How to Protect Your Home This Summer

How to Protect Your Home This Summer

The first way to ensure that pests don’t make your house their home, is to prevent them from ever coming inside. This means that you’ll need to seal all entrances to your home, including your doors and windows. By doing so, there won’t be any no gaps for those pesky bugs to sneak inside. This will also help to weatherproof your house, thus preventing leaks and then the potential of mold after a downpour. The Family Handy Man website recommends purchasing weatherstripping, which is a thin seal that is backed with adhesive. Once installed, it will weatherproof and close up any openings in doors and windows. The weatherstripping is easy to install. You simply cut the strip and then place the adhesive side along door and window frames.

Next, take a look around your property. Do you have any trees that are close to your house? If so, note if there are any overhanging tree branches. If there are, then bugs and/or rodents can use your tree branches as a clear path to get onto the roof of your house. U.S. News’s article about protecting your home from pests explains, “Since you probably aren’t on your roof a lot, it can be easy to forget that this is where a lot of animals can enter your house. Mice can climb brick walls and enter an opening in the roof, like a chimney. “Since we often think more about the doors and windows that we see everyday, it can be a common mistake to forget about our roofs – but the pests certainly don’t! To remedy this issue, trim branches close to your house in order to take away that easy entrance.

Another option to prevent pests is chemical barriers. Chemical barriers are used as a longer-lasting method; with some barriers that can last up to 4-5 years. Depending on the type of pests that are rampant in your specific area, you can buy a chemical barrier to prevent them from even coming close to your house. Bayer Advanced recommends chemical barriers and says, “Keep insects from gaining access to your home by applying an insecticide at least 1 to 2 feet from the ground up, along the foundation, and also 1 to 2 feet from the foundation wall outward, along the ground. You can create a larger barrier, if you like, of 4 to 5 feet.” Since the barrier will be around your home and on the soil, bugs won’t be able to come close to your home.

If you have pets, it’s easy to forget that ants and roaches enjoy your pet’s food just as much as your own pets do! So whether you have cats, dogs, or even horses, make sure their food is sealed in a food container overnight. When food is left out, it attracts pests, since it’s an easy food source for them. If your pets need to be let outside to play or use the bathroom, make sure you don’t leave your doors open while you do so. If you leave your door open, even for a few moments, outdoor insects have the opportunity to come inside, and make your home their new residence.

A pest that is in almost everyone’s backyard and has infuriated many, is the squirrel. Though quite adorable, these pests can be meddlesome and highly destructive to your home. According to Pestkill’s article, they explain how to prevent squirrels from your backyard garden and home. If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, squirrels can view your garden as their own personal buffet. Using hot peppers sprinkled into the soil, putting plastic mesh around the garden, and/or using motion-sensor sprinklers to scare them away, your garden should be safe. Inside your home, squirrels love attics because of its safe space and insulation they can steal for their nests. Like we noted before about tree limbs, take a look around your attic to ensure there aren’t any holes or entrances that are open to the outside. If so, make sure to seal those entrances to prevent any squirrel from returning, or wreaking havoc on your attic.

To keep your home safe from pests, your diligence as a homeowner is top priority. If you take these precautions, your home is sure to be pest-free, preventing any damage and costly repairs to your home. Now, you’ll be able to relax for the rest of summer; keeping the pests where they’re meant to be – outside of your home!

When Pest Problems Require Multiple Treatments

When Pest Problems Require Multiple Treatments

Not all pest problems are created equally.  While some pests can be eliminated quickly, others require multiple treatments. This can create a lot of apprehension for homeowners who are then either forced to live with the critters living in their home, or take on the added expense of a hotel room. Particularly when households are battling fleas and bed bugs, multiple treatments are necessary due to the nature of the infestation and the challenges of getting rid of each and every bug.

First and foremost, it is important for pest control company and the homeowner to manage expectations.  If expectations are not properly managed, that creates the opportunity for frustration and aggravation that could otherwise be avoided.  First and foremost, when selecting a pest control company to handle a bed bug or flea problem, they should offer you detailed information on the entire process and a timeline for the entire project.  Homeowners can also ask their selected pest control company for a schedule of treatments as well as a schedule of charges so that there are no surprises later.

Fleas 

Fleas are an unpleasant pest, more specifically, an external parasite, that are most often and commonly associated with cats and dogs.  The Bug Squad’s Natasha Anderson is quick to point out that when it comes to fleas, they are a challenge to get rid of because they must be destroyed using a very specific removal process.  Failing to follow this process effectively results in a flea infestation that quickly repopulates.  Some homeowners are great at protecting their pets from fleas, using flea collars or monthly flea treatments that make their fur an uninhabited place for the tiny annoyances.  Fewer homeowners know that humans are also at risk for having fleas, and find that their hair also offers favorable conditions.

Fleas can spread throughout a yard and house quickly.  Fleas feast on blood and lay eggs, which can be itchy.  When a pet, or human, itches their bodies, that spreads eggs around the house, which then to go on to lay more eggs, and it’s a perpetual cycle that can be difficult to stop.  It is very important to remove the fleas as soon as they are identified in order to prevent an even worse infestation.

When a homeowner identifies fleas on their cat or dog, using a finely spaced comb can help to eliminate the problem quickly.  Fine tooth combs, or flea combs (sometimes called flea brushes) can be found in your local pet store, national pet store chains, and even in your local drug store in the brush section for the fine tooth combs.  Using the comb is simple, as Matt Popkin of Pet Care Rx highlights, but it is absolutely important for the pet owner to carefully and methodically brush out the fleas.  Along with the comb, the pet owner just needs a bucket or large bowl filled with hot and soapy water which will kill the fleas once you have brushed them from your pets’ fur.

Along with getting the fleas off of your pet, it is just as important to get the fleas off of your bedding.  When hiring outside help, this should all be done prior to the first treatment, ideally on the same day, so that your pets do not pick up any fleas from the house, and that they do not spread more eggs throughout the house as it is being treated.

Just like it is important to get every single flea off of your pet, it is just as important to get every single flea out of your home.  A single flea can lay about 800 eggs, and once they hatch, getting rid of them is a challenge.  To get them out of the home, it is necessary for the pest control company to use a powerful vacuum, ideally one that is water based, to get rid of every flea in your carpet and tapestries.  Along with deep cleaning the carpets, treating the upholstery is important.  Due to the nature of the pest, their small size, and their propensity to quickly multiply, if after a first treatment you notice more fleas, immediately reach out to your pest control company to perform a second deep clean and treatment.

Bed Bugs 

If there is a pest that any homeowner would not want to invade their living spaces, that would be the bed bug.  Bed bugs have made a huge resurgence across the entire United States, and there are hundreds of incidents of bed bugs at hotels and motels across the country indicating this is not a localized problem.  Bed Bug Treatment Site suggests that using an exterminator is the best way to get rid of bed bugs, but they are also the more expensive option.

First and foremost, it is important for the pest control company to confirm that your home does in fact have bed bugs.   Along with physical signs of bed bugs, homeowners and pest control companies should look for bed bug waste and shed body shells.  Once bed bugs have been confirmed, treatment can start.

When hiring a pest control company to take care of your bed bug problem, they should provide information of what to do prior to their arrival.  This includes putting all linens  in plastic trash bags and then washing them on high heat and dry on the highest temperature to ensure they are all killed. For pillows in affected rooms disposing of them is best as they are hard to treat effectively.

Bed bugs die with heat, and reputable pest control companies know this.  They should be upfront about the likely need for more treatment due to the nature of how bed bugs burrow and hide deep in furniture and beds.  After the first treatment though, you should notice a remarkable drop in the infestation.  After a second, or even a third treatment, they should be much harder to find, and are hopefully no longer a problem in your home.

What to do while treating? 

When treating for fleas or bed bugs (particularly for bed bugs) patience is key.  Most people are able to handle living in their homes with bed bugs by taking precautions.  Use a mattress pad that zippers around your entire mattress, wash your sheets every day or two in hot water and dry on high heat, throw out mattresses and pillows that cannot be salvaged, and when bringing in a replacement mattress, first protect it with a mattress pad that covers the entire mattress.

While the number of treatments for both fleas and bed bugs may only be one, two, or three it can be a challenge to live in your home with the pests.  In this case, spending time with friends or family is an option, or staying in a hotel room can be a viable solution.  Unfortunately, this is an expensive option. However, if there is no way to stay in your home with an infestation, then the cost can be managed.

Pet-Friendly Pest Solutions

Pet-Friendly Pest Solutions

Many of us have pets in our homes – whether it be dogs, cats, gerbils, fish, or all of the above. When we discover a pest problem such as ants, roaches, or even squirrels, it’s important to first consider the implications of pest treatment for our beloved pets. Before you run out to a local hardware store for pest control products – keep your pet(s) in mind and learn what would be safe to use around them. If the pest problem is small, then there are safe ways to take care of the issue yourself. For those nasty pest problems though, consult your local pest control company since they have trained technicians to take care of the problem safely.

If you decided to call your local pest control based on your specific pest issue, make sure that you let them know exactly what type and how many pet(s) you have. A small dachshund could easily crawl its’ way through a hole made by a squirrel, but a rottweiler won’t have the same such luck. So based on your information, your technician will be able to advise you on what to do with your pet during the treatment, and possibly provide alternative treatments that are pet-friendly.

Cleggs’s article about pet-friendly solutions explained, “In some cases, exterminators can apply pest control substances that are not toxic, or at least not toxic to any species but the pests they target. In other cases, pest removal pros may be able to use preventive techniques, such as sealing holes, cleaning gutters or drying damp areas to reduce the risk of future infestations, and therefore limit the need for pest control chemicals to be applied.”

When a treatment plan has been decided on, ask your technician what you should do with your pet(s) when treatment is being done, and then for aftercare. Typically, hamsters, gerbils, fish, or other small pets that live in smaller containers can simply be moved to a different room, thus being closed off from the treated area. For dogs and cats, it can depend on the type of treatment. Sometimes, they can simply be closed off from the area during treatment and whenever the product has dried, other times it’s safer to place your pet at a friend’s house.

If you have a small pest problem that you want to take care of yourself, you can search for pet-friendly pest control products. Researching online and checking different products can show brands that are child, environmental, and pet-safe, such as this pesticide product. Whatever product you chose, ensure you read the instructions and warnings clearly to ensure you’re using the product correctly.

If you notice a lot of mosquitoes when you go outside and receive those itchy bites, then they’re probably irritating your pet as well. Since we protect ourselves against mosquitoes, we should also protect our pets. PetMD wrote an article on pest repellent mistakes to avoid, one of which noted, “Don’t treat your pet with human pest repellent.” Though mosquito repellent seems safe for your pets because it’s safe on humans – it can be the harmful if it includes the ingredient, “DEET.” This ingredient can cause neurological damage and potentially poison your pet if sprayed on them. Citronella candles are another substance to be weary of if you have household pets. Though it’s used to deter mosquitoes, this can cause respiratory and irritation if your pet breathes in the fumes from the candle. If citronella is wiped on their skin, if can cause similar side effects. To be safe, pet websites such as Petco offer products that not only repel fleas and ticks, but also mosquitoes.

If pests haven’t managed to get inside your house, you can still take precautions to keep them outside. According to RaidKillsBugs, you check prime hiding places that pests love to come in through and hide in. In your kitchen, check behind appliances and underneath the sink for trouble areas. Check your baseboards for any cracks or crevices, since this could be an easy entrance for outside ants or roaches. If your furniture is against the wall, check behind it often, and then underneath furniture such as sofas. If you have child-proofed your cabinets and have a pantry to store food, these dark, cool places are pest favorites as well. (For an extra tip, making sure any pet or human food is sealed, since pests enjoy sharing any of your open food!)

Lastly, you can consult the National Pesticide information center’s website if you have additional concerns for your pets. Included on their website are tips to keep your pets safe before, during, and after pest treatment. For instance, before treatment is started, make sure you pick up and store any dog/cat toys, beds, and bowls. These items need to be kept away from the treatment area(s), since they could accidentally be coated in the treatment product. For fish, make sure their tanks are covered to prevent any liquid or vapors getting into the tank. If a fogger is being used, turn off the fish tank pump during use.

Taking these precautions is top priority to ensure your beloved pets are kept happy and healthy. If you have a pest problem, you or your local pest control company will be able to take care of it quickly and pet-friendly!

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