Pest control might not be top of mind when it comes to planning for the New Year, but it should be! Get ahead of the game in preventing pests and consider the importance of investing in pest control. Let’s go over some of the top benefits of having a pest control plan.
Preventing Pest Problems Before They Occur
With the help of a pest control company, your home will be set up to properly prevent pests year-round and help to eliminate popular Southeast pests such as mosquitoes, termites, ants, and more. A pest professional will work with you to provide the best plan of action for your home to ensure the health of your property and family going into the new year.
DIY Pest Prevention Tips:
- Clean the Kitchen: After each meal, wipe up any crumbs or spills left on the dining room table, countertops, and stovetop.
- Seal Gaps: Be sure to examine your exterior walls, looking for any cracks and gaps, and sealing them immediately with caulk.
- Eliminate Moisture: Most pests need water to survive, be sure to check around your home for any water leaks and look for dripping faucets.
Dealing with a pest problem in the New Year is never a homeowner’s idea of fun. If you need further assistance with pests, consider reaching out to your local pest control company to get a customized pest control plan for a pest-free year!
Spring marks the beginning of the season for many common household pests. Mice, ants, wasps, roaches, bed bugs, and more increase their activity when the weather warms up. While a pest sneaking into your home here and there is normal, how do you know when it’s time to call in the professionals? Here are 5 signs it may be time to call an exterminator.
The Problem is Intensifying
A random pest sighting here and there in your home is normal. They can sneak in through open doors and windows or through the tiniest gaps and holes in the exterior of your home. They can also hitch a ride on luggage or boxes that are brought in from outside. There is a difference, however, between an occasional sighting and a daily presence. Seeing 2 to 3 ants in your kitchen once isn’t a big deal; seeing a trail of hundreds of ants going from the wall to the pantry is. Seeing one mouse outside in your yard isn’t a big deal; seeing multiple in your home, trapping several, or seeing the presence of droppings is. If the pest problem is escalating, it may be time for an exterminator.
Your Best Efforts Aren’t Working
Once you identify the pest problem, the next step is to try and get rid of them. Many homeowners prefer to try DIY pest control methods first before calling in a pro. If you continue to have a problem with pests despite your best efforts, it may be time to call an exterminator.
Concern for Safety
Pests can pose serious health risks to your family, your pets, and even your home. Termites can cause structural damage that can compromise the integrity of your house. Rodents are known to chew through electrical wires putting you at risk for a fire. Rodent feces contains harmful pathogens that can make your family sick. Cockroaches are known to trigger allergies and asthma. Some homeowners aren’t comfortable using DIY methods or have concerns about using over-the-counter chemicals around their children or pets. For these reasons, it may be time to call an exterminator.
The Problem Requires an Expert
Some pests are nearly impossible to eradicate on your own or require professionals to get rid of them. Bees are protected and must be relocated appropriately. Some bird species are protected, as well, and bird nest removal must be handled professionally. Roaches, termites, and bed bugs can be extremely difficult to eradicate on your own. If you have an issue with any of these pests, it may be time to call an exterminator.
The Signs Are There
When the signs of an infestation become too big to ignore, it may be time to call in a professional. Some common signs of pests in your home include:
- Unusual noises (scratching, flapping, whining, gnawing), especially at night.
- Gnaw or scratch marks on wood, wires, or fabric.
- Feces or urine present in the home.
- Dead pests.
- Live pests.
- Unusual or musty smells.
- The presence of nests.
- Pets start behaving oddly, especially at night.
If you have a problem with any kind of pest, contact a professional pest control company for an inspection to help identify what kind of pest you are dealing with, how they are getting in, and how to get rid of them quickly and safely.
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The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with is an unwanted household pest. Roaches, bed bugs, termites, rodents, and more each bring their own set of problems and damage to both homes and health. Our first instinct is to get rid of these pests quickly and we often go for a DIY route. But what should you know before you dive into DIY pest control?
DIY vs professional pest control is a common debate. One of the most important factors that goes into pest control decisions is cost. Although DIY products typically cost much less then commercial products, they can ultimately cost more in the long run. Most DIY pest control methods are reactive – they aren’t applied until a pest problem is already established. Professional pest control provides preventative treatments to help stop infestations before they start. Even though you may save money on the products, you may end up spending significantly more in treatment and repair costs down the road.
Other factors that go into pest control decisions include effectiveness, expertise, safety, and guarantee. DIY products typically work as “spot treatments,” encompassing a small area where the problem is. They don’t usually cover a large area nor last long enough to control a full blown infestation. Professional products are designed for large scale use, getting into places you may not see pests such as inside walls, crawlspaces, and foundations. Proper identification of the pest you are treating for is critical to elimination. While pest control products are labeled with easy-to-follow instructions, professional pest control technicians are equipped with the most up-to-date technology and techniques to help eliminate a pest infestation. The same is true for safety. DIY products can contain chemicals which are hazardous for humans and/or pets. They may also contain chemicals that the average homeowner isn’t familiar with. Professionals are trained on proper use of these chemicals, reducing the risk to you and your family. They also have green pest control options that can be utilized. Finally, DIY products may contain a manufacturer’s warranty or store guarantee on the product. Professional pest control companies will usually provide a service guarantee where they return between visits (usually at no additional charge) for any pest problems that pop up before service is due again.
If you have evaluated all the angles and decided the DIY approach is best for your situation, here are a few of our favorite DIY pest control tips you can use in your home.
- Make It Less Attractive. Pests are attracted to food, shelter, and water. If you get rid of what they’re attracted to, they’ll be less likely to come inside. Keep your home clean. 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.
- Keep Them Out. Pests can’t infest if they can’t get in. 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.
- Don’t Forget The Outside. Pests have to go through your yard to get into your home. 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.
- Eliminate Moisture. One of the things that attracts pests is water. 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. Repair leaks immediately. Make sure gutters are clear of debris or consider installing gutter guards.
- Use Professionals. Sometimes an infestation can be beyond the scope of DIY 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.
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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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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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Pest control starts at home. By establishing a good line of defense on the home front, you’re less likely to need to mount an offense against those pesky pest invaders. Prevention is key to keeping a small pest problem from becoming a full fledged pest invasion. Here is our guide to home pest control:
Step 1: Maintain Your Landscaping
The fewer pests you have outside your home means less of a chance they will make their way inside your home. Make your yard less hospitable for pests to reduce the likelihood they will move indoors. Keep tree branches and shrubbery trimmed back so they don’t touch your house. This helps eliminate “bridges” they can use to get inside. Mulch is also excellent for sheltering unwanted pests. Consider using a cover that is less attractive like rock. Clean out leaves and other debris from gutters or install gutter guards to help prevent standing water.
Step 2: Inspect the Outside
The best way to keep pests out is to find out how they can get in and eliminate these points of entry. Routinely inspect the entire exterior of your home for gaps, cracks, and crevices. Check foundations, loose siding, missing shingles, and gaps around utility lines (especially pipes, wiring, and cable). Seal any openings you find with either copper mesh, steel wool, sheet metal or mortar. Try not to use expanding caulk because some pests can still chew through this (think rodents!). Keep an eye out for signs of termites including mud tubes, damaged wood, or cracked and bubbling paint. Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles. Replace weather stripping and make sure to repair loose mortar. Use screens on windows, attic vents, and chimney openings.
Step 3: Choose the Right Lightbulbs
Bugs tend to be more attracted to standard mercury vapor lightbulbs. Consider replacing your standard lightbulbs with high pressure sodium vapor or halogen bulbs instead. What the bulbs are made of aren’t the only thing you should consider. Check the color of the lightbulbs, as well. Bulbs with pink, yellow, and orange tints are less attractive to pests.
Step 4: Take Out the Garbage
Garbage attracts pests like rodents, roaches, and even ants. These pests are also attracted to yard waste which can provide them with both a source of food and a nesting site. Use garbage and recycling cans with tight-fitting lids. Make sure to clean both the garbage cans and the area where they sit on a regular basis. Clean up any spills and leftover debris that these pests can feed on. Keep your deck, patio, garage, and yard clear of leaf litter, clippings, and standing water. Rinse all the food off anything you are recycling before putting them in the bin. Store your cans outside whenever possible.
Step 5: Check the Interior
Inspections shouldn’t be limited to outside the home. The interior needs to be inspected regularly, as well. While inspecting, make sure to look under, inside, and behind cabinets, the refrigerator, and the stove for signs of household pests. Look for gaps around pipes, vents, and cables and in the trim. If you find any gaps, seal them up, especially if they are 1/4″ in size or bigger. Check for moisture under sinks and repair leaky pipes, Use a dehumidifier in crawlspaces, attics, and basements.
Step 6: Empty the Drains
Drains in the sink, tub, shower, and floor can hold moisture and accumulate debris and gunk. This not only attracts pests but also provides them with the ideal environment to breed in. Inspect and clean all your drains on a regular basis, including those in the laundry room and basement.
Step 7: Establish a Cleaning Routine
Establishing a regular cleaning routine helps keep your home clean, making it less attractive to pests. Keep food stored in containers with tight fitting lids or resealable bags. Never leave open food out overnight. Keep the pantry cleaned out regularly to get rid of spoiled food and other items. These steps will help eliminate pantry pests. Wipe down countertops daily and keep ripe fruit in the fridge. Wash dishes or load the dishwasher nightly and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Sweep, vacuum, and mop on a regular basis, as well. This not only disturbs the areas that pests may frequent but also helps eliminate crumbs and debris that can serve as a food source.
Step 8: Remember Your Pets
Pets aren’t immune to pest problems. Not only can pests hitch a ride inside on your pets, but their food and water also serve as attractants. Keep your pet’s food and water bowls clean and clean up any spilled food and water immediately. Launder your pet’s bedding in hot water every week. Store pet food in a sealable container. Per your vet’s recommendations, use appropriate flea and tick prevention as needed.
A small pest problem can escalate quickly; but with this handy guide to home pest control, you can take the necessary steps to prevent a pest infestation. If your pest problem has gotten out of control or you want a little extra help from a pro, contact a professional pest control company for a complete inspection and treatment plan.
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