Homes Are Not Built With Pest Defense In Mind

mice in the walls lrgWhat comes to mind when you think of mice?

For some it is cute, furry mice kept as pets. For others, its Mickey Mouse; the darling of Disney. Yet for others, it can be an unpleasant home invasion of mice in their walls; as well as critters running out from under the fridge.

Ohhh, did that last example tweak a nerve? Sorry about that!  

The interesting thing about the latter is that the majority of home owners experience mice in their homes on more than one occasion, and they rarely seem to learn about how mice actually get in. Rather, homeowners place their focus on running to the hardware store for traps and poison. It’s a bit of a cyclical comedy or errors and it doesn’t have to be this way.

How Mice Get In

It is usually only after a stroke of luck that we as home owners are told by a friend, an astute home inspector, or pest removal professional about the various ways mice get in our homes. And from this knowledge we are liberated to take a better stand against the critters getting in.  As it turns out, one of least know entry points, which also happens to be the most common entry point, is the weep holes seen in brick homes. These are designated air exchange and moisture releasing pathways required by the building code.

Why do the majority of homeowners not have a clue about this, and why do these common entry points not get properly secured by home builders?

In large part, home owners seem to have an innate understanding of most home maintenance issues; such as cutting the lawn, shoveling the snow, replacing the furnace filter, making sure the front door has a lock and key, shutting off the water if a pipe bursts… and more. But when it comes to pest defenses we don’t have a clue. Since our parents bought traps and poison, is it possible we do what our parents did out of habit? Oddly, even when a home owner learns how to stop mice via these secret passages, this knowledge does not seem to get passed onto future generations let alone the neighbors.

Mice_ControlHomes Are Not Built With Pest Defense In Mind

It seems to me, homes built in the past 30 years (aside from their pleasing appearance) are truly great harbors for pests; and particularly mice. I have to think this is due to a combination of building code requirements and efficient quick install building products; neither of which are critter proof.

Take for example these weep holes in a brick home’s walls. Often sloppy with bits of mortar, these holes are created during the brick laying process and serve a mandated building code purpose yet leave the house open to assault by pests that become costly nuisance to the home owner.

We also see this when your home contractors install utility pipes through your walls. They are concerned with proper and safe installation to meet the building code. These installation practices don’t often take into account implications of pests passing through improperly secured pipe access holes and the home owner isn’t the wiser until the damage is done.

Then there is the issue of siding materials including soffit and facia. These are fantastic finishing materials to make our homes exteriors look pleasantly beautiful and weather storms, however it is not part of the installers job to ensure pest proofing of small spaces these pest such as mice and bats easily exploit. For the most part home building material manufacturers haven’t taken this into consideration. When you are a home builder or contract installer, like many industries there needs to be cost containment and process efficiency and when it comes to pest proofing its easier and cheaper to leave these up to the pros or you the home owner.

For example if it takes 35 seconds to click together 6 feet of soffit and then move the ladder to ready the next section, it’s going to take a great deal longer to stand there and empty a tube of caulking fill the gap between the wall and soffit. It is also going to be very costly to supply the caulking. This becomes a money losing proposition when your business is built on time standards, material efficiency and volume.  It also delays completion times. Either way, since this part of the job isn’t mandated by building code standards and most of us don’t have awareness… it doesn’t get addressed.

When do-it-yourself home owners try to address these issues themselves they can often do more damage than good. For example, a home owner might think the only way to stop mice from passing through weep holes is to stuff them with copper mesh or steel wool improperly marketed through well know online selling communities and hardware stores. By sealing their weep holes they have just broken the building code and jeopardized their home for serious risks of excessive moisture build-up in the walls leading to mold and rot.

diy pest control lrgProfessional Mice Control

The good news is there is a weep hole solution that is both permanent and easy to install by homeowners and it doesn’t put your home at risk of clogging the weep holes. It is called Rid-O-Mice and it is a stainless steel weep hole insert that mice can’t chew through nor pull out. It also conveniently prevents wasps, scorpions, lizards and snakes from entering the home via these weep holes. 

You might want to consider hiring a handyman who has the right equipment and business insurance to caulk your wall/soffit gaps. Getting up on a ladder can be physically demanding and risky for non-professionals. It will cost you but so will ridding of mice and bats from your attic.

To find out more visit www.ridofmice.net.

 

Cricket Exterminator

Field Cricket, GryllusEver wonder what that annoying noise is outside or inside your home that you can never seem to find? They are small insects called crickets. Crickets are some of the most irritating pests we have. Crickets will make your home their home. 

Crickets 

Crickets are small pests that can range in size from 1 inch to about 2 inches. Crickets are different colors also. They can be black like the Field cricket, light tan like the House cricket, or brown like the Jerusalem cricket. Most of the crickets will have wings, but won’t fly very far. Crickets can also be distinguished by their commonly annoying chirping noise.

Where Do Crickets Live & What Do They Eat? 

Crickets will live where they can have a constant food supply. Outside, crickets will be found by plants. Plants have a root ball that crickets will eat, and it will also have dripper that gives the plants water which will also give crickets a water supply. Inside, crickets can be found just about anywhere. Inside crickets will eat cereal, clothes, wallpaper, cardboard, and even other insects.

Are Crickets A Serious Problem & How Can I Fix The Problem? 

Dead CricketAlthough they may be small, crickets are a huge problem. Crickets will destroy your valuables.  The best way to get rid of crickets is to exterminate them.  What a cricket exterminator will do is check your home and see what areas are infested. On the outside a cricket exterminator will treat the plants with granules, spray around the foundation of the home, and also treat around windows and doors.

On the inside a cricket exterminator will treat around the walls of the home, and under the sinks. A good cricket exterminator will know that most of the cricket infestations will be inside the walls of the home.

Bulwark Exterminating will take your face plates off your outlets and place a product inside the walls to kill all the crickets.

End Of Month Pest Control Links Round Up

Pest Control ConceptSpiders Are Invading!

No matter where you look, spiders and their webs lurk behind furniture, over windows, in corners of rooms, in light fixtures, on ceilings and under cabinets. There are steps you can take yourself to reduce the occurrence of indoor spiders:

http://www.modernpest.com/blog/spiders-are-invading/

Why Mosquitoes Are One Of The Most Dangerous Animals In The World

Believe it or not, mosquitoes are one of the most deadly animals in the world. When it comes to killing humans, mosquitoes are the worst. They kill more people every year than all the other animals we think of as dangerous, including snakes, sharks and crocodiles. Here are some helpful tips from the pros at American Pest to keep mosquitoes from eating you up this summer:

http://www.rosepestsolutions.com/blog/post/why-mosquitoes-are-one-of-the-most-dangerous-animals-in-the-world

Japanese Beetles

You’ve probably seen Japanese beetles, even if you didn’t know what they were. Learn more about these pests as they devour some 300 different species of plants:

http://blog.brasurespestcontrol.com/?p=710

The Truth About Cicada Killer Wasps 

Killer insects should be innocent until proven guilty, at least that is the case when it comes to the cicada killer wasp. These wasps are relatively harmless to humans, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a real pain if you have them on your property. Learn more:

http://www.americanpest.net/blog/post/the-truth-about-cicada-killer-wasps

Prevent Termites from Taking Over your Home!

Here are the ​​top 3 common signs of a termite infestation, and a very informative infographic on termites:

http://www.rentokil.com/blog/prevent-termites-from-taking-over-your-home/

Not The Grapes! Pests in Wine Grapes 

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is on the lookout for pests that threaten the state’s wine industry and Concord grapes. The major offenders are several species of moths, and Washington pest control experts with the WSDA are carefully monitoring their populations.

http://www.edenpest.com/blog/post/not-the-grapes-wsda-searches-for-pests-in-the-wine-grapes

exterminatorKeeping your Pets Pest-Free in Summer 

The summertime can be rough on your pets. As they battle to stay cool in the hot and humid weather, your cats, dogs, and other furry friends may also have to deal with pests like fleas, ticks, and flies. Here are a few ways to protect our furry friends:

http://www.sorensonpestcontrol.com/easyblog/entry/keeping-your-pets-pest-free-in-summer

How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home When Traveling 

Did you know that most people actually get bed bugs in their homes from recent traveling? Protect yourself by taking these preventative steps while traveling:

http://www.stopzbugs.com/blog/2014/07/09/how-to-avoid-bringing-bed-bugs-home-when-traveling

Why DIY Pest Control Is NOT A Good Idea

Do-It-Yourself pest control can be dangerous for you, your family and pets. Here’s why it’s not a good idea:

http://www.mccallservice.com/blog/post/why-diy-pest-control-is-not-a-good-idea

Friday Favorites: Your Links Round-Up Of Pest Articles

Tick_Infested_Area_SignYour Homes Curb Appeal Could Be Attracting Pests

It’s important to pay attention to what implications your home’s curb appeal and landscaping can have for your yearly pest prevention. Here are some helpful landscaping tips to deter pests:

http://www.westernpest.com/blog/your-homes-curb-appeal-could-be-attracting-pests/

Preventing Ants Is An Ongoing Task

Check out these helpful tips from our Rose exterminators to prevent ant problems in your home:

http://www.rosepestsolutions.com/blog/post/preventing-ants-is-an-ongoing-task

Carpenter Bees Damage Wood

These bees are known as wood destroying insects, because they make their nests inside of wood and cause a host of problems for home owners as a result. If left unchecked, carpenter bees can cause structural damage. Learn more:

http://www.permatreat.com/carpenter-bees-damage-wood/

Pest Control Tips to Prevent Summer Stings and Bites

Pest control should be a year-round consideration, but there are several additional steps to take in the summertime to help avoid the risk of being an insect’s meal ticket. Read more:

http://pestcontrolsanantonio.com/2014/07/pest-control-tips-to-prevent-summer-stings-and-bites/

Why DIY Pest Control Is NOT A Good Idea

Do-It-Yourself pest control can be dangerous for you, your family and pets. The improper use of pest control chemicals can result in rashes, burns, vomiting, trouble breathing and even death. Professional exterminators are trained to use pesticides. Read more:

http://www.mccallservice.com/blog/post/why-diy-pest-control-is-not-a-good-idea

Pest Control: Friday Links Round-Up

Bee BlossomFunny Fridays

In need of a good laugh this Friday? Check out these pest memes… Read More

Spring Bug Guide

Here’s a spring bug guide for homeowners in the upper Midwest… Read More

Crazy Ants Explained!

Here are a few helpful pointers about the Rasberry Crazy Ant… Read More

Arkansas Exterminators Offer Spring Pest Control Tips

Stinging insects, ants, and many other critters are busy in the spring. With just a few steps you can help limit your exposure to them… Read More 

Spring Ahead. Are Ants and Termites Headed Your Way? 

Ants and termites start to appear with the warm weather. Both of these pests can cause significant damage to your home. Insurance estimates that average repairs can run $3000+ and this cost is not always covered. This spring, be on the lookout for signs of these wood destroying insects… Read More 

 

Pest Control Articles Of The Week

termitesThe Dangers of Dampwood Termites

One of the most destructive pests in the Sunshine State is the Dampwood Termite. See for yourself just how much of an endemic they have become in Florida… Read More

4 Pests That Are Better Left to a Professional

While all pest professionals believe that every pest problem should be addressed by an exterminator, there are certain pests that should definitely not be left to the homeowner. These four pests are best left to the professionals… Read More

Freezing Bed Bugs May Not Kill Bed Bugs

Researchers have now concluded that bedbugs have a high cold tolerance. Although they will eventually succumb to the cold after several days of exposure especially when they are outside, these bugs use “freeze-intolerant” strategies to be able to survive in cold environments, such as lowering the freezing point of their bloodily fluids making them resilient to the winter… Read More

Tennessee Brown Recluse Spiders

Very few spiders strike fear in Tennessee homeowners, like the Brown Recluse spider. There is one reason for this phobia… The Brown Recluse’s toxic, dangerous, painful bites. Read More

Problems With Rats & Mice Plague Nearly 1 In 3 U.S. Homes

Rodents are a huge problem in the U.S, and now the NPMA is reporting that nearly 33 percent of U.S. homeowners are battling rodent pests. That means some of your neighbors. If your neighbors have rodents, you may be susceptible… Read More

Pest Of The Week: Flesh Flies

Flesh FlyOften times confused with the common house-fly, flesh flies are far more devastating to human health. Flesh flies can carry and spread diseases like leprosy, and will also wreak havoc on your intestinal system if you happen to consume flesh fly larvae (maggots).

The flesh fly larvae, or maggots, are internal parasites of other species of pests. A few species lay their eggs in the open wounds of mammals; hence their popular name. Above the soil, these larvae will live up to ten days, and then make their way into the soil where they will grow into adult flesh flies. Additionally, each stage of flesh fly larvae prefer to eat things in different states of decay and decomposition. It’s this characteristic which allows crime scene investigators to use flesh fly maggots as a method to determine time of death at murder scenes.

Flesh flies have black stripes on the gray areas right behind their heads. They also have a checkered pattern of light and dark gray on their abdomen. Some have bright red eyes. Flesh flies are quite widespread throughout much of the United States, but these flies actually prefer tropical regions of the world.

Becoming A Pest Control Operator

Pest Control TechnicianIn an economy where jobs can be hard to find, sometimes it’s worth it to consider jobs you may not know much about. One job you may not have considered is that of a pest control operator. In 2013, Fox Business named the pest management industry as one of the top 8 jobs to ‘escape the office’ and with good reason. The pest management industry is in constant demand, which is great for job security. Here is some more information that can help you decide whether this career path is right for you.

What is a Pest Control Operator?

A pest control operator is also called a PCO or, more commonly, an exterminator. They use the equipment and preventive measures at their disposal to control infestations or to eradicate animals and bugs from various locations, such as homes or commercial buildings. A PCO may work for a pest control company or be an independent contractor, hired individually to rid a location of pests. Some companies may have an extra interest in controlling their pest population – food manufacturing companies, for example – and they may even employ a full-time pest control operator to ensure their locations always remain pest-free.

What Kind of Pests Do They Deal With?

CockroachThis varies by location. A few of the most common pests you might be asked to deal with as a PCO are:

        • Spiders
        • Termites
        • Ants
        • Cockroaches
        • Bedbugs
        • Fleas
        • Rodents
        • Bee hives
        • Wasp nests

Not all pests are insects, however. Pest control operators are also called upon to deal with rodent infestations like mice and rats. On occasion, they may even have to rid a building of birds or snakes that have taken up residence in a building.

Pest InspectionRoutine House Inspections

Typically, a homeowner or business owner will contact a pest control operator to get an inspection. They may do this if they have seen pests in the building, if their neighbors have pest problems, or simply a routine basis to ensure the building is clean.

During these inspections, the PCO will examine the building and its surrounding yard. Using special tools designed for pest control, they must make sure to check areas known as good pest hiding places, such as attics, basements, foundations, and beneath trees and shrubs. After the inspection, the PCO will usually give the building owner a report detailing any concerned or infested areas, as well as a recommended course of action.

After the Inspection

If the building owner opts to go ahead and eradicate pests in infested areas, the PCO may ask them to sign a contract if required for the job. They will then make an appointment for a follow-up and return to the home or business to do the job of removing the pests from the area. Occasionally toxic materials are used as part of this job, and in this case, residents may be asked to leave the premises or segregate their pets to make sure nobody is accidentally hurt during the process. Some companies also offer organic pest control treatments in addition to standard treatments which may or may not contain toxins depending on the treatment needed. These organic options may be useful in situations where pets, children or outdoor gardens are involved.

There are many methods of dealing with pests, such as setting traps, destroying nests, spraying the infested area, and sealing up entry points. If these methods do not work and the pests stay or return to the area, some pest control companies offer a money-back guarantee or return inspections.

Exterminator sprayingBecoming a Pest Control Operator

Most of the time, a college degree is not necessary to become a PCO, although a high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required. The most important part of the process of becoming a PCO is training. In some areas of the country, pest control operators will be required to take specific training programs, like these for example, and apply for a pest control license from their respective state before they are able to work for a company or start their own business. This does not necessarily mean you need to have a license before you are hired. Some companies may hire you and then work with you to provide that training with the understanding that once you get your license, you will continue to work for them as a licensed pest control operator.

Even in jurisdictions where you do not need to have a pest control license, training is still a vital part of the job. Not only does this allow you to do your job effectively, removing pests completely and preventing them from returning, but it ensures that you do your job safely. Pest control operators often work with toxic substances, and companies want to make sure their workers handle the toxins properly. Neglecting that can endanger the health of the humans or pets involved, not to mention the possibility of polluting the building’s air and water.

If you are seeking a job as a pest control operator, your best bet is to contact your local pest control company to ask them about the application process. If they are seeking new PCOs, you can ask them about the training process and if you need to be licensed before applying. They can tell you what you need to know to get your foot in the door as a pest control operator.

You may never have considered the possibility of becoming a PCO, but with a little training, you could be well on your way to a promising new career path.

5 Fun Facts About Pillbugs

PillbugsPillbugs are known by many names, including wood louse, roly poly, potato bug, and armadillo bug. Whatever you call it, the pillbug is a fascinating insect – which is not even really an insect! Below you’ll find 5 fun facts about the pillbug that will make you have more respect for this little creature.

1. Pillbugs Aren’t Actually Bugs

Did you know that pillbugs – or roly polies as you might call them – aren’t actually bugs? It’s true – they are actually crustaceans, not insects! This makes them related to crayfish and shrimp – more so, in fact, than they are related to any insect! In fact, pillbugs are cousins to the giant isopod, a deep sea dweller that feeds at the bottom of the ocean. Isopods even roll up to protect themselves the way their smaller terrestrial counterparts do – who would have ever guessed?

2. Pillbugs Breathe Through Gills

Terrestrial pillbugs breathe through gills, just like their marine counterparts. Their gill-like structures enable them to exchange gases, which mean they require a moist environment to dwell in. However, they can NOT survive being fully submerged in water.

3. Pillbugs Don’t Urinate

Pillbugs have an amazing ability to tolerate ammonia gas, which means they have no need to convert their wastes, which are high in ammonia, into urine. The ammonia gas simply passes through their exoskeleton, entirely eliminating the need for these critters to urinate.

4. Pillbugs Can Drink From Their Anus

Pillbugs have the ability to drink the old fashioned way, using their mouthparts, but they can also use their anus to take in water. Their rears contain special tube-shaped structures called uropods, which have the ability to wick up water whenever it’s needed.

5. Pillbugs Eat Their Own Feces

A pillbug’s diet consists of lots of feces – including its own. You see, when a pillbug poops, it loses a little bit of copper, which is an essential element it needs in order to live. Rather than let all that copper go to waste, the pillbug recycles it by ingesting its own poop. This ecological method is known as coprophagy.

As you can see, this little bug – or crustacean, if you will! – is a unique and interesting creature. Not only does it curl up in a ball when it feels threatened, but it’s larger marine cousin, the isopod, also does this. It makes one marvel at the wonders of evolution, that this critter crawled up from the depth of the cold sea to dwell on land, shrinking to the size of a pill in the process. The pillbug is definitely an intriguing creature!

About the author: Chris is writer for Fox Pest Control, a Virginia Beach based pest control company.

 

Pest Control Links Round-Up: New Year Edition

Pest Control Links Round-Up: New Year Edition

New Year 2014Don’t Let Birds Crash Your New Years Party

There are times and places where you can really appreciate the beauty and playfulness of birds. Unfortunately, your New Years party is not one of them… Read More

Plan for a Pest-Free New Year 

Good pest prevention practices should be a year-round effort, and that includes early in the New Year. Efforts taken now can help ensure your pest free come spring and summer… Read More

How to Start the New Year Free of Pests

Pests could be furthest from your minds during the holidays, but they cannot be ignored any further in 2014. If you want the New Year to be pest-free, get rid of the following to prevent pest problems… Read More

How to Use Insect Repellents Safely

Make 2014 the year you don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes, flies, and other flying pests. For a great article on everything you need to know about insect repellents, including: when should you use insect repellent, which mosquito repellent is right for you, how often should the repellent be applied, how the percentage of the active ingredient relates to its protection time, and other various tips, click here.

4 Lawn Care Resolutions for the New Year

Rather than give into the winter blues, take a few steps to prepare your yard and lawn for a cheerier and happier New Year; including pest inspection and detection… Read More

Bed Bug Check List For Renters

Thinking of renting a new apartment in 2014? Check out this bedbug check list for renters… Read More

Squirrel headPest Of The Week: Squirrels

When I refer to squirrels, I’m referring to a huge family (Sciuridae) of rodent pests. Some of the most common squirrels found in the United States include: the Eastern Grey Squirrel, tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, woodchucks, marmots, chipmunks and prairie dogs.

These squirrels become pest control problems when they enter our homes, garages, and sheds. They build nests, birth their young, eat our food, and damage our property. The squirrels nesting behavior can cause significant damage to property, and even damage electrical equipment. These pests can be dangerous at times, and are known to bite if they feel threatened. Bites can result in rabies and other diseases. In fact, you don’t have to be bit to contract a disease from a squirrel pest; their urine and droppings can also spread disease. Additionally, some of these pests can spread fleas to you, your family, and your pets.

Most human encounters with squirrel pests occur in the spring months. These pests run low on the nuts and seeds they store and eat throughout the winter. Some of these have begun to sprout into plants and trees and are not available for consumption. Until replacement food options are found by the squirrel pests, they may become aggressive and even enter our homes and garages looking for food.

The rest of the year, squirrels will eat nuts, seeds, plants, cones, fungi, fruits, and other various types of vegetation. When times get dire, squirrels will also eat meat, other rodents, birds, snakes, and insects.

Blog Pest Control 2014!

Happy New Year 2014

Peace out 2013! Another year has come and gone, and all of us bug guys and gals here at Blog Pest Control are so very grateful for all of your continued reading and viewing. We’ve put a lot of work into this publication, making it the go-to place for all things pest and pest control… The best is yet to come!

In 2014, we will continue to keep you up-to-date an all of the latest pest control news for both the general public, and the pest management professional. Check out our profiles of interesting insects with our pest of the week feature, our links round-up to other informative pest control articles, and even professional advice for running your own pest control business.

Blog Pest Control is also going to introduce a new feature in 2014 in which we interview other pest management professionals from all over the world, on some of the hot trending topics in pest control. If you are a pest professional and are interested in being interviewed in the upcoming year; to share your point of view, please let us know by commenting below. We will be happy to link back to your homepage, your Google+ profile, or Twitter page.

In addition, we look forward to breaking out a new and improved theme that will make it even easier to follow along and read all of our great articles. Stay tuned! Let’s keep this remarkable platform alive for many more years to come!

We wish you all a Happy New Year 2014. May this next year bring you joy, happiness, and prosperity. We’re looking forward to your continuous readership through 2014 and beyond.

Happy New Year!