Looking around the house, there are probably a few projects that you could take on yourself and manage just fine without the help of a professional, saving you money and giving you the satisfaction of completing a task. However, there are some jobs that are just better left to the experts, and one of those is pest control. Of course, coming across one fly in your home isn’t usually cause for concern, but if you can relate to any of the scenarios mentioned below, it’s probably time to put your DIY skills to rest and get experienced help.
Already difficult to spot with the naked eye, bed bugs are known to be some of the most inconspicuous creatures out there, hiding in places where most people would never know to look. Add this knowledge to the fact that their reproduction cycle allows for infestations to get out of hand quickly, and hopefully, you can understand why eradicating the blood-sucking insects shouldn’t be taken lightly. Pest control professionals will know just where to look for concealed bed bugs and put an effective treatment plan in place, rescuing your wallet from having to replace mattresses, furniture and clothing.
The first signs of termite activity should lead to an immediate phone call to your pest control professional. Termites can cause considerable amounts of property damage when not treated properly. In fact, trying to apply termite treatment on your own can result in doing more harm than good. Disturbing a colony may provoke it to move to a new area of the house and continue on eating your home undetected. Catching termite activity early is key to preserving your home and keeping money in your bank account.
The potential for home destruction doesn’t just stop with termites. Powderpost beetles, carpenter ants and carpenter bees are other wood-boring pests that can also be the cause of major damage and expensive repairs if left to their own devices. An expert eye is needed to spot evidence of any wood invasions, and specific treatments and equipment are required to ensure complete elimination.
Stinging insects attack whenever they feel threatened, posing a health hazard to someone who doesn’t have adequate clothing and equipment to deal with the situation. Nests of fire ants, bees and wasps should only be taken down by a trained professional who knows how to safely assess the conditions and contain the pests without bringing harm to anyone.
DIY pest control will generally be no match for severe infestations of any kind. Large amounts of pests indicate the need for a professional who can get rid of them before they continue to multiply. Persisting infestations may reveal that there are easy access points somewhere in your home that need to be sealed up or that something is drawing these pests in.
Before deciding that you can handle pest control on your own, take into serious consideration the type of pest, its threat to your home and health and if you’ve had recurring infestations. A pest control professional is usually your best chance at eliminating the problem for good in a safe manner.
About the Author
Tiffany Olson is an avid blogger who lives in beautiful Northern California. She gets a kick out of writing on home related topics and sharing information with others. In her off time she loves to cook, read and travel.
One common problem with maintaining an RV is the unwanted entry of mice into it. Even if you have cleaned up the crumbs and food scraps from the last camping trip, mice and rodents still want to make their home in an RV. It could be the cozy warmth and dimness or the choice of wooden cabinets and electrical wirings to chew on. Whatever, mice are pests you’d rather do without, especially in a huge investment like an RV.
Getting rid of mice is not easy. But that shouldn’t be a deterrent. There are many techniques for keeping mice away from and nesting in your RV while it’s not in use and frustrated owners are willing to try anything until they find the most effective one. A combination of the methods mentioned below should do the trick. Some are weird and others are seemingly practical. Contributors of these ideas swear by their effectiveness but it’s up to you to find out for yourself.
1. Mothballs, dryer sheets and other mice repellent – it’s the odor these things give out that keep the mice away. Some repellents have scents that are tolerable and even nice for humans but offensive to mice.
2. Peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, lavender stalks and cloves - mice hate the smell of these herbs. Soak cotton balls in them and place in areas of the RV that mice like, such as in corners, under beds and in cabinets and drawers.
3. Antifreeze – this green liquid is used in cars. Leave small caps of it inside the RV. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a very toxic chemical that causes death. Make sure children and pets don’t have access to the RV if you use antifreeze.
4. When your RV is in storage, remove all mouse attractions like food and nesting material. If you’re storing it in a self-storage unit, you might want one that is nearby and easily accessible so you can check for mice from time to time. US Storage Centers says there are affordable units at sizes that are right for your RV.
5. Plug all openings in your RV. Check the sides and undersides for holes and gaps, furnace and air-conditioning vents and entries for plumbing and wiring. Check cabinets and closets for crevices and make sure their doors are securely closed.
There are many ideas for plugging openings where mice can enter.
6. Rat traps – these contraptions come in many types. Some promise bloody death for rats while others cage them in until you can check on the traps. Either way, it’s not a pleasant sight. But rat traps are very effective, especially when there’s cheese or peanut butter on or in it. The advantages of rat traps are immediate results, safer than poison baits and no odors of decomposing dead rats are left. Disposing of a brutally murdered rat or an alive and frisky one is its biggest turn off.
Marie Miller is a safety specialist. She includes the storage of RVs in her safety list since RVs are like second homes for families during summers.
Renting or owning your own home is a fantastic feeling that most people chase after for years. But living in your own property can be full of surprise problems such as pests, especially if your house, flat or apartment is in a city rather than a smaller town or village.
There are many pests found in our cities but here are the worst offenders to watch out for.
Surprisingly, foxes really can be a pest in cities. Over the last fifty years foxes have adapted well to life in cities and are now found across many urban locations. Foxes love cities because there are plenty of food sources available and they find shelter in gardens and other open spaces. As an example of numbers, there is an estimated 10,000 foxes currently living in the city of London.
Inner-city foxes can cause a wide range of problems for residents, from raiding through your rubbish bags and spilling the contents all over your property to digging up your lawn and garden searching for worms. Foxes also leave scents to mark their territories using strong smelling urine and droppings which can also be a nuisance to city residents.
Foxes can carry diseases which can be transferred to domestic cats and dogs. The animals often also carry fleas and parasites such as worms.
Rodents such as mice and rats are rife in cities and urban environments, mainly due to these places offering the most food and protection. Rats and mice consistency gnaw at things to keep their teeth filed down and often cause damage by chewing furniture and fittings. Besides chewing their way through electrical cables (possibly causing electrical fires), rats also carry parasites and diseases, which can be harmful.
Cockroaches are another common pest in urban environments because they love to hide away in rubbish and waste is plentiful in cities. Besides their unsightly physical appearance, cockroaches are a nuisance to city residents because they also carry harmful diseases and can be found tucked away in the strangest of places including furniture, wall and ceiling voids.
Bedbugs are another troublesome pest found in cities. Incredibly small and flat as a sheet of paper, bedbugs are a nuisance because they can fit into the smallest gaps of pretty much anything, from furniture to fittings. This makes them incredibly difficult to spot let alone remove. Bedbugs are particularly rife in cities because they are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, of which there is plenty in urban communities.
Last but not least we have fleas. Fleas are a troublesome pest because they carry diseases and they lay eggs whilst they are on animals, which are then transferred around the home. These eggs eventually hatch into larvae which feeds on two things that are found all over homes: dead skin and dust. These larvae will then turn into fleas which in turn repeats the cycle again.
If you live in a city and believe you may have a problem with one or more of the pests mentioned above, it is strongly advisable that you visit your local council website for more information about how you can remove them from your home. If needs be, hire a private pest control company with a proven track record for complete peace of mind.
Tony Bond is the director of North London Pest Control, a company which specializes in removing pests from properties in the city.
If there’s anything more unpleasant than being confronted by flies, bugs and other unpleasant creepy-crawlies around the house, we’re not sure what it is. Because of this, we’ve put together this article so that you can take the necessary steps to keep those unwanted visitors (far) away!
If there is one room in the house that represents a real breeding ground for pests, it’s the kitchen. The sheer amount of stains, food and dirt that passes through this room during the day makes it an absolute party location for flies and other bugs. Fortunately, the most effective way to avoid those nasty bugs coming into the kitchen is quite a simple one. Simply ensure that any waste is disposed of immediately, and that the surfaces in the room are regularly wiped down using a strong bacterial cleaner. It’s worth remembering that because it’s such a key location in terms of pest removal, keeping your kitchen sparkling clean is almost half the battle.
Other substantial cause of bugs in or around the house are wet-spots and damp. Therefore, if you spot any areas of excess moisture, try to dry and clean them as soon as possible. Some common causes include dripping radiator pipes, water leaking down the sides of a bath or shower, as well as small gaps appearing in the roof. Regularly inspect your attic for moisture, too, as holes in the roofing are a common cause.
Another breeding ground for bugs, an overgrown garden is a sure-fire way to increase the risk of those unpleasant inhabitants getting into the house. Fortunately, there are a few ways to ensure your green space works with you rather than against! Firstly, make sure that you take the time to rake away dead or decaying leaves, as well as grass clippings: these all provide a perfect ecosystem for insects and other bugs to breed. Also, if you’re growing your own compost (which is not a bad idea in itself), keep it in a sealed storage item such as an upright plastic bin. This means that even if the bugs do find it, they’ll at least be trapped in the one area.
Over time, gaps will naturally appear in almost any home; it’s just a consequence of natural wear and tear. However, failing to seal these gaps up runs the risk of bugs and other insects using them as entranceways. A range of different rooms are susceptible to openings, including both the basement and the roof, areas where pipes access the house, laundry or air vents. You should also regularly check the weather stripping on doors and windows, as these are susceptible to cracking in the long term.
A much lesser known cause of bugs and insects is actually your pet. Yes, it’s true: your beloved four legged friend is on the side of the pests! Fortunately, it’s in quite an indirect way. Anyone who’s accidentally left a pet food bowl on the floor for a day or two will know that the meaty, fatty chunks in there are like catnip to ants and flies. Ensure that you always keep your faithful companions bowl clean, and change the food regularly. That way, the contents of the dish won’t lie there for anymore than a few hours at once!
As a general rule it’s important to make sure that you always maintain a high standard of cleanliness. Always throw out trash at the earliest possible opportunity, and make sure that you wipe down surfaces regularly.
Tony Bond is the founder of Essex Pest Control Ltd, a well-established pest control company with a great deal of experience in removing unwanted guests from both domestic and commercial properties.
Boxelder bugs may not bite, sting, or transmit diseases, but they certainly are a nuisance. Although they don’t cause much damage to homes or plants, their feces has the ability to stain light-covered surfaces, not to mention that smashing them can release a rather foul stench.
So what, exactly, are boxelder bugs? They are black-and-red bugs that attracted to the box elder tree, hence their name. They also are drawn to maple and ash trees. Boxelder bugs are considered a nuisance bug, as they swarm in droves and can find their way inside your home, although they mostly tend to stay outside during warmer weather. They tend to invade buildings during the autumn, in order to find a place to overwinter.
Adult boxelder bugs narrow, elongated, flat-backed insects that are about Â½ inch long and 1/3 inch wide. They are a dark, brownish-black color with three red strips going lengthwise from the area behind their head. Their heads are black with an reddish-orange proboscis, or beak. They have four segmented antennae that are long and thin, and are usually half as long as their body. Their wings are membranous on top, while being thick and leathery at the base. Boxeleder bugs have red veins in their wings, and their abdomens are red beneath the wings. Nymphs, or baby boxelder bugs, closely resemble adults, except they are rounder, smaller, wingless, and completely bright red.
During the autumn, boxelder bugs must seek shelter for overwintering during the cold, harsh months of winter. They are attracted to lights and often fly in through open windows and doors. When they are outdoors during the hot, dry summer months, they are usually found on the sides of trees or buildings. They reemerge during the warm months of spring, relocating from their hiding places into living spaces.
During warm spring and summer months, boxelder bugs feast and reproduce upon female box elder trees. They consume sap by sucking it from the leaves, tender twigs, and developing seeds. Occasionally they will also feast and reproduce on male box elder trees, which can cause minor deformities of fruit and leaves, as well as yellow leaf discoloration.
Since boxelder bugs mainly feast on box elder trees, the obvious solution for these nuisance insects is to remove the source of the problem. By taking out the trees they like to populate, you would be dramatically decreasing the boxelder bug population. Some towns have outlawed these types of trees, although adult bugs can fly up to 2 or more miles in search of another place to live.
Boxelder bugs are a nuisance, which is why you really don’t want them hanging around. They could ruin your curtains of furniture with their fecal matter, and they will literally stink up the place upon death. If you’ve noticed a large population of boxelder bugs in your area, you should consider contacting a pest control professional.
About the author: Chris is a blogger for a odessa pest control company. His wife has appointed him as official bug remover of the home, and regardless of what he is doing he drops it and takes care of the spider, beetle, or other creepy crawly.
A couple months back, Bulwark Pest Control promoted a word search puzzle on Facebook, and it quickly became the most engaging social media piece the Exterminators have done to-date. Over 10,000 participants responded to the puzzle, by commenting the first pest they found.
In case you missed it, here is the pest test word search:
After checking out the puzzle for yourself, what was the first pest that you found? Are you scared of this pest? Wondering how your find compares to everyone else’s?
Check out the below infographic:
What do you think? Comment below and let us know what the first pest you found in the pest test word search.
Bugs are not only annoying, but can also pose a threat to the health of our families. With that in mind, using harsh chemicals to repel or kill bugs can also be dangerous, especially around children or pets that don’t know any better. This is why it’s important for families to try natural methods before they resort to unsafe and/or expensive chemicals. While it’s also important to keep in mind that neglecting to address an infestation that needs professional attention can pose an even bigger threat to your family, there are things you can do to avoid this from happening to you in the first place. After making sure that you’re keeping your home and yard clean and tidy, there are plenty of things you can do to repel or kill bugs with items and natural ingredients you already have at home. Here are some of our top suggestions.
Using strong smelling essential oils is a pretty common method of repelling many different kinds of insects, including spiders, bees, ants, and more. And it smells good, too! You can use this method by filling a spray bottle almost completely with water, but with enough room to add about 5 drops of liquid dish soap, and 10-15 drops of the essential oil. Depending on your scent preference, the essential oil that you use is up to you. Typically, the stronger the smell is, the more it will work. Tea tree, peppermint, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cedar wood scents are all great ideas for this recipe. Spray it on all entrances, as well as the perimeter of your house, and any other areas that they are attracted to. Planting these herbs outside your home will also help steer them away.
Other scents that have been known to deter insects: citronella, vinegar, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, and catnip. Keeping your surfaces clean and sanitized regularly will also help steer them away, as well as wash away the territorial scent that they may leave behind.
Get a cat! They are natural hunters and are pretty good at catching bugs. Most times they will just kill it, but they have been known to eat them, so make sure you’re not dealing with any poisonous spiders.
Many different insects are attracted to syrupy, sugary substances, such as ants, bees, wasps, and flies. The homemade bait trap is simple and can be altered to target the specific bugs you’re having an issue with. The basic idea is to create a trap with a container filled with a sugary liquid that will attract them. Cover the container with a lid, cut a hole just big enough for them to enter, and add oil to the inside walls to prevent them from crawling back out. Place the trap in an area where the insects are usually found. They’ll try to drink the liquid and will get stuck in there and die. You can use mason jars, 2-liter soda bottles with the tops cut off, buckets, or whatever you have on hand that is an appropriate size for your needs.
The liquid that you put in the trap can also be altered, depending on what type of bug you’re trying to trap. Sugary water will generally attract most insects, but some may be even more attracted to something else. For example, sweet juices, such as berry or mango, can be used to attract more cockroaches.
For mosquitoes: mix one cup of sugar and one cup of very warm water, then stir in one teaspoon of active dry yeast until bubbly and frothy, then stir in an additional cup of room-temperature water and pour into the desired container you’ll be using for your trap, but don’t put the lid on quite yet. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and place in a dark, warm, and humid place for about a week so the yeast will ferment. Then place the lid on with the hole and hang in the problematic area.
For fruit flies: add a big spoonful of jam to the bottom of the container first, and then fill with equal parts of fermented liquid such as wine or beer, and water. Finish off with a half-teaspoon of oil and seal the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band, and poke lots of tiny holes with a toothpick.
When all else fails, you may have to result to a pest control company. Be sure not to underestimate the problem, however, some insects can cause a lot of damage in a pretty short amount of time. Good luck!
Family Home Pest Control is proud to bring you a series of helpful articles that will help you find environmentally friendly ways to help reduce the bugs around your house.
West Nile Virus has become a serious matter in the United States. Over 5,600 cases alone were reported by the CDC in 2012 – a scary number when taking in consideration that it can potentially lead to death. West Nile may be a rapid spreading epidemic that’s difficult to control, but you can take safety precautions to ensure you don’t contract it.
Mosquitos are the main transmitters of West Nile Virus, so you’ll want to make sure that your house is mosquito-proof. Mosquitos are attracted to cool areas, which is why they come flocking indoors. Be sure to implement the use of window screens and citronella candles to ward of these blood suckers. If all else fails, call an exterminator.
Children and elderly people tend to suffer the most mosquito bites, so it’s vital that you take precautions before sending them outside. Spray-on bug repellent helps keep mosquitos at bay, so you and your family members of all ages can enjoy the outdoors during the summer.
When possible, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs when going outside, especially if you plan to be near water. West Nile is, unfortunately, most prevalent in the hotter parts of the U.S. – from the southeast to Texas – so covering your skin will be uncomfortable. Although it’s tempting to lose the layers, it’s important to cover as much skin as possible when outdoors during the summer months in order to discourage mosquito bites.
It is imperative that you make your yard as unattractive to mosquitos as possible, especially if you and your family spend a lot of time outside. The best way to do this is to remove all standing water from your yard – that means bird baths, full flower pots, koi ponds – and yes, even swimming pools. There is nothing more than blood that mosquitoes are attracted to besides bodies of standing water, which is where they lay their eggs.
You can also repel mosquitoes from your yard by bringing in a few bird feeders or plants that birds are attracted to. Mosquitoes naturally stay far away from birds, since birds will just as soon east them as look at them.
Bug zappers are devices designed to attract and then kill insects, such as mosquitoes, so it’s a smart idea to have some hanging around the outside of your home. If you don’t wish to purchase a bug zapper, consider making one yourself as a DIY project.
Although mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, not all of them do. Mosquitoes can harbor a variety of diseases that wouldn’t be pleasant to catch. Not everyone who contracts West Nile Virus will experience symptoms. Out of everyone who catches West Nile, only 5 percent will actually get sick, although 5-10 percent of people infected will die from the disease. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been infected, seek medical treatment immediately.
There is no vaccine for West Nile Virus, so it’s important to take precautionary measures in order to prevent mosquito bites. For more information regarding the mosquito population where you live, call your local pest control professionals.
About the author: Chris is writer for an El Paso pest control company.
Most people don’t really like their basement and it’s obvious. It’s a perfectly good room, yet people use it to store their crap. It’s dark and dingy, so they won’t go downstairs unless it’s absolutely necessary. I think people have been watching too many horror films, so their basement is an afterthought until they finally decide they want to turn it into a spare bedroom. When you don’t look after your basement properly it definitely creates problems.
One problem you might end up facing is an infestation of rodents or insects. You don’t need to call the exterminator straight away because there are a few things you can do before you let someone loose inside your home. Gadgets might be the answer and we’re going to look at a few of the good ones right now. You can set them up inside your basement and they should take care of your problem while you sit and watch your favorite program on TV.
You can scare all the horrible little terrors away using supersonic sounds. You might not know what those are, but just imagine there is a gadget that can blast out sounds at a frequency we can’t hear. The machine will keep changing the frequency very fast and it will mess with the animals’ minds. It definitely won’t kill them so you have nothing to feel bad about. They just won’t be able to handle their nervous system getting messed around so they won’t make an appearance.
If you don’t want to by the electronic repellent you’re still in luck because you can just set traps for the rodents. There are nice non-lethal gadgets that will work the same as a regular trap only nobody gets killed. Instead of a huge metal bar slamming down on a mouse it will just trap them inside a plastic cup that closes as soon as something goes inside. Even though your basement is an afterthought you still don’t want dead animals lying around.
I don’t think a mouse trap is going to work if you have a bigger animal on your hands. I can’t see a raccoon squeezing into it, so you will need something that works. Set up a proper trap that looks more like a dog cage. The door will be on a hinge, so if something walks in it’s not getting back out unless you let it out. With bigger animals you need to ask yourself why they are getting into your basement in the first place, but you still need to get them out in the meantime.
If you live in an area where there are a lot of snakes they could easily find their way inside your basement. I’m sure you don’t want to run into one of them if you don’t need to. You can pick up a solar powered gadget that you can stick into the ground inside your garden. It will send pulses through the ground and the vibrations will scare the snakes away. Set it up near your home because they can’t get into the basement if they can’t get near it.
Sooner or later you will eventually scare everything out of your basement and they might not want to come back. It would have been a lot harder in the past, but somehow gadgets make everything easier. You should think about doing something with your basement because when it’s just sitting empty it might become very attractive to all those rodents and insects again at some point in the future.
Mark Ross is the owner of a pest control company which provides services such as skunk removal in Toronto. In his spare time, he likes to go trekking and camping with his family.
Pest control is an important part of maintaining your house, yard and garden, but that doesn’t mean having to spray down your environment with harmful chemicals. There are actually insects out there that can be beneficial in helping you get rid of destructive pests, and learning to recognize what those are may save you from applying pesticides that are unhealthy for you, your pets and plants. The food chain out in the wild can be pretty harsh, but can also yield a positive approach to a more organic route of pest management. Using their natural predators, you can eliminate the intrusive pests that are roaming around your property and attacking your defenseless plants.
Lacewings can be a very effective method of pest control as they are avid eaters and not shy about it. They survive best under certain conditions, like in a greenhouse, and require an ample source of honeydew, nectar or pollen to support a constant reproduction process. They are most commonly used for managing pests like mealybugs, small caterpillars, aphids, thrips and whiteflies.
It’s not all that uncommon to see a praying mantis kept as a household pet, but many people don’t realize that they can actually be of some use to you around the yard as well. The larger insect is instrumental in being quick enough to catch annoying flies and mosquitos and one of the few still awake at night to pluck moths right out of the air.
As a popular insect that people don’t mind having around, ladybugs can also serve a purpose besides just being pretty. Adult ladybugs and their larvae naturally feed on aphids, which is a common pest found in gardens that can result in big problems. In their lifetime, ladybugs generally consume thousands of aphids, cutting down on their population quite a bit. In order to reproduce and continue contributing their services to your pest control, ladybugs will also need a good supply of pollen and flower nectar and can’t be exposed to pesticides. They can also be found eating mites, scales, bollworms, leafhoppers and leafworms.
Large amounts of beneficial nematodes are already in the soil all around us. They are threatening to numerous types of pests that reside in the earth and dispose of many before they ever have the chance of making it to adulthood. Nematodes are especially useful in getting rid of fleas, Japanese beetles, weevils, grubs and mole crickets. They do this by actually entering the body of the other insect and infecting it with bacteria, but there should be no concern over them harming pets, plants or humans.
Nothing can be quite as irritating as a fly that gets in the house and never leaves. With fly parasites nearby you can help fix that problem since they exterminate pest flies before they even hatch. The parasites are so small they usually go unnoticed and won’t affect anything else around the house.
Letting Mother Nature take its natural course and help to manage your pest control can make things a lot easier on you. However, it may be best to combine these methods with another kind of organic pest control if you have a large garden you’re trying to save or too many pests to get a handle on.
About the Author
Tiffany Olson lives in California and blogs regularly on home related topics including pest control, home safety, and home insurance. Killroy Pest Control helped her recently with a sticky pest situation. Among other services, they specialize in pest control in Hayward, CA.