Pest control tips for the fall

Although pest control professionals are often needed to remedy various bug and insect infestations, home and business owners can take their own measures in removing critters from their properties.

With fall rapidly approaching and the temperature dropping, a new variety of pests are making themselves known to home and business owners alike across the country, and there are new actions that can be taken to deal with the situation given the weather.

First, as a home or business owner, you can protect your area by sealing any cracks or holes on the outside of the building as these are points of entry for many pests. As a homeowner, you should make sure your attic is well ventilated and dry, and use a ventilator or dehumidifier if needed.

Homeowners can also use pest control insulation to further protect their properties from ants, termites, cockroaches and other critters.

However, DIY pest control initiatives can only take you so far, as the professionals will likely be needed in order to completely take care of an infestation. Trusted exterminators use the latest technology in getting rid of pests of all varieties and have all their equipment and methods licensed and insured.
 

Survey finds West Nile concern among Americans, pest control companies affected

West Nile virus has come on strong this year, leading to an uptick in business for pest control companies.

A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association revealed that 54 percent of Americans are worried about the West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease that can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

In addition, the survey found that 22 percent of respondents took more steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes than in previous years.

“This year’s unprecedented West Nile Virus epidemic and the alarming amount of fatalities are worrisome for health and pest experts alike," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at the NPMA. "Our members have received increased calls from homeowners to assist them with mosquito elimination in their back yards and this survey clearly shows the elevated concern experienced by much of the American population. The good news is that mosquito activity will naturally decrease over the next few weeks as the weather cools in much of the country and adult mosquitoes die off.”

The NPMA is currently in transition mode as its executive vice president, Rob Lederer, announced his resignation after 17 years of leading the organization. The resignation is effective immediately and was announced by NPMA President Laura Simpson during a conference call with the association's board of directors.

Mike Rottler, president of a pest control company, told PCT that news of Lederer's resignation came as a shock.

Food manufacturers dealing with fall pests

Pest control is a major issue among homeowners across the country, but business owners also have to take protective measures when it comes to preventing bugs, insects and other pest infestations.

In the food manufacturing industry, safety is paramount and keeping unwanted pests at bay is a priority for every food manufacturer. With the summer heat fading into an autumn chill, food plant managers are taking proactive steps to keep their products safe.

"Depending on geographical location, winter can provide some relief from exterior pest pressures. However, certain parts of the U.S. will see year-round pressures from outdoor insects," Patricia Hottel, technical director at a pest management company, told FoodProcessing.com. "There are definitely some seasonal pest differences in the temperate climates. There are several types of fall invading pests to expect as summer comes to a close. Several of these pests invade structures in search of a place to overwinter."

Many pests are influenced by the temperature and other aspects of the seasons, with some more prevalent in the fall and harvest season. The news source states that these pests include rodents, boxelder bugs, foreign grain beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, cluster flies, multicolored Asian lady beetles and more.

"Each season brings different opportunities for pests to find food, water and shelter within or around food processing, packaging or handling facilities," Dale Bauerkemper, vice president of operating companies at a pest control company in Wisconsin, told the news source. "Although chemical applications can offer some immediate relief, environmental control methods that drop the relative humidity levels, removing the water pests need to survive, are required for real long-term resolution."

What to do as a business owner
As a home and/or business owner, you should take whatever steps are necessary to rid any potential pest issues. Contacting pest control professionals can be the easiest and most effective way to eliminate your bug or insect issue.

Although there are personal pest control measures that can be undertaken to remedy the situation, these are not always effective and some may not be safe. Working with a trained professionals may solve pest problems more quickly and offer much-needed peace of mind.

Pest control tips for gardens

Many homeowners have to deal with pests and the issues they bring with them. Oftentimes, these homeowners require the services of pest control professionals to remedy the situation, but that doesn't mean there aren't any tactics the homeowner can employ to help deal with the issue.

In a recent piece for the Paxton Record, Marc Amore, an area pest control expert, provided some useful information on how gardens and insects can help in pest control situations.

"People have been using plants and the chemicals that they create as pest control for several hundred years," Amore wrote for the news source. "One of the first plants used for pest control, was the extract of the tobacco plant, nicotine. It was used by the Dutch in the 1600s. Another example is the chrysanthemum flower, from which pyrethrum is derived, and is still used commonly to this day. So this is not a new concept."

Amore went on to list a number of herbs that can be planted among the vegetables in any garden that will go toward reducing the number of pests present there.

Anise can be effective in dealing with snails, slugs and aphids; oleander for codling moths; borage for tomato heart worms and cabbage worms; cloves for spider mites, cowpea curculio and squash vine borers; and mint for aphids, ants, flea beetles, beetles, important cabbage worms, squash bugs, rodents and white flies.

Amore added that there are a number of vegetables that can be useful in warding off pests. These include potatoes, horseradish, lettuce, radish and onions. Also, flowers known to contain properties that lend themselves to pest control efforts include marigold, petunia and geranium.

Don't hesitate to contact the professionals
Although herbs, flowers and gardens themselves can help with pest problems, homeowners with gardens who are having trouble getting on top of an infestation should contact a pest control professional. Licensed pest control experts use only certified and approved equipment and pest control tactics that will effectively get rid of any infestation problem in a timely manner.

How to protect yourself from bed bugs while traveling

Summer vacation season may be winding down, but fall weekend getaways and holiday travel are right around the corner. While most people consider a vacation a relaxing, refreshing break, a trip can turn into a nightmare if you return home to discover you've brought bed bugs back with you. It's easy to pick up these unwanted souvenirs, and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of without help from professional exterminators. Remember that it is important to take precautionary steps to ensure your next trip doesn't leave you with bed bug bites or an infested house!

Check your room
If you're staying at a hotel, it's imperative to check your room for any signs of bed bugs as soon as you arrive. The pests have many different hiding places, but as their name suggests, they are often found around beds. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress, and don't forget to examine the corners and seams, where it's easy for bed bugs to hide.

Don't stop after checking just the mattress – there are plenty of other places bed bugs like to lurk. Look over the box spring, headboard and even the nightstand. Don't forget to check the sofa bed if your room has one. The bugs can also live in carpeting, so scan the floor for bugs as well. Did you bring a flashlight? Use it to help you inspect the room. If you don't have one, you can use a flashlight app on a family member's smartphone.

What are you looking for?
You can examine the entire hotel room closely, but that won't really help you if you aren't sure of exactly what you're looking for. When checking the room, look for the pests themselves, which are flat and brown. Young bed bugs may be harder to spot, since they are nearly colorless and blend into white sheets and mattresses.

Search for more than just living bugs. You'll also want to examine the hotel room for other evidence of the insects. Look for cast skins, which the young bugs shed as they grow. Do you notice any small stains on the mattress or near the bed? It may be blood from bites or bed bug fecal matter. If you find any live bugs or evidence of an infestation, it's important to request a room change or find a new hotel before a pest finds its way into your luggage!

Keeping your luggage pest free
While it's crucial to inspect a room for signs of bed bugs, it isn't always a guaranteed way to ensure there are no pests present in the room. These insects are adept at hiding, and they can be easy to miss.

It may be tempting to drop your luggage on the floor or bed after a long plane ride or exhausting car trip, but avoid putting suitcases and bags in those two spots at all costs. Pests can easily crawl into your luggage if it's placed on the bed or carpeting. Instead, put your bags on luggage racks, on a table or even in the bathroom, where bed bugs rarely hide. Some experts even advise covering luggage with a trash bag so no pests are able to crawl inside.

Bed bugs can hide in clothes, and spread throughout your bags, so travelers are advised to keep clothing they have worn inside the hotel in sealed plastic bags before stowing it in their suitcases. Because they come into direct contact with the bed, vacationers should be especially careful about ensuring their pajamas are sealed before being packed up.

Avoid bringing home bugs
Even if you've taken every precaution to avoid bed bugs, sometimes they can still sneak into your luggage or clothing unnoticed. Keep your house pest free by unpacking your luggage in the garage when you return home – this will ensure the critters have nothing to grab and prevent them from spreading.

Closely examine each piece of clothing and your suitcase for any bugs that may have hitchhiked back to your home. Even if everything looks pest free, it's a good idea to wash and dry all items you brought with you. This will kill any bugs that you may have missed. When you've finished unpacking, don't store that suitcase in your closet. Leave it in the garage just in case any pests are still hiding in the seams. Missing just a bug or two could result in the pests spreading throughout your home.

Taking precautionary measures is the first step in preventing a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, it is still possible to wind up with a pest problem after returning home from a trip. In this instance, a pest control professional can recommend the best treatment to rid your home of bed bugs.

Keep silverfish out of your home

Silverfish are common pests that may cause problems for homeowners. Even though they do not pose a medical danger to residents, their presence can be a nuisance. The risk of contaminated food and damaged goods is enough to make most homeowners dread discovering a silverfish in their homes.

Identifying the pest
Many residents find it tricky to uncover a silverfish problem, as the pests are nocturnal and can move extraordinarily quickly. If you're on the hunt for the insects, some good places to start your search are in the kitchen, bathroom, basement or laundry room. These bugs can make their homes in most environments, but they prefer areas that are warm and humid.

The pests have silvery brown bodies, and can grow to be nearly an inch long. They have two long antennae, and three projections from the back of their bodies. These characteristics make them easy to identify when they are spotted.

Because the females lay so many eggs, silverfish populations tend to grow rapidly. Young silverfish develop even more quickly when living in a humid environment.

Silverfish damage
Even though silverfish don't usually cause extensive structural damage, their presence can be a pain to deal with. Those who have found silverfish in their kitchens should note that these pests can easily contaminate food. All food should be stored in airtight containers and put away quickly to prevent silverfish access.

Silverfish don't just eat human food – they'll chew on many things they shouldn't. Books and wallpaper are a snack these pests can't resist, and a severe infestation may damage carefully papered walls or a large book collection. Even your closets may be at risk, because silverfish will eat silk and linen.

Prevention methods
It can be hard to prevent silverfish from getting inside, and homeowners often don't notice the problem until it has become overwhelming. Make sure entry points are sealed up, to keep pests from entering. Controlling the humidity in laundry rooms, bathrooms, basements and kitchens can help keep silverfish away as well, as they are often attracted to damp environments.

It's not always easy to identify a severe silverfish infestation until its too late. If you've discovered multiple insects in your home, it may be time to contact a pest control professional who can assess the situation and recommend the best form of treatment.

Professional pest control companies the best at handling bed bugs

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged several companies with deceptive advertising. These companies marketed products that supposedly prevent and clear up bed bug infestations with natural ingredients, like cedar oil, lemongrass and cinnamon. The pest-killing claims were not supported with any evidence.

The FTC sued the companies in federal court, and one of them has agreed to cease marketing their product as a way to prevent bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs affect areas throughout the country and can be extremely difficult to eradicate. They can access the tiniest of spaces, where they are often not spotted until an infestation becomes severe. Mattress seams, behind headboards and behind wallpaper are common places for the pests to hide. Although their tiny size makes them hard to eliminate, their ability to live up to a year without eating also contributes to their resilience.

Homeowners facing bed bug problems are often embarrassed about the issue and try to treat the problem themselves instead of turning to insect control professionals. However, a bed bug infestation is nothing to be embarrassed about, as it has little to do with cleanliness. They can be picked up while traveling, visiting friends or even by bringing used clothing or furniture into your house. It's easy for these unwelcome creatures to sneak into your home undetected.

To prevent inadvertently bringing home the bugs, it's important to take caution when traveling. Check beds in hotels for signs of an infestation, and set suitcases on a luggage rack rather than letting them sit on the bed or carpet. Upon returning home, inspect all clothing and luggage, and wash everything, even items that weren't worn during your trip. Traveling isn't the only time you may encounter bed bugs – buying used clothing and furniture can also contribute to an unexpected infestation. Examine all purchases to ensure there aren't any bugs hiding in the items, and wash used clothing before stowing it in your closet.

Because these pests are difficult to get rid of, professional assistance is usually necessary. Don't risk using products that won't eliminate an infestation. If you've discovered signs of these insects, it's important to act quickly before the problem worsens. Calling a pest control company immediately is the first step to take in your battle against bed bugs. Professionals can confirm that the insects really are bed bugs, and they can recommend the best form of treatment based on your situation.

Why you need a fall pest inspection

Because summer is winding down, many homeowners think hot-weather insects are a thing of the past. However, bugs can invade your home at any point, and autumn is one of their favorite times to head indoors. Stop a problem before it gets out of control and call your local insect control expert to evaluate your home and check for any infestation problems today.

Cool weather drives us all indoors
Like humans, insects don't like being left out in the cold. When the temperatures start to drop, backyard bugs start to head inside for shelter. To prevent pests from sneaking indoors to warm up, it's important to make sure there aren't any entry points through which insects can gain access to your home.

Is your chimney vent screened? Is your weather stripping in good condition? An exterminator can ensure there aren't any pest-friendly areas homeowners aren't aware of. Nearly unnoticeable tiny holes or cracks outside can lead to a serious problem indoors if insects find them and enter the home. Even if all your crevices outdoors are sealed, pay special attention to screens. On pleasant fall days, it's tempting to leave the windows and doors open to get some fresh air, but one tiny snag in a screen can be an entry point for a pest infestation.

Your yard may put your home at risk
Many insects enter homes through the yard, and an expert could reveal that your outdoor space could be putting your home in jeopardy. A trained eye may reveal that that stack of firewood you use to build a fire on chilly autumn days is too close to your house, and could be contributing to a pest problem. A professional may also find that your bushes and trees outside need to be trimmed before they lead insects into your home.

Better safe than sorry
You may think a few ants on the floor are nothing to be concerned about … but what if you're wrong? If you spot some pests, a fall inspection is essential. An exterminator can let you know if there really is a problem, or if you're successfully keeping the insects at bay. It's better to discover and deal with an infestation early on, instead of letting it get worse as time goes by. Have pest control professionals take care of your insect issues now, and you won't need to worry about a bug problem days before your holiday guests arrive.

Don’t let boxelder bugs ruin your autumn

As the cool fall weather approaches, so does boxelder bug season. These pests can infiltrate homes and cause problems throughout the fall and winter. When the pests enter a residence, their numbers can expand, causing a headache for homeowners. Even though these common pests aren't dangerous, they can become a nuisance and be difficult to eradicate.

Identifying boxelder bugs
Residents often notice boxelder bugs when the pests swarm to trees, structures and gardens lit by the sun. If you have a boxelder tree in your yard, the bugs may be an even bigger problem, since they often feed on the tree's seed pods. The adult pests are dark brown with red stripes and abdomens and are about half an inch long. When crushed, they can release an unpleasant odor.

Keep pests out of the home
Even though these pests are often found outdoors, they begin to migrate inside structures once the weather begins to cool. They can find their way into your house through open doors or windows, ripped screens, small cracks or even around your home's foundation. Because they can be tricky to get rid of after they have established themselves in a residence, it is important to take preventative pest control measures to keep the insects from entering in the first place. Ensure doors and windows shut tightly, repair ripped screens and seal cracks a boxelder bug could sneak through.

Managing the infestation
If there are boxelder bugs all over your home, there's no reason to panic. The pests aren't dangerous, but they can annoy residents. Be aware that even though it is possible to treat the problem, it may be a frustrating situation. If you have a boxelder tree in your yard, removing the tree may be the most effective way to eliminate the pests permanently, but this option can be undesirable or impractical.

Homeowners should be cautious when deciding if they should attempt to eliminate the pests themselves or contact insect control experts. Some home treatments may effectively eliminate the pests, but lead to a carpet beetle problem, as these insects will eat the boxelder bugs and possibly procreate, leading to a new infestation.

Upon detection of a boxelder bug invasion, vacuum your home to get rid of any dead or live insects that may be lurking around. If more than a few pests are discovered, calling an exterminator is often the best way to handle this type of infestation.

Fixing your flea problem

Your pet may be a member of the family, but it's easy for them to unintentionally cause a big household problem. If you're not careful, your pet may wind up with fleas, which can quickly spread into an infestation. The pests multiply quickly, and ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Take time to learn about the signs of fleas so if your pet picks up the pests, you'll notice quickly and be able to handle the situation in a timely manner.

Finding the fleas
Many homeowners with flea infestations first notice the pests on their pet. If your pets are scratching themselves constantly, they may be trying to relieve the itch of flea bites. Adult fleas spend most of their lives on your dog or cat, and lay their eggs on the pet. Even though treating your pet is a crucial step in pest elimination, it's not the only one. The flea eggs fall off your pet throughout the day, and find their way into carpeting, furniture and cushions. Once these eggs hatch, the larvae will hide in your carpet, furniture or pet bedding and can create a serious infestation.

Treating the problem
If you suspect fleas have invaded your home, it's important to act quickly before the problem gets out of control. While a severe infestation may require professional help from an exterminator, there are steps you can take to combat a small problem before the insect control professionals arrive. Start by taking your pet to a veterinarian, who can let you know if the problem really is fleas. If fleas are the issue, your pet will be treated for the parasites, but that doesn't mean the fleas will flee your home.

After receiving a diagnosis, immediately wash or discard your pet's bedding, where most of the flea eggs have likely fallen off. It is important to vacuum the entire house, to try to eliminate any pests that are hiding deep in the carpet or in throw rugs. If your pet spends a lot of time on a particular piece of furniture, vacuum that as well. Some pets sleep in the same bed as their owners – if this is the case for you and your pet, wash all bedding in hot water to kill any pests that may be lurking in the sheets.

After you've completed a preliminary round of flea elimination, pest control professionals can handle the situation and eliminate any remaining pests from your home.