Have a Pest-Free New Year

Have a Pest-Free New Year

With the new year here, many of us begin to think of our latest New Year’s resolutions and goals. If you’re like most, saving money could be at the top of your resolution list. While pest proofing doesn’t always come to mind when wanting to save money, it can help in the long run with both cost and stress. Here are 5 simple steps you can take when pest-proofing your home in the coming year.

Clean the Kitchen

Pests come into homes looking for food, shelter, and water. It’s essential to keep your home, especially your kitchen, clean to help eliminate the chance of a pest infestation. After each meal, wipe up any crumbs or spills left on the dining room table, countertops, and stovetop. Consider storing the pantry food in air-tight plastic containers. Always dispose of your garbage regularly throughout the week and use garbage cans with tightly sealed lids.

Seal Gaps

Household pests such as mice, cockroaches, and rats can easily sneak inside your home through the smallest gap or opening. It’s important to inspect all the exterior walls of your home, looking for any cracks and gaps, and sealing them immediately with caulk. Take a closer look at where your utilities and pipes come into the house, as well, for any gaps and holes.

Eliminate Moisture

Pests need water to survive and if they find it in a particular spot, they will keep coming back to it. Check around your home for any water leaks and look for loose fixtures or dripping faucets. Even the smallest amount of standing water can attract pests like mosquitoes or termites. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to help control and reduce moisture throughout your home, all while saving money on energy bills.

Prevent Outdoor Pests

Not only should you pest-proof inside your home, but you should always pest-proof outside too. Look around your yard and get rid of any dead bushes and branches. Make sure to rake up all the leaves from your yard too. Trim back tree limbs hanging over your roof, as pests like squirrels or raccoons will use them to gain access to your attic.

Move Your Firewood

Did you know that some pests will inhabit your stored firewood? Pests like cockroaches and termites will often use firewood for shelter, hitching rides into your home via the logs. To avoid this type of infestation, keep your firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevate it if possible. Before you bring the firewood inside to use, make sure to inspect it and brush it off.

Dealing with a pest problem is never a great way to start the New Year. If you need further assistance in pest prevention or already have an existing pest problem, consider reaching out to your local pest control company where they will inspect your home and set you up with a treatment and prevention plan.

What Every Homeowner Should Know About DIY Pest Control

What Every Homeowner Should Know About DIY Pest Control

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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Why Do I Have Centipedes?

Why Do I Have Centipedes?

Centipedes are a common household pest. Although they range in color, the most common species are grayish-yellow with dark stripes. Most centipedes grow up to 1″ long although the largest species has been recorded at a whopping 6″ in length. Each body segment on a centipede contains a pair of legs and they can range anywhere from 15 pairs to 177 pairs. They also have hairy antennae which they can use to detect their prey. Centipedes can move fast – up to 16 inches per second!

Centipedes can be found in a variety of climates – desert, temperate, wetlands, and even forests. Like most pests, they are in search of three things: food, moisture, and warm shelter. For this reason they will often make their way into your home. Centipedes thrive in dark, cool, damp environments that are close to a food source. They can often be found under rocks, logs, and under debris. They are nocturnal, coming out at night to search for prey that includes beetles, roaches, crickets, spiders, worms, and silverfish. Unlike their millipede cousins, they do not eat wood or decaying material.

Centipedes will make their way indoors through drains, holes, cracks, gaps, and poorly sealed windows and doors. Once inside, they are commonly found inside cement walls, in boxes, under clutter, in drains, and under sinks in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. What makes centipedes take up refuge inside your home? Centipedes are attracted to homes by three major things:

  1. Food Sources: Centipedes feed on other pests that are commonly found in and around your home. An infestation of roaches, ants, spiders, or other insects provides a feast for incoming centipedes.
  2. Heat: While centipedes typically prefer to stay outdoors, drought or cold weather can send them indoors in search of warmth. Heated homes provide the ideal environment for overwintering pests to come indoors.
  3. Moisture: Centipedes love moist environments. Leaks and standing water will draw in these pests, along with many of their friends.

While centipedes are capable of biting and injecting venom (which they use to subdue their prey), they rarely bite humans and, when they do, their bites don’t usually puncture the skin. Centipedes are considered beneficial to have around since they help keep other pest populations in check.

Centipedes can be prevented by getting rid of the things that are attracting them in the first place. Seal any cracks, holes, and gaps in foundations and around doors and windows. Repair any leaks and get rid of standing water. Keep piles of wood and leaves away from your home. Declutter your house, garage, and basement. Keep pests under control with routine pest control service.

If you have a problem with centipedes or any other pests, contact your local pest control company for a comprehensive analysis to help identify any pest problems and recommend the most appropriate treatment options.

 

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DIY Pest Control Tips for Household Pests

DIY Pest Control Tips for Household Pests

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.

Ants

Ants
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

Birds
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

Cockroaches
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

Termites
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

Rodents
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 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.

Spiders

Spiders
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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Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous?

Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous?

Daddy long legs, also known as harvestmen, belong to the arachnid family but they aren’t, in fact, spiders. They are cousins of spiders, mites, and scorpions. There are several differences between harvestmen and spiders. One of the most prominent is that harvestmen have one pair of eyes while spiders have 8 pairs of eyes. Harvestmen also cannot spin silk to make webs, so they can’t capture their food like spiders do. They have to ambush their prey instead.

Daddy long legs are omnivores and mostly eat spiders, earthworms, and other insects. When their food supply is limited, however, they will scavenge for whatever they can find like dead insects, insect eggs, and even decaying plants. In fact, these creatures are considered beneficial to have around your house and garden because they eat both garden and household pests.

Harvestmen prefer dark, moist environments so they are most often found in basements, crawlspaces, and garages. They have a unique ability to escape their predators by two different means: they can detach their legs (which will continue to twitch for up to an hour after they fall off) to trick their predators and escape; and they can also secrete a foul-smelling, bad-tasting chemical to deter their attackers.

Now you’ve found a daddy long legs inside your house. Should you be worried? Are these pests poisonous? It is important to distinguish the difference between poisonous and venomous. Poisonous pests cause harm when they are touched or ingested. Venomous pests cause harm by injecting venom through a bite. Although harvestmen do have fangs (also called chelicerae), they are primarily used to grasp and chew food. These arachnids are not known to bite humans and are not considered dangerous to either the health or structure of your home.

Because harvestmen are considered beneficial pests, it’s ok to leave them be if you find them lurking around your house. If you just can’t stomach the thought of sharing your personal space with them, the best way to get rid of them is to sweep or vacuum them up. If you have a problem with any other pests, contact a professional pest control company for a thorough evaluation and pest control plan.

 

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