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.

How Can I Tell If My Pest Control Company Is Ineffective?

How Can I Tell If My Pest Control Company Is Ineffective?

When homeowners find pests within their houses, there is nothing that seems to be worse than that moment.  Whether it is an infestation of ants taking control of the kitchen, or termites turning the walls into lunch, in the aftermath of finding a pest problem, homeowners often reach out to the first pest control company they find which can, unfortunately, result in the hiring of a bad pest control company.  For homeowners that find themselves dealing with a pest control company not meeting their expectations, failing to eradicate the initial problem, or in need of cancelling a subscription or contract service the information here should be used as a blueprint for handling your pest control company problem.

So maybe you think you have a bad exterminator, but how do you know for sure?  Theresa Braine’s weekly column, Bedbugged, addresses the 11 signs of a bad exterminator in the Brick Underground Podcast.  While focused on bed bugs, the information is useful for identifying which companies the homeowner should try to avoid.

Before letting anyone with potentially deadly chemicals into your home, you should request, and they should furnish, certification and other paperwork that shows they are qualified to perform this work.  The following is Braine’s list of signs to avoid, with information for other pests along with bed bugs.

  1. He pronounces a bed bug infestation based on your bites and the pattern, without other evidence.

All pest control companies should seek out evidence of an infestation other than bites or marks on the skin.  Insects of all types make humans their dinner special, and bites alone are not confirmation of a bed bug infestation.  It is also possible to have a bed bug infestation and not know it because not everyone reacts to the bed bugs the same way with red inflamed marks.

2. She doesn’t ask to see a bug sample, or agrees to treat based on what you’ve told her, without evidence.

Just like you would not trust a doctor that treated you without an examination, just based on what you told him or her, you should not trust an exterminator that does not ask to see, or find, a bug sample.  Treating a bug without evidence would be like treating a stomachache without evidence for illness.

3. They rely solely on canine to alert, without verifying that the dog actually alerted to a live bed bug

It is best to avoid pest control companies that rely solely on dogs to alert to a bed bug infestation because dogs are known to make mistakes.  Treating your house just based on what a dog may indicate, without any other evidence, puts the homeowner at risk of paying for a service they may not need.

4. He or she can’t seem to distinguish bed bug myths from fact

There is a lot of misinformation available when it comes to dealing with all different types of bugs and pests.  Exterminators that perpetuate these myths only damage the industry and their own reputation.

5. They tell you that deep freezing will take care of the bugs

Deep freezing will kill all types of bugs, but only the bugs that the cold can reach.  This means that while you may kill the ants that are visible, or the bed bugs in the sofa, the bugs burrowed deep in the floors, the walls, or outside will not be affected by cryogenic freezing.

6. More is better

While it may seem like more is better would apply to pest control, overdoing it on the pesticides can be harmful to your health, and your children, and pets.  When it comes to pest control, moderation is the best way to experience the most success.

7. He or she cannot or will not produce a detailed list of the chemicals being used

If any pest control company is unwilling to tell you what they are putting into your house, it is best to steer clear.  State laws also require that exterminators share the types of chemicals they have, and anyone that refuses to be upfront should be avoided at all costs.

8.  You can’t find the person on the list of exterminators posted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Each state has a list of exterminators that have been vetted and which are certified or licensed to perform the services they provide.  Before hiring a pest control company, it is best to ensure that they meet the minimum standards set by each state.

9. They tell you to sleep elsewhere, rather than the bed

If a pest control professional tells you to sleep anywhere else in your house, do not hire them because they do not recognize the fact that bed bugs will follow humans to the living room, guest room, or anywhere else they choose to sleep while treating their bedrooms.

10.  They do not give you a detailed prep list for their visit

You should expect that before any work is done in your house, the pest control company will give you a detailed list of everything you should do prior to their visit.  If dealing with bed bugs, this would include bagging up your possessions, for ants, it would involve getting rid of food in open containers, repacking food into closed containers, and vacuuming out pantries to ensure no crumbs are left behind.  If the exterminator does not offer any detailed prep information, find someone else.

11.  They use foggers

While foggers may work for some bugs, they are ineffective in getting rid of the entire bug problem.  They only kill the bugs that the chemicals can reach, and instead of killing most of the bugs, it just forces them to escape, and if you’re living in an apartment, your neighbors will not be appreciative.

What should you do if you sign a contract with a pest control company that is not as effective as promised?  Firing a pest control company after a contract is signed can be difficult, or there may be high financial penalties. When looking to sign a subscription or contract service make sure to read all of the fine print, and to understand under what conditions a subscription or contract can be cancelled.  Discuss your expectations with the services offered by the pest control company to ensure that your expectations and their service meet.  If you want treatment every month, but they only offer quarterly treatment, they are not the service provider for you.

Stuck in a subscription service with a provider that is not meeting expectations?  The first step is to document everything and to raise your concerns with the management from the company.  If that fails to result in steps to correct the problem, the next step is to review the contract to find out how you can cancel the remaining service, what type of notice you may be required to give, and how you need to initiate the cancellation.  If there is no clause to get out of the contract due to issues with the services provided, unfortunately any action to cancel the control could result in the company taking you to court for breach of contract.  While this is rare, it could be a large financial burden and take months to handle.  In instances where there is no cancellation clause, the best course of action is to come to an agreement with the pest control company, offer to pay a token fee to cancel the service, and part ways.  For situations that cannot be rectified, the Better Business Bureau is a great resource for filing complaints and getting the situation corrected.

The Difference Between Bees, Hornets, and Wasps- And Why It Matters

The Difference Between Bees, Hornets, and Wasps- And Why It Matters

When most homeowners see a flying pest, they just guess whether it’s a bee, hornet, yellow jacket, or a wasp.  Knowing which has made a nest near your home is important, not just so that you know how to get rid of it in the best way possible, but also to know if the nest even poses a threat to you or your family.  Mike Floorwalker at Knowledge Nuts highlights the differences between bees, wasps, and hornet and why not all flying, stinging insects are created equally.

There are more than 20,000 different types of bees, but the most common ones are bumble bees. Those are the fat oval bees that are generally harmless and pollinate crops, carpenter bees that can drill through wood, honey bees that are responsible for pollinating our crops, and the Africanized killer bee, which gets its dangerous moniker from the fact they will attack in swarms, which can be deadly for those who are allergic to bees.

According to Floorwalker, it is possible to distinguish bees from wasps because bees are furry while wasps are not.  The bee also uses pollen to make honey, which they eat in the winter, while wasps are carnivores.  Bees are golden in color while hornets are black and white or black and yellow.  Unfortunately for the bee, when they sting they usually die, but wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets do not lost their stingers. Also unfortunate, yellow jackets in particular will sting unprovoked.

When it comes to attacking, bees are, generally speaking, not aggressive.  Honey bees and bumble bees in particular would much rather avoid human contact unless they are bothered.  When a honey bee stings a person or animal they leave behind the stinger, their abdomen, digestive track, muscles, and nerves which is a death sentence.  There is little benefit to the hive for bees to die attacking humans, and when humans leave honey bees alone, there is little to fear.

While bees may not be aggressive, wasps are aggressive and they do not die after stinging a person or animal.  Hornets and yellow jackets are two types of wasp, and they all will attack unprovoked and will attack in large swarms, particularly if their hives and nests are disturbed-intentionally or unintentionally.  While bees are important in the pollination of the food supply, wasps do not have the same effect on agriculture. Instead of collecting pollen, they are carnivorous, with their diet consisting of other insects.

Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets all look alike and can range in size from 1/3 of an inch to larger than one inch.  Nests of wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets can be found in many of the same places that we enjoy outside, eaves of roofs, hanging from gutters, in the protected corners of houses, and in trees, attics, patios, and shrubs.  The government of Manitoba Canada put together a useful pamphlet that can be found here in helping to identify and remove nests of dangerous pests like wasps.

Knowing which type of flying pest has invaded your garden, back yard, or even your house, is very important in knowing how to get rid of it.  For example, if you notice a handful of yellow flying critters emerging from a hole in your yard, chances are better than not that you have yellow jackets which like to nest underground in the empty burrows of rodents.  For people who have allergies, something as innocuous as mowing the lawn could result in a deadly attack; the yellow jackets can sense the vibrations from the mower from a distance, resulting in an unprovoked attack of thousands.  Nests that are high up are more likely to be wasps and hornets. They are just as dangerous as yellow jackets, especially to small pets and those who are allergic to their venom.

Before eliminating a hive though, it is best to be sure what exactly has made your house their home.  Due to their passive nature, when a homeowner finds a bee hive, instead of killing the entire hive, they should have a professional relocate the hive.  Humans rely on bees to pollinate the food supply, and with colony collapse disorder wiping out hives across the country, it is even more important for people not to destroy hives when they are found.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture managed honey bee colonies add at least $15 billion to the value of the agriculture industry in the United States.

When coming face to face with wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets, it is important to eliminate the threat to your family as well as the potential damage they can cause your home when building nests in between walls and on support beams.  Raid, a leader in the pest removal industry helping homeowners take back their homes from bugs and insects, suggests that the best way to get rid of a wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket problem is to deal with the nest when it is small.  Raid, along with other products all available in hardware stores, can be used to kill the flying stinging critters, from a safe distance.

Am I Being Charged Too Much?

Am I Being Charged Too Much?

When confronted with a pest problem, homeowners may not have the wherewithal to shop for prices.  When facing a pest problem, or when looking for regular pest control services, the homeowner should ask around.  There is no shame in asking your neighbors what they spend to ensure their homes are safe from bugs.

Home Advisor, the leading resource to connect with the best home improvement contractors, found that nationally, costs vary greatly on insect control services.  From a low of $50 to a high of $529, the national average was $181 with most homeowners spending between $109 and $281.  Here is a regional breakdown of what costs look like across the country for one time service.

New York City, NY

The average cost in NYC is $261, with most homeowners spending between $157 and $377.  The lowest cost for insect control services was $100 and the highest was $700, likely indicating an exceptionally awful infestation.

Miami, FL

With most homeowners spending between $93 and $320 for pest control services, the average in South Florida was $190.  With a low of $49 and a high of $600, the cost of pest control in South Florida is similar to the national average.

Dallas, TX

With its’ hot summers and warm winters, Dallas is a hotbed of bugs and critters.  This does not translate to an exceptionally high cost though with the average reported cost of insect control services $183.  With a high of $695 and a low of $50, most homeowners spend between $87 and $280.

Phoenix, AZ

The Southwest has bugs that would make the rest of the country shudder, such as scorpions, that can infest trees, garages, and homes.  Homeowners in Phoenix, on average, spend $131 for insect control services. Most spend between $73 and $269 on such services.  With a low cost of $40 and a high of $583, getting rid of pests in Phoenix is not a massive financial commitment.

Chicago, IL

Pest control in the Midwest falls well below the national average.  In Chicago, the average reported cost is $166, with most homeowners spending between $128 and $228 with a low of $80 and a high of $350.  These low costs are not just found in Chicago, but also in Milwaukee, with the highest reported cost of $300, Indianapolis with a high cost of $315, and Minneapolis with an average of $167 paid by homeowners for pest control services, and a high of $400.

Portland, OR

Homeowners in Portland also are fortunate to have pest control services cost less than the national average.  Most homeowners spend between $138 and $246 for pest control services, with a low of $95 and a high of $300.

Los Angeles, CA

For homeowners in Los Angeles, they, like those in the Northeast and South, are faced with higher than average pest control service bills.  The average cost for services was $290 while the majority of homeowners spent between $129 and $454.  With a low of $90 and a high of $912, pest control services in Southern California can quickly accumulate.

For homeowners looking to commit to a service control with a pest control company, it is best to shop around to get the best price.  The Environmental Protection Agency offers useful guidelines for selecting a pest control service, including questions that homeowners should ask and things that homeowners need to be aware of in order to avoid scams.  The EPA strongly suggests both taking your time and doing your homework.

While homeowners may feel awkward asking around if others use a contracted pest control service, bugs are something that every homeowner will deal with.  Utilizing a pest control company to perform preventative pest control should be something to be proud of, not ashamed of.  Along with getting information about what friends and neighbors pay, the homeowner should get estimates from several companies prior to signing a long-term commitment.  Many companies even offer free cost estimations for your home.

Angie’s List highlights the cost of pest control services for a service contract. Those can range from $40 to $45 for a monthly treatment for an average sized house, while a semi-monthly service control could be as much as $50 or $60, more for bigger houses and less for smaller ones.

Some service providers offer an annual program that consists of three-treatments, meant to prevent pest infestations year round.  With a cost of approximately $145 for the first treatment, and then about $80 for the two remaining treatments, this works out to about $25 per month to ensure your house is totally protected.  Most reputable pest control companies will guarantee their work, coming out between services for infestations that were not eliminated or prevented.  This is just a sample pricing offered by Angie’s List; it is important to shop around and find the service provider that meets your needs and expectations in order to have a positive experience.

How Can I Protect My Home This Summer, and Beyond?

How Can I Protect My Home This Summer, and Beyond?

Protecting your home from pests over the summer is only half the battle to ensuring that your home remains bug and critter free year round.  Adam Dachis of Lifehacker offers a guide that can be used to manage a summer pest problem, but the information he offers is useful year round for keeping your home bug and pest free.

Summer pests affect the vast majority of the country, but the size and types of bugs will reflect the region of the home.  For those in the North, it may be flies or ants, while in the South, homeowners may find palmetto bugs or scorpions.  Regardless of the season, how you approach a pest or rodent problem will depend on the specific critter that is found in your home.

Flies 

Dachis suggests creating your own traps in order to catch flies, and offers many ways to catch them using products most homeowners will have around the house.

The easiest way to make a fly trap is to use a little bit of honey and spread it across a surface.  The flies love the sugar, and because they are so small, once they make contact, they cannot fly away; the sticky substance is too strong for their size.

If laying patches of honey around your house is not appetizing, there is a simple funnel fly trap that takes less than ten minutes to build and only requires a cup, such as a mason jar, one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, tape, and honey.  Dachis points out that you will need at least three of these traps in order for them to be effective, but with mason jars available for a few dollars a piece at a local craft supply store, they are inexpensive, organic alternatives to commercial fly traps.

To make the trap, roll the sheet of paper into a funnel, leaving a hole at the narrow end that is bigger than a fly.  Check to ensure that the funnel is wide enough to sit about half way into the jar, without touching the bottom.  Using tape, tape the edge of the cone so it does not lose it shape, and then pour honey into the bottom of the jar to cover the surface.  Any other sweet substance will work if you do not have honey on hand.  Finally, just place the cone back into the jar, and wait for the flies to find it.

Ants 

Ants are a scourge that homeowners across the country must contend with.  There are dozens of ant traps available in hardware stores that use chemicals and poisons to kill the ants, either on contact, or after they bring the poison back to their colony.  Poisons only work to eliminate all of the ants if it makes its’ way to the queen, otherwise,  your attempts to eradicate your ant problem will be in vain.

Dachis offers information on a pesticide-free ant trap, written by Alan Henry, and published on Lifehacker.  To get rid of ants in your garden, take an old jar that has a wide mouth, a short length of pipe, two screw-top plastic bottle caps, teflon plumber’s tape, water, sugar, and dish soap.  Using the teflon tape, wrap the pipe so that the ants cannot crawl up it to the sugar that will be on the top of the pipe.  Standing the pipe up in the jar, add a little water to the bottom of the jar, and a few drops of dish soap before sprinkling sugar on top of the pipe to lure the ants into the trap.

The easiest way to beat an ant invasion is to prevent an ant infestation.  First, clean your house and don’t leave crumbs and food out.  Erica Ho suggests using chalk lines around doors and windows to keep ants out of the house; while the science is not very well understood, chalk keeps ants outside.  Dachis also suggests using spices and extracts that you likely already have in the house to keep ants out.  Mint, bay leaves, cardamom, or even mint-flavored Listerine can be used to keep ants out, and your home safe from an invasion.

Garden Pests 

Garden pests are best outside the home, and outside of your garden; killing them from the garden isn’t just cruel, the chemicals and poisons used to kill garden pests could also get onto the food you are growing or the flowers you’re planting.

Jason Fitzpatrick offers advice on how to keep your yard and garden pest-free and without the need of chemicals.  Using coffee grounds in your garden not only adds nitrogen to the soil, which is great for your plants, but most creatures that will use your garden as a playground do not like the acidity of the coffee, and avoid it.  To keep slugs out of your garden, without having to kill them, is to use copper such as decorative copper tape.  To keep bigger, but cuter, pests like rabbits and deer out of your garden using Bloodmeal is a great way to keep them away.  Bloodmeal is a byproduct of the meatpacking industry and animals dislike the smell.  But, do not apply directly to plants, just around the garden; the high nitrogen of the dried blood can burn the leaves and destroy your plants.

Dachis offers an easy chemical-free pesticide courtesy of Apartment Therapy that only requires 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid soap, one quart of water, and a few drops of orange or essential oils mixed together.  You can spray this on trouble areas around the home and garden, and directly on bugs in order to kill them.

Mosquitoes 

Perhaps there is no greater summer annoyance than the mosquito. With increased threat of the Zika virus and the continuing threat of West Nile Virus, keeping mosquitoes out of your home and yard is important for your health.

According to Dachis, the American Mosquito Control Association suggests staying away from sprays and candles.  Instead suggesting using a fan, bug lights, and wearing light-colored, long sleeves and pants that are loose-fitting.  There is no reason not to use citronella candles, as they do offer a repelling effect, but in order to be effective, many candles must be lit within an area to get rid of the threat of mosquitoes.

Pest Product Comparisons

Pest Product Comparisons

Most homeowners do not think about pest products until they are facing down a pest control problem.  At this point, they have to make very important decisions regarding treating the problem, with little insight into the many products on the market, and how they will resolve the problem.  Depending on the type of pest problem, that will narrow down the types of products available. For instance, ant traps would not be useful for beetles, and mosquito traps for moths.  As if there weren’t enough products on the market for pest control, there are an equal number of products available for pest prevention that can be used inside and outside of the house.

The three most well known companies that sell pest products are Raid, Ortho, and Terro. With hundreds of products between them, as well as other lesser-known but equally great products out there, here is a quick primer on the best pest products.

Terro offers many different types of ant bait, which is great for eliminating the ant problem by poisoning the entire colony.  Many people kill ants as they see them, or utilize traps that do nothing to stop more ants from entering into your home. Raid Ant Killer 26 is another option to eliminate a colony and can be used to kill ants, crickets, roaches, silverfish, and spiders.

If looking to prevent an infestation while eliminating one, Raid Ant & Roach Barrier can be sprayed outside around the doors, windows, and foundation to keep ants, fleas, flies, gnats, roaches, ticks, silverfish, crickets, spiders, scorpions, mosquitoes, centipedes, fire bats, moths, stink bugs, sow  bugs, and beetles out of your home.  Meanwhile Ortho Home Defense  kills and prevents infestations inside and outside of the home with its’ easy to use application bottle.

Perhaps there is no scarier pest to find inside your home than bed bugs.  These hard to kill critters hide in hard-to-reach areas in furniture and fabrics.  The difficulty of getting ride of bed bugs is notable in there are limited products available on the market for them, and many of the products available, there is only a small level of success in eliminating the bed bugs from their homes.

Two products that, when used properly and with the proper cleaning of the house, are successes, are Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer and Raid Max Bed Bug & Flea Killer.  Both formulas can be used on furniture, mattresses, on carpeting, and other household surfaces without fear of damage or staining.  These sprays are more successful than bug bombs because it is possible to aim the chemicals directly into the hiding places preferred by bed bugs, but in order to be effective there needs to also be the vacuuming of all furniture and floors to eradicate eggs, scrubbing down all surfaces, and eliminating all of their hiding places.

When dealing with mosquitoes, the most important thing to do is to ensure that there are no pools of sitting water on your property.  Sitting water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Correcting any drainage issues that may exist on your property is the first step to removing these pests from around your home.  Ortho offers their Bug B Gon Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens, while Terros Home Insect Killer targets more than 65 different types of insects, including mosquitoes.

Among household pests, after bed bugs, finding roaches would likely be the next most upsetting critter in see within the walls of your home.  Notoriously hard to kill, the best way to get rid of roaches is to never have them in the first place.  To prevent a roach infestation, store all food in air tight containers, make sure your screens do not have any tears or holes, and seal cracks and holes around the home.

To kill cockroaches, Ortho’s Ant & Roach Killer 1 kills by contact, and can be used on ants, roaches, spiders, ticks, carpet beetles, fleas, sow bugs, silverfish, and scorpions as well as stink bugs and Asian Lady Beetles.  Raid has multiple products available that all are very good at killing roaches while preventing another infestation.  Raid’s Ant & Roach Killer 26, Raid Max Spider & Scorpion Killer,  and Raid Max Ant & Roach all kill roaches, ants, spiders, and scorpions on contact.  For preventing roaches, Raid Max Bug Barrier Defense Marker is safe to use inside the home, in areas like kitchen sinks, back splashes, and bathrooms.  Raid also offers a childproof bait system, Double Control Small Roach Baits and Raid Plus Egg Stoppers that not only handle the problem of the roach, but the even bigger problem of their ability to quickly reproduce.

Flying insects, such as wasps and hornets, can make playing outside dangerous. Even deadly, if a child or adult has an allergy.  These aggressive insects need not be provoked in order to attack. They only need to feel a threat of attack before unleashing their stingers on unsuspecting humans that may have walked too close to their nest.

Getting rid of hornets and wasps can be nearly as dangerous as walking by the nest, but Terro’s Wasp & Hornet Killer uses a powerful aerosol canister that can spray up to 20 feet away, making it easier to reach hard to get to spots like eaves and trees, without having to get too close.  The foam spray coats the entire nest which ensures that everything inside dies.  Great for wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and mud daubers. The spray is safe for indoor or outdoor use.

Raid’s flying insect line of products is great for getting rid of most flying bugs, with the Flying Insect Killer 7 able to kill flies, mosquitoes, wasps, and hornets and safe to use inside and outside.  Raid’s Wasp & Hornet Killer 33 comes in a powerful canister, that doesn’t force you to get too close to the nest, putting you at risk, while killing the entire nest.  The formula has been designed to be electrically non-conducting up to 32,500 volts so if the nest is anywhere near  electrical lines there is no threat of electrocution.

Finally, if you are not suffering from a particularly bad case of pests outside, but want to make sure your backyard is bug-free for a barbecue or other backyard party, Raid’s Yard Guard Mosquito Fogger is a great product that covers a 30 by 30 feet areas, killing all flies, mosquitoes, non-biting gnats, moths, wasps, hornets, and multi-colored Asian Lady Beetles for a six hour period.

Trapping vs. Killing Pests

Trapping vs. Killing Pests

Having pests living within your home is something that most people would prefer not to think about, but unfortunately many homeowners will be faced with this reality at some point in time.  For some pests such as insects, there is no choice but to kill them in order to remove them entirely from your home.  For others, such as mice, squirrels, and other critters that make their way inside, there are many options for either killing, or more humanely, trapping, them to prevent them from making your home, their home.

First and foremost, you must consider the people living in your home; pests carry all types of diseases and threats to your family. They can also pose the threat of chewing through electrical wires, creating an opportunity to spark a fire, putting you, your family, your pets, and all of your possessions at risk.  Once you have identified a pest problem, you must consider the many ways to eliminate it, while also protecting your family.

When identifying an infestation of bugs, a bug bomb or fogger may be a good way to kill the offending critters, allows for one large clean up, and then your family can return to their day-to-day lives.  For occasional problems, such as ants in the summer, if you are worried about your pets or children playing with ant traps, leave out the poisonous ant bait overnight.  This type of trap sees the ants remove the poison, and bring it back to their colony, and within a few days, kills all of the ants, eliminating the problem.

When it comes to larger pests such as mice or chipmunks, knowing how to eliminate the problem becomes much more complicated.  For those not squeamish, or not bothered by the thought of killing a pest, mouse traps are a way to eliminate a problem, but require the handling of the dead mouse or rat.  Mice are carriers of Hantavirus and Salmonella, so leaving them in your walls, along with the potential fire hazard, is not a viable option.

Mouse traps are effective for eliminating a single mouse at a time, they must be placed where the mice are, and they must be taken care of after they have caught a critter.  One of the best mousetraps on the market is the Kness Snap-E Mousetrap which uses smart engineering to ensure a high killing efficiency.  But, in  order to eliminate a pest infestation, regardless if they are rodents or bugs, it is important to find where it is they are making their way into your home, so that the area can be repaired.  Is there a small hole in a vent, is there a crack in the foundation, or a broken pane of glass in an attic or basement window allowing pests of any size or variety to gain entrance into your house?

Once their point of entry has been found, and fixed, next you must deal with the pests already inside the home.  Along with mousetraps, which are a quicker and more humane way to kill a rodent, there are poisons and sticky traps that can eliminate a rodent problem.  Using poison is a quick way to kill rodents, but pose serious risks.  Poison is, obviously, deadly; if one of your pets, or one of your neighbors pets, ingest the poison, it will be a very painful death, and devastating to the family.  Similarly, if using poison, if your children, or a neighborhood child were to get into the poison, it could seriously injure or kill a child.  Along with these risks, there are serious environmental risks to the environment that should be considered before utilizing poison.

Sticky traps are another alternative to poison and mousetraps.  They are a thick paper with a sticky film on top that the rodents can walk onto, but cannot get off of.  This leaves them to dehydrate, and die what is a very slow death of starvation and dehydration.  Just like using mousetraps, using sticky traps require the homeowner to handle the dead rodent, which may be too much of an “ew” factor for some.

If killing the rodent is what you are most comfortable with, the most humane, and the best way, regardless of it’s negatives, would be the old fashioned mouse trap.  Just ensure that they are kept outside of the reach of children and pets.  Or invest is a more expensive, but safer, electronic rat trap, such as the Victor Electronic Rat Trap.  A no-touch, no-see trapping experience, it utilizes batteries to offer an electric shock that kills the mouse or rat in less than three seconds, and without the potential failure of a traditional mouse trap, that may just injure the rodent, forcing you to kill it.  Once dead, the mouse is dropped into the collection drawer, resulting in easy clean up.  For households with children or pets, if the trap is tampered with in any way, it automatically shuts off the electric, ensuring only the rodents it is intended for are harmed.

For those that would rather trap, instead of kill, a rodent, you first need to find the point of entry into the house and seal it, so that no more rodents or pests can get into the house.  When choosing to live trap, it is necessary to ensure that there is food, water, and nesting material available to the rodents that are caught and the traps must be routinely checked.  One such trap is the Mouse Cube, which is sold in multi-packs, and is both inexpensive, and does not require any handling of the mice.  For larger rodents such as squirrels, humane traps need to be large enough to not close on their tails, and it is even more important to find where exactly they were entering into the house from.  Havahart offers dozens of humane traps as well as repellents and deterrents for those looking to trap, rather than kill.   With solutions for nearly every type of pest from the armadillo, and mole to the muskrat, and snake, there are humane solutions for every critter that may be making your home their home.

Finally, there is a third option, for those looking to prevent a situations that would require the trapping or killing of rodents, and for those already with rodents in their homes.  Known as Fresh Cab, it was approved by the EPA as a safe and effective plant-based rodent repellent.  Fresh Cab comes in pouches that you can place around your home, office, and garage. They are all natural and safe for children and pets.  While they need to be replaced every 90 days, they are a safer and less offensive means of preventing a rodent problem.  In homes or offices already experiencing a rodent infestation, multiple pouches should be used within each room, and replaced each month, until the rodents have vacated the property.

Do I Really Need Pest Control Year-Round, or Just in the Summer?

Do I Really Need Pest Control Year-Round, or Just in the Summer?

In regions of the country where summers are the only hot weather season that they experience, there is a misconception that pest control is only needed during the warm, or hot, summer months.  In other parts of the country, namely the south and southwest, the weather in winter is mild, making pest control a necessary year-round necessity.  Regardless of where you live, year-round pest control ensures that you are preventing an infestation, instead of reacting to one already in your home.

Summer pest control ensures that termites, ants, flies, stinging insects, and mosquitos are taken care of, and while these may be the most well-known annoyances of summer, that leaves out beetles, spiders, bed bugs, mice, rats, termites, carpenter ands, and other pests that find your home to be more agreeable in winter than the conditions outside.  Spring and summer pests may be more noticeable because you are outside to see them, but in winter, when huddled inside where it is warm, bugs and rodents are also looking for a warm place to wait out the weather, and hiding from you while they do it.

Pests have thousands of years of evolution on their side when it comes to ensuring their survival.  They have been forced to become experts at avoiding predators, and through that, have become experts in ensuring humans also struggle to find them.  Some pests, such as ants, stinging insects, and mosquitoes may be summertime pests, but others like cockroaches, termites, and bed bugs do not have a season in which they traditionally wreak havoc and can be as much as a headache in December as they are in July.

While knowing that pests are making your home their home over winter may not be the most enjoyable thought, hiring a pest control service to provide year round pest control services can offer peace of mind-regardless of what climate you live in.  In the south, where pest control is a much more serious issue, year round pest control is not really an option.  While it may be easier for a homeowner in the north, in the dead of winter, to pretend that all of the destructive pests of spring and summer have relocated south, for a homeowner in the south, there is not the same luxury to feign ignorance.

The easiest way to ensure year-round pest control is to sign a service contract.  While this sounds like an easy task, it is best to interview, or at least investigate, several pest control companies to ensure that their products and services meet your expectations.  Some pest control companies will come out to your property once per month, or once per quarter, and depending on your needs, that affects the cost of the service contract. In the north, where pest control companies likely experience a drastic slow down in service calls, it would not be unheard of to ask for, and receive, a winter discount, for a continuation of services over the colder months.  This would ensure that your home is protected from pests that are looking for protection from the cold, at an even more affordable rate.

No homeowner wants to think about pests living in their home, but it is important to think about the effect that pests have on family safety as well as with the value of your home.  Rodents have an unstoppable desire to chew, and this can result in fires if they chew through electrical wires, putting your entire family, unknowingly, at risk.  If termites or carpenter ants move into your home over the winter, they can cause structural damage that, if caught early enough, can be corrected quickly.

For instance, if termite damage is limited to a single interior wall of your home, a carpenter can re-frame and re-drywall your room quickly, and for a relatively inexpensive price.  If, upon selling your home, you recognize far too late termite damage throughout, it will need to be repaired before the house could be sold, and comes with a much higher price tag if it is a large amount of the house that needs to be fixed. In extremely rare cases a house may need to be entirely gutted or torn down because damage from pests is so great.

Year round pest control should be a budgeted monthly expense so that you can protect your home, and the family members that live within it.  By addressing the issue of pests throughout the year, it is possible to quickly detect any infestation and correct the damage, instead of letting the problem fester for months or years, until the scope of the damage has been recognized.

Pest Control: Myth vs. Fact

Pest Control: Myth vs. Fact

Ask any homeowner about pests, and they will likely offer you some facts, and some myths. This can make it hard to know what is true and what should be disregarded.  For example, it is entirely untrue that stinging insects need to be physically provoked before they attack and sting.  For insects such as wasps, this is entirely untrue, and they will attack if they feel that their colony is being threatened, meaning if you walk too close to their colony, that could be enough to induce an attack.  While a single sting may not seem like such a big deal, stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every single year.  These are the most common myths and the facts that should instead be known.

Myth: Bees only sting once before they die.

There are many different types of bees, and it is only the honeybee that sting one time.  Honeybees’ stingers are built in such a way that once they fly away after stinging, the stinger gets torn out of their body, and left in their victim.  Other bees, and wasps, do not have the hook in their stinger that gets left behind. This makes it easy to remove their stinger from the body of their victim, and sting repeatedly.

Myth: Mosquitoes are only active at dawn and at dusk.

Mosquitoes are responsible for the spreading of many diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, and now the Zika virus.  Generally speaking mosquitoes are just an annoyance that must be endured during the warm summer months, but there is a common myth that they are only active in the morning and evening hours.  Driven by their need for blood in order to reproduce, they will emerge from their nests whenever necessary in order to ensure their successful reproduction.  In order to keep mosquitoes at bay, using citronella anytime you are outside will help to keep the pests away.

Myth: One ant in your house does not mean you have an infestation of ants.

Ants leave behind a chemical trail that is used by their colonies to follow once food has been found.  If an ant has made its’ way into your kitchen, if there is not an existing infestation, you can bet that there will shortly be colonies of ants calling your cozy house, home as well.  For the most part ants are harmless. However, if you live in a region that has fire ants or carpenter ants, it is possible for your family or your home to be in harms way.

Myth: Cheese in a mousetrap will attract mice.

This myth is one that we can thank cartoonists for.  Instead of using cheese to bait mice into a mousetrap, mice would rather have access to food with a high sugar content.  So carefully replace your cheese with cookies, sugar cubes, or even peanut butter to attract them.  For those who would rather not use a mousetrap, but still have a mice problem, Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent keeps mice out using their sense of smell which would lure them to the sweet treats in a trap.

Myth: Cats are good for pest control.

The myth that cats are useful for eliminating pests comes from ancient Egypt, when cats were worshiped for their ability to reduce the problem of pests.  Over the thousands of years since cats first displayed their ability to catch and eliminate pests like mice, they have become much less adept at the job.  Some cats do still hold onto their propensity for catching pests. But if the sole reason you would like to bring a cat into your house is for pest control, there are some traits that should be identified to ensure they are a good mouser.

Myth: Bug bombs eradicate bed bugs.

There are few pests that are more upsetting to find within your home than bed bugs, hard to kill critters that make your furniture their home.  While most commonly found in beds, they will make their home in any sort of textile or cracks in your furniture. The reason that bed bugs are hard to kill is because in order to entirely remove them from your house, the entire house must be treated.  This makes bug bombs a seemingly attractive choice, except the chemicals do not penetrate the depths of which bed bugs can burrow.

Myth: Ultrasonic repellents are useful in managing bug problems.

This is a common myth, particularly when it comes to ultrasound mosquito repellents but the BBC found that there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim.  There is similarly no evidence that using a machine that emits a frequency similar to the mosquitoes natural predator, the dragonfly, also has no effect at eliminating or reducing a mosquito population.  When it comes to other insects such as spiders, there is also no scientific support that they are effective.

Myth: Hanging bags of water will repel flies.

There is a common myth that flies are afraid of water, or perhaps their reflection, which keeps them away from your home.  Unfortunately, flies are not afraid of water or their reflections, making this a futile attempt to keep flies at bay.

Myth: Boiling water will eliminate an ant colony.

This is a challenging myth, because in some instances it can work.  But, carrying a pot of boiling water to the ant hill is incredibly dangerous, and not worth the risk of serious bodily harm and burns.  In order for the boiling water to successfully eliminate an ant hill, the water needs to get down to the queen. Otherwise, the colony will just rebuild, making the attempt both dangerous and futile.

Myth: Having a concrete foundation means there is no risk of a termite infestation.

While it is true that having a poured concrete foundation with no cracks, meaning it must be reinforced with re-bar, is best for preventing a termite infestation, if there is any wood in your house, it is at risk for termites to also make it their home. Termites are useful for recycling dead plant material, but they turn the cellulose found in wood, paper, and cardboard into simple sugars, which are digestible and attractive to the termites. Unfortunately termites are persistent pests, and it only takes a single crack for them to make your wood frame their meal ticket.

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