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 holiday season is a time to enjoy family, eat delicious food, and not worry about pests! Unfortunately, overwintering pests such as spiders, rodents, ants, ticks, and more are looking indoors for food, water, and shelter. During the holiday season, Christmas trees, wreaths, firewood, decorations, and storage boxes provide the ideal opportunity for these pests to hitchhike inside.
Check out our top 3 pest prevention tips for holiday pest control.
Check Your Decorations
Attics, basements, and garages provide perfect storage spaces for our holiday decorations. These areas in your home are dark and secluded, making them the perfect place for pests to invade. Stored decorations provide an undisturbed hiding place for pests such as mice, rats, spiders, and more. These creatures will often crawl into the storage boxes you put away last season, contaminating and destroying your decorations.
To ensure that you do not bring these pests into your main living space, inspect and unpack these items outside first. After the holiday season has ended, pack your decorations like foliage, potpourri, and Indian corn in air-tight containers to help prevent pests for next year.
Check Your Firewood
With colder weather here, many homeowners start utilizing their fireplace, bringing in more firewood from outside. However, it’s crucial to inspect firewood before bringing it inside the home. Pests like spiders, termites, and ants are often found on firewood. Consider placing the firewood outside 20 feet from your home and on a raised platform.
Check Your Christmas Tree & Wreaths
If your family celebrates Christmas, you might opt to buy a real Christmas tree and wreath. While both can showcase the authentic look of Christmas, they also tend to carry pests such as spiders, moths, mites, and even squirrels!
To prevent these unwanted pests from hitchhiking indoors, inspect both items outside and then shake them. Also, check these items for any droppings, gnaw marks, or other damage before bringing them inside.
If you suspect that you have a holiday pest problem, consider reaching out to your local pest control company. These professionals will be able to inspect your home, provide the best pest control plan, and recommend prevention techniques for your home.
With the holiday season arriving, your business is sure to get plenty of packages to fulfill your customers’ needs. Shipments and deliveries will be expected in and out throughout the day, unfortunately putting your business at risk of a pest infestation. We break down how you can get prepared for commercial pest control before the packages start rolling in!
Know the Signs
Understanding the signs that your delivered packages are infested is the first step to prevention. Pests will often leave infestation signs outside and inside the package. Gnawing marks in the corner of cardboard boxes or containers is a well-known indicator of a rodent infestation. Other red flags include seeing egg cases, discarded wings, insect body parts, droppings, larvae, or the actual pest inside the package. If there is a pest inside a delivery, it is best to take the package outside and isolate it.
Prepare Your Staff
Ensuring that your team understands the signs of pests within packages and deliveries is another step in pest prevention. Educate them on the types of pests they could potentially see, how to inspect each delivery, and the procedures to take if they find an actual pest.
Always Tidy Up
For many businesses, shipments and packages will be delivered either at the front of the business or have a dedicated loading dock. With any unloading area, make sure that the space is always clean and uncluttered. Have the location frequently cleaned and prohibit any food or drinks to help avoid supplying the pests with a food source.
Dealing with an unexpected pest infestation is the last thing you want to do during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Ensure that your business has a pest plan in place to help prevent any pest problem that can ruin your reputation.
Overwintering is a common term used to describe pests and their activities that allow them to survive the colder temperatures. Overwintering pests will often seek comfort and shelter in homes and buildings because of their warmth. These pests can be especially sneaky and if you don’t take preventative measures as they can infest quickly. Here are some common overwintering pests and some easy do-it-yourself pest control tips to keep them outside of your house.
Stink bugs can infest homes in large numbers, especially during the fall. You can often find these bugs on the side of your home, where they can receive the most sunlight to keep warm. While these bugs aren’t harmful to humans, if crushed, they will emit an unpleasant odor.
One of the more aggressive species of overwintering pests, the boxelder bug has mouthparts are both piercing and capable of puncturing the skin if being handled. This can cause slight irritation and produce red spots, like mosquito bites. Crushing these bugs is not recommended, as their bodies will produce a strong odor and remains can leave a reddish stain on fabrics.
Ladybugs are considered harmless and deemed beneficial. They will often consume plant-eating insects such as aphids, mites, and scale insects, all of which can harm crops and plants in gardens; though if they invade your home, they can become a nuisance and can be difficult to get rid of.
Overwintering Pest Protection Tips
- Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around house foundations, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
- Clean your yard by raking, keeping the grass cut, and picking up debris throughout the yard.
- Use tight-fitting insect screens throughout your windows, screened doors, and attic vents.
- Contact your local pest control company for routine maintenance and prevention.
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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