Where Did These Ants Come From?

Where Did These Ants Come From?

Ants are the #1 nuisance pest in America. They are one of the most challenging pests to control, along with bed bugs, because their colonies can number in the 1000s. Ants are considered commercial pests because they like to live close to people and eat the same things that we do. Ants can be seasonal pests or a year-round problem depending on the species. They will often enter our homes in the warmer months of the year in search of water and food. Most species, including fire ants and odorous house ants, will build their nests outdoors and come inside in search of food that they will collect and take back to their colonies. Other species like carpenter ants will actually make their way into your home and build their nests indoors. Ants are often found near food sources, moisture, and in hidden areas where they have protection and concealment such as wall voids, under floors, behind window frames, and under appliances. Ants in the bathroom and ants in the kitchen are the two most common scenarios when these pests make their way into your home, although they can be found in other rooms, as well.

Regardless of the species, when ants become a problem in your home it is often necessary to use a professional pest control company to help get them under control. Here are some important aspects to any successful ant control program:

1. Proper Identification

One of the most important components to any ant control program is to properly identify the species of ant you are dealing with. Different species have different behaviors, prefer different environments, and have different diets so treatment will vary greatly between them. It is important to know where to find them and how to treat them to ensure success in eliminating and controlling them.

2. Eliminate Food Sources

One of the main reasons ants come into your home is in search of food to take back to their colony. Eliminating things that attract them can help keep them from taking over your home. Clean up any food crumbs from kitchen floors and countertops and wipe them down frequently. Clean your appliances regularly. Empty your trash routinely and wipe the cans down. Clean outdoor grills and remove crumbs from tables, decks, and patios after each use. Keep foods, including pet food, in sealed containers. Place a bay leaf in canisters of dry food (such as flour) as the scent repels ants and other pantry pests. Rinse any empty containers before placing them in recycling bins. Get rid of any overripe fruit as this will attract ants, as well.

3. Eliminate Moisture

Ants need moisture to survive. Eliminating or reducing the moisture in your home can help prevent ants from coming inside. Repair any leaks around pipes and in your roof. Check gutters to make sure they are not clogged and ensure downspouts are directing rainwater away from foundations. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs. Thoroughly clean bathrooms with disinfectant cleaners and make sure shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles are closed tightly and don’t have any leaks.

4. Eliminate Points of Entry

In order to get into your home, ants have to have a way inside. It is important to identify where they are gaining entry into your home to successfully control and eliminate them. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home and seal any holes, gaps, and cracks especially around areas where pipes and wires enter your home. Trim back shrubs and tree branches so they are not touching the sides or roof of your home. Keep mulch and timber at least 2 feet from your foundation. Move debris such as firewood, rock piles, boards, etc away from your home. Remove any tree stumps, fallen tree branches and logs from your yard. Repair any holes in window and door screens and replace weatherstripping.

As always, if you suspect you have an ant problem, contact a professional ant control company who can help you properly identify the species of ant you have and set you up with a thorough and comprehensive treatment and control plan.

 

Oh The Places Pests Will Go

Oh The Places Pests Will Go

We know pests try to make their way into our homes, but when we see one outside of the comfort of our home we often feel a loss of control or panic. We hold businesses, hospitals, and food establishments to a higher standard due to the nature of their industries.

Because of the work they do for their customers and their communities, it is even more important for these industries to have a good, ongoing relationship with a local pest control company to ensure guests and customers feel comfortable and pest-free.

Food Service

With the ever-changing food regulations designed to keep patrons safe, it is important to have a tight-knit partnership with a licensed pest control professional. Pest infestations can lead to hefty fines from health departments, increased food costs due to contaminated food, and in worse cases, the closure of the business. Pest prevention procedures and proper sanitation education for staff is essential in keeping your establishment free from pests and your reputation intact.

Healthcare

Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities have high standards of sanitation due to the sensitive environment for patients. Pest infestations can pose serious health threats by spreading bacteria through contamination of hospital rooms and equipment. A well-detailed pest prevention plan is crucial in keeping patients and staff healthy and safe.

Lodging/Hospitality

Reputation drives the hospitality industry and with review sites increasing in visibility and reach, one negative review can cause a bigger impact than 10 positive ones. Nothing can be more damaging to a business than a negative review detailing a pest encounter. A relationship with a local pest control company will not only protect customers from pest infestations but also protect the reputation of your business.

Commercial pest control is a science that requires a strong partnership between the business and their local pest control company. An individualized plan is critical in protecting your important investment. If you do not already have a long-standing relationship with a pest professional, give your local company a call to set up an inspection.

Pests and Your Home’s Value

Pests and Your Home’s Value

It’s the end of the year and as you put together your list of New Year’s resolutions, some simple home repairs might need to make the cut. What you may not realize is that pests could have been quietly chipping away at your home’s value throughout the year.  Here are some things to look for and steps to take to preserve the integrity of your home.

  • Decks/Foundations/Roof: Decks can attract wood-boring and wood-destroying insects like beetles, carpenter bees, and termites. Lumber should be pre-treated to prevent pests from compromising the safety of your deck. Inspecting the exterior of your home is essential to keeping your home safe from pest damage. Seal all cracks found and talk to your pest professional about a preventative treatment plan. Branches close to your home’s roof can present an opportunity for pests such as termites and carpenter ants to enter your home. Trimming the branches back will not only help cut off access but also help prevent future damage.
  • Wires & VentsRodents pose the biggest risk to the integrity of the electrical wiring in your home. According to investigative reports, rodents may be responsible for up to 25% of house fires that end up labeled as an “unknown origin”. Work with your pest professional to locate entry points and seal them. Insects and wildlife will look to make use of ducts that lead to exterior vents. In the case of dryer vents, a damper opens for exiting air and then promptly closes, cutting off access. For an added precaution, caulk around vents to further prevent invasions.
  • Chimneys & Gutters: Delaying the cleaning of your home’s gutters could lead to pest harborage sites. Investing in gutter guards to prevent clogs and standing water will help to cut down on breeding sites and eliminate access points into your home. All chimneys need an exit for smoke; while this is good for the health of your home, this exit presents an opportunity for pests and wildlife to make their way inside. Installing a chimney cap allows for smoke to escape and keeps any unwanted visitors from coming in.

Making these adjustments can help you enjoy your home without the pests and the critters. Reach out to your local pest control company to schedule an inspection and to work out a preventative treatment plan to help keep your home safe.

6 Things You Should Know About Ants in the Kitchen

6 Things You Should Know About Ants in the Kitchen

Ants are the most commonly reported pest in the country. While ants can be found just about anywhere in your home, the kitchen and bathroom are the most common rooms they are spotted in. Tiny black ants, also known as “nuisance ants,” or “odorous house ants,” invade your kitchen in search of food and water. While these nuisance pests are quite common, you may not know much about them. Here are 6 things you should know about these ants in your kitchen.

1. They Don’t Cause Damage

Ants don’t typically live indoors but instead establish colonies around your property. They will then make their way indoors in search of food and water. While odorous house ants can be quite a nuisance when they invade your kitchen, they don’t pose any significant risk to humans or their homes. These ants will feed on food and drink, especially sugary, sweet items and are attracted to crumbs and spills usually found in your kitchen. They don’t, however, bore through wood or cause structural damage to your home.

2. You Can Usually Follow The Source

Ants in the kitchen are usually coming from somewhere and traveling to somewhere. If you follow their trail in both directions you can usually identify the food source that is attracting them. Cleaning up the spill or eliminating the food source will typically eliminate the ant problem. Ants can squeeze through openings the size of a pinhole, however, so while sealing up any entry points you find is a good idea, don’t be surprised if they make their way in again in the future.

3. Ants Are Seasonal

Like most pests, ants are seasonal and incidences typically ebb and flow. Ants most commonly spike in the spring and summer when the weather warms up. This increase in temperature also increases their activity, driving them indoors in droves. They are also much more common following unseasonably warm winters. This is also swarming ant season which also increases their activity.

4. Ants Can Communicate

Ants are very social and have developed communication methods between each other. Ants can communicate through touch and through shared food. This communication helps them to avoid repellent remedies. Repellents like chalk that are placed in a line are often avoided by ants who just go around them. Spraying them with repellents will kill a few on contact but will typically just repel the rest, causing them to scatter but not die. A professional can treat ants with non-repellent products that they will take back to their colonies and disseminate among the entire population.

5. Identification Is Key

Different species of ants are attracted to different things and are treated in different ways. Proper identification is key to complete elimination. If you have an ant problem, try not to kill them all yourself because then your pest control company cannot identify them accurately. Best practice is to either leave them alone or try to collect samples by using tape to pick up a few and placing them in a Ziploc bag.

6. Ants Can Be Difficult To Control

Ant control is difficult as they can get into your home through the tiniest of openings. Most ants are just a nuisance and can be gotten rid of by sealing your food and keeping spills and crumbs cleaned up. This does not, however, get rid of the colonies lurking outside your home waiting to get back in in search of food. If you suspect you have an ant problem or are having difficulty getting rid of an existing ant problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help properly identify the species of ant and provide the appropriate ant control techniques.

 

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Keeping Pests Away From Your Holiday Treats

Keeping Pests Away From Your Holiday Treats

As the holidays near, the time you spend in your kitchen increases. However, while you stock up on your holiday baking essentials, you could be providing stored product pests, or “pantry pests”, with their own holiday feast. Here are a few tips to keep your kitchen free of these unwelcome guests:

  • Pantry pests, like Indian Meal Moths, are attracted to items such as flour, oats, spices, and dry cereal. When completing your holiday shopping for these types of items, be sure to inspect packages and confirm that they are sealed properly. Once you have opened these items, look to store them in plastic or glass containers with secure lids, cutting off access for pantry pests.
  • Rodents can cause major issues for the health of you and your family. They can 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, keep your cabinets, pantries, and counters clean and free of crumbs and dispose of expired foods.
  • Check any existing open items in your pantry for signs of pantry pests before adding new items to avoid spreading an infestation.

No one invited these pests to your holiday party in the first place, so taking these precautions can help you enjoy the holiday baking and time with your loved ones. If you think you are having an issue with stored product pests, call your local licensed pest control company to schedule an inspection so you can get back to the sweet smells of the holidays.

How to Deal With Moles This Winter

How to Deal With Moles This Winter

A very common misconception is that moles hibernate during the winter. This is, in fact, not true. Moles do not hibernate and are quite active during the winter months. They actually remain active all winter long, continuing to dig and eat voraciously. Moles are omnivores that prefer to feast on grubs, earthworms, and other bugs. As the soil freezes, moles move from tunneling near the surface to digging deeper in the ground. When the weather starts to warm, the moles will tunnel closer and closer to the surface as the soil thaws and becomes easier to navigate.

Moles can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden. Moles cause dead grass patches because their tunneling disrupts the root system of grass. This creates patches that often start out yellow and eventually turn a light tan color. They also push soil and grass up as they dig, creating random mole hills across your yard. While these are easy to spot in the summertime, they can often go undetected in the winter months, giving you less opportunity to identify and eliminate them early. Because of this, it is important to take precautionary measures early before the winter season sets in. Here are some steps you can take for mole prevention this winter.

Keep It Dry

Overuse of sprinklers and irrigation systems can lead to saturated, loose soil – an ideal environment for moles. This loose soil is much easier to tunnel through and is often rich with earthworms and grubs, making it a literal feast for moles. Heavy rainfall can also create these conditions so it is important to be vigilant after storms. Limit watering unless necessary.

Lay Mulch Later

Mulch is a very effective insulator for plants during cold weather. While we are usually inclined to go ahead and mulch before the cold weather sets in, this creates an insulated environment for moles, as well as your plants. Instead of installing mulch in early fall, try to wait until after the first frost. Hopefully by that point, moles and other pests have established themselves in a more hospitable environment than in your yard.

Install Barriers

Physical barriers can be very effective at preventing more damage to flowerbeds and trees. These barriers can be in the form of hardware cloth liners in the bottom and sides of flowerbeds or across the top of the bed to prevent digging or wrapped around the base of trees. By preventing them from digging you can limit the damage inflicted and hopefully encourage them to move on to another yard.

Utilize Natural Predators

Cats, snakes, and birds of prey are the most common natural predators of moles. Cats are especially notorious for pest prevention and rodent control around properties. If you don’t already have a cat, you may consider adopting one to roam your property and provide you with free pest control. Although it may be difficult, reconsider killing that snake you find on your property as they are also excellent at controlling rodent and other pest populations.

Eliminate Food Sources

As mentioned above, moles prefer to feed on earthworms, grubs, and other insects. In fact, mole problems often arise because of underlying grub problems. Be proactive in eliminating grubs and other pests from your yard to help control mole populations, as well.

Call A Professional

The cliche of “making a mountain out of a mole hill” isn’t far from the truth. Mole problems can manifest quickly into mole infestations and they can be extremely difficult to control and eliminate. Consider contacting a professional pest control company and setting up ongoing pest control services as these scheduled visits can help identify mole problems early and help resolve your mole issue quickly.

 

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