Call to schedule a free home inspection and start your journey to a pest-free home.
FACT. Rats are one of the most common pest issues homeowners face. Rats are known for being destructive by gnawing on structures in and around your home including utility pipes, wood structures, and wiring. In addition to the structural damage rats can cause, it is also possible for rats to pose serious health risks to humans. Diseases caused by rats can be transmitted through bites or scratches. Rat feces illness can be transmitted to humans through rat droppings and urine left around your home. Humans can also get sick through contaminated food caused by rats running across countertops where food is later prepared.
Just how sick can rats make you? Here are some common rat-borne diseases found in the United States.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a viral illness spread by deer mice, cotton rats, rice rats, and white-footed mice. HPS is spread by direct contact with rodents or their urine and feces, by breathing in dust contaminated with urine or droppings, or by bite wounds. Symptoms in the first phase of the virus include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headache, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The symptoms then progress to coughing and shortness of breath. HPS is a severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease with a 38% mortality rate. There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for hantavirus infection.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread by rodents worldwide by either eating or drinking food and water contaminated with urine or contact through the skin or mucous membranes with water or soil that is contaminated with urine. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death. Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, and rash. The symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses. If not treated, the second phase of symptoms includes kidney or liver failure or meningitis. The disease lasts between 1 and 3 weeks. Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics.
Rat-bite fever is a bacterial illness spread by rats and possibly mice. The disease occurs worldwide and is spread through bites or scratches from an infected rodent, contact with a dead rodent, or eating or drinking food and water that is contaminated by rat feces. If not treated, RBF can be a serious or even fatal disease. RBF is not spread from one person to another. The early symptoms of RBF can be similar to the symptoms of other medical conditions. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, headaches, vomiting, joint pain, and rash. If the illness progresses, more severe complication can arise such as abscesses, hepatitis, kidney infections, pneumonia, meningitis, or infections in the heart. RBF is treated with antibiotics.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease found worldwide that is spread by rats and mice. Salmonellosis is spread through eating or drinking food and water that is contaminated by rat feces. Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the Salmonella bacteria. Although commonly spread when a person eats contaminated food, the bacteria also can be passed between people and animals. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. Salmonella infections in people usually resolve within 5-7 days, and most do not require treatment other than drinking plenty of fluids. People with severe diarrhea may need to spend time in a hospital getting rehydrated with intravenous fluids.
Rat-borne diseases can cause serious and sometimes fatal illnesses in humans. The best way to avoid these diseases is to prevent rats from infesting your home in the first place. Here are some common home rat prevention tips:
- Put A Lid On Your Trash: If possible, use trashcans made of metal with snug fitting lids. If you must use plastic, make sure there are no holes in it.
- Don’t Leave Pet Food Out: Store pet food and birdseed in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Make sure to remove them at night and store them away until morning. Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit or nuts off the ground outside your home, as well. Remove standing water from bird feeders.
- Elevate Your Compost: Raise your compost container at least 1 foot off the ground.
- Keep Your Garage Clean: Rodents like to eat lawn seed, tulip bulbs, bone meal, and other items frequently used in gardening. Make sure they are stored in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Keep firewood a good distance from the house. Organize and store boxes in the garage off the ground to eliminate nesting places.
- Clean The Kitchen: Keep food stored in tightly sealed containers. Clean up spilled food and crumbs nightly.
- Keep Your Home Maintained: Make sure openings around your home are properly sealed. Keep your gutters clear of debris and water. Screen your attic vents. Keep screens on windows and doors in good repair and replace when needed.
- Call A Pro: If you suspect you have a rodent problem, call a professional pest control company or a professional wildlife removal company who can evaluate your home and provide you with a comprehensive treatment and exclusion plan.
Request a Free Wildlife Control Estimate
You May Also Be Interested In:
The Dos and Donts of Bird Nest Removal
When Should You Be Concerned About A Spider Bite?
Is Green Pest Control Worth The Investment?
Millipedes or Centipedes?
Protect Yourself From Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Disease
Did you know that an initial pest control inspection and treatment is just the beginning of your journey to a pest-free home? What comes next depends on the communication and joint efforts between your exterminator and you. This partnership is essential in your journey to staying worry-free and keeping your home free of any unwanted pests.
One of the actions your pest control professional will take is to make a list of environment modifications that will work in tandem with treatments performed in and around your home. Here’s a few examples of the steps they may outline to take your pest control further:
- Keep vegetation away from your home. Cut back limbs and branches to ensure pests do not utilize them to enter your home.
- Place indoor trash cans as far away from doors and windows as possible and be sure to remove trash from the home daily.
- Invest in door sweeps, window screens, and weather-stripping. This will help to eliminate entry points for pests.
- Put dirty dishes away in dishwashers immediately to avoid a build-up of dishes in the sink.
- Store items such as oats, sugar, flour, etc., in airtight containers to keep pantry pests away.
- Seal any cracks and crevices found around your home, focusing especially in bathrooms and kitchens where standing water can attract pests.
These simple tasks may seem insignificant but, in reality, they could be the difference between being pest-free and having an infestation. Should you have any lingering concerns, reach out to your local pest company, and they can work with you to adjust your Integrated Pest Management plan.
One of the most common questions that arises when a spider is found in a home is “is that spider poisonous?” That’s a trick question. Most spiders are poisonous, yet only a handful are venomous. Poisonous spiders release their toxins when they are inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the tissue or skin; in other words, they’re only harmful if you eat them. Venomous spiders, on the other hand, inject their toxin with a fang-like apparatus known as a chelicerae. These are the spiders you should be worried about and avoid contact with.
While there are more than 20 species of spiders in Georgia, there are only 2 that are known to be dangerous to humans: the black widow and the brown recluse. Like most common spiders, biting humans is a last line of defense. They are more likely to flee, hide, or even play dead rather than bite a human. It takes a long time for a spider to replenish his supply of venom after he injects it. Most will only use this defense mechanism if they have no other choice. Wasting venom on a human can even cause the spider to starve to death before his supply is replenished as he will have no means to kill any prey he catches.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the venomous spider species in Georgia, as well as some general tips to prevent spiders from getting into your home.
The black widow spider is considered to be the most venomous spider in North America. It is only the female black widow, however, that is dangerous to humans. Black widows are a red and black spider that is usually about 1.5 inches long with a shiny, globular abdomen and a reddish hourglass shape on its underside. While they are mostly black in color, they can sometimes be brown. The venom of a black widow spider is reportedly 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. While black widow bites can be fatal to the young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, most victims suffer no serious or long term damage from the bite. Black widows are not aggressive and bites commonly occur as a result of accidental contact. Common symptoms from a black widow bite include redness, swelling and tenderness at the site of the bite, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes paralysis of the diaphragm which can cause difficulty breathing.
The brown recluse spider is also known as the violin spider or the fiddleback spider. The brown recluse is a light brown spider with a dark, violin-shaped marking on its back with the neck of the violin pointing toward the rear of the spider. They also have a very distinctive eye pattern with a semi-circular arrangement of 6 eyes (3 sets of 2) while most spider species have 8 eyes. Adult brown recluses are about the size of a quarter. They usually live outdoors under rocks, woodpiles, logs, etc. but are also well adapted to living indoors with humans. Once inside they are commonly found in attics, garages, basements, and are even known to wander into shoes, clothing, and bedding. They hunt at night and retreat to dark, secluded places in the daytime. The brown recluse is typically not aggressive and usually only bite when they are inadvertently trapped against human skin (rolling over on them in the bed or slipping your foot into a shoe they have crawled into for hiding). While bites are rare they can cause serious wounds and infections. The majority of bites remain localized, becoming red, swollen and tender at the site of the bite. If left untreated, a necrotic lesion may develop, usually accompanied by a central blister.
Keep your garages, attics, sheds, basements, and other areas that aren’t utilized often clean and clear of clutter. Try to avoid leaving clothing and shoes on the floor and store them in plastic bins if possible. Shake out any clothing that has been left on the floor or in a hamper before wearing or washing.
Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Spiders can get in through damaged window screens or cracks in your siding. Inspect the outside of your home seasonally and make any repairs necessary.
Inspect any items that are brought from outdoors into your home. This includes any packages delivered to your porch or steps, groceries that may be placed on the driveway or porch as you are unloading, boxes of decorations being brought in from storage, or used appliances that are bought secondhand.
Contact a licensed pest control company if you suspect you have a spider problem. A professional pest control technician can inspect the exterior and interior of your home to help identify any possible entry points, identify the type of spiders and other pests you may be having issues with, and properly, safely, and effectively treat any pest problems they may encounter.
Request a Free Estimate to Get Started.
You May Also Be Interested In:
Avoid Bites and Stings This Summer
Is Pest Control Worth It?
The Summer Big Three: Roaches, Mosquitoes, & Termites
Granddaddy Longlegs Aren’t Spiders
5 Ways to Prevent A Millipede Invasion